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Classified LiesEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 18, 2003
Just because information is classified does not mean that it is true. If fact, there is a greater incentive to classify lies than the truth. If lies get out to a lot people, someone will expose them.
It sounds like the Bush administration told a few whoppers to Congress, according to FloridaToday.com. Senator Bill Nelson exposed the rubbish. He said the Bush administration told Congress that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be delivered to the East Coast. It was said that drones could deliver anthrax and other chemical weapons.
The only unmanned flying machine uncovered in Iraq was a crude balsa wood plane, held together with duct tape! It was more on the line of a model plane than a military drone.
Mr. Nelson could not reveal who gave the hyped up briefing. He said “They have not found anything that resembles an UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that has that capability.”
Debating Mercury Policy Behind Closed DoorsBushGreenwatch.org – December 16, 2003
(December 15, 20003) - Today is the EPA's deadline to announce its plan for regulating mercury from coal-burning power plants. A leaked draft indicates it will downgrade mercury as a toxin while weakening efforts to clean up mercury emissions.
This weakening comes just days after the Food and Drug Administration announced that it plans to warn women of child-bearing age and children to limit consumption of canned tuna because of high levels of mercury, which can cause learning disabilities and other serious problems in fetuses and young children.
On Dec. 5, the White House summoned EPA and FDA officials to discuss the awkward timing of the contradictory mercury announcements. White House officials wanted the two agencies to brief them "to ensure federal communication about mercury risks can be defended," according to the trade publication Inside EPA.
"No one's saying what happened at the meeting," Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project, told BushGreenwatch.org. "What we do know is that President Bush's EPA is slated today to formally announce a dramatic weakening of emission limits for mercury, a potent poison for children and the unborn, from coal burning. It presents the appearance, and perhaps the reality, of allowing children to be poisoned for the sake of campaign contributions."
President Bush has been by far the top recipient of campaign contributions from electric utilities since 2000. White House records show that while utility representatives were invited to discuss the mercury emission proposal with the White House several times this fall, no consumer or public health groups were included.
Mercury is emitted by coal-fired power plants and is converted into a more toxic form when it hits water, where it accumulates in fish. When people eat contaminated fish, like tuna, they ingest the toxin. Canned tuna is the most-consumed fish by women and children, the most vulnerable population, Bender said.
So who benefits from the Administration's mercury rules?
Southern Company, for one. Five of the coal-burning utility's executives or lobbyists are also among the elite group of President Bush's fundraising Pioneers, having raised $100,000 each toward his 2004 campaign. Anthony Alexander of FirstEnergy also is a Pioneer, as is Matthew Rose of Burlington Northern, which makes money mining and shipping coal. Richard Davidson of Union Pacific, another coal miner and shipper, has done even better: he has raised over $200,000.
Energy Bill Congressional Bribery?Employee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 15, 2003
Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook has reported on the possible utility looting and congressional bribery by two former Westar executives. In 2002, David Wittig and David Lake apparently “got off the hip” to gain a seat at the “a seat at the table” in last year’s energy bill conference committee.
Ms. Claybrook sent a second letter to the U.S. Department of Justice inquiring as to why no action has been taken on a possible criminal bribery scheme.
The evidence is in the form of Westar e-mail. On the receiving end, were the campaigns of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas); Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.).
Ms. Claybrook said “The various e-mails clearly revealed an attempt to exchange campaign contributions for legislation.”
The Secret White HouseEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 14, 2003
Christopher H. Schmitt and Edward T. Pound wrote the investigative report, “Keeping Secrets,” for the 12/22/03 issue of U.S. News & World Report. The report chronicles the paranoia of G. W. Bush and his obsession with keeping everything a secret from the American public.
Bush began clamping down on information the very day of his inauguration. He froze 300 pending regulations issued by the previous administration and expressly forbid public comment by citizens. If the citizens are going to be totally ignored, why go through the charade of soliciting public comments?
It was said that public comments would be would be "contrary to the public interest.” Huh?
Later, the administration refused to provide Joseph McCormick any information about the plans of two big energy corporations, to run a high-volume natural gas pipeline through the center of his community. He could not even get a map of the pipeline, which had previously been public information.
Dick Cheney is still holding out on providing any information about the secret energy meetings. A federal court ordered Cheney to reveal the information. The ruling has been appealed to the Supreme Court.
Congress cannot monitor the executive branch, as the Constitution provides for. Congress cannot pry any information out of the White House!
The White House secrecy has even frustrated the administration’s own party members. When the White House refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation, Republican Congressman Dan Burton exclaimed “This is not a monarchy!”
The administration repeatedly refused to even discuss the new secrecy initiatives with U.S. News.
The White House has clamped down on “public data” about corporations. If citizens need data about pollution or tire safety, they do NOT get it!
The report provided the dates below.
More on the secret energy meetings:
Democracy Crumbles Under Cover of DarknessSt. Louis Post-Dispatch – by Congressman Sherrod Brown – December 13, 2003
during wee hours to escape the light of accountability.
(12/11/03) - Never before has the House of Representatives operated in such secrecy:
At 2:54 a.m. on a Friday in March, the House cut veterans benefits by three votes.
At 2:39 a.m. on a Friday in April, the House slashed education and health care by five votes.
At 1:56 a.m. on a Friday in May, the House passed the Leave No Millionaire Behind tax-cut bill by a handful of votes.
At 2:33 a.m. on a Friday in June, the House passed the Medicare privatization and prescription drug bill by one vote.
At 12:57 a.m. on a Friday in July, the House eviscerated Head Start by one vote. And then, after returning from summer recess, at 12:12 a.m. on a Friday in October, the House voted $87 billion for Iraq.
Always in the middle of the night. Always after the press had passed their deadlines. Always after the American people had turned off the news and gone to bed.
What did the public see? At best, Americans read a small story with a brief explanation of the bill and the vote count in Saturday's papers.
But what did the public miss? They didn't see the House votes, which normally take no more than 20 minutes, dragging on for as long as an hour as members of the Republican leadership trolled for enough votes to cobble together a majority.
They didn't see GOP leaders stalking the floor for whoever was not in line. They didn't see Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay coerce enough Republican members into switching their votes to produce the desired result.
In other words, they didn't see the subversion of democracy.
And late last month, they did it again. The most sweeping changes to Medicare in its 38-year history were forced through the House at 5:55 on a Saturday morning.
The debate started at midnight. The roll call began at 3:00 a.m. Most of us voted within the typical 20 minutes. Normally, the speaker would have gaveled the vote closed. But not this time; the Republican-driven bill was losing.
By 4 a.m., the bill had been defeated 216-218, with only one member, Democrat David Wu, not voting. Still, the speaker refused to gavel the vote closed.
Then the assault began.
Hastert, DeLay, Republican Whip Roy Blount, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin - all searched the floor for stray Republicans to bully.
I watched them surround Cincinnati's Steve Chabot, trying first a carrot, then a stick; but he remained defiant. Next, they aimed at retiring Michigan congressman Nick Smith, whose son is running to succeed him. They promised support if he changed his vote to yes and threatened his son's future if he refused. He stood his ground.
Many of the two dozen Republicans who voted against the bill had fled the floor. One Republican hid in the Democratic cloakroom.
By 4:30, the browbeating had moved into the Republican cloakroom, out of sight of C-SPAN cameras and the insomniac public. Republican leaders woke President George W. Bush, and a White House aide passed a cell phone from one recalcitrant member to another in the cloakroom.
At 5:55, two hours and 55 minutes after the roll call had begun - twice as long as any previous vote in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives - two obscure western Republicans emerged from the cloakroom. They walked, ashen and cowed, down the aisle to the front of the chamber, scrawled their names and district numbers on green cards to change their votes and surrendered the cards to the clerk.
The speaker gaveled the vote closed; Medicare privatization had passed.
You can do a lot in the middle of the night, under the cover of darkness.
U.S. Congressman Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, is the ranking member on the Committee on Energy and the Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
104 Economists Warn BushEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 11, 2003
The Associated Press reported that 104 economists have tried to set G. W. Bush straight on the environment. They sent Bush a letter informing him that policies that harm the environment also harm the economy in the long run.
Kenneth Arrow, professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1972, was one of the signers. He said “A lot of these things that are bad for the environment are bad period, from any efficiency point of view. They represent government subsidies which create inefficient production.”
Loser LiebermanEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 10, 2003
Senator Joseph Lieberman is crying in his beer because Al Gore endorsed the only candidate with a chance of beating G. W. Bush, instead of endorsing him. Why would Mr. Gore want to endorse a loser like Lieberman? Mr. Gore already made the mistake of selecting Loser Lieberman as his running mate in the 2000 presidential election. That one mistake does not obligate Mr. Gore to be tied to Loser Lieberman for eternity.
Al Gore cut his losses. Loser Lieberman is now showing the world what a small man he really is. Instead of backing the front-runner, Dr. Dean, Loser Lieberman vows to continue his rag-tag presidential campaign.
Loser Lieberman frequently knuckles under to the wishes of G. W. Bush. Loser Lieberman is usually not even available to vote because he is on the campaign trail. When he does show up in the Senate, he is like as not to cater to the wishes of the Bush administration.
Trashing Social SecurityEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 8, 2003
Part of employees’ pensions now go to executives via cash balance conversions. Retirement health care is gone for some, and going for others. Medicare is being undermined, with help from the AARP. The New York Times reported that G. W. Bush is dipping into Social Security day by day.
In 2000, Al Gore proposed segregating the Social Security “surplus.” That was a great idea. For money to be there when needed, one must keep amoral politicians away from it. G. W. Bush even agreed with the concept.
But, the Times revealed that G. W. Bush really did not even understand the concept of Social Security. In 2000, G. W. Bush accused opponents of wanting “the federal government controlling the Social Security like it's some kind of federal program.”
The man does not have a clue.
Bush evidently does not understand to concept of segregated funds either. The budgets signed by Bush, will siphon $480 billion out of Social Security payroll taxes.
The plan is to hit Social Security for another $849 billion over the next four years.
As CEO’s renege on pension promises, Bush is draining Social Security money.
As corporations renege on earned retirement health care, Bush is tampering with Medicare.
Bush wants soldiers to continue sacrificing their lives, in the name of adventurism, while he cuts their pay and benefits.
Corporations want employees to “do more with less,” as executives and consultants scheme to take more benefits from them.
The only question is: Were these events completely random, or were they carefully orchestrated?
$100,000 Bribe On the House Floor?Employee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 8, 2003
A legal watchdog group is asking for a bribery investigation in the House of Representatives, according to USA Today. The alleged bribe took place as the Republicans were ramming Medicare legislation through the House. It is charged that Republicans offered Congressman Nick Smith $100,000 in contributions for his son's election campaign if he would vote for a Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Melanie Sloan is the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. She wrote “The attempted bribery and extortion of a member of Congress on the House floor destroys the heart of our democracy.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe wrote the attorney general: “Not only was this bribe offered to a member of Congress, it was offered on the floor of the House of Representatives by another member of Congress.”
“Smith told Gannett News Service on Nov. 24 that he had been lobbied heavily to support the bill. He said he had received promises that business interests and GOP leaders would help his son's campaign in exchange. He said he also was told those same groups would work to defeat his son if Smith voted against the bill.”
Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, said “It's a window into how politics works, and how closely tethered contributors are to their respective parties, and how they work hand in hand in getting their way legislatively.”
Mr. Lewis said that an investigation would be unlikely. Democrats and Republicans have an unspoken agreement not to initiate ethics inquiries. And, only a House member can trigger an investigation!
Political analyst Norman Ornstein said “I've never heard of anything like this on the floor. It just stains the speakership… Will anything be done about it? I'm very skeptical.”
GOP leaders held the vote open for nearly three hours, in an attempt to browbeat more “yes” votes. They were finally successful in cajoling enough votes to pass the bill. Congressman Smith did not cave in to the demands of the Bush crowd.
Energy Bill Pork for DukeEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 7, 2003
Lisa Sanders wrote “Who could benefit from energy bill?,” which was published by CBS.MarketWatch.com. She noted that the Bush administration was not able to ram the energy bill through Congress this year, but is expected to try it again in 2004.
The energy bill is one of the sleaziest abominations to stink up the halls of Congress. The manner of its creation gave insight into how the Bush administration would operate. Only Bush cronies and campaign contributors had any input into the bill. The bill is a vehicle to pass out pork to the Bush corporate sponsors.
Despite lawsuits, G. W. Bush and V. P. Cheney are keeping the details of the energy meeting a secret from the American people. In spite of the secrecy, some information has been obtained. In 2002, The Charlotte Observer revealed that Harvey Padewer, then Duke Energy’s group president of energy services, attended at least one of these meetings.
As luck would have it, Duke Energy will end up with a nice chunk of pork, should the energy bill pass. The corporate welfare will come in the form of subsidies for nuclear power. Nuclear power is a mature industry that should be able to stand on its own feet, without continuing to receive taxpayer money.
More on the secret energy meetings:
Bush Destroying ‘Pillars of Progress’Employee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – December 5, 2003
Senator Hillary Clinton blasted G. W. Bush for destroying the safety nets of American citizens, according to the Houston Chronicle. She charged Bush and his "radical" administration with attempted destruction of the "central pillars of progress in our country during the 20th century."
She noted that Bush campaigned as a “compassionate conservative” in 2000, but has made a “hard-right turn to pursue an extremist agenda.”
Senator Clinton said that Bush is beatable because he is “making America less free, fair, strong, smart than it deserves to be in a dangerous world.”
“We have to change direction before irreparable harm is done. This administration is in danger of being the first in American history to leave our nation worse off than when they found it.”
She did not use her Iraq visit as strictly a photo-op, by only talking “happy talk” and holding a prop turkey. She asked questions about the problems faced by the military. She said “Everybody told me we don't have enough intelligence, civil affairs, MP’s, engineers.
Dr. Dean Despises DeregulationEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – November 20, 2003
Presidential candidate Howard Dean is very much aware of the problems caused by deregulation, according to the Washington Post. Deregulation has caused turmoil in energy markets, telecommunications, the airlines and other major industries. Dr. Dean is in favor of “re-regulation” of businesses.
Dr. Dean wants to restore faith in corporations and protect U. S. workers. Candidates for re-regulation are: utilities, large media companies and any business that offers stock options. He wants employees to have a much broader right to unionize. He wants corporate transparency to go beyond the Sarbanes-Oxley law!
Dr. Dean said “In order to make capitalism work for ordinary human beings, you have to have regulation. Right now, workers are getting screwed.”
Dr. Dean said “At Enron, those at the top enriched themselves by deceiving everyone else and robbing ordinary people of the future they'd earned. The Bush administration is following their lead.”
Dr. Dean is ahead of the other presidential contenders in recognizing one of the core problems in America. He said “California is proving it does not work. I think the reason the grid failed is because of utility deregulation.”
Regulation Begins at HomeNew York Times – by Eliot Spitzer – November 18, 2003
Monday 17 November 2003
The 95 million Americans who invest in mutual funds paid more than $70 billion in fees in 2002. These fees went to an industry that did not take seriously its responsibility to safeguard investors' money. Investors are now rightly concerned about whether those mutual funds that breached their fiduciary duties will be required to refund the exorbitant fees they took, and what mechanism will be put in place to ensure that the fees charged in the future are fair.
Unfortunately, the S.E.C.'s deal with Putnam does not provide a satisfactory answer to these questions. Instead, it raises new questions.
The commission's first failure is one of oversight. The mutual fund investigation began when an informant approached our office with evidence of illegal trading practices. Tipsters also approached the commission, which is supposed to be the nation's primary securities markets regulator, but the commission simply did not act on the information.
The commission's second failure was acting in haste to settle with Putnam even though the investigation is barely 10 weeks old and is yielding new and important information each day. Whether the commission recognizes it or not, the first settlement in a complex investigation always sets the tone for what follows. In this case, the bar is set too low.
The Putnam agreement does contain a useful provision mandating that the funds' board of directors be more independent of the management companies that run its day-to-day operations. It also talks of fines and restitution, but leaves for another day the determination of the amount Putnam should pay.
Most important, the agreement does not address the manner in which the fees charged to investors are calculated. Nor does it require the fund to inform investors exactly how much they are being charged — or even provide a structure that will create market pressure to reduce those fees. Finally, there is no discussion of civil or criminal sanctions for the managers who acted improperly by engaging in or permitting market timing and late trading. S.E.C. officials are now saying that they may be interested in additional reforms. But by settling so quickly, they have lost leverage in obtaining further measures to protect investors. After reviewing this agreement, I can say with certainty that any resolution with my office will require concessions from the industry that go far beyond what the commission obtained from Putnam.
It is not surprising that the commission would sanction a deal that ignores consumers and is unsatisfactory to state regulators. Just look at the Bush administration's decision to abandon pending enforcement actions and investigations of Clear Air Act violations.
Even supporters of the Bush administration's environmental policy were stunned when the E.P.A. announced that it was closing pending investigations into more than 100 power plants and factories for violating the Clean Air Act — and dropping 13 cases in which it had already made a determination that the law had been violated.
Regulators may disagree about what our environmental laws should look like. But we should all be able to agree that companies that violated then-existing pollution laws should be punished.
Those environmental laws were enacted to protect a public that was concerned about its health and safety. By letting companies that violated the Clean Air Act off the hook, the Environmental Protection Agency has effectively issued an industry-wide pardon. This will only embolden polluters to continue practices that harm the environment.
My office had worked with the agency to investigate polluters, and will continue to do so when possible. But today a bipartisan coalition of 14 state attorneys general will sue the agency to halt the implementation of weaker standards. In addition, we will continue to press the lawsuits that have been filed. We have also requested the E.P.A. records for the cases that have been dropped, and will file lawsuits if they are warranted by the facts.
Similarly, my office — while committed to working with the Securities and Exchange Commission in our investigation of the mutual fund industry — will not be party to settlements that fail to protect the interests of investors and let the industry off with little more than a slap on the wrist.
The public expects and deserves the protection that effective government oversight provides. Until the Bush administration shows it is willing to do the job, however, it appears the public will have to rely on state regulators and lawmakers to protect its interests.
British QuotesEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – November 17, 2003
These quotes about the Iraq war and G. W. Bush are mostly from England. One report has the US ready to quickly turn the Iraq war over to international control. Another mentioned a June deadline to turn control over to the Iraqis. One report said that Donald Rumsfeld said that US troops will not pull out of Iraq in June!
One report quotes Bush as not being afraid of being heckled and praising the freedom to protest in Britain. Yet another article has Bush demanding that protests be banned while he is in Britain and wanting a distance between him and any protestors! Why would Bush praise the right to protest in Britain, while he ropes off US protestors in a secluded area?
Independent UK, 11/17/03: “The United States accepts that to avoid humiliating failure in Iraq it needs to bring its forces quickly under international control and speed the handover of power, Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, has said. Decisions along these lines will be made in the 'coming days,' Mr Solana told The Independent."
The London Observer, 11/16/03: “British warnings that America was failing before the war to prepare properly for a crumbling security situation in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was ousted were ignored by Vice President Dick Cheney and the Pentagon.
“In some of the first direct evidence of serious divisions between the key allies in the run-up to the conflict, the former British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, said the US had failed to focus on what might happen after Saddam had been overthrown.
“His admission raises serious questions that a lack of planning by US forces is at least partly to blame for Iraq's present security problems.”
Reuters, 11/16/03: “American troops will not be withdrawing from Iraq starting next June under a faster timetable for self-rule in the country, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters on Sunday.
" ‘No, no,’ he told reporters traveling with him on a visit to Okinawa when asked if plans announced by Iraq's Governing Council for a transitional government would have any bearing on the continued presence of U.S. forces in the troubled country.”
Reuters, 11/16/03: “President Bush, who leaves Tuesday for a state visit to Britain where he is deeply unpopular, said on Sunday he was not concerned by the expected anti-war protesters who will pour into London's streets to vent anger at his policies.
‘No, not concerned at all. Glad to be going to a free country where people are allowed to protest,’ Bush said he looked forward to arriving at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday evening, with his wife, Laura.
The first couple will be whisked to Buckingham Palace and largely kept in what Bush himself describes as a security-enclosed bubble -- cut off from activity in the rest of the city.”
“A poll published by Britain's Sunday Times showed that 37 percent of those questioned thought Bush was ‘stupid,’ while 60 percent called him a threat to world peace.”
Independent UK, 11/16/03: “President George Bush will be accused this week of lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in a face-to-face meeting with the families of British soldiers killed in the war, The Independent on Sunday can reveal…”
"They misled the guys going out there. You can't just do something wrong and hope you find a good reason for it later. That's why we have all the UN guidelines in the first place…"
“The state visit can hardly have come at a worse time for Mr Bush, with polls in the US showing that public confidence over his ability to deal with the problems in Iraq is falling. For the first time, more than 50 per cent have said they ‘disapprove’ of the way he is handling the situation.
“The trip threatens to be a PR disaster for the President and his officials have tried - apparently in vain - to ensure that is he kept as far away from demonstrators as possible.
“Asked this week about the protesters he will encounter in the capital, Mr Bush said: ‘I don't expect everybody in the world to agree with the positions I've taken. I'm so pleased to be going to a country which says that people are allowed to express their minds. That's fantastic. Freedom is a beautiful thing.’ ”
UPI, 11/14/03: “WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The number of U.S. casualties from Operation Iraqi Freedom -- troops killed, wounded or evacuated due to injury or illness -- has passed 9,000, according to new Pentagon data.”
Independent UK, 11/12/03: “Anti-war protesters claim that US authorities have demanded a rolling ‘exclusion zone’ around President George Bush during his visit, as well as a ban on marches in parts of central London.
“The Stop The War Coalition said yesterday that it had been told by the police that it would not be allowed to demonstrate in Parliament Square and Whitehall next Thursday - a ban it said it was determined to resist. The coalition says that it has also been told by British officials that American officials want a distance kept between Mr Bush and protesters, for security reasons and to prevent their appearance in the same television shots.”
“The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said yesterday that Mr Bush should not be shielded from public anger about the Iraq war, and Londoners should not have to pick up the £4m policing bill. He said: ‘To create a situation in which perhaps 60,000 people remain unseen would require a shutdown of central London which is just not acceptable.’ ”
Getting What One Asks ForEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – November 14, 2003
G. W. Bush saw himself as an iron-willed, invincible warrior when he made his boastful terrorist dare “Bring them on.” The terrorist were happy to oblige. Random, mass killings are what terrorist do. They are not used to getting the red carpet rolled out for them. So, how could they possible refuse the Bush invitation?
Bush will never admit it, but his wish now is “Please go away.” This war, for personal revenge, has cost Americans dearly in blood and money. It has not helped the Iraqi people either. They have paid with blood and the loss of every convenience of a civilized society. The people did not want this war. Only G. W. Bush wanted it. Now that he has it, he does not have a clue about what to do with it.
The buildup for war was carefully orchestrated to boost Bush’s popularity. Now that all can see what a folly the war has been, Bush’s popularity rating is dropping almost daily. The New York Times reported that Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez deliberately call the fighting in Iraq a “war.” This was to dispel any misconceptions caused by the Bush word games. Bush declared the major fighting over some time ago, with the “Mission Accomplished” banner in the background. But more Americans have been killed in Iraq since that time than during the invasion.
The latest poll found that support for bush and his war is dropping. The majority of Americans believe that Bush decided to go to war on Iraq based on faulty assumptions, the Associated Press reported yesterday. 87 percent of those polled said that the Bush administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat before the war.
The Guardian quoted an intelligence source about a CIA report. The source mentioned a "bleak assessment that the resistance is broad, strong and getting stronger. It says we are going to lose the situation unless there is a rapid and dramatic change of course. There are thousands in the resistance - not just a core of Ba'athists. They are in the thousands, and growing every day. Not all those people are actually firing, but providing support, shelter and all that.”
After hearing the facts, the White House drew up emergency plans to accelerate the transfer of power in Iraq. Like it or not, the Iraqi people are catching onto the democracy thing. G. W. Bush defied almost the whole world to occupy Iraq. Now the Iraqis are convincing him that it is time for the American troops to get out. The Iraqi people have no Congress or legal system. They can only get their point across the old fashioned way.
Bush has a hard head, but the Iraqis are beginning to crack it. If Bush had listened to the United Nations, he would not be in this predicament. The UN knew that there was no reason to invade and occupy Iraq. It is time for Bush to turn control of Iraq over to the UN. Bush’s defiance of the UN is one more reason that he should be in the White House for one-term only.
Bush Confronted by NC ProtestersEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – November 11, 2003
The entourage of G. W. Bush desperately tries to project the image that he is adored by all Americans. Before Bush arrives, armed guards remove anyone with any anti Bush signs. These citizens are herded into a “protest zone.” These zones are often blocks away from where Bush will speak. They are always well out of sight of TV cameras. As Bush grows more unpopular, this stunt is more difficult to pull off.
The Charlotte Business Journal reported that G. W. Bush visited Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Friday. Bush wanted to talk about jobs, but he came empty handed. He brought no new job proposals. He only touted his sad refrain about free-trade policies and tax cuts. But you see, people without jobs don’t have to pay tax. They don’t make any money to pay taxes on. So, cutting taxes for the wealthy is only a slap in the face to these people.
There stood G. W. Bush, praising his tax cuts and free-trade policies, in a state that has lost one-fifth of its manufacturing jobs in three years! The free-trade policies are why many of the jobs went overseas!
Angry textile executives confronted Bush, and blamed his policies for causing widespread unemployment.
Approximately 300 demonstrators criticized Bush on issues, including the occupation of Iraq, free-trade policies, and his fund-raising.
John Emrich, chief executive of Guilford Mills in Greensboro, said “We do have a lot of people who vote.”
The Fruits of SecrecyNew York Times – Editorial – November 9, 2003
(11/8/03) - One of President Bush's first acts was to convene a task force to produce a national energy strategy. Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, the group met secretly with hundreds of witnesses. It heard from few environmentalists, but many lobbyists and executives from industries whose fortunes would be affected by any new policies. Despite lawsuits, the White House has refused to divulge the names of those privileged to get Mr. Cheney's ear. The results, however, have been plain as day: policies that broadly favor industry — including big campaign contributors — at the expense of the environment and public health.
That unfortunate bias was demonstrated anew this week when the Environmental Protection Agency decided to drop investigations into more than 140 power plants, refineries and other industrial sites suspected of violating the Clean Air Act. The winner is industry; the loser, the public.
The administration had already weakened the cases' legal foundation: a provision in the act that required companies to install up-to-date pollution controls whenever they increased harmful emissions by making major upgrades to their plants. The utilities had complained that the rule kept them from producing more power and discouraged investments in energy efficiency. Though the companies produced no convincing evidence, Mr. Cheney's task force swallowed the argument whole, and in due course it forced Christie Whitman, then head of the E.P.A., to jettison the rule in favor of a more permissive regime allowing companies to increase pollution without paying for new controls.
The administration insists lamely that a handful of cases in litigation will be pursued. It seems clear, however, that the many investigations that have not reached litigation will be dropped altogether or at best restarted under the new rules — rules so full of loopholes that it is highly unlikely that anybody will ever be found to have violated them.
The administration swore to Congress months ago that this would not happen, that all the old investigations would be aggressively pursued under the old rules. So in addition to another rollback of environmental law, we have here another depressing example of official mendacity. Abandoning these cases is also deeply unfair to the companies that have already installed pollution controls in a good-faith effort to comply with the law.
As is so often the case these days, the burden of defending the environment now falls to the states. Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general who has aggressively used the old rules to reduce pollution from power plants, has joined other states in suing the E.P.A. for weakening the law. He has also asked the E.P.A. to turn its files over to the states so they can pursue violators on their own. Finally, some in Congress are calling for an investigation into the administration's behavior. And why not? Congress has a right to be unhappy with a regulatory and judicial retreat that undermines much of what the Clean Air Act stands for.
More on the secret energy meetings:
Campaign Donations or Investments?Employee Advocate – DukeEmployees.com – November 8, 2003
Over the last three years, federal agencies have become perverted. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) no longer protects the environment. It is now a shill group to rubber stamp whatever corporations want. The Treasury and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission no longer protect the rights and pensions of workers. They are now tools to help rob employees of their pensions. Even the armed forces are no longer reserved to protect America. They are used for adventurism, personal score settling, and as political tools.
Public Citizen warned that the EPA had weakened laws to let energy violators off the hook. And sure enough, the New York Times reported that investigations of violations of 50 power plants are being dropped. The cases will now be judged under the “less stringent” rules favored by G. W. Bush.
The get-out-of-jail-free card for utilities was a recommendation of Vice President Dick Cheney's secret energy task force. The Bush administration is still fighting all legal attempts to gain information about what happened at these covert meetings. Even the list of attendees is considered top secret by the Bush administration!
Why were the EPA law weakened? Because the energy industry complained about them. Not only did the industry complain, but they also donated heavily to the Bush campaign.
This Times quote sums up the situation: “Representatives of the utility industry have been among President Bush's biggest campaign donors, and a change in the enforcement policies has been a top priority of the industry's lobbyists.”
One EPA lawyer estimated that watered-down rules could be worth $10 billion to $20 billion to utilities. For utilities, campaign donations are not an expense; they are an investment!
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg said “''This latest attack on the environment sends a clear message to the president's corporate polluting cronies -- do whatever you want to improve the bottom line. Profits are more important than cleaning the air for children who suffer from asthma and seniors with respiratory diseases.”
The EPA lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “I don't know of anything like this in 30 years. If you say, 'I'm not going to enforce the law at all,' that is doing rule-making without a rule-making process.”
A dozen or so states and cities have already filed suit in federal court over the weakened New Source Review program.
The Associated Press reported that the rule changes could lead to almost 1.4 million tons more air pollution in 12 states!
Senator Jim Jeffords said “First the administration weakens our clean air law, and now it won't enforce it. Instead of fighting pollution, this administration is at war with the Clean Air Act. Innocent bystanders, such as children, the elderly and the infirm, will be the principal casualties.”
An EPA official said that suits filed against Duke Energy, Cinergy, and Southern will proceed, according to Reuters.
Donations Equal ContractsEmployee Advocate – DukeEmployees.com – November 3, 2003
The Center for Public Integrity and Associated Press reported that companies awarded $8 billion in Iraq contracts, just happen to be companies that have contributed heavily to the Bush campaign. This is similar to the secret energy meetings. Heavy campaign contributors were able to effectively write the new energy laws. Others were excluded from the meetings. V. P. Cheney still refuses to reveal the details of these meeting, or even who attended. Cheney is refusing to come clean, even in the face of multiple lawsuits to obtain the information.
There was no bidding process for Iraq or Afghanistan contracts. The administration just passed out the contracts to favored companies.
Charles Lewis, Center executive director, said “No single agency supervised the contracting process for the government. This situation alone shows how susceptible the contracting system is to waste, fraud and cronyism.”
The company that racked up the most billions was, of course, Halliburton, Cheney’s old company.
More on the secret energy meetings:
More Government Whistleblowers Come ForthEmployee Advocate – DukeEmployees.com – November 3, 2003
More whistleblowers are coming forth and exposing the V. P. Cheney shadow foreign policy, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Karen Kwiatkowski, former air force lieutenant-colonel, is spilling the beans this time.
She said “What these people are doing now makes Iran-Contra look like amateur hour. . . it's worse than Iran-Contra, worse than what happened in Vietnam... George Bush isn't in control . . . the country's been hijacked.”
Ms Kwiatkowski retired this year after 20 years service. She was a Middle East specialist in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.
Ms Kwiatkowski explained “a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress in order to take that first step - Iraq - lies had to be told to Congress to bring them on board.”
The Herald cited another whistleblower: “In a separate interview, Chalmers Johnson, an authority on US policy, said that the Administration's neo-conservatives had in effect seized power from Mr Bush.”
For news about another government whistleblower, keep reading:
Simpleton Bush Not in ChargeEmployee Advocate – DukeEmployees.com – November 2, 2003
When G. W. Bush was selected to occupy the White House by the Supreme Court, some thought that V. P. Cheney would really run the show. And at the beginning of his term, it certainly looked like this was going to be the case. But Cheney was soon shuttled off into the background. Some knowledgeable people believe that Cheney is still running the show.
Chris Matthews, MSNBC host, laid out the plain facts about G. W. Bush, in a speech to university students, according to the Woonsocket Call. He said that Bush is a shallow-thinking, unlearned man.
Mr. Matthews told Brown University students that the Bush administration's rationale for the Iraq war was "nonsense" and totally dishonest.
Mr. Matthews, who served as an aide to the late House Speaker Tip O'Neill of Massachusetts and wrote speeches for former President Jimmy Carter, said that V. P. Richard Cheney was “behind it all.”
“The whole neo-conservative power vortex, it all goes through his office. He has become the chief executive. He's not the chief operating officer, he's running the place. It's scary,” contended Mr. Matthews.