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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."
NEW RIP-OFF BOMBSHELL!!
MERCK PHARMACEUTICALS INFLATED STATEMENTS BY $$$ BILLIONS
MERCK CEO IS TOP BUSH ADVISOR: THE LATEST GOP KENNY BOY
BUSH UP TO HIS NECK IN MERCK MUCK
DUBYA'S ENRON ACID REFLUX
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
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 --
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.
AND THESE ARE THE MEN RUNNING THE SHOW AT THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE!!
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.
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
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
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
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
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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