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Bush Energy Plan: California Reamin'

You nasty-minded readers probably believe George Bush’s Energy Plan is just some pee-brained scheme to pay off the Presidents oil company buddies, fry the planet, and smother Mother earth in coal ash, petroleum pollutants and nuclear waste. If that’s what you think, you’ve overlooked the really vicious intent of the whole program.
It’s payback time – and Bush intends to make California pay. Let me list California’s sins.

IMF and World Bank meet in Washington

GREG PALAST:
It’s quiet now, but all police leave in the capital has been cancelled. They’re taking no chances after last week’s anti-globalisation protests in Quebec and the street wars on this spot during the same meeting last year of the IMF and World Bank. So what’s their complaint? The protesters say that what we have here is a conspiracy – the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation don’t help the poor of the world, they crush them. Well, the bosses are here today, let’s ask them. Mr Wolfensohn, the protesters say you are the chief of a secretive, undemocratic world government which has made poverty worse worldwide. How do you respond?

GATS Got His Tongue

(Note to American readers: Replace the words “Trade Minister Dick Caborn” with the words, “US Trade Representative” – whose assurances about the WTO are virtually interchangeable with European ministers’ happy-talk…)
Britain’s Trade Minister Dick Caborn does nothing all day and that keeps him very, very busy. Caborn is busy reassuring his nation that nothing in the proposed General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) threatens Britain’s environmental regulations. Nothing in GATS permits American corporate powers to overturn safety and health regulations.

Gregory Palast – International Investigative Reporter

Gregory Palast is almost certainly the greatest investigative journalist you’ve never heard of. An award-winning reporter in Britain, where he writes for The Guardian and The Sunday Observer, as well as hosts the BBC’s 60 Minutes-esque Newsnight, Palast abandoned his native America when the mainstream press declined to publish his groundbreaking, hard-hitting exposes, known for stripping bare abuses of power. Case in point: his recent series on how Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris conspired to illegally purge the Florida voting rolls of thousands of former felons whose voting rights had been restored by other states, the vast majority of whom were (not coincidentally) Democrats. In the few venues that have bothered to report it in the United States, it’s caused scarcely a ripple. Palast will be in Cleveland on Tuesday to debunk reigning myths about the much-touted phenomenon known as globalization.

Ask No Questions…


The Hinduja-Funded Spirit Zone Wasn’t The Only Corporate Cash Deal Done at The Dome

For The Observer
Sir Anthony Hammond was so busy, busy, busy last month clearing absolutely everyone in Government over the Hinduja affair that he had no time to speak to the key witnesses. ‘I have not interviewed any of the Hinduja brothers,’ he writes in his report to the Prime Minister. ‘There were obvious practical difficulties in visiting them in India.’ Yes, and sea monsters had eaten all the phone lines to the sub-continent, I assume.
If on his way to investigate the Hinduja-funded Spirit Zone at the Millennium Dome Sir Anthony hadn’t been as hurried as the March Hare, I would have invited him on The Observer ‘s special tour of the Dome. Had he followed me through the doorway marked ‘Privileged Access’, he might have asked whether there was a flea market in favours surrounding Geoffrey Robinson, Peter Mandelson, John Prescott and others at the top of a Government obsessed with funding the Greenwich sinkhole and other New Labour projects. But Sir Anthony was not asked to ask questions about the Dome.

Inquiry into New Claims of Poll Abuses in Florida

The US civil rights commission was yesterday investigating allegations by the BBC’s Newsnight that thousands of mainly black voters in Florida were disenfranchised in the November election because of wholesale errors by a private data services company.

Florida's 'Disappeared Voters': Disfranchised by the GOP

For The Nation
In Latin America they might have called them votantes desaparecidos, “disappeared voters.” On November 7 tens of thousands of eligible Florida voters were wrongly prevented from casting their ballots–some purged from the voter registries and others blocked from registering in the first instance. Nearly all were Democrats, nearly half of them African-American. The systematic program that disfranchised these legal voters, directed by the offices of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was so quiet, subtle and intricate that if not for George W. Bush’s 537-vote eyelash margin of victory, certified by Harris, the chance of the purge’s discovery would have been vanishingly small.

Scrub Helps Shrub

The company that the Florida secretary of state contracted with in 1998 to help purge the state rolls of ineligible voters is well connected to GOP circles. The chairman of the board of Database Technologies, now the DBT Online unit of ChoicePoint Inc. of Atlanta, was former astronaut and prominent Republican Frank Borman.

A High Price to Pay For The Power and The Glory

The Firms That are Pulling The Plug on California Learnt Their Trade From Margaret Thatcher
The Observer
President George W. Bush has announced that on 7 February, come hell or high water, he will end Bill Clinton’s order directing emergency electricity supplies to California.
As the lights on the Golden Gate bridge blink off, the state’s politicians are in full panic that this spells bankruptcy for two giant regional electricity companies, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. Not me. I can’t think of anything which would more joyously combine historic justice and good public policy than their corporate death.

Dear Richard, Don't Say We Didn't Tell You

For Gtech, an In With The Bush Family is Worth More Than Anything Lottery Players Have in Their Hand
The Observer
Congratulations to George W Bush and to Camelot on their victories.
More than a year ago, we reported that the Government had decided to let Camelot retain control of the National Flutter in perpetuity. That was two weeks before the formal bidding process began. Despite our announcement, Richard Branson soldiered on, refusing, like the last dinosaur, to heed the voice whispering: ‘Excuse me, but you’re extinct.’

La Mejor Democracia Que Puede Comprar El Dinero

Vender en subasta la presidencia de los EEUU hubiera sido màs eficiente. Si a pesar de haber perdido el voto popular, George W Bush, gana la Casa Blanca, habrà navegado sobre una ola demoledora de $447 millones de dòlares, que vienen segùn mis propios càlculos- de las sofocantes fortunas de dinero que el mundo de las corporaciones invierte para financiar las campañas polìticas. “W” gastà un buen veinticinco por ciento màs de lo que ofreciò Al Gore.

A Blacklist Burning For Bush

Hey, Al, take a look at this. Every time I cut open another alligator, I find the bones of more Gore voters. This week, I was hacking my way through the Florida swampland known as the Office of Secretary of State Katherine Harris and found a couple thousand more names of voters electronically ‘disappeared’ from the vote rolls. About half of those named are African-Americans. They had the right to vote, but they never made it to the balloting booths.