News Release Archive - 2004

Perspectives on the Cost of War: * Iraqi Family * American Families * U.S. Soldiers * U.S. Taxpayers

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KHALID JARRAR
FAIZA JARRAR
RAED JARRAR
The Jarrar family lives in Baghdad, and has set up a blog listed below. Khalid Jarrar said today: “The costs of war have been so many innocent souls, Iraqi and American souls, and the destruction of a country. … Explosions outside our home are common. … There isn’t any political process, there is a military process that is hoped to accomplish political goals. The government is planning to attack, with the help of the American army, anyone who doesn’t agree with it. The resistance is widely respected by Iraqis, terrorism is widely condemned. People generally support the attacks on the American army, as it’s an occupation army now. There are many reasons for this — religious reasons, patriotic reasons, and even for revenge — the American army has killed over 13,000 civilians and is bombing houses in different places. Children and women are dying. All the families of those are possible fighters.”
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TERI WILLIS ALLISON
NANCY LESSIN
Author of the recent article “The Costs of War: A Mother’s View,” Allison said today: “I know something about the costs of an unjust war, for my son, Nick — an infantryman in the U.S. Army — is fighting one in Iraq. I don’t speak for my son. I couldn’t even if I wanted to, for all I hear through the Mom Filter is: ‘I’m fine, Mom, don’t worry, I’m fine, everything is fine, fine, fine, we’re fine, just fine.’ But I can tell you what some of the costs are as I live and breathe them.” Lessin is a founder of Military Families Speak Out. She is in contact with close relatives of the 343rd Quartermaster Company soldiers who refused to take orders for a “suicide mission.”
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ANTHONY SWOFFORD
Author of the book Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles, Swofford said today: “The crucial thing is what’s happening on the ground. We still don’t know what the plan is for Iraq. We’ve simply been treated to justifications for the invasion of Iraq under the banner of the ‘war on terror,’ which is a conveniently open-ended enterprise. We need to begin to understand why we’re there, when we’re getting out. What has happened is that dissent has been crushed under the weight of endless misinformation.”
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MIRIAM PEMBERTON
ERIK LEAVER
Peace and security editor for Foreign Policy In Focus, Pemberton said today: “Pentagon officials are now saying they will be requesting about $70 billion to pay for the next phase of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, raising the monthly cost to $5.8 billion per month. In perspective, adjusted for inflation, Vietnam cost $5.1 billion per month. The administration is downplaying this news, saying the final figure has not been determined. … Back before the war, chief White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey predicted it could cost between $100 and $200 billion. The administration disputed this, predicting a cost of $50 billion, and fired him.” Pemberton testified before Congress in 2002 on the estimated costs of the war. Leaver is policy outreach director for Foreign Policy In Focus. He said today: “The President promised that with the ‘transfer of power’ in June, things would be getting better in Iraq. In fact, the situation has become far more dangerous and far more costly. This new request is the highest to date for military operations in Iraq.” Leaver is a co-author of the report “A Failed ‘Transition’: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War” from the Institute for Policy Studies.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Eyewitness Accounts of Actions by Republican-Funded Organization; Group Accused of Voter Registration Fraud in Three Swing States

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Librarians in Oregon and Pennsylvania are providing eyewitness accounts of voter registration activities of Sproul and Associates, a group which has received $488,000 from the Republican National Committee.

Employees of Sproul and Associates in Nevada have said that they witnessed supervisors tearing up completed registration forms from Democrats. The Associated Press has reported that “a [Nevada] state judge refused to reopen registration for Clark County residents whose voter applications might have been destroyed by [the] Republican-funded group. … Officials at the Nevada secretary of state’s office, the state attorney general’s office and the FBI said they were looking into whether state or federal laws were broken.” The Oregon attorney general has also launched an investigation into the activities of the group.
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HOLLY MCCULLOUGH
Holly McCullough is the special assistant to the director at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She said today: “Sproul and Associates employees called us to request space outside our libraries to do non-partisan voter registration. In every initial conversation the firm said they were working for America Votes, which I researched and did find to be a group doing non-partisan registration. I agreed to allow the group to set up at the libraries but asked them to confirm that they would be doing no issue advocacy and that the registration [would] remain strictly non-partisan. They agreed completely with this. However, soon after the temporary workers they hired showed up at our Woods Run location I received a call from Ryan Hughes, the location manager, saying customers had complained about the behavior of the canvassers. Hughes said a customer came in the library Sept. 7 and said ‘There’s this person out there asking me who I was voting for.’ We also had the same complaint from a customer at another location. Upon contacting Sproul and Associates they apologized and said that they were doing ‘market research’ at some locations but that they would make sure that it stopped. I was so concerned [about] these complaints that I did further research and found out that Sproul and Associates is absolutely not working for America Votes and is in fact a Republican-funded partisan organization. … At that time I asked again what organization they were working for and they said ‘America Votes.’ I then asked them to give me the contact information for that organization. After being put on hold someone from the office came back and said to me that ‘America Votes is a project of Sproul and Associates originating from this office. [pause] There is a partisan organization with that same name.'”

MEGHAN O’FLAHERTY
Meghan O’Flaherty is headquarters library manager for Jackson County Library Services in Oregon. She said today: “On September 9, Sproul and Associates faxed a letter to the library on Sproul and Associates letterhead. It said: ‘To Whom It May Concern: Our firm has been contracted to help coordinate a national non-partisan voter registration drive, America Votes! in several states across the nation. … We would like to be able to register people to vote in front of your location(s). … We will equally register all those who wish to register to vote.’ The letter was signed by Sue Noel and Gary Bae of Sproul and Associates. Before granting permission I wanted to make sure that this was truly a non-partisan voter registration drive, so I did a Google search on ‘America Votes!’ and found www.americavotes.org, a coalition of many groups including the NAACP, MoveOn.org, the Sierra Club, etc. Groups which are usually associated with support for liberal or Democratic Party issues. At this point I became suspicious of the ‘non-partisan’ part of the letter, but also wondered why the letter I received hadn’t come from the Oregon coordinator of America Votes instead of a firm in Arizona. So I e-mailed Kevin Looper, the Oregon coordinator [for America Votes], to ask if this letter had truly come from America Votes and if they had contracted with Sproul and Associates. Mr. Looper wrote back, saying: ‘… To my knowledge, there is no firm commissioned to do voter registration on our behalf. … ‘ Three other Oregon libraries [also] said they had also been contacted by Sproul and Associates. Cindy Gibbon from Multnomah County said that when she was contacted Sproul and Associates were calling their effort ‘Project America Votes.'”
Background Information:

The Los Angeles Times reported on October 14, 2004: “Oregon’s attorney general opened a criminal investigation Wednesday into allegations that Democratic voter registration forms were destroyed or discarded by a political consulting firm working for the Republican National Committee. The allegations involve a voter registration drive conducted by Sproul and Associates, a Phoenix-based consulting organization that was hired by the Republican National Committee earlier this year and is headed up by the former executive director of the Arizona Republican Committee, Nathan Sproul.”

Nathan Sproul’s group has received at least $488,000 from the RNC, according to the Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics. The group operated under the names America Votes or Project America Votes. There already is a voter registration organization named America Votes, which says it represents a coalition of groups with a combined membership of 20 million people. An associate editor of the Oregonian, David Sarasohn, wrote on October 17 that “Nathan Sproul then said that he was just using the name, and that he was surprised to learn that there was another America Votes. That’s like a new sneaker company saying it didn’t realize the name ‘Nike’ was taken. … A canvasser in Oregon said that he’d been instructed to accept registrations only from Republicans, and that he ‘might’ destroy those from Democrats. In Nevada, Eric Russell, a former employee of the Sproul operation, filed an affidavit saying he was told to ask prospective voters their choice for president, and not to register those not supporting President Bush. ‘I personally witnessed my supervisor … destroy completed registration forms …,’ said Russell. The destroyed forms were Democrats’. … Russell reportedly provided Nevada authorities with some torn-up registration forms retrieved from the company garbage.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Who Profits From This War?

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PRATAP CHATTERJEE
Chatterjee is author of the new book Iraq Inc. and has traveled to Iraq twice. He said today: “Nineteen months after the invasion, most services [in Iraq] have not been restored, the bills have reached astronomical proportions and Iraqis have very few jobs. Iraqi security guards get less than 1 percent of their foreign counterparts for the same work, the average Iraqi worker is paid $100 a month while truck drivers from the United States are paid $8,000 for work with similar skills by Halliburton, and American consultants provide grants of less than $100,000 for Iraqi organizations for a full year of work while paying individual expatriate employees more than that. It is small wonder that most of the infrastructure is hardly improved from pre-war levels.”

Chatterjee added: “Today, while [many of these private] companies continue to be guaranteed profits as high as 25 percent, few of them have done a decent job for the Iraqis, let alone the American taxpayer. Halliburton’s overcharging for supplying oil to the military is only the tip of the iceberg — private security companies are charging double by using shell companies in the Cayman Islands. Companies hired to supervise elections are squandering 90 percent of their money on expensive expatriate advisors while ignoring local experts. Television executives hired by the Pentagon pay themselves $200 an hour while refusing to pay local staff a similar sum for a whole month’s work. And as if wasting money wasn’t bad enough, private contractors have been caught raping prisoners and stealing equipment from the very places they were hired to repair. Today, 18 months after the fall of Baghdad, millions of Iraqis are still without proper electricity, clean water and health care despite having surrendered tens of billions of dollars of their own oil revenue.” Pratap Chatterjee is the managing editor of CorpWatch.
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ANTONIA JUHASZ
Juhasz’s op-ed article titled “A Nice Little War to Fill the Coffers” appeared in the Los Angeles Times on October 14. According to Juhasz: “Halliburton, far and away the largest recipient of Iraq reconstruction dollars with about $18 billion in contracts, has seen revenues increase by 80 percent in the first quarter of 2004 compared with the same quarter of 2003, according to the Financial Times. These revenues reflect ‘steep profits from their Iraq operations.’ Next in line is the Bechtel Group of San Francisco, with nearly $3 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts. In fact, revenues generated outside the United States have increased by 158 percent since 2003 for Bechtel — turning around a three-year slump in that category. Helping to boost these bottom lines are rules [and orders] put into place by L. Paul Bremer III, the head of the Bush administration’s now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Among them are ‘orders’ that ensure that none of the profits made by contractors have to be reinvested in the fledging Iraqi economy or in helping with reconstruction. Instead, every last penny can be sent back to the United States. The orders also make it difficult, come January, for an elected Iraqi government to overturn such rules. … Not surprisingly, some of the profits generated by the war in Iraq appear to be making their way into Republican Party coffers. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, each of these corporations is among the leaders in its industry in 2003-2004 election-cycle contributions, with most of the donations going to Republicans.”

Juhasz also points out: “The Bremer orders control every aspect of Iraqi life — from the use of car horns to the privatization of state-owned enterprises. … Orders No. 57 and No. 77 ensure the implementation of the orders by placing U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector generals in every government ministry, with five-year terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs, employees and regulations. Order No. 17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq’s laws. Even if they, say, kill someone or cause an environmental disaster, the injured party cannot turn to the Iraqi legal system. Rather, the charges must be brought to U.S. courts. With few reconstruction projects underway and with Bremer’s rules favoring U.S. corporations, there has been little opportunity for Iraqis to go back to work, leaving nearly 2 million unemployed 1 1/2 years after the invasion. … Clearly, the Bremer orders fundamentally altered Iraq’s existing laws. For this reason, they are also illegal. Transformation of an occupied country’s laws violates the Hague regulations of 1907 (ratified by the United States) and the U.S. Army’s Law of Land Warfare. Indeed, in a leaked memo, the British attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, warned Prime Minister Tony Blair that ‘major structural economic reforms would not be authorized by international law.'” Juhasz is a project director with the International Forum on Globalization and a Foreign Policy In Focus scholar.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Bush Rebuffed Plan for Other Nations’ Troops in Iraq; U.S. Setting Stage for Rigged Iraqi Elections?

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Newsday has reported that “President George W. Bush rebuffed a plan last month for a Muslim peacekeeping force that would have helped the United Nations organize elections in Iraq, according to Saudi and Iraqi officials.”

The paper reported: “As a result, the UN continues to have a skeletal presence in Iraq, with only four staff members working full time on preparing for elections set for the end of January. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has refused to establish a new UN headquarters in Baghdad unless countries commit troops for a special force to protect it. … Diplomats said Annan accepted the plan. But the Bush administration objected because the special force would have been controlled by the UN instead of by U.S. military officers who run the Multi-National Force in Iraq.”

According to the Associated Press, White House spokesman Scott McClellan “said the interim Iraqi government in Baghdad had ‘some real concerns’ about having troops from a neighboring country inside Iraq.”

But the Newsday report, which was published on Oct. 18, stated that “Iraqi officials already had worked out a deal with the Saudis ruling out the involvement of any country that borders Iraq.” The report stated that, according Saudi sources, “Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Algeria and Morocco were ‘seriously interested'” in contributing troops to fulfill the plan.

JAMES PAUL
Executive director of the Global Policy Forum, which monitors the UN, Paul said today: “The article in Newsday shows that the U.S. government is preventing fair elections, as overseen by an impartial UN staff. Washington wants a free hand to manipulate these elections and get its cronies into office. So much for the claim that the U.S. is bringing democracy to Iraq. … My sources tell me that two nations — Georgia and Fiji — offered troops to a similar effort.”
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FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois and author of the new book Destroying World Order, Boyle said today: “The only way to have a free, fair and democratic election would be for the United States and the United Kingdom to terminate their role as the Belligerent Occupants of Iraq, withdraw, and then permit the United Nations to organize elections. It recently did this in East Timor.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Whose Vote Counts?

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WILLIAM BOONE
Boone is a professor of political science at Clark Atlanta University. He said today: “In this election cycle many problems remain unresolved — and many of those problems disproportionately impact African-American and Hispanic communities. One major problem is the confusing patchwork of rules and regulations governing the restoration of voting rights of ex-felons. In some states this is not possible at all, causing permanent disenfranchisement. In others, there is a convoluted process that would allow for restoration, but an affirmative attempt is not made by officials to inform or help the ex-felon navigate this road. Also, another major problem is the patchwork of registration systems and the continuing practice of purging of voter rolls. In some states, voters are dropped from rolls if they do not vote for a few election cycles — something that may happen especially if the voter finds no candidate worth supporting. Many people will never hear that they’ve been dropped from the rolls — and will find themselves unable to vote on election day. Provisional ballots will not help such people, either, because those are meant to help people who are registered; these people will appear as if they are unregistered.”

MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL
Harris-Lacewell is a professor at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. She said today: “The electoral college is the single most effective disenfranchising mechanism in the American political system. … Entire groups of voters become effectively disenfranchised simply because they live near large groups of people who are very different from them. For example, African-Americans are concentrated in states that are safely in the Republican column. The parties, candidates, and platforms do not have to respond to their interests. The electoral college makes black votes largely irrelevant to presidential politics. …. All of the states in which the African-American population exceeds 25 percent are safely in with the Republican column, with the exception of Maryland. This means that neither Democrats nor Republicans need to worry about the black vote, because it is captured and silenced by the solidly Republican South where most African-Americans still live. … By the same logic, deeply conservative Republicans living in bright red states can also be safely ignored, as can the most progressive Democrats of the deep blue states.”

She added: “[However,] not everyone in the safe states is silenced. While the candidates focus on the 21 swing states, the party fundraisers have cultivated the other 29 states. Plenty of big name Democrats and Republicans make their way to safe states like New York, California, Alabama, and Illinois. But they don’t come to hold town hall meetings, to advertise their candidate’s position, or to listen to the concerns of people in the state. They come to attend intimate and expense fundraising events. Money from safe states spends very well in swing states. The wealthy, elite partisans of safe states can still have their concerns addressed, but the ordinary, loyal partisan voters are ignored.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Major Economic Issues: * Budget Deficit * Health Care * Social Security * Minimum Wage

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WILLIAM SPRIGGS
An economist and editor of the book The State of Black America 1999, Spriggs said today: “Bush says that he plans to cut the budget deficit in half. For this fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit of $415 billion. That’s slightly more than the entire non-military, non-homeland security discretionary budget (of $391 billion). Bush says he’s going to keep all the tax cuts. So how does he plan to cut the deficit in half? Does he plan to target specific programs? Or is he going to cut every item — from Small Business to Agriculture to Labor to Education to health research, and on — in the non-military discretionary budget by 50 percent?”

Dr. CLAUDIA FEGAN
President of Physicians for a National Health Plan, Fegan said today: “It’s unfortunate that neither Bush or Kerry is really addressing the needs of the U.S. public on health care. Bush talks about Medical Savings Accounts, but the General Accounting Office has found that they would actually increase Medicare costs. Meanwhile, Kerry’s plan will still leave 17 million people uninsured.” Fegan is co-author of the book “Universal Health Care: What the United States Can Learn from the Canadian Experience.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and co-author of Social Security: The Phony Crisis, said today: “Moderator Bob Shieffer told the candidates in last night’s presidential debate that Social Security was ‘running out of money.’ This is false. According to the Social Security Trustees’ Report, the standard source for economists as well as both the Bush administration and Kerry campaign, the program can pay all promised benefits without any changes at all for the next 38 years. Beyond that, it could still pay a benefit larger (in real, inflation-adjusted dollars) than beneficiaries enjoy today — indefinitely. It is unfortunate that what tens of millions of Americans heard about Social Security last night is an urban legend. If Social Security were a private rather than a public entity, it would actually be able to sue journalists for statements like this and win.”
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CHARLES SHEKETOFF
Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. He said today: “Oregon Labor Commissioner Dan Gardner recently announced that Oregon’s minimum wage will increase from $7.05 to $7.25 this Jan. 1 under a ballot initiative enacted in 2002 that raised the state’s minimum wage and requires an annual cost of living adjustment. Oregonians bucked the trend out of Washington, D.C. and gave a small but important boost to low-wage workers. While Bush administration tax cuts have favored the wealthy few, Oregonians’ minimum wage hike favors thousands of hard-working low-income families. This is a family-friendly policy that has always enjoyed the strong support of Oregon voters.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Electoral Equality: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

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JULIE BROWN
Brown is the campaign director for Make Your Vote Count, a Colorado group supporting Amendment 36, which would proportionally allocate Colorado’s nine electoral college votes. She said today: “In 1893, Colorado defied the critics and became the first state to give women the right to vote. On Nov. 2, Colorado has the opportunity to take the next step by becoming the first state to actually enshrine the principle of one person, one vote into the presidential election. Amendment 36 would change the way Colorado allocates its electoral votes for president. The outdated ‘winner take all’ system would be replaced by a proportional system based on the popular vote. … Amendment 36 is not a radical idea. It is an old idea that seeks to restore representative government to the people.”
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ALEXANDER KEYSSAR
Keyssar is Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Professor of History and Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government and the author of The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States. He said today: “In the 2000 election, an elector in South Dakota represented 230,000 people while an elector in New York represented 550,000. George W. Bush won the election without winning the popular vote because he was victorious in three-quarters of the states that had fewer than ten electoral votes.”

VIKRAM AMAR
Amar is a law professor at University of California Hastings College of the Law. He said today: “We’re set to pick a chief executive via an electoral college system that was designed in part to cater to slavery and to accommodate the disfranchisement of women. … Conventional wisdom holds that this system was originally aimed at giving smaller states a boost. … [However] in a system in which each state awards electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, large states loom, well, large. So do swing states, where each side focuses its campaign because it has a realistic chance to win a statewide majority and thus the state’s entire electoral bloc. If helping small states does not really explain the electoral college, what does?”

Amar continued: “At the founding of the country, the deepest schisms ran not between large and small states but between North and South. … At the Constitutional Convention, when Pennsylvania’s James Wilson proposed direct national election for the president, Virginia’s James Madison countered that such a system would enable the North to outvote the South; under direct election, the South would get no credit for its half-million slaves, none of whom, of course, would be able to vote. The electoral college system that ultimately emerged gave the South partial — three-fifths — credit for its slaves. … The founders’ system also encouraged the continued disfranchisement of women. In a direct national election system, any state that gave women the vote would automatically have doubled its national clout. Under the electoral college, however, a state had no such incentive to increase the franchise; as with slaves, what mattered was how many women lived in a state, not how many were empowered. Even today, a state with low voter turnout gets precisely the same number of electoral votes as if it had a high turnout. By contrast, a well-designed direct election system could spur states to get out the vote. … Colorado, this November, might become the third state to depart from the winner-take-all system for allocating electoral votes.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

* Facts on Tax Cuts * Bush Lies on Civil Liberties

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LEE FARRIS
Farris is the senior organizer on tax policy at United for a Fair Economy. She said today: “This new round of corporate tax cuts comes at a time when our country has a record $415 billion deficit, and when many of the largest and most profitable corporations already are not paying their fair share of taxes — and in some cases, not paying any tax at all. There’s pork for everyone: $28 million for cruise ship operators, $101 million for race track owners, and $44 million for importers of Chinese ceiling fans. Worst of all, there’s $27.9 billion for companies that earn profits abroad. When big companies don’t pay their fair share, it means that either the government has to cut vital services we all depend on, or the biggest deficit in history gets even bigger, and our kids get stuck with the bill.”
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MAYA ROCKEYMOORE
Rockeymoore is the vice president of research and programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and author of the book The Political Action Handbook: A How-To Guide For The Hip Hop Generation. She said today: “The administration’s tax cuts have proven to be a giveaway to wealthy individuals and corporations at the expense of hard-working Americans. The effect has been particularly severe on African Americans, who have benefited very little while bearing a disproportionate burden.”

NANCY MURRAY
In the last presidential debate, in response to a questioner concerned that civil liberties were being eroded under the Patriot Act, Bush claimed: “Every action being taken against terrorists requires court order, requires scrutiny.” Murray is director of the ACLU of Massachusetts Bill of Rights Education Project. She said today: “In fact, section 505 of the Patriot Act allows for National Security Letters which have no court scrutiny. These provisions were recently ruled unconstitutional in ‘John Doe and ACLU vs. Ashcroft’ for violating the First and Fourth Amendments but the ruling was stayed for 90 days. In other settings, like the FISA court, the role of the court is so minimal you certainly can’t call it ‘scrutiny.’ … We are concerned that civil liberties for some are set to be further eroded. CBS News recently reported that the FBI’s ’04 Threat Task Force’ is ‘convinced that al Qaeda is still determined to disrupt the U.S. fall elections’ and the FBI is preparing ‘a massive counter-offensive of interrogations, surveillance and possible detentions.’ The plan includes dragnet questioning of ‘persons of interest.'” Murray is a contributor to the new book Civil Rights in Peril: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims.
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NANCY CHANG
Senior litigation attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Chang is author of the book Silencing Political Dissent. She said today: “Bush got his facts wrong. Under the Patriot Act, the FBI can issue National Security Letters that allow it to obtain records on U.S. citizens without their consent or knowledge and without any oversight by the courts. On September 28, a federal judge ruled that this Patriot Act provision violates the First and Fourth Amendments precisely because it does not allow for scrutiny.”

Chang added: “Bush has also neglected to mention his administration’s penchant for secret detentions and the lengths to which it has gone to evade court review of these detentions. The administration has designated at least three citizens as ‘enemy combatants’ and held them in indefinite incommunicado detention without due process of law. Also, after 9/11, the Justice Department targeted Muslim men for arrest and kept many non-citizens in INS detention for months on end, until they were cleared of terrorism by the FBI. These detentions turned the Constitution on its head by presuming persons guilty until shown innocent.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Iraq War Veterans and Military Families

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A news conference includes Mike Hoffman and Fernando Suarez del Solar next to the Arizona State University debate location at 10 a.m. local time today. The news conference is at the Twin Palms Hotel, 225 East Apache, Tempe (S.W. corner of Apache Blvd. and Mill Ave.), across Apache Blvd. from the ASU debate location and media tent.

MIKE HOFFMAN
Co-founder and national coordinator for Iraq Veterans Against the War, Hoffman said today: “The picture we’re getting from Iraq is largely limited to what’s going on in the ‘green zone,’ the U.S.-controlled area in Baghdad. Our group has members who are stationed in Fallujah and Samara. We’re not really seeing the combat that’s happening throughout Iraq on our TV screens. It’s obvious that the Iraqis don’t want us there — these aren’t a handful of foreigners. Everyday Iraqis are fighting against us.” The current issue of Mother Jones magazine features a cover story on Iraq Veterans Against the War and an interview with Hoffman.
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FERNANDO SUAREZ DEL SOLAR
Fernando Suarez del Solar, father of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq in 2003, is with Military Families Speak Out and is active in anti-recruiting campaigns in high schools. He said today: “My son died because George Bush lied. More kids are joining the military because recruiting people lie about the benefits of joining the military.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

* Maathai’s Nobel Prize * Unemployment Numbers * DeLay’s Scandals

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Professor Wangari Maathai of Kenya has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004. She is founder of the Green Belt Movement.
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NJOKI NJOROGE NJEHU
Njehu is director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network and worked with the Green Belt Movement for several years. Professor Maathai is both a mentor and a close family friend. [Njehu’s mother, Lilian Njehu, who will be arriving in the U.S. this weekend, is on the board of the Green Belt Movement and will be available for a limited number of interviews through translation.] Njoki Njoroge Njehu said today: “This award provides invaluable recognition to a remarkable woman and to the many related struggles Professor Maathai has been part of for nearly 30 years: the importance of a sustainable environment to the local and the global community; the empowerment of women within their communities; and standing up to the forces of corruption that threaten the environment and human rights. … The awarding of this prize to Professor Maathai recognizes that peace is possible only when communities can achieve economic and environmental sustainability. Resources and rights must be shared by all; if they are monopolized by an elite class, the result will be deprivation and conflict. … We have been pleased to work with her to increase an understanding of the impact of external forces such as the World Bank and the IMF in Kenya and across Africa. Her understanding is best exemplified by her leadership in Kenya’s Jubilee campaign for debt cancellation.”
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DEAN BAKER
The unemployment numbers came out this morning. Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Baker said today: “The labor market showed renewed signs of weakness in September, with the economy adding just 96,000 jobs according to the Labor Department’s establishment survey. The private sector accounted for just 59,000 of these jobs, making the average private sector job gain over the last three months just 65,000. Including the benchmark adjustments, this brings the job loss during the Bush administration to 585,000 overall, and 1,398,000 in the private sector.”
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LOUIS DUBOSE
Co-author of the new book The Hammer: Tom DeLay, God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress, Dubose said today: “For a while it looked like September was the cruelest month for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. After an investigation that dragged on for a year and a half, a district attorney in Texas indicted three of DeLay’s associates and eight corporations for raising and contributing corporate funds that were used in Texas elections. Since 1905, it has been illegal to contribute corporate money or spend corporate money on election campaigns [in Texas]. The political action committee DeLay and one of his three indicted associates founded in 2001 spent $1.5 million on 22 state house elections in Texas. They won 17 of the races, elected the first Republican House in Texas since Reconstruction, and put in place the House speaker who did the redistricting deal DeLay had demanded: redrawing the state’s congressional district lines to create five to seven Republican seats. Travis County DA Ronnie Earle will probably hand down more indictments later, even as the Republican Legislature moves to eliminate legislative funding for his Public Integrity Unit next year.

“October isn’t looking so good for DeLay either. The House Ethics Committee is a moribund operation and in fact has done little to enforce ethics in the House since 1999, when it admonished DeLay for pulling a bill from the House floor to protest a trade association’s hiring of a former Democratic House member to serve as executive director and chief lobbyist. The lack of activity by House Ethics isn’t DeLay’s fault. There is a mutual agreement between the two parties that no ethics complaints will be filed.

“Then on October 6, House Ethics again reprimanded DeLay, for attending a two-day golf fund-raiser hosted by Westar Energy, a Kansas utility that had a critical provision it wanted inserted in an energy bill and had, with that in mind, also contributed $25,000 to a DeLay PAC. In the same act, the committee also admonished DeLay for pressuring Federal Aviation Administration officials to track down a lost plane flown by the former Democratic House speaker in Texas. It wasn’t lost. The legislator was flying from Austin to Ardmore, Oklahoma, to join other Democratic legislators breaking a quorum so they could deny the House a vote on the redistricting scheme DeLay had put in place. DeLay’s use of the FAA raised serious concerns that the Majority Leader from Texas had used ‘government resources for a political undertaking.'”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167