Archive for October, 2004

FDR’s Grandson Looks at Bush’s Presidency

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Web Commentary > What Is a War President?” href=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6364551/site/newsweek/”>Newsweek > Web Commentary > What Is a War President?

By James Roosevelt Jr.
Newsweek

Oct. 29 - Last May, I walked through the magnificent new World War II Memorial that was soon to be dedicated on the National Mall in Washington. The architecture, sculpture and carved quotations were impressive. But it was the faces of the retired veterans and the depth of feeling in the eyes of their wives and widows that was most moving. As I watched them read the words of inspiration from the war’s leaders etched into the stone walls, I thought of my father, who served during the war as a Marine in Carlson’s Raiders. His father, my grandfather, was making his own contribution: as president of the United States.
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Whistleblower Says Halliburton Contract Abuse Blatant

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

And people are voting for these crooks…why?–Alex

Top News Article | Reuters.com

EXCERPT:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ top contracting official on Friday called the government’s grant of multi-billion dollar contracts to oil services giant Halliburton the worst case of contracting abuse she has ever seen.

“It was misconduct, and part of that misconduct was blatant,” said Bunny Greenhouse, in an interview on NBC’s Nightly News program.

Greenhouse has already demanded an investigation into the contracts that last year were granted to Halliburton, the energy services firm run by Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995-2000. According to her attorney, the FBI has since asked her for an interview on the matter.

RELATED STORY HERE.

Words Come Back to Haunt Bush

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

Opinion > Taking Bush at His Word” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/30/opinion/30kristof.html?th”>New York Times > Opinion > Taking Bush at His Word

By Nicholas D. Kristof

I often criticize statements by President Bush, so today let me praise some of his real wisdom:
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Sinclair Chief Once Caught with Prostitute

Friday, October 29th, 2004

EXCERPTED FROM SALON:

Friday night brings to a conclusion the fiercest media battle of the presidential campaign, when 40 of the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s 62 stations nationwide air a special program about the media and Vietnam War POWs. The show is likely to include generous portions of an anti-Kerry attack film, “Stolen Honor,” that Sinclair executives had originally intended to air in its entirety just days before the election. In the face of lawsuits by stockholders, loss of advertising, questions about its abuse of the public airwaves and a falling stock price, however, Sinclair quickly cobbled together a revised program.

The controversy has thrust into the spotlight two men who both suffered dramatic, if long ago, professional blemishes that have suddenly become relevant. Their past behavior confirms their critics’ worst suspicions — that Sinclair executives manipulate the company’s broadcast properties for their own gain, contrary to standard corporate practice, and that “Stolen Honor” is a misleading hit piece. The two men, who play prominent roles in Sinclair’s Friday night telecast, are a conservative broadcaster who has not shied away from exploiting his television properties to serve his personal needs, and a television journalist with a right-wing agenda who once famously aired explosive allegations in a Vietnam veteran-related exposé that was later found to be completely false.

The first is David Smith, chairman and CEO of Sinclair. After being arrested with a prostitute during a sting in Baltimore, Md., in 1996, Smith, as part of his plea agreement, ordered his newsroom employees to produce a series of reports on a local drug counseling program, which counted toward Smith’s court-ordered community service. “I really hated the way he handled our newsroom and what he expected his reporters to do after his arrest,” LuAnne Canipe, a reporter who worked on air at Sinclair’s flagship station, WBFF in Baltimore, from 1994 to 1998, told Salon.
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NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate

Friday, October 29th, 2004

Physicist says imaging techniques prove the president’s bulge was not caused by wrinkled clothing.
By Kevin Berger

Oct. 29, 2004 | George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. “I don’t know what that is,” he said on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. “I’m embarrassed to say it’s a poorly tailored shirt.”

Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He’s a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he’s engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn’s moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.

For the past week, while at home, using his own computers, and off the clock at Caltech and NASA, Nelson has been analyzing images of the president’s back during the debates. A professional physicist and photo analyst for more than 30 years, he speaks earnestly and thoughtfully about his subject. “I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate,” he says. “This is not about a bad suit. And there’s no way the bulge can be described as a wrinkled shirt.”
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ZOGBY: KERRY WILL WIN

Friday, October 29th, 2004

Despite the Conservative media’s attempt to will it away by continually reporting a “dead heat” or even a narrow Bush win, Kerry will take the undecideds and be the next President of the United States.–Alex
Bloomberg.com: U.S.

Undecided voters will break for Kerry, giving him the election, pollster John Zogby said last night on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show.'’

Kerry campaigns today in Florida, the state that decided the 2000 election for Bush after the U.S. Supreme Court halted a ballot recount. Bush won Florida by 537 votes out of almost 6 million cast in the state.

Is Incompetence a Crime?

Friday, October 29th, 2004

Fortunately for the Bushites, incompetence, per se, is not against the law. But the results of their incompentence should be.–Jake

Opinion > It’s Not Just Al Qaqaa” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/29/opinion/29krugman.html?th”>New York Times > Opinion > It’s Not Just Al Qaqaa

By Paul Krugman

Just in case, the right is already explaining away President Bush’s defeat: it’s all the fault of the “liberal media,” particularly The New York Times, which, so the conspiracy theory goes, deliberately timed its report on the looted Al Qaqaa explosives - a report all the more dastardly because it was true - for the week before the election.

It’s remarkable that the right-wingers who dominate cable news and talk radio are still complaining about a liberal stranglehold over the media. But, that absurdity aside, they’re missing a crucial point: Al Qaqaa is hardly the only tale of incompetence and mendacity to break to the surface in the last few days. Here’s a quick look at some of the others:
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Protect the Sanctity of the Vote

Friday, October 29th, 2004

I received the following e-mail from the Howard Dean group Democracy for America, and thought the message was important enough to share. We must not let this election be stolen from the American people.–Jake

Some Republicans see the voting booth as a country club where a few people decide that others just don’t belong. They reject the foundation of our democracy: we believe in the sacred principle of One Person, One Vote.

Now that fundamental right is under threat. Every day we hear of new GOP tactics to corrupt the system and prevent people from voting.
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Tonight BBC TV to Reveal New Florida Vote Scandal

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Greg Palast, reporting

A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state’s African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign’s national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called “caging list”.

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: “The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day.”

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.

Mass challenges

They may then only vote “provisionally” after signing an affidavit attesting to their legal voting status.

Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr Sancho, not one challenge has been made to a voter “in the 16 years I’ve been supervisor of elections.”

“Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting.”

Sancho calls it “intimidation.” And it may be illegal.

In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the voters.

The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority of black residents.

When asked by Newsnight for an explanation of the list, Republican spokespersons claim the list merely records returned mail from either fundraising solicitations or returned letters sent to newly registered voters to verify their addresses for purposes of mailing campaign literature.

Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated the list was not put together “in order to create” a challenge list, but refused to say it would not be used in that manner.

Rather, she did acknowledge that the party’s poll workers will be instructed to challenge voters, “Where it’s stated in the law.”

There was no explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington.

Private detective

In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective filming every “early voter” - the majority of whom are black - from behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.

On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats.

Greg Palast reporting. The film will be broadcast by Newsnight tonight, Tuesday, 26 October, 2004 at 2230 BST (5:30pm New York time).

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Contact: media@gregpalast.com

View Greg Palast’s BBC Television film, “Bush Family Fortunes,” available this week on DVD in an updated edition from The Disinformation Company at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm

Documents Raise New Questions About Bush’s Guard Service

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Capitol Hill Blue: Documents Raise New Questions About Bush’s Guard Service

By MATT KELLEY
Oct 27, 2004, 05:23

Unearthed under legal pressure, three-decade-old documents portray President Bush as a capable and well-liked Air National Guard pilot who stopped flying and attending regular drills two-thirds of the way through his six-year commitment - without consequence.

The files, many of them forced to light by Freedom of Information lawsuits by The Associated Press, conflict with some of the harshest attacks Democrats have levied on Bush’s Vietnam-era service, such as suggestions that Bush was a deserter or absent without leave.
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Bush Thinks Americans Are a Bunch of Idiots

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Capitol Hill Blue: Bush Thinks Americans Are a Bunch of Idiots

By MARTIN SCHRAM
Oct 13, 2004, 07:00

From what they are saying and the way they are saying it, President Bush, his strategists and spinners are clearly thinking about you, 24/7, during this campaign season.
They are thinking you are idiots. Or, at best, just pretty stupid. They are thinking you want to be conned or deceived. Or shucked and jived. Or even lied to. They think you want to hear smooth talk instead of straight talk. Anything except the tough truths.
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Corporations Pay Lowest Taxes in Decades

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

And who gets to pick up the slack, I wonder?–Alex

FORTUNE - Investing - Not Very Taxing

The latest corporate tax bill—passed by Congress in early October and stuffed with $137 billion in tax breaks—will bring the business community’s share of the national tax burden to its lowest level in decades. Economists Alan Auerbach and James Poterba have shown that most of the drop between 1960 and 1985 came from declining corporate profits rather than a falling tax rate. But over the past 15 years the effective federal tax rate for big corporations has dropped sharply, from 26.5% in 1988 to 17.2% in 2003, according to think tank Citizens for Tax Justice. Thanks to loopholes and avoidance schemes, an amazing 61% of U.S. corporations paid no taxes from 1996 to 2000, according to the Government Accountability Office. So who in the business world is paying? Berkshire Hathaway’s $3.3 billion tax bill last year represented about 3% of the total income tax paid by all corporations. And next year, Warren Buffett says, he hopes to pay even more. He, for one, sees higher taxes as the byproduct of a worthy goal: higher profits.