Archive for March, 2004

Taiwanese President, Veep Shot

Friday, March 19th, 2004

Top News Article |

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian survived an assassination attempt Friday while campaigning on the eve of presidential elections, escaping with a bullet wound to the stomach.

Vice President Annette Lu was also wounded but was not badly hurt, officials said. The pair had been traveling in a red, open-top jeep through the southern city of Tainan, waving to crowds, when unknown assailants shot at them at 1:45 p.m. (12:45 a.m. EST).

General sacked by Bush says he wanted early elections

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

by David Leigh

London–Jay Garner, the US general abruptly dismissed as Iraq’s first occupation administrator after a month in the job, says he fell out with the Bush circle after he called for swift and free elections and rejected an imposed programme of privatisation.

In an interview to be broadcast on BBC Newsnight, Friday, March 19, he says: “My preference was to put the Iraqis in charge as soon as we can, and do it with some form of elections … I just thought it was necessary to rapidly get the Iraqis in charge of their destiny.” [The BBC program will air at 10:30 GMT; it will also be available at 7:30 PM EST on the internet. ]

Asked by the reporter Greg Palast if he foresaw negative repercussions from the subsequent US imposition of mass privatisation , Gen Garner said: “I don’t know … we’ll just have to wait and see.” It would have been better for the Iraqis to take decisions themselves, even if they made mistakes, he said.

“What I was trying to do was get to a functioning government … We as Americans like to put our template on things. And our template’s good, but it’s not necessarily good for everyone else.”

Describing his dismissal after he called for elections , he said: “The night I got to Baghdad, [the defence secretary Donald] Rumsfeld called me and told me he was appointing Paul Bremer as the presidential envoy … The announcement … was somewhat abrupt.”

Gen Garner was careful not to criticise his successor directly. He said the imposition before elections of free market economic schemes drawn up by the US as early as 2001 “was a more orderly approach” than his own.

But he had wanted the Iraqis to decide economic policy for themselves. “They’ll make mistakes, and that’s OK … I don’t think they need to go by the US plan.”

Despite being a protege of Mr Rumsfeld, Gen Garner was the subject of what was alleged to be a White House whispering campaign, describing him as weak.

A year after the invasion, his disclosure of policy differences with the White House highlights the dilemma still faced by the US occupation forces.

Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.” View Palast’s writings for Harper’s, The Guardian (UK) and BBC television at

Have to Hand it to the Log Cabin Repubs…

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

A SoonerThought Guest Editorial by James Nimmo

I have to hand it to Amerikans who call themselves gay and GOPers. In a time of environmental assault unparalleled in modern times, with GOPer programs antonymally called “Clean Skies”, “Healthy Forests”, and the underwater sonic equivalent of nuclear explosions being used to disrupt and kill deep-sea mammals, the gay GOPers are hanging on to their micro-environment with all the tenacity of ticks and pubic lice. I’m referring to a story in the New York Times story titled “Gay and Republican” here.

These GOPer bloodsuckers are prepared to vote for a man who is calling for an official declaration that second-class citizenship be bestowed on this endangered species.

These strange organisms called gay GOPers are suffering from hetero-envy possibly acquired from the social environment in which they were raised. A combination of religious brainwashing, sexism and environmental ignorance has deformed their reasoning powers beyond that which can be attributed to poor parenting. They’re trying so hard to live up to mummy and daddie’s ideal of a good child that they are unable to see the corner into which they’re painting themselves. Read Andy Tobias’s book “The Best Little Boy in the World” or its sequel, “The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up.” Mr. Tobias is also treasurer of the Democratic National Committee.

All the more reason for the progressives to push harder to firmly defeat the FMA and other anti-equality legislative inventions concocted to ensure that the bullies of the fundie movement are allowed to retain their corroded, sick power that clots their minds and prevents them from being healthy adults. What kind of person is it that’s desperate to the point of rabid frenzy to prevent other people from fulfilling their privately consensual physical and physic lives and to try and codify such prohibition in civil law?

TN County Wants to Ban Homosexuals

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

Dear Readers,

Using my somewhat limited skills as an internet Google/capwiz searcher, the information below is what I’ve found for Rhea County, TN, which wants to outlaw gays/lesbians from living in the county. Tennessee is also the home state of kitten-killer, Dr. Frist, Senate majority leader of the US Kongress.

Get a phone call down into in Urea County and let them know how you feel about the re-institution of segregation based, this time, on sexual orientation instead of race. If someone finds better information, please let us know.

Story from is posted below.

James Nimmo, treasurer
Central Oklahoma Stonewall Democrats

Tennessee County Wants To Ban Gays
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: March 17, 2004 5:04 p.m. ET

(Nashville, Tennessee) Rhea County, about 30 miles north of Chattanooga, want the state to give it the power to arrest gays for “crimes against nature”.

In a unanimous vote the county commissioners passed a motion asking its state representatives to introduce legislation to allow it to lay the charges. For Commissioner J-C Fugate, the issue is simple. He wants to keep “homosexuals out of here.'’

Rhea County is famous as the scene of the “Scopes Monkey Trial”. In 1925, high school teacher John T. Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution and fined $100. The conviction was later overturned.

There was little discussion about Fugate’s motion before the 8-to-0 vote in favor of the measure. Three audience members who spoke before Fugate’s motion advocated prayer in schools and denounced drinking alcohol and county zoning.

When the motion passed some people in the audience applauded.

Fugate said all the “fuss over homosexual marriage” had made him and others in the community angry

Fugate also proposed a motion that would direct County Attorney Gary Fritts to find the best way to enact a local law banning gays from living in Rhea County. Commissioners asked Fritts to bring a resolution requesting the ban to next month’s commission meeting for another vote.

It is doubtful either measure would stand up in court. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws and ruled there is a constitutionally protected right to adults’ private sexual conduct.

Matt Nevels, president of the Chattanooga chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said he knows of of a number of gays and their parents who live in Rhea County.

“That is the most farfetched idea put forth by any kind of public official,” Nevels said. “I’m outraged.”

Rhea County holds an annual festival commemorating the Scopes Trial. The school system teaches Creativism as a viable alternative to evolution. In 2002, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional the Rhea County school board’s Bible Education Ministry, a class taught in the public schools by students from a Christian college.

©® 2004


Rhea County

Rhea County
1475 North Market Street
County Courthouse
Dayton, TN 37321-1267
Phone: (423) 775-7801

Office & Contact Information

Elections Administrator

Name: Contact Information:
Lauer, Cathy L. Phone: (423)775-7816
Fax: (423)775-7880

Anatomy of a Foul-Up

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

CJR Campaign Desk

How the press misquoted John Kerry - and how they’ve managed to botch the correction.

By Liz Cox Barrett and Thomas Lang

In yesterday’s New York Times, Jodi Wilgoren informed readers that “the weeklong controversy” over Sen. John Kerry’s “recent claim to have international support” for his presidential bid stemmed from an imprecise transcript of a March 8 Kerry fundraiser in Florida. The transcript was provided to the press by the Boston Globe’s Patrick Healy, one of the two reporters permitted by the Kerry camp to cover the March 8th event.

Healy now says that at the March 8 event Kerry said, “I’ve met more leaders who can’t go out and say it all publicly but boy they look at you and say, you gotta win this …” and not, as Healy originally reported to the press corps and in his own piece, “I’ve met foreign leaders who can’t go out and say it all publicly but boy they look at you and say, you gotta win this …” (Emphasis ours in both cases.) On Monday, Healy emailed a correction and an apology to the Kerry press corps inviting them all to “feel free to hold me accountable to your editors and higher-ups.”

The Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe also ran stories yesterday which included the correction. Reading the coverage of the misquote, Campaign Desk had questions, including: Who was the other pool reporter at the event and what did s/he hear Kerry say? Why were only two reporters permitted into the event?

So we called Patrick Healy to get more detail on what happened. Here’s the story behind the story, according to Healy.

Per ground rules recently worked out between the Kerry camp and the herd of some forty reporters who follow it, March 8 was the first time reporters were permitted inside a Kerry fundraising event. Because it was a small affair — just over fifty people, Healy says — a “mini-pool” of two reporters was allowed in rather than the full press pool which typically numbers 15 or 16 reporters (along with several tape recorders and a few TV cameras). Patrick Healy was the “print pooler” at the event and Catherine Loper, a Fox News Channel political correspondent, was the “TV pooler” who, Healy says, did not record the event. (Neither Loper nor the Kerry campaign returned Campaign Desk’s calls requesting comment).

When the event ended, Healy and Loper discussed what they both thought they heard Kerry say (that he’d “met foreign leaders”) and wondered which leaders Kerry was referring to. Healy “raced back to the bus where the pool was.” The Associated Press and Reuters reporters were especially eager to get something out, so Healy listened to his tape and within thirty minutes sent “a highlights email to the [press] pool” which included the erroneous Kerry quote. The AP later that day ran this story, including Kerry’s “foreign leaders” quote at the end. In a press release that day the Republican National Committee featured Kerry’s “foreign leaders” comment prominently with the headline, “John Kerry International Man of Mystery III: Communist North Korea Only Government on Record Supporting Kerry.”

That afternoon, Healy emailed the press pool a “partial transcript” of the event in which he paraphrased a comment, made by Kerry’s Florida finance chair Milton Ferrell, that prompted Kerry’s remarks about “foreign leaders.” In his own story the next day, Healy reported Kerry’s statement (and the RNC’s North Korea crack) several paragraphs deep in his campaign story (as did the New York Times).

When Secretary of State Colin Powell was presented with Kerry’s “foreign leaders” quote on “Fox News Sunday” last weekend and asked by Fox’s Chris Wallace to comment, Powell suggested Kerry name the “foreign leaders.” On the same day at a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania when Kerry was asked which “foreign leaders” he was referring to, he disputed the wording of the original quote but did not deny the premise. Kerry also declined to name “foreign leaders” specifically, saying that he would not betray any private conversations he’d had. Powell’s words, combined with Kerry’s additional comments on Sunday, elevated the “foreign leaders” comment from anecdotal aside to headline status in the Associated Press, the Boston Globe and the New York Times, among other places.

Healy says that “given the amount of attention” the Kerry comment eventually received, and given that Healy was “the only [reporter] who had a tape of the exchange,” he decided to revisit the recording Monday to “get all of the context and write a full transcript of the exchange” so that other reporters in the Kerry corps would have “as much context as possible.” (Pool reporters, Healy says, transcribe entire events if they’re “huge news events” but for this relatively small fundraiser he initially offered the pool a transcription of “most of it.”)

Reviewing the March 8 tape in the quiet of his own home Healy says he realized that Kerry had said “more leaders” and not “foreign leaders.” Hence, Healy’s mea culpa email Monday and yesterday’s news reports on the misreporting of Kerry’s comments.

Now for the misreporting on the misreporting of Kerry’s comments.

The Empire Backfires

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

by Jonathan Schell

The first anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq has arrived. By now, we were told by the Bush Administration before the war, the flower-throwing celebrations of our troops’ arrival would have long ended; their numbers would have been reduced to the low tens of thousands, if not to zero; Iraq’s large stores of weapons of mass destruction would have been found and dismantled; the institutions of democracy would be flourishing; Kurd and Shiite and Sunni would be working happily together in a federal system; the economy, now privatized, would be taking off; other peoples of the Middle East, thrilled and awed, so to speak, by the beautiful scenes in Iraq, would be dismantling their own tyrannical regimes. Instead, 530 American soldiers and uncounted thousands of Iraqis, military and civilian, have died; some $149 billion has been expended; no weapons of mass destruction have been found; the economy is a disaster; electricity and water are sometime things; America’s former well-wishers, the Shiites, are impatient with the occupation; terrorist bombs are taking a heavy toll; and Iraq as whole, far from being a model for anything, is a cautionary lesson in the folly of imperial rule in the twenty-first century. And yet all this is only part of the cost of the decision to invade and occupy Iraq.

Colin Powell Reassures India That Bush Will Keep Outsourcing US Jobs

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

Powell Reassures India on Technology Jobs

Published on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 by the New York Times
Powell Reassures India on Technology Jobs
by Steven Weisman

NEW DELHI, March 16 — Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, encountering the other side of a tempestuous debate in the United States, sought to assure Indians on Tuesday that the Bush administration would not try to halt the outsourcing of high-technology jobs to their country.

In discussions with Indian leaders and college students, Mr. Powell found that the issue of the transfer of American jobs to India by leading technology companies was as emotional in India as in the United States.

The Tragic Quagmire Continues, A Product of Failed Leadership

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

Car bomb rips through Baghdad hotel, killing 27 / WAR AND POLITICS: Both sides think they can use Iraq to their advantage


Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

EMILY’s List | Newsroom | |

WASHINGTON, D.C.- EMILY’s List, the largest financial resource for women running for elective office, today announced its support for Kalyn Free in her bid to represent the 2nd District of Oklahoma in the U.S. House.

EMILY’s List will recommend Free to its nationwide network of members, opening the door to tens of thousands of donors eager to elect a pro-choice Democratic woman to Congress who will fight for the issues they care about.

“Kalyn Free has spent 15 years fighting on behalf of women, children and the environment and it’s time to take her fight to the floor of the U.S. Congress,” said EMILY’s List President Ellen Malcolm.

Free spent 10 and a half years as an attorney for the Department of Justice, where she was the youngest prosecutor ever hired and the first Native American to serve as supervising attorney in the Department. After leaving the Department of Justice, she was elected as the first woman district attorney in the Oklahoma counties of Pittsburgh and Haskell.

Added Malcolm, “In addition to her experience with issues of the area as she fought for them in the courtroom, Free’s background as a member of the Choctaw Nation makes her uniquely qualified to represent her district as well as the state of Oklamhoma.” Native Americans make up 11 percent of the electorate in the general election.

With almost 73,000 members nationwide, EMILY’s List expects to be a considerable fundraising force for Free in her campaign for this Democratic seat. EMILY’s List has a long history of electing pro-choice Democratic women to office across the country, and hopes to make Kalyn Free part of that history. Free joins the list of thirteen women already endorsed by EMILY’s List this cycle that are sure to change the face of power come November.

“I’m thrilled to have the support of EMILY’s List,” said Free. “The support and prestige that EMILY’s List brings to my campaign makes me certain we are going to win this race.” If elected, Kalyn Free will be the first Native American woman ever to serve in the U.S. Congress.

In its 19-year history, EMILY’s List has helped elect seven women governors, 11 women to the United States Senate and 55 women to the U.S. House of Representatives. In the 2002 elections, EMILY’s List and its almost 73,000 members contributed nearly $9.7 million to pro-choice Democratic women candidates; members contributed $23 million to fund EMILY’s List operations and political program, including the nationwide WOMEN VOTE! project to mobilize women voters on behalf of Democrats.

BushCo Again Trying to Divert Attention from Their Own Lack of Strategy & Leadership

Monday, March 15th, 2004 - White House to Kerry: Names names - Mar 15, 2004

White House to Kerry: Names names
Senator challenged over claim about world leaders

WASHINGTON (CNN) — White House press secretary Scott McClellan challenged Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Monday to identify world leaders the senator has said were rooting for him in November.

McClellan suggested Kerry was making up the claim.

McClellan’s comments followed a call over the weekend by Secretary of State Colin Powell for Kerry to name names “or find something else to talk about.”

Kerry dismissed the challenge Monday, telling reporters that administration officials were trying to divert attention from President Bush’s record.

The brouhaha stemmed from a comment Kerry made to supporters March 8 at a fund-raiser in Florida: “I’ve met more leaders who can’t go out and say this publicly, but boy, they look at you and say, ‘You got to win this. You got to beat this guy.’ ”

McClellan urged Kerry to “be straightforward” with American voters and disclose which foreign leaders told him they support him.

If he won’t, “Then the only alternative is that he is making it up to attack the president of the United States,” McClellan said.

Kerry campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter shot back that if McClellan was going to take on campaign issues, Bush “ought to get him off the taxpayers’ payroll and stop using the White House for political purposes.”

“The bottom line is this White House would be better off spending its time repairing our alliances around the world so we can collectively fight the war on terrorism and better protect the United States, rather than using the White House press room as a place to carry out political attacks,” she said in a written statement.

Powell joined the fray over the weekend.

“I don’t know what foreign leaders Senator Kerry is talking about,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s an easy charge, an easy assertion to make. But if he feels it is that important an assertion to make, he ought to list some names. If he can’t list names, then perhaps he should find something else to talk about.”

Asked about the comments, Kerry, a four-term senator from Massachusetts, told reporters Monday the president’s allies were trying to divert attention from Bush’s record.

“They want to change the subject from jobs, health care, environment, Social Security,” he said. “They don’t have a campaign, so they’re trying to divert it.”

Let’s Send a Real Democrat and the First Native American Woman to Congress!

Saturday, March 13th, 2004

An Urgent Message from

Hello Readers:

I am asking you, SoonerThought readers, who truly understand the critical need for us to elect real Democrats–not Republican-Lite Democrats–to Congress; to help us raise $10,000 in the next 18 Days for my friend, former DA Kalyn Free.

We need your help now! Your donation now will help ensure victory in our July primary. Help send a Real Democrat and the First Native American Woman to Congress!!! Kalyn will represent YOUR INTERESTS, not special
interests! Your donation of $250, $150, or $50 will help us meet our
goal�No donation is too small!

Friends, Kalyn Free is the real deal. She is not the daughter of privilege; nor is she coasting on a famous name–and to my knowledge she has never worked on a REPUBLICAN political campaign in her life (can’t say the same for her Primary opponent, I’m afraid).

Won’t You Join Me in Helping Kalyn?
And if you do, tell her sent you!

Bless you.


To contribute, click here.

Attention Joe Sixpack: Bush is Not Your Pal

Saturday, March 13th, 2004

by Lynn Green

The Bush administration is backing moves to outsource more U.S. jobs, according to its Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) annual report to Congress. “Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade,” said
N. Gregory Mankiw, Bush’s CEA chairman. “More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And that’s a good thing.” I guess that Mankiw considers
it a good thing for a US worker to lose his job to someone from an impoverished country desperate to work for anything. Hey, it’s just trade after all.

The report also predicts the economy will generate 3.9 million new jobs this year-a claim that would mean an average of 325,000 new jobs each month. This is a new version of the old, Republican mantra, “Prosperity is just around the corner.”

Their record is far different. For example, in spring 2003, the council said the president’s “Jobs and Growth” millionaire tax cut plan would create 306,000
jobs monthly starting in July of 2003. In reality, by February 2004, the Bush administration was 1.8 million jobs short of that prediction.

So far, the economy has lost 2.9 million private-sector jobs and 2.8 million manufacturing jobs since Bush took office. Meanwhile, the number of
long-term jobless workers has been roughly 2 million for months, and for much of that time, long-term unemployment has been at its highest rate since 1983.

The workers of this country cannot afford this president and his cronies; no matter how many car races and rodeos they attend.