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KN4M 07-10-02

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  • robalini
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Dubya: Powell & Condi Are My House Niggers!
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 10, 2002
      Please send as far and wide as possible.


      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Dubya: "Powell & Condi Are My House Niggers!"

      Bush Defends Himself Against NAACP
      Mon Jul 8, 7:24 PM ET

      HOUSTON (AP) - The day after the NAACP chairman assailed President
      Bush's record on civil rights, its other top leader chided him for
      skipping a chance to speak at the group's annual convention.

      "You can't be the president of all the people when you only want to
      deal with some of the people," NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said
      Monday during a speech at the convention.

      Bush addressed the meeting as a presidential candidate in 2000, but
      has declined written invitations Mfume for the past two years.

      Mfume called Bush "a likable fellow," but added he doesn't like "his
      presidential practice of divide and conquer when it comes to black
      organizations and black people."

      At a White House news conference, Bush was asked to respond to the
      NAACP's feeling that he has slighted the group, and to general
      criticism that his civil rights record has been lackluster.

      Referring to his black secretary of state and national security
      adviser, Bush replied: "Let's see there I was sitting around the
      table with foreign leaders, looking at Colin Powell and Condi Rice."
      He punctuated the comment by shaking his head in disgust.

      Julian Bond, the NAACP board chairman, opened the group's convention
      Sunday night with a speech that attacked the Bush administration's
      record on civil rights.

      Two years ago, Bush "promised to enforce the civil rights laws," Bond
      said. "We knew he was in the oil business — we just didn't know it
      was snake oil."






      In a thermonuclear revelation on the eve of George W.
      Bush's "corporate responsibility" speech, the Wall Street Journal,
      Financial Times, and other sources are reporting yet another new and
      huge corporate rip-off scandal linked to Bush, this one involving the
      Merck pharmaceutical corporation, and its CEO Raymond Gilmartin.

      According to breaking coverage, Merck booked $12.4 billion in
      revenues in the past three years, which it never received.

      That's twelve BILLION four hundred MILLION dollars in phony receipts,
      over three years.

      On average, over four BILLION dollars per year.

      More to the point: Merck CEO Raymond Gilmartin, just like Enron's
      Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay, is a major Republican contributor with
      extremely close ties to George W. Bush and his administration. During
      the Bush transition, when energy policy was being dictated by Enron
      and the energy corporations, Bush appointed Merck's Gilmartin to his
      top advisory committee for formulating health policy, including
      pharmaceutical and Medicare policy, for the new administration.

      Thereafter, Gilmartin triggered tens of millions of dollars to
      support front groups to back a phony Republican prescription drug
      bill for seniors and to counter the Democrats' substantive plan. The
      money has gone to pay for, among other things, TV ad campaigns
      against Democrats.

      The Merck revelations have accelerated the political meltdown of the
      Bush Administration and the Republican Party, coming in the aftermath
      of jumbo scandals that have hit Enron and Trent Lott's WorldCom.

      The numbers tell part of the story:

      In the 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 (to date) election cycles, Merck's
      Political Action Committee donated, respectively, $319,578 and
      (again, to date) $259, 653 to federal political candidates.

      In 1999-2000, 72 percent of the total went to Republican candidates
      and PACs in 2001-2002, so far, 64 percent of the total has gone to
      Republican candidates and PACs.

      Merck's CEO, Raymond Gilmartin, is also a big individual G.O.P. donor.

      Since 1999, Gilmartin has contributed $74,000 of his own money to
      federal political campaigns.

      More than half of that amount -- $40,000 -- has gone directly to the
      Republican National Committee.

      Another $20,000 of it has gone to individual Republican candidates
      and their PACs.

      A total of $10,000 has gone to Merck's pro-G.O.P. PAC.

      Which leaves a whopping $4,000 -- about five percent of the total --
      for Democrats.

      But it is the direct and close political clout that Merck and Ray
      Gilmartin received in dictating Bush policy that make this latest
      scandal look like Enron redux -- or, befitting the corporation
      involved, Bush's Enron acid reflux.

      It turns out that on two of the most pressing issues facing the
      nation, energy and prescription drugs, Dubya put his Administration's
      policy early on in the hands of two corporate mega-contributors --
      who turn out also, it seems, to be corporate mega-crooks! Bush, Lay,
      and Gilmartin. A trifecta of corporate sleaze buddies.

      A bunch of crooks well schooled in the arts of corporate deception
      and stock pumping that Dubya apparently learned when he was on the
      audit board of Harken Energy.


      Bush has managed so far successfully to stonewall over energy and
      Enron. Will he succeed with Merck and medicine as well? will
      Gilmartin become Bush's "Ray Boy"?

      Or will the Media Whores finally, FINALLY, get real?

      The meltdown accelerates.

      Developing radioactively.....



      Look out, George!
      In his new gloves-off daily journal, Joe Conason pounds President
      Bush for his evasive and ever-changing accounts of his own stock scam.

      Editor's note: Salon is proud to present the first installment of Joe
      Conason's daily Web journal. Salon's longtime political columnist
      will bring his gloves-off approach to the news -- and to the Bush
      administration -- every day, updating it as events demand. One day a
      week, it will be available exclusively to Salon Premium subscribers.
      - - - - - - - - - - - -
      By Joe Conason

      July 9, 2002 | What a time it is -- in this new dawn of "corporate
      responsibility" -- to be writing a daily journal online. My first
      deadline became easier to contemplate as I watched the president
      dodge his way through the Monday post-holiday White House press
      conference that punctuated his journey from the Kennebunkport golf
      course to Wall Street. George W. Bush, the ultimate American insider,
      has no desire to discuss the ways he made his millions. And his
      impatience with such impertinence is beginning to show.

      Reading from an aggressive text prepared by Karl Rove, Bush tried to
      strike a tone of command within moments of stepping to the podium.
      Rather than badger him about ethical problems from his business
      career, he suggested, those Senate Democrats ought to get back to the
      nation's real business. They are playing politics, he suggested,
      while our troops languish without critical funding in a time of war.
      They should be passing his trade legislation, his energy bill, his
      pension protections and his defense appropriations, rather than
      asking questions about him.

      But the ordinarily docile White House press corps, while chuckling
      appreciatively at the president's wisecracks, wasn't entirely buying
      that line. "This is recycled ... stuff," he said in response to the
      first question about his 1990 sale of Harken Energy stock, and the
      reporters laughed. The questions continued, however, and the answers
      weren't impressive.

      George W. Bush has offered varying accounts over the past decade of
      his dealings as a Harken director. Back when he was running for Texas
      governor in 1994, he blamed the Securities and Exchange Commission
      for misplacing the disclosure forms he was supposed to file about his
      insider sale of 212,000 shares of Harken stock. At another point, he
      blamed the Harken lawyers, even though the filing wasn't their
      responsibility at all. Lately, his spokesman has tried to blame his
      own attorney (who now serves as the U.S. ambassador to Saudi
      Arabia). "I still haven't figured it out completely," Bush shrugged
      on Monday afternoon.

      In other words, everybody was responsible for his failure to observe
      the securities laws except him. It sounded a bit tinny when he
      reminded those listening to his press conference that his very
      favorite theme is "a renewed sense of [personal] responsibility."

      As we all know by now, Bush's corporate maneuvering has been "fully
      vetted." He expanded that line of defense when he claimed that the
      SEC examined all the aspects of his conduct at Harken "in a very
      thorough way." Exactly how thorough we may never know, since he
      declined to answer whether he would allow the SEC to release the
      entire file of its investigation into his controversial Harken
      trades. "This is old politics," he replied, complaining that the
      issue comes up every time he runs for office.

      It keeps coming up, of course, because his story is so implausible.
      On Monday he tried to argue that he had actually lost a windfall by
      selling when he did, because 14 months later the stock had risen to
      twice the amount he realized from the June 1990 sale. That left out
      the most relevant financial history -- notably, that within two
      months after he sold his shares, Harken reported a devastating second-
      quarter loss of more than $20 million, and moreover that by December
      1990 those same shares were trading at $1.25, or less than a third of
      the $4 price he had gotten when he got out.

      Someone did have the temerity to inquire whether Bush had played any
      role in Harken's dubious "sale" of an entity called Aloha Petroleum
      (as in "aloha, suckers") to its own officers, a sham transaction that
      put lipstick on Harken to attract gullible investors. The president
      couldn't remember what he thought about the Aloha deal, saying he
      would have to consult the directors' minutes. Anyway, he added, that
      incident "and all matters relating to Harken were fully looked into
      by the SEC." And besides, the company had restated its phony earnings
      when ordered to by the SEC some time later. So what was the problem?

      What the president didn't mention -- perhaps because nobody asked --
      was that his father's appointees and his own personal attorney were
      running the SEC when he was investigated. The agency's chairman was
      an ardent loyalist named Richard Breeden, who had served as a top
      domestic policy aide to George Herbert Walker Bush. (He is now the
      court-appointed overseer of WorldCom.) Its general counsel was James
      Doty, the laywer who had handled the sale of the Texas Rangers
      baseball team to Dubya's syndicate only two years earlier.

      A few years ago, such obviously compromised presidential
      relationships would have provoked exclamations of outrage on the
      editorial pages of the nation's great newspapers, culminating in
      demands for a congressional investigation and even an independent
      counsel. Reporters would have camped out at the SEC to ambush the
      chairman with arms outstretched, harassing him to deliver those files
      about the president. The laughter in the press room and the newsrooms
      and the TV studios would have been anything but friendly, and the
      chatter would soon have turned to dark musings about the character of
      the man inhabiting the Oval Office. But that was when the president's
      name was Clinton, not Bush.
      - - - - - - - - - - - -
      About the writer
      Joe Conason writes a daily journal for Salon. His column runs in the
      New York Observer.



      COMMENT | June 24, 2002

      Going Down the Road
      Dressed for Success

      Couple of years ago, Susan DeMarco and I were doing our radio talk
      show, Chat & Chew, on the topic of sweatshop goods. A lady from
      Jackson, Mississippi, called to say that whenever she goes into a
      store to shop for clothing, she always tries to find a manager and
      asks, "Can you tell me where your made-in-the-USA section is?" Good
      question. Go into any clothing department and everything in there--
      from overcoats to undies, hats to shoes--bears labels that shout:
      made in China, Bangladesh, El Salvador, the Philippines...everywhere
      but the US of A. This is not only in the Wal-Marts and Targets but
      also in the upscale Talbotses and Abercrombie & Fitches.

      It's not that Americans are unable to make quality stuff, but the
      ugly fact is that corporations have abandoned US workers and
      communities in hot pursuit of ever-fatter profits, rushing off to the
      lowest-wage hellholes they can find to cut and sew their garments.
      Instead of paying even a minimum wage of $5.15 an hour here, they can
      get wage slaves at 13 cents an hour in China--then ship the goods
      back here without lowering the price they charge us. The corporations
      gleefully pocket the difference in labor costs--and claim that this
      is the "magic" of the new global market at work. It is certainly
      magic for them.

      For us it is globaloney--just the same old greed. But what's a
      consumer to do? Even if a garment is made in the United States, some
      companies also run sweatshops here, with workers, usually recent
      immigrants, crammed into basement "contract shops," making less than
      minimum wage. How can we combat the scourge of sweatshops everywhere?
      Government could take action, but even under Bill Clinton, it was
      Nike, Gap, Ralph Lauren and other bigwigs that dominated the
      discussion, so Washington did nothing but dabble and dawdle. Of
      course, under King George the W, even discussion has stopped.

      SweatX Is Chic

      The good news is that people themselves--especially children and
      young people--see sweatshops as a moral abomination, putting them
      (yet again) well ahead of officialdom. Major groups like United
      Students Against Sweatshops, the National Labor Committee, Global
      Exchange and the garment union UNITE have been aggressively exposing,
      agitating and organizing against sweatshop labor. As this political
      organizing expands, an important assault on sweatshops has come from
      the one place the multibillion-dollar industry least expects: The
      marketplace itself.

      SweatX is a new brand of garment in every sense of the word. The Hot
      Fudge Social Venture Fund, set up by Ben Cohen, the puckish
      entrepreneur and social activist of Ben & Jerry's ice cream fame, has
      invested $1 million to date in a brand-new garment business in Los
      Angeles. The business, called teamX, is based on a thoroughly radical
      principle: "Garment workers don't have to be exploited in order to
      operate a financially successful apparel factory." Imagine.

      Inspired and informed by Spain's Mondragon Industrial Cooperatives (a
      fifty-year-old network of successful employee-owned businesses:
      www.mcc.es), teamX is organized as a worker-owned co-op that (1) is a
      union shop organized by UNITE; (2) pays a living wage starting at
      $8.50 an hour; (3) provides good healthcare, a pension and a share of
      profits through co-op ownership; (4) practices the "solidarity
      ratio," in which no executive is paid more than eight times what the
      lowest-paid worker gets; and (5) intends to make a profit, grow and
      spread its progressive seed.

      This is no touchie-feelie, froufrou social exercise but a bottom-line
      business initiative to show that doing well can also mean doing good.
      Pierre Ferrari's twenty-five years in the corporate world ranges from
      being VP of Coca-Cola to being director of Ben & Jerry's...to now
      being CEO of teamX. These entrepreneurial folks believed that there
      had to be a better way than sweatshops. Ferrari immersed himself in
      the economics of garment production. His most shocking (and
      enlightening) discovery was that a sweatshop worker in the United
      States gets about 25 cents to make a T-shirt that retails for as much
      as 18 bucks. Let's say that a worker grosses about $9,000 a year.
      Poverty. What if you doubled the wage--to 50 cents per shirt? The
      increase would not affect the buyer, but that worker would suddenly
      be getting $18,000 a year. Not exactly a fortune, but a livable
      wage. "Come on," says Ferrari, "they're exploiting people for a lousy
      25 cents?"

      Building the Brand

      This March, twenty teamX employee-owners, many of whom previously had
      been sweatshop workers, began production in Los Angeles on their
      company's first line of stylish shirts, shorts, caps and other casual
      wear, working with state-of-the-art equipment in a brand-new
      factory. "I've been working in clothing for twenty years, and I never
      had a paid holiday before this," one of the employees told the Los
      Angeles Times. A small, experienced team of managers has been
      assembled, drawing especially on some older managers who are not
      merely chasing bucks but looking to add a moral dimension to their
      work lives.

      To build the brand identity, teamX is initially targeting the
      activist community--campuses, unions, churches, local governments,
      nonprofits, etc. (The T-shirts for my Rolling Thunder Downhome
      Democracy Tour proudly bear the SweatX label.) This "market of
      conscience" alone has a huge and virtually untapped potential--as
      Ferrari discovered, for example, unions buy a lot of T-shirts for
      rallies, organizing drives and such. After Oprah recently featured
      teamX on her show, the phones began ringing off the hook with orders,
      and Ferrari now expects this upstart startup to break even by July--
      an investment miracle by anyone's standards.

      By tapping this growing market of conscience, SweatX not only can be
      successful but will put the lie to the garment industry's cynical
      assertion that low wages are an inevitable component of
      globalization. We can help by talking to our local organizations,
      clothing store managers, school board members and others, introducing
      them to the SweatX possibility (www.sweatx.net), showing with our
      dollars that commerce and conscience can cohabitate.

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