MARCH 31-10, 2002 Archives

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Bush energy plan documents released at eleventh hour March 31,2002 US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham developed President George W Bush's much criticised energy plan through consultations only with oil, gas, coal and nuclear interests, most of whom were contributors to the Republican Party. Documents relating to the development of the plan were released only hours before a deadline set by a court order, reports The Washington Post.The documents have finally been released, following 11 months of resistance by the Bush administration to lawsuits by public interest groups wishing to know who influenced the new energy plan (see related story). They reveal that Abraham held no meetings with conservation or consumer groups, despite a recent claim by the Energy Department that officials had tried doggedly to get the views of green groups, but environmentalists had been uncooperative. On the other hand, environmental groups claim that their efforts to meet with the energy task force were rebuffed.

Winfrey is to smart to let Bush use her. She knows that Bush wants to associate his right wing anti minorities administration with her because she is famous, black, and popular. Bush actually believed multi millionaire Oprah Winfrey would risk her life in Afghanistan when he personally had no intention of setting foot there. Bush had planned on sending a clutch of expendable cronies to accompany Winfrey. Had she been killed in Afghanistan that would have also helped Bush to justify his war. For Bush it was a win, win situation. editor
Oprah Won't Go to Afghanistan
  3/31/2002 Talk show host Oprah Winfrey has turned down an offer from President Bush. Mister Bush asked Winfrey to join an official U.S. delegation to tour Afghanistan's schools. The President wanted Winfrey as part of a group celebrating young girls returning to class after the fall of the Taliban regime. Due to responsibilities with her show, Winfrey will not be going. Without Winfrey on board, the White House has postponed the trip.It's unclear whether another celebrity will go in her place.

Bush Names Affirmative Action Critic to Civil Rights Post By NEIL A. LEWIS WASHINGTON, March 30, 2002 President Bush used his power to make appointments during Congressional recesses today to name a young black lawyer who is a vocal critic of preferences for minorities to be head of the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education. Mr. Bush first announced his intention to name Mr. Reynolds last June, but civil rights groups and advocates for women and the disabled, among others, quickly lined up against the nomination, arguing that he was hostile to their concerns and had little experience in the field. "I was struck by his lack of education policy experience and his longstanding hostility to basic civil rights laws," Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts said. After today's recess appointment, Mr. Kennedy said, "This is one more example of the administration's lack of commitment to the enforcement of our nation's civil rights laws."

Bush Tapped Solar Energy Funds to Print Energy Plan
Mar 29, By Tom Doggett WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While environmentalists have slammed the White House national energy plan for not doing enough to promote renewable energy, the Bush administration found those government research programs useful in paying the bill for printing copies of the 170-page plan. The administration took money from the Energy Department's solar and renewable energy and energy conservation budgets to pay for the cost of printing its national energy plan. Documents released under court order by the Energy Department this week revealed that $135,615 was spent from the DOE's solar, renewables and energy conservation budget to produce 10,000 copies of the White House energy plan released last May.

A different type of justice for the poor?
I thought America was about equal rights? It seems that if you own your home and your grandson gets arrested with drugs five miles away from your house it's ok. If you are poor and living in public housing and your grandson is arrested, you, an innocent person, are punished by being evicted from your home. Any child can see that this is kangaroo court justice, leading one to wonder; Who are these people, and what incredible flaw in our system made them into Supreme Court judges?Remember these are the same clowns who appointed Bush as ruler.

High Court Allows Public Housing Drug Evictions
March 28 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that public housing tenants can be evicted for any illegal drug activity by household members or guests, even if they did not know about it. In an opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the high court reinstated the Department of Housing and Urban Development's ``One Strike and You're Out'' policy, which authorized public housing officials to evict innocent tenants.

Immigrants can live here and work here, but they are not human beings, they are slaves without rights? The more that I see decisions like this coming from the Supreme Court, the more I am convinced that our justices are selected for their lack of skill and understanding. They seem to be incapable of ruling fairly on basic of human rights issues.
Court Sides With Co. in Labor Dispute
March 28 By GINA HOLLAND Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that illegal immigrants do not have the same rights as Americans when they are wrongly fired from U.S. jobs. The court split 5-4 on whether companies can be forced to give back pay to illegal workers when they mistreat them on the job. "Awarding back pay to illegal aliens runs counter to policies underlying" federal immigration laws, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote in the court's opinion. The Bush administration had argued that penalties are needed to keep employers from wronging illegal workers, considering the estimated 7 million undocumented workers in the United States.

Bush’s recipe for Latin America: austerity, repression and more US militarism 28 March 2002 By Bill Vann and Tomas Rodriguez In his four-day, three-nation tour of Latin America, George W. Bush reprised all of the familiar homilies about hemispheric “partnership” and mutual progress that have been the stock-in-trade of every US president for 50 years. In the wake of September 11, Washington has refurbished the rhetoric slightly. It has replaced the old invocations of an alliance against “communist subversion” used to justify the military interventions, CIA-organized coups and US-backed dictatorships that characterized the region for most of the twentieth century with a new slogan—the “war on terrorism.”

House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt on the 2002 Social Security Trustees Report: March 28, 2002 "Americans will be pleased to learn that today's report of the Social Security Trustees confirms the guarantee of full Social Security benefits until 2041, three years longer than last year's projection. The report's finding is more proof that now is not the time to risk the future strength of Social Security on an untested privatization scheme. I look forward to engaging my House Republican colleagues in this debate."

House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt on campaign finance reform: March 27, 2002 "I am gratified that campaign finance reform is now the law of the land. It is an historic measure that is going to reduce the influence of special interests in politics, empower individual Americans and restore people's faith and trust in the greatest democracy that's ever existed. "For the better part of a decade, reformers have struggled to get big-money out of politics and reduce the perception that American politics was corrupt. The leaders of this effort - Sens. McCain and Feingold, Reps. Meehan and Shays - worked tirelessly to achieve these goals. They stood up and fought to return our democracy to the people who make our country great. "It is unfortunate that the Bush administration decided not to invite these reformers to the White House this morning. These members deserved greater recognition for their work. The White House missed an opportunity to pay proper tribute to these members whose vision and persistence made this day possible."

Rosie O'Donnall, with a mouth like a dock worker
3/27/2002 Hollywood plucked this emotionally dysfunctional human garbage from obscurity and gave it a political platform. As a child she didn't want to go outside and play with the other children, she preferred instead to stay in the house and watch TV. She spent her adolescence and teenage years as an isolated couch potato completely emerced in a media fantasy world. With no formal education or job skills the shallow Rosie believed herself to be funny and tried to be a comedian. It soon became painfully obvious that her brand of humor, like her, was crass tasteless and boring. Her brief interlude with infamy would have ended there if not for the amazing bad taste of the public and a few Hollywood executives. Their marketing studies showed that they needed somebody similar to Roseanne Bar. Somebody fat and ugly, stupid and arrogant, and devoid of talent to appeal to that special segment of American society. The obvious choice was female thug Rosie O'Donnall, with a mouth like a dock worker and the morals of an African green monkey, she was perfect for the job. Instantantaniously this high school dropout who should have been a motel maid, was catapulted to superstardom and obscene wealth. Rosie, an uneducated constitutional illiterate, handicapped by a small brain and big ego believes it's her responsibility to dictate to Americans how we will live. She openly admits to being a lesbian in one breath and in the next publicly proclaims from the steps of the capitol, "You have been put on notice NRA." This elitist little hypocrite with her armed bodyguards would force her brand of morality and her values on Americans, but she does not live by her own values. Truly it's a sad day in this country when a misfit like Rosie O'Donnall is granted the power by the media to spew verbal excrement onto the American people. editor

Judge tells "Unfair and Imballanced" Fox news to SHUT UP AND GO HOME! Their fascist lies don't fly in a court of law. Fox should stick to hiring right wing nutcases who fit in with their extremist click. A classy lady like Paula Zahn just doesn't belong there. She couldn't wait to get the hell away from right wing loony bin Fox news

Judge dismisses Fox News suit against Paula Zahn's agent
By Samuel Maull, Associated Press, 3/26/2002 NEW YORK (AP) A Manhattan judge has thrown out a lawsuit that Fox News filed against the agent for Paula Zahn, a news anchor who left Fox News to join CNN last September. State Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman dismissed the lawsuit that claimed N.S. Bienstock, the company that represents Zahn, had interfered with Fox News' contract with the newswoman by negotiating prematurely with CNN. Gammerman, in a 3-1/2 page decision issued Monday, said he found Zahn ''was in compliance with the first refusal clause of the Fox contract. Thus, Bienstock cannot be said to have induced Zahn to breach the contract.'' Fox, which fired Zahn after learning that she was talking to CNN, said it would appeal the decision. NEW YORK (AP) A Manhattan judge has thrown out a lawsuit that Fox News filed against the agent for Paula Zahn, a news anchor who left Fox News to join CNN last September. State Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman dismissed the lawsuit that claimed N.S. Bienstock, the company that represents Zahn, had interfered with Fox News' contract with the newswoman by negotiating prematurely with CNN. Gammerman, in a 3-1/2 page decision issued Monday, said he found Zahn ''was in compliance with the first refusal clause of the Fox contract. Thus, Bienstock cannot be said to have induced Zahn to breach the contract.'' Fox, which fired Zahn after learning that she was talking to CNN, said it would appeal the decision. NEW YORK (AP) A Manhattan judge has thrown out a lawsuit that Fox News filed against the agent for Paula Zahn, a news anchor who left Fox News to join CNN last September. State Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman dismissed the lawsuit that claimed N.S. Bienstock, the company that represents Zahn, had interfered with Fox News' contract with the newswoman by negotiating prematurely with CNN. Gammerman, in a 3-1/2 page decision issued Monday, said he found Zahn ''was in compliance with the first refusal clause of the Fox contract. Thus, Bienstock cannot be said to have induced Zahn to breach the contract.'' Fox, which fired Zahn after learning that she was talking to CNN, said it would appeal the decision.

Recommended readingScientists to meet to discuss melting Antarctic ice Mar 26 CLINTON, New York - Scientists will meet next week to discuss whether the recent melting of an Antarctic ice shelf is evidence of global warming (news - web sites) that would eventually cause oceans to flood coastal lands. Last week, scientists reported the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf — a 650-foot(195-meter)-thick piece of floating ice about the size of Ireland — calling it a "wakeup call" to what could lie ahead because of climatic changes in the Antarctic. "The ice shelves are breaking up. The question we're trying to answer is whether these ice shelves have gone through a periodic history of retreat and regrowth," said Eugene Domack, a marine geologist at Hamilton College, where the two-day National Science Foundation (news - web sites) Conference will begin April 4. At least 50 scientists representing 10 nations are expected to attend the conference in northern New York state.

How Bush Plays the Game March 25, 2002 As soon as the campaign-finance-reform bill won final passage last week, it became fashionable to dismiss it as too weak to clean up the money game. But if President Bush signs the bill, as he says he will, and if it survives a court challenge, it will put a damper on at least one type of feeding frenzy: soft-money bacchanals like the one last May, when 3,000 gathered at the D.C. Armory for a black-tie gala honoring the new President. In his speech, George W. Bush noted Washington's "many temptations," one of which is its money culture, and said he wanted to change things. But "in politics, old ways die hard."

Welfare Rolls Rising as Congress Debates Reform
Mar. 24, 2002 (Reuters) - Hit by recession, welfare rolls are rising in many states just as Congress starts work on modifying the 1996 welfare reform. ``The pressures are going to rise and that will affect the debate,'' said Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Dodd. President Bush wants to freeze spending at current levels while requiring states to put more welfare recipients to work and have them increase their work week from 30 hours to 40. Democrats say that won't succeed without more money, especially for child care. It is even harder if caseloads rise. In a recent study, Congress's General Accounting Office surveyed 23 states and found 17 had caseload increases in the last six months of 2001.

Mind-Boggling Injustice March 23 - The republicans fully intend to raid what's left of the Social Security trust fund if they can win enough house and senate seats in the November election. The republicans realize if they begin the privatization-raid now it will mean their defeat. Of course, 95% of the American people are against this mind-boggling injustice, but the republicans aren't worried because they serve only the 5% at the top. If you are like most Americans, you're barely getting by, it's difficult or impossible to just simply "save your money" as Bush recommends. The fact is that Mr. Bush has always lived in a protective money bubble and does not understand life in the real world. An exodus will probably occur from America to Canada after Bush liquidates Social Security and Medicare. Life in Canada with it's liberal system of laws, free socialized medicine, dental care, and generous Social Security system will look quite appealing compared to our cruel corporate American hell world. Our land of the free and home of the brave is turning into the land of the rich, home of the slave. If you want to keep your Social Security system and retire some day, vote Bush and his republican den of thieves out of office now while you still have a chance. If the republicans gain enough seats in the House and Senate they will finish stealing Social Security, perpetrating the biggest corporate raid in history. Bush and his cronies have already produced a budget that takes $1.8 trillion from the Social Security trust fund giving it to the rich and the military industrial complex. After the November elections Bush plans on using the weakened financial state of the Social Security system as an excuse to raid the fund, moving to privatize it and hand over what's left to the Investment Banks and the Private Securities Industry. All that differentiates America from impoverished third world countries is our system of laws, our constitutional rights, and our Social Security trust fund, all of which have been under constant attack by the Bush administration. Bush has said that he "likes Mexico and the way things are done down there." Mexico is ruled by ten super rich families through a fascist puppet government. Millions of the Mexican people live in shack cites with open sewers. They work for a few dollars a day and have no health care and no Social Security. editor

Gephardt Statement on Social Security   March 23 / WASHINGTON, U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a statement of House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt: "According to a report in today's National Journal, the White House is going to delay a debate on proposals, put forward by the President's Commission on Social Security, to privatize the program and ultimately cut benefits for senior citizens. "This confirms our worst fears. Republicans want to delay the privatization debate until after the election denying the American people the opportunity to weigh in on this critical issue. "For weeks now, other Democrats and I have urged a free and fair debate on this issue in the Congress before the elections in November. The Republican House Majority has produced a budget that raids $1.8 trillion from the Social Security trust fund. The three proposals to privatize Social Security, according to the President's own Commission, will result in benefit cuts for seniors."

Bush administration scraps consent forms in patient privacy rule 3/22/02 By LAURA MECKLER The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) -- Doctors and hospitals could disclose private information about patients and provide medical services without prior consent under proposed Bush administration revisions to Clinton-era patient privacy rules. Privacy advocates protested that the administration is stripping out a core element of the privacy rules. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., promised hearings and legislation to reinstate the mandatory consent forms. "The administration has come down on the side of major health corporations at the expense of individuals," Kennedy charged Friday from the Senate floor.

Justice, democracy, and the will of the people may be flawed in his eyes, but it's a great victory for the people as we attempt to take back our government from the corporations.

Bush will sign campaign finance bill passed by Senate
March 21, 2002 WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After seven years of political wrangling over how to reform the nation's campaign finance system, President Bush announced late Wednesday that he will sign a bill passed by the Senate that is designed to reduce the influence of big money contributions on political campaigns. "The reforms passed today, while flawed in some areas, still improve the current system overall," Bush said in a statement. "The legislation makes some important progress on the timeliness of disclosure, individual contribution limits and banning soft money from corporations and labor unions." However, the president said the bill, opposed by most of his fellow Republicans in Congress, raises "some legitimate constitutional questions." He also said he continues to believe "the best reform is full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions."

NAFTA Challenge to DEA Hemp Rule Enters Next Phase; U.S. State Department to Meet With Hemp Industry Monday WASHINGTON, March 20 Kenex Ltd., a Canadian agro-firm will sue the U.S. government under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On Oct. 9, 2001, without public notice or opportunity for comment, the DEA issued an interpretive rule purporting to make hemp foods containing any traces of naturally-occurring tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), immediately illegal. Because trace THC does not pose any potential for abuse as a drug, the U.S. Congress had exempted hemp seed and oil from control under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. The 10-year-old global hemp market is a thriving commercial success. Popular hemp foods include pretzels, tortilla chips, energy bars, waffles, bread, salad dressing, cereal, ice cream and even non-dairy milk. Jean Laprise, the president of Kenex states that: "A few million dollars would not even begin to cover the cost of the financial hardships Kenex has suffered through DEA's harassment of our business and the hemp food marketplace in general "The blind prejudice and bloodymindedness of the DEA takes my breath away, especially when its actions are in direct contradiction to Congress. This is one instance when we have to invoke NAFTA. Without its protection, the future is bleak for hemp companies like Kenex." In fact, other similarly affected Canadian hemp companies are considering joining Kenex in filing their own NAFTA actions. Nature's Path Foods, Inc. and Nature's Path Foods USA, Inc., which operate food plants in the U.S. and Canada that produce two of North America's best-selling natural granolas and waffles under their Hemp Plus(r) sub-brands, project losing over $30 million in investments and future revenue, and will have to lay off employees, if the DEA's unreasonable interpretation is not defeated. Nature's Path is currently evaluating its options.

Bush should tell the people exactly how much money corporate America will make for each American life sacrificed. The American people deserve to see the dollar figure, and know how much each one of us is worth to them.
Bush Deletion of Clean Air Act Provision Proves Power of Money in Politics, Says Physicians Group WASHINGTON, March 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Despite overwhelming evidence that the health of millions of Americans will be adversely affected, the Bush administration has signaled its intention to move forward with its much anticipated roll back of key clean air provisions that are protective of human health and the environment. The Bush plan would allow new pollution to be emitted into the atmosphere without penalty by old coal-burning power plants, says Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). "President Bush and the EPA have consistently said that they support sound science in environmental legislation," said PSR's Executive Director and CEO Robert K. Musil, Ph.D., M.P.H. "The science couldn't be any clearer that pollution shortens thousands of American lives every year, and the administration seems to have made a judgment that the cost to industry outweighs the benefit of human lives that could be saved."

Bush’s press conference: the questions not asked, the answers not given
18, March 2002 By Patrick Martin -  Ignorance and indifference were the hallmarks of President Bush’s March 13 press conference. The president’s own careless attitude to the proceedings seemed matched by the perfunctory approach of his questioners.The assembled reporters failed to react even to the most transparent evasions, and took Bush’s non sequiturs for good coin. Both sides seemed to be going through the motions—Bush with his ever-present smirk, the journalists with their obsequious demeanor and snickering response to the president’s sarcastic asides.

Recommended readingBush's Shadow Government Dictatorship by the editor @ March 17, 2000 - The Bush administration used the September 11 terrorist attack as an opportunity to implement a "shadow government," based on old plans prepared during the Cold War. More than 150 officials were initially evacuated by helicopter to different locations in mountainous regions of the eastern United States. In late October the temporary arrangement was made permanent, officially establishing the new regime. Since then Bush has added hand picked people from top levels of the civil service who will carry out his commands unquestioningly. Legal documents have been drafted to give these officials the full powers of government in the event of a catastrophe. The sinister and illegal "shadow government" consists entirely of executive branch officials only. No members of the legislative and judicial branches of government are included in the secret plan. This is a flagrant violation of the concept of "Separation of Powers" as embodied in the Constitution. In the event that this "shadow government" seizes power, it will function as a dictatorship exercising military and police powers, without any legislative oversight or judicial control.

Bush admin. wants to end subsidies for farmers marketsMar. 16, 2002 Associated Press WASHINGTON - The people of North Berwick, Maine, are not accustomed to getting federal farm subsides. But then the government started paying farmer David Tuttle last year to give some of his tomatoes, strawberries and other produce to 200 senior citizens in the area. "You can't imagine what a joy that was to me," said Alice Eaton, who received $200 worth of produce, including several bushels of tomatoes and string beans. "I had all that beautiful stuff all summer and I've enjoyed it all winter long, frozen and canned." The Bush administration now wants to abolish such subsidies, which allow poor pregnant women and new mothers as well as low-income elderly people to buy produce at farmers' markets and fruit stands.

Recommended readingBush flatly refuses to obey the laws of the land March 15, 2002 by the editor @ - On Wednesday Bush flatly refused to obey the laws of the land and divulge details of internal energy task force meetings to congressional investigators. Bush called the information "privileged" and the request "a threat to executive authority". This truly represents the height of hypocrisy. Bush's refusal to obey a congressional court order is a much greater threat to the laws of the United States and our system of government. This is a real test of our democracy. Bush prefers to conduct his dealings in secret ignoring our nation's checks and balances.

Commercial Fishermen Fight Bush administration Attempt to Strip Salmon Protections WASHINGTON, March 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, represented by Earthjustice, filed papers in federal district court today to stop an effort by the Bush administration to strip essential protections from endangered and threatened west coast salmon and steelhead.

What the media describes as a "battle" at Gardez is actually an open slaughter.Slaughter East of Gardez March 13, 2002 by the editor @ The media may try to put a patriotic spin on the war in Afghanistan, but in reality America is carrying out a brutal massacre. The few news reports that we are allowed to hear tell us that hundreds of Taliban and Al Qaeda forces have been killed in five days of fighting and American military officials proclaim that they will "exterminate" the remainder. The most advanced and horrific tactical weapons in our arsenal have been brought to bear against this poorly armed band of fighters. We are dropping 2,000-pound "thermobaric" vacuum bombs which create a cloud of exploading poisonous gas, sending a powerful shock wave throughout a cave or tunnel complex, obliterating everything and everyone inside, Al Qaeda, Taliban, women, and children.

US Airstrikes Killing Women and Children Mar 13 (AP) U.S.-led offensive against al-Qaida fighters in the Shah-e-Kot Valley south of the city of Gardez in Paktia province, The March 6 attack apparently was not related directly to the U.S.-led offensive against al-Qaida fighters in the Shah-e-Kot Valley south of the city of Gardez in Paktia province, but villagers in the valley have complained to journalists there that women and children have been killed by U.S. bombs.

Behind the warm words of President Bush lurk some dangerous thoughts 12 March 2002 President Bush's speech at the six-month commemoration of 11 September in Washington and Vice-President Cheney's visit to London both offer evidence of one welcome change. The US administration appears to have understood that the impression of unilateralism that it has projected in recent months has harmed the United States abroad, and was in urgent need of correction. Mr Bush set out to rekindle the international solidarity that was so spontaneously offered immediately after the terrorist attacks, and so heedlessly squandered by Washington thereafter. argument.independent

World reacts with horror March 10, 2002, by Steve Mckenzie Top-secret US nuclear war plans are revealed in a classified Pentagon document obtained by the Los Angeles Times  - AMERICA has drawn up a hit list of countries to strike with nuclear missiles, it was revealed last night. A leaked secret report says the US will prepare plans to blast seven countries - China, Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria. The astonishing document, drawn up by President George W Bush, indicates that, for the first time, US chiefs have considered breaking with the universal code of using nuclear weapons. The report suggests America could launch strikes against terrorist hideouts or troop concentrations using small tactical nuclear weapons. The inclusion of Russia, now an ally in the war against terrorism, is likely to cause a massive diplomatic row. The report even admits that Russia is no longer an "official enemy" but warns the country still has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons, estimated to be 16,000 warheads.

White House clamps down on information March 10, 2002 By Tamara Lytle | Sentinel Bureau Chief WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is enforcing the toughest public-records lockdown in decades, activists on both sides of the political spectrum say. "It is fair to characterize this government as obsessed with secrecy in a way no government has been since Nixon and Watergate," said Sharon Buccino, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They're basically saying: 'Trust us; we know best.' If the doors aren't open, the government loses credibility."

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