Saturday, September 09, 2006

Whitman in denial about saying WTC area air was safe to breathe days after 9/11

Former EPA Chief, Christine Todd Whitman blamed for saying the air was safe, she says she was misunderstood
WABC Eyewitness News

(Lower Manhattan-WABC, September 8, 2006) - Lawmakers will be grilling federal officials today on the festering health problems faced by thousands of workers done in by the toxic air they breathed at Ground Zero. But the woman who said that air was safe, now says "we all misunderstood her". She's hanging the blame for that mix-up on Rudy Giuliani and his administration.

Eyewitness News reporter Ken Rosato is live in Lower Manhattan with the story.

A house subcommittee begins hearings at 10:30 this morning on the Ground Zero health crisis. But Christie Whitman has already gotten her side of the story out in a TV interview.

Governor Pataki, (R) New York: "Whenever I'm down there, you can still taste the air and feel the air. And, you just know that those who spent hundreds of hours down here are at risk of bodily and other health concerns."

Taste it, feel it?

Whitman says New Yorkers got it wrong, especially at Giuliani's City Hall. The former head of the EPA tells 60 minutes:

"The mayor's aides ignored her warnings that workers at Ground Zero should wear respirators to protect their health."

Whitman says she alerted city officials "in no uncertain terms".

But New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler tells reporters:

"She (Whitman) is lying to protect herself. Maybe her lawyer is telling her there is potential criminal liability to what she did, because there ought to be."

Federal studies show respirators were used by fewer than 45 percent of the workers at Ground Zero.

Contrast that with the pentagon scene, where 100 percent of the cleanup crew had to wear a respirator or they weren't allowed on the site.

There were strong emotions at a public meeting last night. People who live around Ground Zero say they're worried that their decision to live Downtown may harm their own health and that of their children

Public Speaker: "On September 18th they reopened Lower Manhattan for business. Christine Todd Whitman told the people of New York City the big lie, 'your air is safe to breath' ".

Whitman tells 60 minutes:

"EPA was very firm in what it communicated and it did communicate up and down the line"

But, what about her comments five years ago that testing showed the air was safe to breath?

In repeated interviews, Whitman said, "there is no reason for concern."

Whitman says she was referring to the air in Lower Manhattan in general, not the specific air quality in and around Ground Zero. She also says she communicated this point to city officials but maybe they may have missed that point.

As we approach the five year mark, we will bring you reports on the changes since September 11th. Live coverage from Ground Zero begins Sunday.


Senate Report Concludes: No prewar Saddam-al-Qaida ties

Yahoo! News
Senate: No prewar Saddam-al-Qaida ties
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer

There's no evidence Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida, according to a Senate report on prewar intelligence that Democrats say undercuts President Bush's justification for invading Iraq.

Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.

Republicans countered that there was little new in the report and Democrats were trying to score election-year points with it.

The declassified document released Friday by the intelligence committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.

It concludes that postwar findings do not support a 2002 intelligence community report that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, possessed biological weapons or ever developed mobile facilities for producing biological warfare agents.

The 400-page report comes at a time when Bush is emphasizing the need to prevail in Iraq to win the war on terrorism while Democrats are seeking to make that policy an issue in the midterm elections.

It discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates."

Bush and other administration officials have said that the presence of Zarqawi in Iraq before the war was evidence of a connection between Saddam's government and al-Qaida. Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in June this year.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the report was "nothing new."

"In 2002 and 2003, members of both parties got a good look at the intelligence we had and they came to the very same conclusions about what was going on," Snow said. That was "one of the reasons you had overwhelming majorities in the United States Senate and the House for taking action against Saddam Hussein," he said.

Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., a member of the committee, said the long-awaited report was "a devastating indictment of the Bush-Cheney administration's unrelenting, misleading and deceptive attempts" to link Saddam to al-Qaida.

The administration, said Sen. John D. Rockefeller (news, bio, voting record), D-W.Va., top Democrat on the committee, "exploited the deep sense of insecurity among Americans in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, leading a large majority of Americans to believe — contrary to the intelligence assessments at the time — that Iraq had a role in the 9/11 attacks."

The chairman of the committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record), R-Kan., said it has long been known that prewar assessments of Iraq "were a tragic intelligence failure."

But he said the Democratic interpretations expressed in the report "are little more than a vehicle to advance election-year political charges." He said Democrats "continue to use the committee to try and rewrite history, insisting that they were deliberately duped into supporting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime."

The panel report is Phase II of an analysis of prewar intelligence on Iraq. The first phase, issued in July 2004, focused on the CIA's failings in its estimates of Iraq's weapons program.

The second phase has been delayed as Republicans and Democrats fought over what information should be declassified and how much the committee should delve into the question of how policymakers may have manipulated intelligence to make the case for war.

The committee is still considering three other issues as part of its Phase II analysis, including statements of policymakers in the run up to the war.


On the Net:

Senate Intelligence Committee:


Miami paper fires 3 who took gov't money

Yahoo! News
Miami paper fires 3 who took gov't money

Ten South Florida journalists, including three with The Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper, received thousands of dollars from the federal government for their work on radio and TV programming aimed at undermining Fidel Castro's communist regime, the Herald reported Friday.

Pablo Alfonso, who reports on Cuba and wrote an opinion column for El Nuevo Herald, was paid almost $175,000 since 2001 to host shows on Radio and TV Marti, U.S. government programs that promote democracy in Cuba, according to government documents obtained by The Miami Herald.

Olga Connor, a freelance reporter who wrote about Cuban culture for El Nuevo Herald, received about $71,000 from the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla, who covered the Cuban exile community and politics, was paid almost $15,000 in the last five years, the Herald said.

The newspaper said Alfonso and Cancio were fired and Connor's freelance relationship was severed.

Alfonso and Cancio declined to comment to the Herald. They and Connor did not respond to e-mails seeking comment sent by The Associated Press.

Jesus Diaz Jr., president of the Miami Herald Media Co. and publisher of both newspapers, said the individuals violated a "sacred trust" between journalists and the public.

"I personally don't believe that integrity and objectivity can be assured if any of our reporters receive monetary compensation from any entity that he or she may cover or have covered, but particularly if it's a government agency," Diaz said.

The Herald said it reviewed articles by the three, including several about TV and Radio Marti, and found no mention of the payments.

Pedro Roig, the director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, said he made a point to hire more Cuban exile journalists as contractors hoping to improve the news content of the shows. He said it is up to each journalist to follow his or her own ethics and rules.

"We consider them to be good journalists, and people who were formed inside that system who got out (of Cuba) and adapted and made good," Roig said. "In reality, I feel very satisfied."

Other journalists who received payments included Diario Las Americas opinion page editor Helen Aguirre Ferre and reporter/columnist Ariel Remos.

Ferre said she didn't see a conflict of interest, and Remos said he enjoyed the freedom to speak his opinion on the stations.

The journalists are among several accused in recent years of taking money from the government without making those connections clear.

Last year, congressional auditors concluded that the Education Department engaged in illegal "covert propaganda" by hiring columnist Armstrong Williams to endorse the No Child Left Behind Act without requiring him to disclose he was paid.

Another columnist, Maggie Gallagher, had a contract with the Health and Human Services Department to help promote a marriage initiative.

Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon paid a consulting firm and Iraqi newspapers to plant favorable stories about the Iraq war and rebuilding efforts.

The Cuban government has long accused the United States of paying South Florida journalists to promote anti-government propaganda.

In an interview broadcast at a Hispanic media convention in June, the head of Cuba's parliament denied that more than two dozen journalists had been imprisoned in his own country for speaking out against the Communist government, saying they were not independent journalists but U.S. agents.


Friday, September 08, 2006

What History Actually Shows Us

Huffington Post
Robert J. Elisberg
Here's What History Actually Shows Us

Okay, so this is the first war in American history where you need a theater program to explain it. Let's see if we can get it straight:

We went to war to fight the Taliban who harbored the 9/11 al Qaeda terrorists.

But then we shifted the war to Iraq, because they had WMD's which posed an imminent threat to the United States.

But no WMD's were found, so it turns out we actually went to war to overthrow Saddham Hussein and bring freedom to Iraq, thereby Accomplishing the Mission.

But the Mission wasn't actually Accomplished, so the reason we were in Iraq was to put down insurgents from reclaiming the country.

But the actual, real reason we're fighting Iraqi insurgents is to make the country the shining Road Map to Peace in the Middle East.

But really, it's not Iraqi insurgents who were our enemy, because the whole reason we were at war was to rid Iraq of Al Qaeda terrorists, even though none had been there under Saddham Hussein before we destabilized the country.

But now it turns out we aren't even fighting terrorists at all, but rather Islamic Fascists.

But then, the President and Defense Secretary tell us we're instead fighting actual Fascists. And Nazis. Real live Nazis. Come to life again, risen from Hell after 60 years.

But no, it's worse, because according to the Secretary of State, we're really fighting the Deep South in the Civil War. The Deep South! The President's biggest ally. The only person this won't shock is Senator George Allen, who still fights for the Confederacy - although he was born in Los Angeles.

Cliff's Notes on steroids wouldn't help explain this mess. Even a summary is mind-numbing:

We don't actually know the reason we got into Iraq, rather than Afghanistan. It keeps changing.

We don't know what our goal is in Iraq. It keeps changing.

We don't know who it is we're actually fighting in Iraq. It keeps changing.

We don't even know for sure that it's Iraq where we are fighting, since it may be Nazi Germany, or Franco-Fascist Spain. Or maybe even the Confederacy.

And we don't have the slightest strategy how to get out. That never changes.

Then again, we don't even know how we'd know we won, if we ever won. Who would surrender to us? How can you even have a leader of The Enemy, when you keep changing who The Enemy is?!

The one thing we do know, because we hear it almost every day now in desperation from the White House, is that "History shows us..." something or other.

In truth, the only thing history has shown us from Iraq is that these people who are trying to teach us history don't understand history. They didn't grasp history that there was been religious fighting in Iraq between the Sunnis and Shiites for 1,000 years. They didn't grasp history that when you fight a war, you send in the troops that are needed. They didn't grasp history that when your war plan isn't working, you learn from history and change the course.

The thing is, when you're fighting a war, history shows us you should know precisely who you're fighting and why. Crystal-clear, slam-dunk know. You have to know. Otherwise, how could anyone write great war songs and inspire the populace?

I mean, it's really basic. Just go through history and take a look.

Revolutionary War. We were fighting the British. To gain independence.

Civil War. We were fighting the Confederacy. To end slavery and save the Union.

World War I. We were fighting Germany. To keep them from taking over the world.

World War II. We were fighting Germany, Italy and Japan. To keep them from taking over the world.

Korean War. We were fighting North Korea. To protect the boundary between North and South Korea.

For goodness sake, we even knew who we were fighting in Vietnam! The North Vietnamese. And the reason was...well, okay, not everyone exactly knew why, but at least there was One Official Reason: to stop Communism from spreading throughout Southeast Asia and ultimately to Kansas.

And then there's the Iraq War.

We'refightingSaddhamHusseininsurgentsterroristsIslamicFascistsFascistsNaziswhowereresponsibleforattacking Americabutnotreally. TofindWMD'sthatposeaniminentthreattoAmericabringfreedomandputdowntheinsurgentsand getalltheterroristsoutofIraqsothatthe countrywillbetheroadmaptopeaceintheMiddleEast.

Here's something else history teaches us -

When you're fighting a war, and you can't explain so clearly that the youngest schoolchild can understand who you're fighting and why you're fighting it...

...then you don't have an actual reason. And you're making it up as you go along. And taking the country along for the ride.


US generals criticize Bush plan on terrorism trials

US generals criticize Bush plan on terrorism trials
By Kristin Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military's top legal officers on Thursday criticized a White House plan for military tribunals to try foreign terrorism suspects because it would allow convictions based on evidence never seen by the defendants.

The military judge advocates general, senior legal advisers to their branches of the armed forces, told Congress the plan failed to give suspects enough legal rights because it restricted their access to evidence.

However, a U.S. Justice Department official said some restrictions were necessary and justified.

The right to a full and fair hearing requires the accused have access to the evidence used to convict them, even if it is classified information, the military advisors told the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

"I'm not aware of any situation in the world where there is a system of jurisprudence that is recognized by civilized people where an individual can be tried and convicted without seeing the evidence against him," said Brig. Gen. James Walker, U.S. Marine Corps staff judge advocate.

"I don't think the United States needs to become the first in that scenario," he said.

The Bush administration on Wednesday proposed legislation to create a system of military commissions to try what it calls "unlawful enemy combatants," including those accused of being al Qaeda and Taliban members.

Bush was forced to come up with a new way to try foreign terrorist suspects after the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down the initial military tribunal system his administration set up for the prisoners, most of whom were captured in Afghanistan and are now held at Guantanamo Bay.

The new plan in many ways resembles the current U.S. system of military courts-martial for U.S. service members, where trials are presided over by a military judge and jurors come from the armed forces.

But the system proposed for suspected terrorists would treat classified information and hearsay evidence differently.

Under Bush's plan, hearsay evidence would be allowed at the judge's discretion.

The administration proposed that some sensitive information or classified would not be given to the defendants, but their attorneys would have access to it.

"In the midst of the current conflict, we simply cannot consider sharing with captured terrorists the highly sensitive intelligence that may be relevant to military commission prosecutions," Steven Bradbury, acting assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department, told the committee.

The military officers said it was not good enough to share the information only with defendants' attorneys. But Bradbury said that despite those objections, Congress should not require the accused in all cases have access to classified evidence.

"It should be left up to the military judges in a case-by-case basis to protect the fairness of trials," he said.

U.S. military lawyers in recent years have resisted several steps taken by civilian leaders of the Bush administration related to detainees, including interrogation tactics and trial rules.

The commissions that are ultimately created will likely be used to prosecute some of the U.S. government's top terrorism suspects, including the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.


Court rules against voters supervising elections

Court rules against voters supervising elections, attorney tells Raw
Filed by Miriam Raftery

A judge has dismissed a challenge filed to California’s hotly contested 50th Congressional race, in which the House seated Republican Brian Bilbray just 7 days after the election -- before the race was certified and before all votes were counted. RAW STORY has followed the case in earlier reports.

According to the official count, Bilbray nosed out Democrat Francine Busby in the special election to fill a vacancy left by disgraced Republican Duke Cunningham, who was convicted of bribery and other charges.

For the controversial ruling, Judge Yuri Hofmann relied on arguments brought by attorneys representing Bilbray and San Diego’s Registrar of Voters to dismiss the case, relying on Article 1, section 5 of the Constitution to find that only the House of Representatives has jurisdiction over its members' races.

Now a Nevada court has extended House powers even further, ruling on Friday that citizens and courts have no power to object in a Republican primary election – even though neither candidate is an incumbent currently serving in Congress.

In an exclusive interview with RAW STORY, Paul Lehto, attorney for the voters who filed the CA-50 challenge, reveals why he believes this is a dangerous trend that could be used by legislators to seize and keep power in other races nationwide – starting with the race to fill Tom DeLay’s Congressonal seat.

Q: What do you think of the judge’s decision?

A: It’s the kind of decision that you expect from a trial judge. The judge confided in counsel twice, including in chambers a couple of days before he made this decision, that he was not very familiar with the law. Based on the learning curve that anyone would have, he got up to first level but not the understanding that article 1 section 5 is being interpreted by the defendants in such a broad way that it violates other sections of the Constitution.

I think there are some signs in the opinion that the Judge is consciously setting this up for appeal. His second basis for dismissal was that affidavits of the contestants that were filed as part of the complaint are not based sufficiently on personal knowledge. Normally one has to testify from what you personally have knowledge on and not just hearsay. But combine that with [the fact] that I argued in oral argument about secret vote-counting, and the judge was paying very close attention. If you think about the invisible and proprietary vote counting that took place here, it’s not possible for any citizen to have firsthand knowledge about how the vote was counted.

What’s happened here is that people read the opinion and think, 'Oh my god the lawyers didn’t do a good job writing the arguments,' but a deeper analysis shows that the standard put forward is impossible to meet.

Q: What are your next steps or options? Will you file an appeal, and what are the odds of an appeal succeeding?

A: The general background is that first, on civil appeals the success rate on average is 30% or less… If what we are doing is defending elections against premature terminations, then we are defending democracy and it should not enter into our analysis whether we will win or lose.
If you want to take something up on appeal and litigate the rights of others you have to be extremely serious about what you are doing …At this point we are putting out feelers to see if financially, people are really going to stand behind us or not.

Q: Do you believe the CA-50 case should be appealed?

A: I believe very strongly that both an appeal should go forward and should not go forward, interestingly enough. It should go forward because even if the law clearly prohibited the state and citizens of California from supervising their own elections for Congress, that should be appealed and the court should be requested to change that law or interpret in such a way that it doesn’t apply to the facts of this case. From that standpoint, we are defending democracy here so there should not be any discussion of winning or losing… We should be willing to go down with the Alamo…

But there is also a strategic point for not bringing an appeal, and that is if it’s an important public issue, the appeal must be very carefully prepared and fully-funded. It’s wrong to sacrifice the sacred democratic rights of other people without being very, very serious about it.

Q: Is there a strong need to reach out for funding outside of the San Diego area?

A: Yes. At this point… my trial expenses have not been paid fully, or my travel expenses out here.

Q: What is your time frame to file an appeal?

A: There are difficult ways to calculate deadline. It could be as early as this Friday or could be a week after that.

Q: How might the GOP use this in other races?

A: It’s only taken them three days to use it again, and that was in Nevada.

Q: Did they cite this specific case, or rely on the same Article 1, Section 15 argument used to win the case in the CA-50 race?

A: You can’t cite this case because it is not precedent; because to be precedent it needs to be a published decision. It can’t be published because trial courts in state courts are never published. …A few in federal court are. This case cannot possibly become published unless we appeal – that’s why you want to be sure that if you appeal, you are going to do a great job on it – and you can’t really do a good job on it on a part-time pro bono basis unless you are independently wealthy. You need to work around the clock.

Q: What happened in Nevada?

A: A Congressional election contest in Nevada’s second Congressional district was dismissed on Friday on the same Constitutional jurisdictional grounds in the Republican primary. So even though Article I, section 5 refers to the house judging the qualification of its members, nobody in this primary is a member. It’s an open seat, but the judge bought that argument.

Q: How far might this be carried? What could [they] do next?

A: The next thing is they would look at a Democratic Party and maybe Speaker Hastert or the House could decide that they have a certain position, and what if the Senate decides we’re the sole judge of our members? Now that they’ve taken the absurd step of overturning a primary, the next step is for them to say we support Lieberman, not Lamont.

Q: What are the ramifications of this for the race in Tom DeLay’s district?

A: The Democrat in DeLay’s district was running unopposed because the Republicans did not nominate someone who was eligible at that time. Cngressional Quarterly presently lists that district as leaning Democratic, so that would be a pickup of a seat for the Democrats. On Monday, August 28, the judge put on the Internet his tentative decision and there was even an Internet press report. On Tuesday [August 29] the same day as the formalization of Judge Hofmann’s decision to dismiss, the Governor of Texas suddenly announced a special election would take place in Texas to happen as the same day as the general election.

Q: How might Article 1, section 5 arguments be used in that race?

A: There’s one main Republican candidate way ahead of others, the favored candidate the Republicans would be running as a write-in against Lampson, the Democrat running for the full term. So there are two elections, one for a two-month term, one for a two-year term, and Lampson is unopposed for the two-year term except for write-in candidates... This detail is interesting. Initially Lampson was quoted as saying he’s running for the special election too, but then a couple of days later, he changed his mind and said he would not run in the special. But I think strategically, that is a much better decision because if he runs in the special there is a head to head race for Congress and if a Republican wins, they could argue that but for a technicality she would have won the general election too, and they could just choose to swear in the Republican for the short term, but also continue to keep her in office.

Q: How does that tie-in to what happened in the CA-50 case?

A: The tie-in is the way that they keep her is through article I, section 5, the power of the House to say that we have the sole power to judge our elections and we think she was elected… If they have [absolute] power over their members, they could do that.

Now that Lampson has decided not to run in the special election, a Republican will win for sure. There will not be a head to head race. But Republicans could still decide if a Republican gets more votes in special than Lampson does in general, they would still have that argument, a little bit weaker, and they could still do it.

Q: Do you foresee this being used on a national level?

A: Another completely separate and independent way in which this whole power could come into play would be if we have the long-predicted train wreck happen in November with widespread meltdown and problems with machines, such that it appears that election results are uncertain. Then the Republicans can use the swearing-in power at least as broadly and wrongly interpreted by the trial courts in California and Nevada to either keep Republicans in office or to swear in the candidates that they deem elected.

Q: Let’s carry this to the height of absurdity. What if you actually had a recount that proved a "winner" really lost, as happened in Pottwattamie, Iowa. Could the GOP keep in office someone who actually lost by a landslide?

A: Yes. Because they have interpreted exclusive power, the only thing that could be done is to make the House pay a political price, but without a media echo chamber, the political price may not be significant at all.

Q: Please provide your analysis of the Article 1, section 5 arguments.

A: In the final analysis, the fact that the courts' interpretation of Article I, section 5 is overly broad, can be illuminated by understanding that the framers of the Constitution had recently fought against tyranny in the form of King George, and it is enormously unlikely that as part of the effort to protect this country against future tyranny with the constitution of the US that the framers left a huge loophole in which the majority in Congress could simply perpetuate its own membership… Madison said that the concentration of power in one hand is the definition of tyranny.

The key is that the courts can or must review the steps leading up to membership in the House, but once someone is actually legitimately in the House then it is up to the House internal jurisdiction, because of course you would not want the courts to interfere in the internal operations of the House or Senate. But the courts can, should and must review whether elections were proper, because those are the steps preliminary to triggering exclusive power. At the request of the defendants, the court has interpreted Article I Section 5 power to cover not only everything that happens within the house, but everything leading up to it including now the primary in Nevada. This is now not just election nullification, but it’s democracy nullification.

Q: What are the most important lessons learned from this case?

A: On the broadest level it’s very obvious that there are people who want to prematurely terminate elections and eliminate the public’s right of access to information about those elections. The case also stands for the fact that [California's] one-percent audit ends up being useless at best, and recount rights are useless when they are priced too high. And if you have ballot box stuffing, the recount will appear to validate the fraudulent results. If you are evaluating legislation concerning elections, keep in mind that any safeguards or checks and balances that you put in the process that occur after any initial results are reported are reduced in value by something like ninety percent, because you may never get there. As soon as you announce initial results of an early winner or loser, election officials start stonewalling anyone’s results to prove otherwise. You need front-end loading: If you want audits, have them occur before the results are reported.

Q: In court, the defendants argued that Francine Busby had the right to challenge the seating of Brian Bilbray in the House, but did not. Should Congressional candidates exercise their rights to challenge seating an opponent when votes were not counted or races certified?

A: Certainly every candidate should know their rights, but the process under federal contested elections act, which is open only to candidates by filing with the clerk of representatives and having the House decide is not a process in which I have any confidence.

Q: Wouldn’t a challenge filed in the House at least draw national attention to this problem?

A: Possibly, but it would also whitewash things… Even if you were so lucky as to have a candidate who wants to contest, all I can say is good luck.

There have been cases where people have successfully won on these federal challenges in the House in the past, but I don’t think you can count on it now. At this point in time, these assholes will do whatever they want to and there’s nothing anyone can do.

The other point is whether citizens have any right at all to get involved in supervising a federal election. My position is that citizens can and must have the right to supervise an election and police their own challenge to an election. Candidates are among the last people in a race who are going to want to contest the race because there is a lot of public condemnation that will be heaped on them as a sore loser... They will be made to pay a very high price, unlike a citizen. In our case, I don’t think the citizens have been publicly vilified in the press. They have not had a price to pay like a John Kerry or a Francine Busby would. That’s one reason why you shouldn’t count on candidates to file an appeal. The other is that the source of all power is from the people and the people have to take the right to challenge their own elections even if a candidate is deterred from doing so.

Q: Where can readers send donations to cover legal costs?

A: or


The World Trade Center Disaster and the Health of Workers: Five-Year Assessment of a Unique Medical Screening Program

The World Trade Center Disaster and the Health of Workers: Five-Year Assessment of a Unique Medical Screening Program

An estimated 40,000 men and women worked at Ground Zero, the former site of the
World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, and at the Staten Island landfill, the
principal wreckage depository in the days, weeks, and months after September 11, 2001
(Levin et al. 2004). These workers and volunteers included traditional first responders such as firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics as well as a diverse population of operating engineers, laborers, ironworkers, railway tunnel cleaners, telecommunications workers, sanitation workers, and staff of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. These men and women carried out rescue-and-recovery operations, restored essential services, cleaned up massive amounts of debris and, in a time period far shorter than anticipated, deconstructed and removed remains of buildings. Many had no training in response to civil disaster. The highly diverse nature of this workforce posed unprecedented challenges for worker protection and medical follow-up.

Workers were exposed to a complex mix of toxic chemicals and to extreme psychological trauma. These exposures varied over time and by location (Landrigan et al. 2002; Lioy et al. 2002). Combustion of 90,000 L of jet fuel immediately after the attacks created a dense plume of black smoke containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs, including benzene), metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The collapse of the “twin towers” (WTC 1 and WTC 2) and then of a third building (WTC 7) produced an enormous dust cloud containing thousands of tons of coarse and fine particulate matter (PM), cement dust, glass fibers, asbestos, lead, hydrochloric acid, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, and polychlorinated dioxins and furans (Clark et al. 2003; Landrigan et al. 2004; Lioy et al. 2002; McGee et al. 2003). EPA 4 estimates of airborne dust ranged from 1,000 μg/m3 to over 100,000 μg/m3 (U.S. EPA 2002). The high content of pulverized cement made the dust highly caustic (pH 10-11) (Lioy et al. 2002; Landrigan et al. 2004).

Dust and debris gradually settled, and rains on 9/14 further diminished the intensity of outdoor ambient dust exposure. However, rubble removal operations repeatedly reaerosolized the dust, leading to continuing intermittent exposure for many months. Fires burned both above and under ground until December 2001 (Banauch et al. 2003; Chen and Thurston 2002; U.S. EPA 2003). Air levels of certain contaminants remained elevated well into 2002, with spikes in benzene and asbestos levels occurring as late as March and May 2002 respectively (U.S. EPA 2003).

The full report can be found here:


Democrats urge ABC to withdraw 9/11 movie

Democrats urge ABC to withdraw 9/11 movie
By Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid an election-year debate over who can best defend America, U.S. congressional Democrats urged ABC on Thursday to cancel a TV miniseries about the September 11 attacks that is critical of former Democratic President Bill Clinton and his top aides.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada denounced the five-hour television movie, set to air in two parts on Sunday and Monday nights, as "a work of fiction."

Reid and other leading Senate Democrats wrote to Robert Iger, president and CEO of ABC's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co., urging him to "cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program."

Chronicling events leading to the September 11 attacks, the movie suggests the Clinton administration was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to deal properly with the gathering threat posed by Islamic militants.

The furor comes as Democrats and Republicans jockey for political position in advance of the November 7 congressional elections over who can best secure the United States from another attack.

Democrats have chided Republicans for failing to implement security recommendations by the 9/11 commission, and Republicans have portrayed Democrats as soft on terrorism.

In recent days, former members of the Clinton administration also lodged complaints with Iger, urging ABC and Disney to fix or eliminate what they called errors and fabrications.

ABC issued a statement saying the production, "The Path to 9/11," was still being edited and that criticism of the film's specifics were thus "premature and irresponsible."


Executive Producer Marc Platt acknowledged that "there is dramatic license taken" in the docudrama to "render the program effective and accessible for viewers."

"But we do try within the boundaries of what is fair and reasonable to communicate the essence of what occurred (and) the intentions of those individuals involved," he told Reuters in a telephone interview from London. "We have no intention or desire to be political, to intentionally distort."

Platt also said one scene singled out for criticism by Democrats -- depicting CIA operatives and Afghan fighters coming close to capturing Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, only for then-national security advisor Samuel Berger to refuse authorization of the mission -- was a "conflation of events."

Berger said in a letter to Iger earlier this week that "no such episode ever occurred, nor did anything like it."

The September 11 attacks occurred about eight months after Clinton turned over the presidency in January 2001 to Republican George W. Bush.

For several years, Democrats have complained the Bush administration failed to capture or kill bin Laden when he reportedly was cornered in Afghanistan's Tora Bora region in late 2001. They also argue the war in Iraq later took away resources for tracking down bin Laden.

ABC said its movie was not a documentary but a dramatization drawn from the official 9/11 commission report, personal interviews and other materials.

"As such, for dramatic and narrative purposes, the film contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue and time compression," ABC said.

Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican who chaired the 9/11 commission and served as a consultant for the ABC miniseries, defended the production as politically balanced.

"People in both parties didn't particularly like the commission report, and I think people in both parties aren't going to love this one," he said.

The cast of the film includes Harvey Keitel as an FBI agent and expert on Islamic militants, Donnie Wahlberg as a covert CIA operative, Amy Madigan as a high-ranking CIA analyst, Patricia Heaton as a U.S. diplomat and Stephen Root as White House counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke.

"The Path to 9/11" is not the first historical TV drama to draw a partisan outcry. CBS canceled a miniseries about Ronald and Nancy Reagan after Republicans complained that it unfairly and inaccurately portrayed the former president. "The Reagans" ended up airing on sibling cable channel Showtime.

(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Ellen Wulfhorst)



A DSCC ad claims Bob Corker's "failures as Mayor" led to 31,000 unanswered emergency calls in Chattanooga.

Hello? Hello?: Democrats Blame Corker for Missed 911 Calls
A DSCC ad claims Bob Corker's "failures as Mayor" led to 31,000 unanswered emergency calls in Chattanooga.


Republicans cry foul over a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee TV ad attacking Republican Senate candidate Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga. It said, "Thanks to Bob Corker's failures as Mayor, more than thirty-one-thousand 911 calls went unanswered."

We find that the 31,000 number may be a bit high, but the rate of unanswered calls did get worse while Corker was mayor, reaching nearly 15 per cent in his last full year in office. Tens of thousands of emergency calls did go unanswered.

The DSCC released the ad Sep 1, broadcasting it on Tennessee television stations and on a DSCC-run website called It opens with a menacing house alarm. An announcer says later that “thanks to Bob Corker's failures as Mayor, more than thirty-one thousand 911 calls went unanswered. . . .And now Bob Corker wants to be in the Senate. In a time when America 's security has never mattered more. ”

DSCC Ad: “Answer”

(Sound FX: A house alarm. A phone being dialed. A dial tone.
Announcer: In case of emergency, dial nine-one-one. But what if no one was there? Thanks to Bob Corker's failures as Mayor, more than thirty-one-thousand 9-1-1 calls went unanswered. Thirty-one-thousand Tennesseans. Thirty-one-thousand calls to 9-1-1. But no one answered the phone."
(On screen: Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30/06)
Announcer: And, now, Bob Corker wants to be in the Senate. In a time when 's security has never mattered more. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Blatantly Untrue?

Corker's campaign manager Ben Mitchell called the ad "blatantly untrue" and said "they should do the right thing and take it off the air.” He reasoned that the 31,000 figure refers to the year 2005, and that Corker left office April 18 of that year. Republicans even threatened legal action against stations running the ad. "If your station does not stop airing this advertisement after gaining knowledge that it contains false and misleading statements, you are subjecting your station to potential liability," the National Republican Senatorial Committee's general counsel William J. McGinley wrote in a letter to stations.

Corker and the NRSC have a point – but it's a small one. Whether Corker can fairly be held accountable for all of 2005 is a matter of opinion, and depends on how quickly his successor could be expected to change the deteriorating system he inherited from Corker. The ad can't fairly be called "false" because it attributes the 31,000 missed calls to Corker's "failures as mayor," and doesn't claim they were all missed while he was actually in office.

Who is Responsible?

In fact, official figures show that a large number of emergency calls to the city's police department also went unanswered earlier in Corker's tenure as well, including 23,132 unanswered calls in 2003. We obtained the figures from the Hamilton County Emergency 911 Communications District, which includes Chattanooga. They show the actual number of abandoned (unanswered) calls in 2005 was 30,891, slightly less than the "more than 31,000" reported in earlier news accounts.

The situation worsened significantly under Corker's tenure. The rate of unanswered calls rose from 8.8 percent of all 911 calls in 2001, the year he took office, to 14.9 percent in 2004, his last full year as mayor, and 16.9 per cent in 2005, according to reports in the Chattanooga Times Free Press which the Corker campaign does not dispute.

The Times Free Press also in March quoted the city's former police chief Jimmie Dotson as saying, "I asked for communications officers in every budget, especially under the Corker administration, and each time it was denied. . . . (We) spent many, many, many hours battling the Corker administration asking for communications officers." Corker's campaign manager says the mayor added two communications officers to the 911 operation, bringing the total to 68.

A Final Quibble

We can't resist quibbling with the DSCC on one point. The ad refers to "31,000 Tennesseans," as though each unanswered call was made by a separate person. That's improbable. We think it more likely that many whose calls weren't answered the first time kept calling until somebody answered, often resulting in multiple unanswered calls from the same person. In any case, the ad would have been perfectly accurate to say that while Corker was mayor "more than 23,000 emergency calls went unanswered in a single year," and equally accurate to say "one in seven calls went unanswered" in Corker's last full year in office.

- By Brooks Jackson & Emi Kolawole

Hamilton County (TN) 911 Emergency Communications District, "Chattanooga Police Department, Abandon 9-1-1 Calls for 2003-2006 ," supplied to, 6 Sep 2006.

Davis, Michael. "Ad Blames Corker for Missed 911 Calls," The Chattanooga Times Free Press. 2 Sept 2006.

LaRoe, Ginny. “20 Percent of 911 calls dropped last week,” The Chattanooga Times Free Press. 28, March 2006.

LaRoe, Ginny. “Ex-Police Chief Blasts Corker on 911 funds,” The Chattanooga Times Free Press. 30 March 2006.

La Roe, Ginny. “City Seeks Better 911 Response,” The Chattanooga Times Free Press. 26 March 2006.


Big Sugar Sours Florida Governor's Race with Falsehoods

Big Sugar Sours Florida Governor's Race with Falsehoods

Outside groups funded by U.S. Sugar mount deceitful attacks on a Democratic primary candidate

In the Florida Democratic primary for governor, Rep. Jim Davis has been the target of a series of attacks by outside groups funded largely by U.S. Sugar Corp. According to state records, one group is 100% funded by U.S. Sugar; the other has recieved $1.6 million in contributions from U.S. Sugar over the past two weeks alone.

A TV ad sponsored by one of the groups says Davis "voted to deny some struggling workers the minimum wage." However, the bill Davis voted for actually called for a raise in the minimum wage for the vast majority of workers.

The other group used recent donations from U.S. Sugar to fund two pieces of direct mail. One was aimed at Florida's Jewish community and says Davis failed to "condemn attacks against Israel" when he actually did condemn the attacks. The other mailer, aimed at African-Americans and accompanied by a radio ad, faults Davis for voting against restitution for two wrongly imprisoned men, but even one of the ex-prisoners thought the ad was "dirty politics."

Rep. Jim Davis and State Sen. Rod Smith are dueling for the party's nomination in the state's Sept. 5 primary.

Big Sugar Bankrolls Smith

If he didn't have a sugar daddy, Smith's campaign would be practically out of business. From Aug. 15 through Aug. 31, U.S. Sugar contributed 20 times as much money to outside groups supporting Smith as Smith had left in his own campaign coffers, according to forms filed with the Secretary of State's office.

The connection between the sugar industry, a powerful force in Florida politics, and Smith is well documented by the state press. As a state senator, Smith was instrumental in passing Everglades cleanup legislation that went easier on the sugar companies than prospective alternatives. Also, a top consultant to the Smith's campaign serves as a U.S. Sugar lobbyist.

In addition, the group Florida's Working Families has a history of large contributions from U.S. Sugar. This pattern continued as the group's most recent report, filed on Sept. 1, showed that U.S. Sugar donated $1.6 million in the last two weeks of August alone.

Also, according to disclosure forms filed with the IRS, U.S. Sugar and its subsidiary Southern Garden Groves Corp. pumped over $430,000 into a group called Floridians for Responsible Government during an 8-day period around the end of May. The majority of this money was spent on "voter contact." Local media reported on pro-Smith mailers sent out by the group in June.

At this point in the campaign, Smith's coffers are practically empty. As of Aug. 18th, he had barely $75,000 left. U.S. Sugar's actions thus loom all the larger in Smith's effort to get the Democratic nomination. By comparison, Davis has nearly 1.7 million in the bank.

Florida's Working Families Ad: Davis Attendance
Announcer: You. Should. Know. Congressman Jim Davis has the second-worst attendance in Congress. Jim Davis voted to deny some struggling workers the minimum wage. Jim Davis voted against capping rates credit card companies can charge us. Jim Davis voted against allowing seniors to order low-cost prescription drugs from Canada. Maybe we should be glad Jim Davis rarely shows up for work.

Deny Some ... Improve Most

On Aug. 22, Florida's Working Families began running a TV ad attacking Davis. The ad accurately represents Davis's attendance record and a vote he made against capping credit card interest rates, but then makes the grossly misleading statement that he "voted to deny some the minimum wage." The bill cited actually called for a raise in the minumum wage.

Language in the bill exempted certain jobs such as funeral directors, computer programmers, and some sales positions, but for everyone else the minimum wage would have gone from $5.15 per hour to $6.15. So while it is true to say that some would be denied the minimum wage, the overwhelming majority would have received a raise. Additionally, exemptions to the minimum wage have always existed. For example, fishers, farm workers, and janitors are not covered currently.

The bill was never introduced in the Senate and thus never enacted into law; other recent efforts to raise the minimum wage have stalled as well.

Targeted Mispresentation I

According to documents filed with the state, U.S. Sugar Corp. supplied 100% of the budget for the newly formed Coalition for Justice and Equality with a $100,000 donation. The group has released two direct-mail pieces attacking Davis. One piece is aimed at the Jewish community saying, "Jim Davis fails to condemn attacks against Israel" based only on the fact he missed the vote on a House resolution after Hezbollah's attack. However, Davis actually did condemn the attacks three days before the symbolic vote even took place.

While it is true that Davis missed the vote on July 20th, he had already released a statement on July 17th saying, "I strongly condemn Hezbollah’s brutal and unprovoked attack on Israeli soldiers, and support ’s right to defend its people."

Targeted Mispresentation II

The same group sent a second mailer, this one targeting African-Americans. It accurately describes a vote Davis made as a state representative in 1990 denying restitution to two black men who were wrongly imprisoned for 12 years, though it's quite a stretch to say that the vote is part of Davis' "record of shame." An accompanying radio ad "dramatizes" comments of the two ex-prisoners. While the men have been critical of Davis, one of them has recently characterized the use of their case in the attacks as "dirty politics."

Freddie Pitts and Wilbur Lee were convicted of murder in 1963 but pardoned after someone else confessed to the crime. For years, starting in the late 1980s, the state legislature considered awarding the men damages and eventually granted each $500,000 in 1998.

Davis was no longer in the legislature by then. However, in 1990, he had joined the majority of his statehouse legislative committee in a 6-4 decision against restitution. Davis has said he didn't believe there was enough evidence at the time to justify the payments. The mailer concludes that this is evidence of Davis' "record of shame" in the African-American community.

Perhaps, but Davis supported the interests of the NAACP 91% of the time, according to the civil rights group's 2005 scorecard. Even Smith has condemned the mailer as going "too far."

Coalition for Justice and Equality Radio Ad

Announcer: Twelve years. Two African-Americans, Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, sat in tiny cells. Nine years on death row. Convicted of murder by an all-white jury for crimes they didn’t commit. A white man confessed. All they asked for was a little of their lives back. To be treated fairly. Jim Davis voted no. Voted to deny justice to Pitts and Lee. Listen to the words of Freddie Pitts:
Actor: Davis is a backwater politician. He voted to renege on justice. He’s a cold-hearted man.
Announcer: Fortunately, there’s Rod Smith. Smith led the fight to close the boot camps after a fourteen-year-old black kid was beaten to death by sheriff’s deputies. Rod Smith is a man we can trust to do the right thing. Paid electioneering communication paid for by Coalition for Justice and Equality. 201 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton , FL 33486

The mailing was followed by a radio ad. An actual copy of the ad could not be obtained by FactCheck. Stuart Rosenfeldt, the registered agent for the Coalition for Justice and Equality, responded by email that he was "not going to supply" the ad. However, quotes have appeared in local press accounts, and the Davis campaign supplied a full transcript at our request.

The ad discusses the pair's wrongful imprisonment and then says, "listen to the words of Freddie Pitts." An actor portraying Pitts claims "Davis is a backwater politician. He voted to renege on justice. He's a cold-hearted man."

However, Pitts didn't say that. He did make the "backwater politician" remark in a Miami Herald story, but the other lines were actually said by Wilbur Lee in a different story.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Rosenfeldt " stands by the ad" but will produce a new spot "that removes any 'dramatization' of the facts."

Some local black leaders have said the ad is "attempting to polarize the black community."

by Justin Bank

U.S. House, 106th Congress, 2nd Session. House Vote No. 45.

Caputo, Mark and Reinhard, Beth, "Big Sugar plays rough in governor's race," Miami Herald. 26 Aug 2006.

Leary, Alex and Liberto, Jennifer, "Sugar dollars pour into pro-Smith group," St. Petersburg Times. 19 July 2006.

Reinhard, Beth and Caputo, Mark, "Davis Discusses 'Bad Vote' with Black Voters ," Miami Herald. 28 Aug 2006.

Reinhard, Beth, "Some tough questions for two Democrats," Miami Herald. 22 July 2006.

Wallsten, Peter, "Telephone Companies, Sugar Industry Fare Well in Florida Legislative Session," Miami Herald. 3 May 2003.

"Straight Talk on Rod Smith and Sugar," press release. Jim Davis for Governor Campaign. 25 Aug 2006.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Major Security Breaches Uncovered On Our Rails

CBS 2 Investigates: Terror Just A Key Turn Away?
Major Security Breaches Uncovered On Our Rails
Scott Weinberger

(CBS) NEW YORK A new state report has found a major security breach involving Metro-North Railroad and Grand Central Terminal. Sensitive documents and keys that access the entire rail system have been stolen.

The items were inside a backpack belonging to a Metro-North employee, who told police he mistakenly left it on the train. The backpack was found days later and the keys and documents were gone.

There is no doubt that the second largest commuter railroad in the nation remains an attractive target for terrorists.

On any given workday a quarter of a million riders board Metro-North trains.

We have seen the devastation of a terrorist attack on trains unfold all over the globe -- Madrid in 2004, London in 2005 and most recently in Mumbai, India, where a terrorist bomb killed 186 passengers.

So you can imagine the concern by State officials here when this theft was uncovered. But investigators would soon learn, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

"I really felt that was sensitive information," said Matthew Sansverie, The Inspector General for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Sansverie's agency is an independent watchdog overseeing the MTA. Once his investigators began to unravel the theft, they learned that missing keys and documents were nothing new. In fact, this same Metro-North employee has lost these items three times. Metro-North officials don't keep statistics on these types of losses. Why not? The railroad does not keep track of who is issued keys or these sensitive documents.

State officials admit this lapse in security leaves wide open the possibility that sensitive items could fall into the wrong hands. In fact, sources said the missing documents include a detailed description of highly sensitive areas at Grand Central Terminal, even evacuation plans showing the routes used to clear out passengers in an emergency.

When State investigators questioned Metro-North officials on how keys were issued, they were astonished to learn that in a six-month period last year the railroad handed out 16,000 universal door keys, while less than 1,000 employees were authorized to receive them.

"We don't think that management at the railroad put as high a value on these events that we would hope they would, especially in the current environment," Sansverie said.

Having complete access to a train leads to the possibility a terrorist could hijack it or even pack it with explosives and detonate it, while the train travels underneath the heart of Manhattan.

"Commuter trains are such an attractive target because of the large numbers of people on the trains at the same time. And most times they have to go through tunnels where there are contained spaces where the casualties and the fatalities are that much more exaggerated," said William Daly, a former FBI agent.

"This investigation suggested to us that the priorities should be looked at. While on-time performance is really important, it does not excuse taking care of the fundamentals like this," said Sansverie.

The MTA Inspector General said he has now opened a new investigation into the policies of the Long Island Railroad to see if they have a similar problem protecting keys and documents. He's also looking at NYC Transit. In a written response to the IG's report the MTA said they are taking steps to correct this security issue. They declined our requests for an on-camera interview.


Feds, City Knew Of Ground Zero Toxins; Lower Manhattan Was Reopened Despite Knowledge The Air Was Unsafe

Documents: Feds, City Knew Of Ground Zero Toxins
Critics: Lower Manhattan Was Reopened Despite Knowledge The Air Was Unsafe
A CBS 2 Exclusive
Marcia Kramer

(CBS) NEW YORK Stunning proof has been uncovered that the government knowingly put New Yorkers in harm's way after 9/11.

CBS 2 News has obtained documents revealing that Lower Manhattan was reopened a few weeks following the attack even though the air was not safe.

The two devastating memos, written by the U.S. and local governments, show they knew. They knew the toxic soup created at Ground Zero was a deadly health hazard. Yet they sent workers into the pit and people back into their homes.

One of the memos, from the New York City health department, dated Oct. 6, 2001, noted: "The mayor's office is under pressure from building owners ... in the Red Zone to open more of the city." The memo said the Department of Environmental Protection was "uncomfortable" with opening the areas but, "The mayor's office was directing the Office of Emergency Management to open the target areas next week."

"Not only did they know it was unsafe, they didn't heed the words of more experienced people that worked for the city and E.P.A.," said Joel Kupferman, with the group Environmental Justice Project.

Another part of the memo noted: "The E.P.A. has been very slow to make data results available and to date has not sufficiently informed the public of air quality issues arising from this disaster."

"Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me," said health protestor Yuichi Tamamo. "For the last five years we've been saying air quality here has been horrible."

It also doesn't suprise Carmen Flores, who lives in an apartment in the Baruch Houses that was engulfed in the 9/11 toxic plume. Her health has deteriorated and she has multiple medicines.

"I feel forgotten," she said.

Bruce Sprague, an E.P.A. official in the New York and New Jersey region during 9/11 admited to CBS 2 News the agency was finding alarming air quality readings at Ground Zero and in the surrounding areas.

Sprague said the E.P.A. had written much more conservative health assessments, but the memos had to go to Washington. And when the White House got its hands on them, they -- according to Sprague -- softened them.

The city health department refused to comment on the memo, but inside sources told CBS 2 News the memo is real. And its veracity is not questioned by the Environmental Justice Project's Kupferman.

He calls it "a smoking gun."


Poll: Many Americans Feel Less Safe
Poll: Many Americans Feel Less Safe

(CBS News) NEW YORK Do Americans feel safer now than before 9/11? For many, the answer is no, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.

Fifty-four percent of Americans say they generally feel safe, but 46 percent say they feel somewhat uneasy or in danger.

Compared with five years ago, 39 percent of Americans say they feel less safe now, compared with only 14 percent who say they feel safer. Forty-six percent say they feel the same.

More also say the threat of terrorism has grown since 9/11 than said so a year ago. Forty-one percent say the threat has increased since the attacks, an 11 percent jump from last year. Just 14 percent say the threat has decreased, while 43 percent say the threat has not changed.

How safe do you feel compared to five years ago?

More Safe
Less Safe

Also, by a four-to-one margin (48 percent to 12 percent), Americans think the war in Iraq has made the threat of terrorism against the United States worse rather than better.

Five years after 9/11, most Americans say life has returned to the way it was before the attacks, at least in part. However, some behavior has changed: One in four Americans say they are less likely to fly now, and one in five are less likely to attend large events with thousands of people.

Has life in America returned to what it was before the 9/11 attacks?

Mostly Returned
Somewhat Returned
Has Not Returned

Nearly one in four people say they still feel nervous and edgy. Women are more likely than men to say their behavior has been affected.

Both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are viewed as having created breeding grounds for terrorists. Fifty-four percent say the wars have created more terrorists, while just 15 percent say they've eliminated terrorists.

There's also increased pessimism about the overall war on terrorism, with 21 percent — the highest number ever — saying the terrorists are winning. Thirty-six percent say the United States is winning and 38 percent say neither side is winning.

Fewer than half of Americans are confident the United States will capture Osama bin Laden, the man believed responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Still, a majority of Americans, 55 percent, say they approve of how President Bush is handling the war on terror — his highest rating in more than a year, but a sharp decrease from December 2001, when 90 percent approved.

About half of those polled say Bush administration policies have made America safer, but one in four say they've made the United States less safe. A similar number say they've had no effect.

One explanation for that skepticism may be that nearly half of Americans don’t think terrorism is a problem a president can do much about.

Americans are split on how prepared the United States is to deal with another terrorist attack: 49 percent think the country is prepared, 43 percent think it is not. Americans are especially worried about a potential biological or chemical attack — 73 percent say the United States is not prepared for that.

The number of Americans who say another attack on the United States is likely has dropped to 59 percent, down from a high of 78 percent in the weeks after 9/11. People in the Northeast, where the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred, are the most concerned that their area will be targeted, while those in the Midwest are the least concerned.

Nearly six in 10 say the government has not done all it could to make the country safe from future attacks.

The poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1206 adults, interviewed by telephone August 17-21, 2006. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the complete sample.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bin Laden Gets a Pass from Pakistan
Bin Laden Gets a Pass from Pakistan
Brian Ross and Gretchen Peters Report:

Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted man, will not face capture in Pakistan if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life," Pakistani officials tell ABC News.

The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the North Waziristan region as part of a "peace deal" with the Taliban.

If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."

Bin Laden is believed to be hiding somewhere in the tribal areas of Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border, but U.S. officials say his precise location is unknown.

In addition to the pullout of Pakistani troops, the "peace agreement" between Pakistan and the Taliban also provides for the Pakistani army to return captured Taliban weapons and prisoners.

"What this means is that the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism director.

The agreement was signed on the same day President Bush said the United States was working with its allies "to deny terrorists the enclaves they seek to establish in ungoverned areas across the world."

The Pakistani Army had gone into Waziristan, under heavy pressure from the United States, but faced a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.

"They're throwing the towel," said Alexis Debat, who is a Senior Fellow at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant. "They're giving al Qaeda and the Taliban a blank check and saying essentially make yourselves at home in the tribal areas," Debat said.


Harris wins Fla. GOP Senate nomination

Yahoo! News
Harris wins Fla. GOP Senate nomination
By STEVEN WINE, Associated Press Writer

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris (news, bio, voting record) overcame a campaign ridiculed even by her own party to easily claim the GOP nomination for the Senate on Tuesday, and Rep. Jim Davis (news, bio, voting record) won the Democratic nomination to succeed popular Gov. Jeb Bush.

Harris next faces an uphill battle against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record), who had no primary challenger.

"Tonight is great victory for our party and for Florida," Harris said. "It's a great victory because it shows each of us we can overcome adversity to achieve extraordinary victories."

Davis won a concession from state Sen. Rod Smith, who trailed 47 percent to 41 percent with 84 percent of the precincts reporting. Davis' opponent in November will be Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, who claimed the Republican nomination to replace Bush.

Crist had 64 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Tom Gallagher, the state's chief financial officer.

Harris had 49 percent of the vote against three relative unknowns. Attorney Will McBride ran second at 30 percent, and retired Navy admiral LeRoy Collins had 15 percent.

As Florida secretary of state six years ago, Harris oversaw the recount that gave George W. Bush the White House. She became a rising star in the Republican Party, parlaying name recognition into two terms in Congress.

But state GOP leaders tried to talk Harris out of running for the Senate, citing fears she would lose to Nelson while spurring a large November turnout by Democrats, which would hurt the entire Republican ticket.

Harris' campaign for the nomination was widely derided as spectacularly inept. Fundraising lagged, prompting her to pledge $10 million of her own money. Her makeup, clothes and personality were mocked on national TV. She was linked to a corrupt defense contractor. And staff members kept quitting in frustration.

Still, she won comfortably, thanks to weak opposition and a strong base of Republicans who loved her because of her role in the recount furor.

Some 2 1/2 hours after the polls closed, the 49-year-old congresswoman arrived at her Tampa campaign headquarters to chants of "We want Katherine."

"Tonight I say to Bill Nelson: Come home, Bill. Enough is enough," Harris said. She said the campaign "can't rest for even a moment."

Nelson didn't address Harris' win directly but said in a statement, "I look forward to ... spending the next six years continuing to fight for the people of Florida in the United States Senate."

Despite a handful of late openings at polling places, the primary appeared to be debacle-free, with no problems reported to rival the troubled elections in 2000 and 2002. Rainy weather in South Florida and other parts of the state was expected to reduce turnout figures.

"The primary election in Florida today ran very smoothly," state Division of Elections spokesman Sterling Ivey said.

State Sen. Skip Campbell easily won the Democratic nomination for attorney general over a little-known lawyer who did not campaign. Bill McCollum was unopposed for the Republican nomination.

Senate President Tom Lee won the Republican nomination for chief financial officer, setting up a November race with Democrat Alex Sink.

The Democratic race for governor tightened in recent days, but Smith fell short in his bid for a come-from-behind victory.

Largely unknown when he entered the race, Smith touted his pro-agriculture positions and law enforcement background as a former state attorney. Davis dogged Smith about his connections to big sugar, repeatedly pointing out how U.S. Sugar Corp. spent millions of dollars to fund attack ads.

Davis spoke to supporters in Tampa shortly after Smith phoned to concede.

"With all the talk of sugar in the news, let me say how sweet it is," Davis said. "It's time to change direction, and tonight is a new beginning."

Davis, considered the more liberal, pro-environment candidate, relied heavily on big-name endorsements. He spent the final weekend campaigning with well-respected former Sen. Bob Graham (news, bio, voting record).

Crist campaigned as a champion of consumer causes and Bush's policies — at least when it came to crime, taxes and education. But Crist criticized the governor's decision to intervene in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case, and said he wouldn't try to change the class-size limits that the governor has opposed.

A roar went up in Crist's hotel suite in St. Petersburg when he told family and supporters The Associated Press had declared him the winner.

"It's wonderful, wonderful news," Crist said. "All I want to be is the people's governor, and they should rest assured that if they elect me in November, no one will fight harder for the people."

Bush, brother of the president, must step down because of term limits.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Democrats Challenge Republicans To Do The Peoples Business

Huffington Post
Carl Pope
Does Anyone Remember Speaker Foley?

The Democrats have just been handed a golden opportunity for this November, and they seem to be grasping it. Faced with dismal poll numbers, the Republican leadership of a failed Congress has decided to abandon the public's business, run for the hustings (or the hills), and campaign against their own Congress and White House.
"Don't blame me -- it's those guys in DC."

In the process, the Republican Congressional leadership has decided to abandon any pretense of legislating. Next week, Congress will vote on a bill to prevent horse slaughter for human consumption -- and then they will go home without having passed a single one of the vital Appropriations bills, much less dealing with energy policy, immigration, pension security, or any of the other big issues facing them.

This same instinct to cut and run afflicted the Democratic 103rd Congress back in 1994. The Democrats had a substantial legislative agenda -- campaign finance reform, Superfund reauthorization, and education funding. The House had passed these bills. But, determined to deny the Democrats any victories, the Republicans in the Senate filibustered everything. Exactly twelve years ago, I remember meeting with then Vice-President Gore to urge him and President Clinton to announce that until the Senate voted crucial bills up or down -- just voted (either way) -- he would keep Congress in session. I argued then, and I would argue today, that for a party in power there is no substitute for doing the public's business and demanding that your opposition join you in that labor.

Gore said he was intrigued, but he told me that the Democrats in Congress were so eager to get out of town and on the campaign trail that the President couldn't hold them. Speaker Foley, among others, went down in flames five weeks later.

Now the Republicans are borrowing from Foley's script, but their situation is vastly worse. In '94 the Democrats could pass bills; they just couldn't get past the filibuster. In 2006, the Republicans can't even agree among themselves. So they are not fleeing an empowered opposition -- they are fleeing their own internal contradictions and failures -- and the daily news from Iraq.

And the same tired scent of abuse of power that Newt Gingrich rode into power 12 years ago is once again oozing from Capitol Hill. Senate Appropriation Chair Ted Stevens, of "Bridges and Roads to Nowhere" infamy, was exposed as the Senator who had single-handedly prevented the Senate from considering legislation that would have created a searchable database of federal contractors to enhance the chances that inside deals would get detected and headed off in time. The legislation was by fellow Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Stevens, who cheerfully showered hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on pork barrel projects in his state, objected secretly, because, he claimed, he just "wanted to make sure that this wasn't going to be a huge cost to the taxpayer..." When the "hold" blocking consideration of the bill was first announced, everyone in Washington assumed it was Stevens who was behind it. Coburn bluntly told the press that if Stevens had concerns, he should have attended the hearings, and that the only reason to hold it up was if Stevens had something to hide. Well, there is another explanation -- the fact that Coburn had tried to cut off appropriations for the Bridges to Nowhere earlier in the year. Ted Stevens, it appears, is not one who believes that revenge is a dish best eaten cold -- he likes it piping hot.

The Democrats have grabbed on to this opportunity. Last week the Democratic leadership sent their Republican colleagues a letter stating that "we propose Congress act on five key issues that have an immediate impact on the lives of the American people before adjourning for the November election." The five issues were homeland security, health care, college tuition, oil addiction, and economic security. After making the case for doing the public business, the Democratic leadership threw down the gauntlet: "For Members of Congress to hit the campaign trail while urgent national needs remain unmet would be a serious abdication of our responsibilities as elected officials. We reject assertions that the people's business can wait until after the November election. Therefore, until Congress passes legislation that meets the real needs of the American people, House Democrats will actively resist adjournment."

This should become the theme of this fall's election. Tom Foley's colleagues found out the hard way that they couldn't run from being the party in power; Dennis Hastert may be about to learn the same lesson.


Monday, September 04, 2006

The Republican War on Workers
The war on workers
- David Sirota

U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige labeled one "a terrorist organization." Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, called them "a clear and present danger to the security of the United States." And U.S. Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., claimed they employ "tyranny that Americans are fighting and dying to defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan" and are thus "enemies of freedom and democracy," who show "why we still need the Second Amendment" to defend ourselves with firearms.

Who are these supposed threats to America? No, not Osama bin Laden followers, but labor unions made up of millions of workers -- janitors, teachers, firefighters, police officers, you name it.

Bashing organized labor is a Republican pathology, to the point where unions are referenced with terms reserved for military targets. In his 1996 article, headlined "GOP Readies for War With Big Labor," conservative columnist Robert Novak cheered the creation of a "GOP committee task force on the labor movement" that would pursue a "major assault" on unions. As one Republican lawmaker told Novak, GOP leaders champion an "anti-union attitude that appeals to the mentality of hillbillies at revival meetings."

The hostility, while disgusting, is unsurprising. Unions wield power for workers, meaning they present an obstacle to Republican corporate donors, who want to put profit-making over other societal priorities.

Think the minimum wage just happened? Think employer-paid health care and pensions have been around for as long as they have by some force of magic? Think again -- unions used collective bargaining to preserve these benefits. As the saying goes, union members are the folks that brought you the weekend.

The government's numbers explain how unions have helped their members. According to an analysis of federal data by the Labor Research Association, average union members receive a quarter more in compensation than nonunion workers. Eighty-nine percent of union members have access to employer-sponsored health care, compared to just 67 percent of nonunion workers. Unionized workers receive 26 percent more vacation than nonunion workers.

Unions also benefit nonunion workers. That's thanks to the "union threat effect" whereby anti-union companies meet higher standards in order to prevent workers from becoming angry and organizing. For instance, Princeton researchers found in industries that are 25 percent unionized, average nonunion workers get 7.5 percent more compensation specifically because of unionization's presence.

The flip side is obvious: The more corporations and politicians crush unions, the more all workers suffer. It is no coincidence that as union membership and power has declined under withering anti-union attacks, workers have seen their wages stagnate, pensions slashed, and share of national income hit a 60-year low. As Council on Foreign Relations scholars put it, the decline in unions "is correlated with the early and sharp widening of the U.S. wage gap."

Big Business claims union membership has declined because workers do not want to join unions -- a claim debunked by public-opinion data. In 2002, Harvard University and University of Wisconsin researchers found at least 42 million workers want to be organized into a bargaining unit -- more than double the 16 million unionized workers in America. A 2005 nationwide survey by respected pollster Peter Hart found 53 percent of nonunion workers -- that's more than 50 million people -- want to join a union, if given the choice.

Increasingly, however, workers have no real choice. According to Cornell University experts, 1 in 4 employers illegally fires at least one worker during a union drive, 3 in 4 hire anti-union consultants, and 8 in 10 force workers to attend anti-union meetings. When workers petition the government to enforce laws protecting organizing rights, they are forced to go before the National Labor Relations Board, which is both run by anti-union presidential appointees, and chronically understaffed so as to slow down proceedings. When Democrats have tried to expand workers' union rights by introducing the Employee Free Choice Act, the GOP has prevented a vote on the legislation.

So when GOP lawmakers pledge their commitment to workers at Labor Day celebrations today, remember -- Republicans are waging a war on the very workers they purport to care about.

David Sirota is the author of "Hostile Takeover" (Crown, 2006). He is the co-chair of the Progressive States Network (


Hesitancy of some CBS affiliates to air a powerful Sept. 11 documentary next week proves there's been a chilling effect on the First Amendment

Yahoo! News
Some stations want cursing out of '9/11'
By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer

Broadcasters say the hesitancy of some CBS affiliates to air a powerful Sept. 11 documentary next week proves there's been a chilling effect on the First Amendment since federal regulators boosted penalties for television obscenities after Janet Jackson's breast was exposed at a Super Bowl halftime show.

"This is example No. 1," said Martin Franks, executive vice president of CBS Corp., of the decision by two dozen CBS affiliates to replace or delay "9/11" — which has already aired twice without controversy — over concerns about some of the language used by the firefighters in it.

"We don't think it's appropriate to sanitize the reality of the hell of Sept. 11th," Franks said. "It shows the incredible stress that these heroes were under. To sanitize it in some way robs it of the horror they faced."

Actor Robert De Niro hosts the award-winning documentary, which began as a quest to follow a rookie firefighter on an ordinary day but resulted in the only known video of the first plane striking the World Trade Center and horrific and inspiring scenes of rescue, escape and death. CBS will show it on Sept. 10 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, profanity intact.

Carter G. Phillips, a lawyer for Fox Television Stations Inc., cited the decision by several CBS affiliates to replace the documentary or show it after 10 p.m., the time at which the Federal Communications Commission loosens restrictions, when he spoke last week to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.

Phillips addressed the court as part of a hearing on whether the FCC rushed to judgment in concluding that "NYPD Blue" and three other programs violated decency rules.

Saying the FCC was chilling free speech rights, Phillips mentioned the documentary to show the court how timid broadcast companies had become since the FCC toughened its position toward profanities after the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show on CBS, in which Jackson's breast was briefly bared.

Congress recently boosted the maximum fines the FCC can impose for indecency from $32,500 to $325,000.

So far, about a dozen CBS affiliates have indicated they won't show the documentary, another dozen say they will delay it until later at night and two dozen others are considering what to do.

On Friday, Sinclair Broadcasting became the latest company to say it was delaying the broadcast until after 10 p.m. on its stations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Portland, Maine, saying it was concerned it could face fines.

The announcement came as the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association readied its 3 million members to flood the FCC and CBS with complaints after the documentary airs.

"This isn't an issue of censorship. It's an issue of responsibility to the public," said Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the group, which describes itself as a 29-year-old organization that promotes the biblical ethic of decency.

The documentary first aired on the six-month and one-year anniversaries of the Sept. 11 attacks on the trade center and the Pentagon. This latest showing, on the eve of the five-year anniversary, includes new interviews with many of the firefighters featured in the original, describing how their lives have changed.

Franks said it was an easy decision not to edit the language in the documentary, especially since it has won a George Foster Peabody Award, among others. "It was a much more difficult decision five years ago when the emotions were much more raw and fresh," he said.

Franks said it seemed "dishonest somehow" for the network to cover up the real language five years later because of the current regulatory environment.

However, he said he understood the difficulties of small stations that fear the huge FCC fines. "We're not twisting arms," he said.

FCC spokeswoman Tamara Lipper said the commission routinely takes context into account in any decency analysis.

"We don't police the airwaves. We respond to viewer complaints," Lipper said. "We haven't seen the broadcast in question. It's up to individual stations to decide what they should air or not air."

She noted that "the historical context of 9/11 is important to the context of the broadcast" but said she could not predict how the commission might view the show if it receives complaints.

Sharp promised on Friday that his organization would flood the FCC with complaints, saying nearly 198,000 people already had told the FCC they want the agency to "enforce the law should CBS decide to break it."

CBS is feeling the heat. "Even if all 206 stations decide between now and the 10th to air the program live, what we have gone through for the past two or three weeks is overwhelming evidence of the chill facing broadcasters," Franks said.


The Closets of Karl and Ken

Huffington Post
James Moore
The Closets of Karl and Ken

In July of 2004, Karl Rove was concluding a trip to Palm Springs, California and heading off to manage the reelection campaign of George W. Bush. The president's senior political advisor had settled on a strategy that he was convinced would increase turnout of the conservative Republican base as well as appeal to fundamentalist Christians in the African-American community.

Rove and his lieutenant Ken Mehlman, who ran the Republican National Committee, had targeted eleven swing states as locales to play out the wedge issue of gay marriage. Although they would work closely with the GOP state operations, Rove and Mehlman denied any coordination or involvement. They were, as they often are, lying.

Rove had left a secret behind in the Southern California desert that made bizarrely cynical his decision to use gay issues to motivate GOP voters. His father, who had just died, was gay. Louis Rove had been a prolific smoker and died of lung diseases but he had loved his son and was very proud of his achievements. Although he was not Karl's biological father, Louis was the only father he had ever known because Karl's mother Reba had divorced very early in her son's life. In an interview with Wayne Slater and myself after he had guided the first Bush victory, Rove emphasized that he did not consider Louis his stepfather. "I don't call him Louis," he explained. "He's my father, my adopted father."

Nonetheless, Rove was decidedly circumspect when we asked him questions about his family. Louis and Reba Rove's marriage fell apart in 1969 during Karl's senior year of high school in Utah. Rove told us it was somewhat of a mystery but his father came home Christmas Eve and then returned to Los Angeles where he had taken a job as a geologist with Getty Oil. The family was supposed to move to LA with Louis at the end of the year. "But for whatever reason, that didn't happen," Rove told us. "My mother, who was very good at explaining things without explaining them, said it was not going to happen."

Karl seems to have inherited this particular talent from his mother. What he told us was fundamentally true; what he didn't tell us was the most important part of the story. Louis Rove had informed his wife that he was gay and that he was coming out of the closet and wanted a divorce. After he retired from his job in LA, Louis Rove moved to Palm Springs and befriended other retired gay men. He drank and socialized at the Rainbow Cactus and the Martini Burger and became part of a group of gay men who referred to themselves as "The Old Farts Club." According to his close friend of many years, retired insurance executive Joseph Koons, Louis Rove was one of the best people he knew and that both Louis and his son Karl were comfortable with the father's sexual orientation. Although Karl lovingly accepted his father as a gay man and treated Louis' gay associates with respect, Louis Rove's death was a private matter. His friends knew nothing of a memorial service and no death notice was published in the Palm Springs newspaper.

Rove may have felt his father had a right to a private life but he clearly thinks differently about other homosexuals. This fall Rove and the GOP will once more push the idea of a federal amendment to the constitution to outlaw gay marriage, repeating their silly message that it is a threat to the institution of heterosexual marriage. As nonsensical as these assertions are, there appears to be a legion of Republican voters who believe physically mature adults wake up one morning and decide to stop being heterosexual. Their goal is to marry other individuals of the same sex and destroy the fabric of American culture. The idea that sexual orientation is a biological determination is a notion fundamentalist conservatives cannot countenance. Their God would not make such a mistake.

The zealousness with which Rove and Mehlman pursue an anti-gay agenda for political utility suggests more than just an ambition to win elections. Students of Freud might be able to artfully deconstruct their behavior but even lay analysts can see a bit of repression and self-loathing at work. Maybe Rove has a desire to get back at his father for leaving his mother when he "chose" to be gay. Or perhaps he is fighting his own homo-erotic impulses. His description of George Bush the first time they met goes a bit beyond a geek's admiration of the cool guy quarterback:

"I can literally remember what he was wearing: an Air National Guard flight jacket, cowboy boots, complete with the - in Texas you see it a lot - one of the back pockets will have a circle worn in the pocket from where you carry your tin of snuff, your tin of tobacco. He was exuding more charisma than any one individual should be allowed to have."

Karl has always had an eye for detail and that could explain how Bush's early image has moved through Rove's memory for decades.

But what about RNC chairman Ken Mehlman? His sexual orientation has been the subject of speculation by gay rights advocates for several years and has been discussed on progressive radio talk shows. Mainstream reporters have never asked Mehlman if he is gay but Eric Resnick, a journalist for a gay publication in Cleveland, chased Mehlman down at a GOP fund-raising dinner in Akron. Resnick told Mehlman that he had been outed on blogs and talk radio and he wondered how he justified being gay and pushing an anti-gay agenda. Mehlman was non-responsive. Resnick persisted and finally asked Mehlman if he was gay.

"You have asked a question no one should have to answer," Mehlman responded.

The delicately chosen words annoyed Resnick and John Aravosis of Americablog. According to Aravosis, Mehlman, who is in his early 40s and unmarried, gave a "non-answer, answer."

"He's at the top of his profession in a conservative political party," Aravosis told me last year. "If he's not gay, why wouldn't he react the same way every straight guy does when someone asks them if they are gay? They sort of energetically tell you hell no they're not gay. Mehlman says nothing. Seems like he would want everyone in his party to know he's not gay. Maybe he's a closeted heterosexual."

Mehlman subjected himself to such speculation after deploying a voter profiling mechanism for the 2004 election. The RNC used background data on voters such as what type of car they drive, how much they earn, marital status, the color of their skin, the neighborhood where they live, and other factors to arrive at various political conclusions about individuals and determine if they were likely GOP voters. His political critics have decided it is now fair to talk about what type of profile best fits Mehlman.

Whatever he is, Mehlman and his political consort Rove are driving an issues agenda that is making life even more difficult for millions of Americans dealing with their sexuality. They are being discriminated against for the way they were born in the same manner as were African-Americans when their rights were also disputed by conservatives. And that's what turns the personal lives of Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman into public affairs. They promulgate policies that invade the privacy of gay and lesbian Americans while covering up their own backgrounds.

And it is time for their hypocrisy to come out of the closet.

(This information is taken from our new book, "The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power.")


Democrats see support for anti-Rumsfeld vote

Democrats see support for anti-Rumsfeld vote
By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A resolution demanding the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after he compared Iraq war critics to Nazi appeasers has strong support among U.S. Senate Democrats, a senior Democrat said on Sunday.

A resolution against Rumsfeld, long a lightning rod for criticism of the Iraq war, would struggle to be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate and would anyway not be binding on the administration of President George W. Bush.

But Democrats, who have a strong chance to win back control of at least one chamber of Congress in November mid-term elections, will use it to send a message that the administration's policies in Iraq are failing, New York Sen. Charles Schumer said.

"It says that our policies are not going well," Schumer, chairman of the Senate Democrats' campaign committee for the November elections, told Fox News Sunday.

"And the reason is not that we shouldn't fight a strong war on terror, but Rumsfeld's not doing a very good job of it."

Schumer said there was a "a lot of sentiment" among Senate Democrats to push for a resolution, and noted that it was not just Democrats that have called for Rumsfeld to step down -- a Republican candidate for the Senate from New Jersey, Thomas H. Kean Jr., did so on Saturday.

California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer has vowed to offer a resolution calling on Bush to name a new defense secretary, saying she was outraged by Rumsfeld's comments that appeared to compare Iraq war critics to appeasers of Nazi Germany.

A similar resolution against the defense secretary is being considered by House Democrats.

Rumsfeld says his remarks in a speech last week were misrepresented. Bush has rejected previous calls for Rumsfeld to quit.

Another senior Democrat, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, told ABC's "This Week" he would probably support a no-confidence resolution against Rumsfeld.

The administration has begun a new push to bolster sagging public support for the war ahead of the elections, with Bush framing the debate as a choice between staying the course or giving in to terrorists. Republicans argue that Democrats are weak on security issues and would "cut and run" in Iraq.

"I think Secretary Rumsfeld has done an excellent job. He'll be remembered as one of the great secretaries of defense," Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told CBS's "Face the Nation".

McConnell said Democrats wanted to "wave the white flag" on the Iraq war. He said the Republican-run Senate would dwell on national security issues all through September.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said on "Face the Nation" that "of course" Rumsfeld should resign, adding that it was not smart to attack the majority of Americans who thought the war in Iraq was a mistake.

"Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President (Dick) Cheney have gone on television saying people who disagree with the president are essentially like Nazi appeasers. When you start attacking voters out of your frustration, that is not a good thing for winning elections," Dean said