Friday, October 29, 2004

Oregon: GOP Backed Smear Piece


A smear piece was sent out to Jackson County residents this week bringing up a 20 year old child custody issue. The mailer stated that Democratic Candidate for District 3, Alan Bates failed to appear in a Colorado court in 1981 over child custody matters, triggering a bench warrant for his arrest. They also state he failed to pay more than $29,000 in child support.

Bates, of course, didn't deny any of the claims in the piece. The mailer was however clearly one of selective information omitting pertinent facts that the court awarded custody of the two children to Bates because the mother had created an environment that was "clearly harmful".


An article appeared this morning in the Medford Mail Tribune with GOP Candidate Jim Wright denying any involvement.
Republican candidate Wright denounced the mailers and said he had no prior knowledge that a third party would send them out, although he had heard rumors.

"I would have done anything to not have this happen," he said. "This is not how I wanted to get to Salem."

Even though Wright denied any involvement, he did receive campaign money from the group that sent out the mailer.
The mailers are being distributed this week in Jackson County by the Leadership Fund, a Salem political action committee that supports Republican candidates in Oregon.

The Leadership Fund is one of the biggest contributors to the Wright campaign, giving $37,234 so far. The Wright campaign also will be required to list the cost of the mailers as an in-kind contribution.


In a phone call to the Wright campaign, I was able to get Jim Wright on the phone where he profusely apologized for the mailer stating he was as surprised as everybody. When I ask him about all the money he received from The Leadership Fund, he told me all GOP candidates in Oregon get money from them. He went on from there apologizing for the mailer saying he had nothing to do with it. I asked him if he would be willing give the money back to The Leadership Fund to show that he wasn't aligned with them on the piece and he said they will. I ask further if they would issue a press release stating they would return the $37,234 back to the Leadership Fund. He said they issued a press release to Damian Mann, however Damian said he hasn't received anything as of yet from the Wright Campaign.


From The Leadership Funds website:

The Leadership Fund is dedicated to securing a Republican majority in the Senate in 2004. We have an excellent field of candidates who will help us reach that goal.
Please take time to learn more about our candidates. With your help we can ensure a Republican majority!

Roger Beyer
Senate Republican Leadership

PO Box 2168
Salem, OR 97308
Phone 503.587.9366 -- Fax: 503.587-7149

Jim Wright Campaign

Senate District 3
Committee to Elect Jim Wright
PAC ID: 4875

2594 E. Barnett Rd, Ste. G
Medford, OR 97504

P: 541.776.1232
F: 541.245.9272

excerpts from articles:
Negative mailers trigger anger in S. Oregon Senate race
Anti-Bates mailers raise ruckus

More come forward on unguarded weapons in Iraq

Oregonian says he told military about looting of weapons

October 29, 2004

Associated Press

Two U.S. aid workers, including one from Oregon, said they reported the looting of an Iraqi weapons depot to U.S. military officials in October, 2003, but were told that there were not enough troops to seal off the facility, The Oregonian reported in its Friday editions.

"We were outraged," said Wes Hare, city manager of La Grande, who was working in Iraq as part of a rebuilding program. A colleague, Jerry Kuhaida, told the newspaper it appeared that the explosives at the Ukhaider Ammunition Storage Area had found their way to insurgents targeting U.S. forces. continue

FBI investigating Halliburton contracts

Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co., seeking an interview with a top Army contracting officer and collecting documents from several government offices.

The line of inquiry expands an earlier FBI investigation into whether Halliburton overcharged taxpayers for fuel in Iraq, and it elevates to a criminal matter the election-year question of whether the Bush administration showed favoritism to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company.

FBI agents this week sought permission to interview Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers' chief contracting officer who went public last weekend with allegations that her agency unfairly awarded a Halliburton subsidiary no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars in Iraq, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Asked about the documents, Greenhouse's lawyers said Thursday their client will cooperate but that she wants whistleblower protection from Pentagon retaliation.

"I think it [the FBI interview request] underscores the seriousness of the misconduct, and it also demonstrates how courageous Ms. Greenhouse was for stepping forward," said Stephen Kohn, one of her attorneys.

"The initiation of an FBI investigation into criminal misconduct will help restore public confidence," Kohn said. "The Army must aggressively protect Ms. Greenhouse from the retaliation she will encounter as a result of blowing the whistle on this misconduct."

FBI agents also began collecting documents from Army offices in Texas and elsewhere in recent weeks to examine how and why Halliburton got the no-bid work in places like Iraq.

"The Corps is absolutely cooperating with the FBI, and it has been an ongoing effort," said Army Corps spokeswoman Carol Sanders. "Our role is to cooperate. It's a public contract and public funds. We've been providing them information for quite a while."

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the company is cooperating with various investigations, but she dismissed the latest revelation as election politics. She noted Congress' auditing arm, the Government Accountability Office, found the company's no-bid work in Iraq was legal.

"The old allegations have once again been recycled, this time one week before the election," Hall said. "The GAO said earlier this year that the contract was properly awarded because Halliburton was the only contractor that could do the work.

"We look forward to the end of the election, because no matter who is elected president, Halliburton is proud to serve the troops just as we have for the past 60 years for both Democrat and Republican administrations," she said.

Proof emerges that explosives existed during U.S. occupation

NWCN anchor saw Iraq explosives after invasion

SEATTLE – Did explosives at Al-Qaqaa, a giant weapons storage area south of Baghdad, disappear before or after the fall of Iraq's capital city? Northwest Cable News anchor Dean Staley was an eyewitness to what was happening in that area at the time in question.
Videotape shot by a photographer accompanying Staley, then a reporter at KSTP-TV in Minnesota and embedded with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, is the latest revelation to surface in the explosives controversy.
The tape, portions of which were also broadcast nationwide Thursday evening by ABC News, appear to confirm suspicions reported earlier this month to the International Atomic Energy Agency by Iraqi officials, who said that hundreds of tons of high-grade explosives, powerful enough to bring down buildings or detonate nuclear weapons, had vanished from the Al-Qaqaa site after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


Oregon: Democrats keep heat on Mannix, GOP

From news sources
Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2004 1:41 PM
Reference Code: PR-19052

October 28 - PORTLAND - On Wednesday, State GOP Chair Kevin Mannix tried to distance himself and his party from the national party and their unscrupulous voter registration fraud efforts in Oregon. The only problem is that Sproul & Associates were operating out of local republican office and working under the supervision of Mannix and the state party officials.

According to an AP article, Mannix said his party doesn't gain from fraudulent voter registrations. Mannix said he was assured that his people didn't add anything to the registration cards or make any changes. But he can't speak to what Sproul staff members did, and there might have been some people hired by the company who violated the rules, Mannix said.

Unfortunately for Mannix, he should have known what was going on in his own county offices. Sproul and Associated were working out of the Washington County Republican Offices and were likely stationed in county offices around the state.

Either Mannix is as out of touch with reality and what is going on around him or he just doesn’t want to admit to fraud.^3Far_id^3D19052.htm

Thursday, October 28, 2004

GOP operative under fire over voter-registration tactics

BETH DeFALCO, Associated Press Writer

Thursday, October 28, 2004

GOP operative Nathan Sproul makes no apologies for sending his canvassers out to register Republicans, not Democrats, in battleground states. And if powerful Democrats like Ted Kennedy are demanding the Justice Department investigate him, well, he considers that a badge of honor.

"I take great pride in the fact that the Democrats are having hysterical fits about how well we did our job," Sproul said.

Sproul and his Chandler, Ariz.-based political consulting firm, Sproul & Associates, have come under fire in recent weeks, accused of deceiving would-be voters and destroying Democratic voter registration cards.

Some of his former canvassers have come forward in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Oregon, alleging they were told to register only Republicans and to "walk away" from people who said they intended to vote for John Kerry. Some said that completed Democratic registration forms had been thrown out or ripped up.

Sproul -- a former Christian Coalition activist and one-time executive director of the Arizona GOP with a reputation among Republicans as someone who gets things done -- has denied any wrongdoing.

His political opponents say the 32-year-old Sproul has a history of employing underhanded tactics.

"It comes as no surprise that Nathan Sproul is involved in registering voters in some sketchy way," said Arizona Democratic Party spokeswoman Sarah Rosen. "It seems that whatever he's been doing is finally catching up with him. Yet the RNC and Republicans seem to keep rewarding him with new contracts."

Sproul & Associates received nearly $526,000 from the Republican National Committee since July for voter registration efforts and nearly $490,000 from the RNC for political consulting, according to the Political Money Line campaign finance tracking service. Political Money Line also showed that the Arizona Republican Party has paid Sproul $70,000 for consulting and voter registration drives here.

"Nathan Sproul is a victim of slanderous statements by the Democrats who will say anything to win," said Bill Christiansen, executive director of the Arizona Republican Party.

While Sproul denies that any workers were instructed to destroy Democratic registrations, he does not dispute that he tried to register more Republicans than Democrats. After all, that is why he was hired by the GOP, he said, and it is fair. "For Democrats to feign anger over it demonstrates their complete lack of integrity," Sproul said. "They do the exact same thing every day of the week."

He said his canvassers did not go out looking for Democrats, but accepted voter registrations from them if they offered them.

While it is illegal to tamper with voter registration forms -- in some states it is a felony -- it is not against the law for groups to decline to register certain voters. However, it is frowned upon by some.

"It's unethical to not register anyone who comes to you to register," said Karen Osborne, a Democrat who is elections director for Maricopa County, Arizona's most populous county.

Whether the Justice Department is investigating Sproul is unclear. The department did not immediately return a call for comment, but Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller said the FBI has taken the lead on an investigation into claims of voter fraud in his state by a company headed by Sproul.

Sproul is fighting back. After former canvasser Eric Russell of Las Vegas claimed that he saw a Sproul supervisor tear up eight to 10 registration forms completed by Democrats, Sproul hit Russell with a slander suit.

"As best as I can tell, the incident he alleges didn't happen," Sproul said. "It caused great discomfort to me, my family and my business."

Russell said he managed to grab some of the shredded documents as evidence.

Sproul grew up in Tempe and considered the ministry while studying at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Minnesota. After he graduated in 1994, he went to Washington to work as an intern for then-Rep. Jon Kyl of Arizona. Later he became executive director of the state's Christian Coalition branch, then executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. He left in 2002 to start his own firm, which coordinates voter registration drives and gathers petition signatures

During Sproul's recent work on an effort to dismantle Arizona's "Clean Elections" system for publicly funding candidates, Democrats secretly videotaped one of his petition gatherers lying about the ballot measure -- and portraying it as something that would promote Clean Elections -- to get a voter's signature. (The measure never made it to the ballot because of problems with the wording.)

When he was field director with the nonprofit Christian Coalition, he was accused by some of being overtly political.

His firm has grown quickly, in large part because of Sproul's GOP contacts.

"He's very professional, very mission-oriented," said Republican consultant Paul Senseman. "He's somebody that gets things done."

Oregon: More Problems With GOP Funded Voter Registration Drive Surface

October 28, 2004

Salem college students say their registrations were switched

SALEM, Ore. - Dozens of Salem-area college students say they unknowingly registered to vote as Republicans this month after signing what they thought were petitions to bring down car insurance rates.

Western Oregon University student Kati Bennett told the Statesman Journal in Salem that she was walking to class when she was asked to sign a petition to lower car insurance rates, and told she had to fill in a little card asking for her party affiliation.

The 18-year-old Bennett said she checked "nonpartisan", but the canvasser crossed that out.

Bennett is planning to vote for President Bush, but said she was upset that her party registration was changed against her will.

Polk County elections manager Val Unger said she has heard of five stories similar to Bennett's, all involving a fake petition to reduce car insurance rates.

Unger got suspicious when she received a stack of more than 400 voter registration cards submitted at the Oct. 12 deadline, all marked Republican.

She said more than half of the registration cards turned out to be for people who had previously registered, many as Democrats or independents. Two or three cards had the party affiliation crossed out and "Republican" was checked in its place, Unger said.

Similar complaints about switched voter registrations are emerging from around the state; some of them have been traced to canvassers paid by the Republican Party for each GOP registration card they collect.

"I think there were various goofy things that happened in a lot of places," said John Lindback, state Elections Division director. "How widespread it was, I don't know."

Changing political party affiliations without consent is unethical, but it's a waste of time as a political tactic, said Andi Miller, executive director of Common Cause of Oregon, a campaign watchdog group.

That's because voters still will get ballots and cast them the way they want, she said.

Both Democrat-leaning groups and the Republicans paid canvassers to collect voter registration cards in Oregon this year. However, Democratic groups were paid by the hour while the group hired by the Republican National Committee, Arizona-based Sproul & Associates, paid for each GOP card collected.

Sproul & Associates officials have denied any wrongdoing.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Oregon: Dirty tricks keep voters on guard

Mid-Valley residents say they were misled by canvassers


Statesman Journal
October 28, 2004

Many local college students unwittingly registered to vote as Republicans this month when they thought they were signing petitions to reduce car-insurance rates.
Similar complaints about fraudulent voter registrations are emerging from around the state, and some people are wondering whether they can be traced to canvassers paid by the Republican Party.
The canvassers are paid for each GOP registration card they collect.
"I think there were various goofy things that happened in a lot of places," said John Lindback, state Elections Division director. "How widespread it was, I don't know."
A few weeks ago, Kati Bennett was walking to class at Western Oregon University when she was hailed by a group of men and asked to sign a petition to lower car-insurance rates.
"All you have to do is sign this petition," she recalls being told, "and they made me fill out this little card."
Bennett, 18, filled in "nonpartisan" where it asked for party affiliation, but the man crossed it out. She was in too much of a hurry to get to class to raise a stink. Although she plans to vote for George W. Bush for president, she still was mad when she found that they changed her party registration against her will.
"I was basically lied to," Bennett said. "It's hard enough to get teenagers to vote as it is."
Polk County elections manager Val Unger said she has heard of five stories similar to Bennett's, all involving a fake petition to reduce car-insurance rates.
Unger grew suspicious when she received a stack of more than 400 voter-registration cards submitted at the Oct. 12 deadline. All were marked Republican.
More than half of them turned out to be people who already were registered, and many of those had previously been registered as Democrats or independents. Two or three cards had the party affiliation crossed out and "Republican" was checked in its place.
West Salem resident Colleen Dusenbery fell for the same pitch while at Chemeketa Community College.
The canvasser had the top of the card covered up, so she couldn't see clearly what it was.
"When I tried to read it, he said don't worry about it," Dusenbery said. "He told me not to check any of the parties and had me sign it."
Dusenbery, 18, had registered in September as an independent and wound up getting two ballots because the canvassers misspelled her name. She's mad that her registration was changed without her permission, although she's not going to vote for Democrat John Kerry.
Sarah Barker, also a Western Oregon University student, wasn't aware she signed a new voter registration card until receiving a call from a reporter. She does recall being solicited by a canvasser on campus and getting a Tootsie Roll sucker for signing.
"I just thought I was signing some petition to lower car insurance," she said. "They had me sign my name and then my initial."
Some fraudulent voter registrations are coming to light as counties mail confirmation cards to voters.
Two of those voters recently called Yamhill County in alarm, saying that they never signed up as Republicans, said Jan Coleman, county clerk. It turns out both people signed voter-registration cards in front of the same post office, she said.
Changing peoples' voting affiliations without their consent is unethical, but it's a waste of time as a political tactic, said Andi Miller, executive director of Common Cause of Oregon, a campaign watchdog group. That's because voters still will get ballots and cast them the way they want, she said.
The problem would have been more serious if it occurred before a primary election, because voters would have received the wrong ballot.
As a battleground state in the 2004 presidential race, Oregon experienced unprecedented drives to register new voters this year. Both sides paid canvassers to collect voter-registration cards. However, Democratic groups paid by the hour, while the group hired by the Republican National Committee, Sproul & Associates, paid for each GOP card collected.
Sproul did not return a phone call to its office in Arizona.
"They were the only ones with any incentive to falsify the cards," said Scott Ballo, spokesman for America Coming Together in Oregon, which led the largest voter registration drive in the state.
Democrats aren't the only ones raising questions about Sproul, which already is being investigated in Oregon and elsewhere for complaints that it shredded Democratic voter-registration cards rather than turn them in as required by law.
Kevin Mannix, Oregon Republican Party chairman, said his party doesn't gain from fraudulent voter registrations.
The 400 Republican voter-registration cards received in Polk County were part of 8,000 collected around the state and turned in by Republican Party officials on the Oct. 12 deadline. Most of those were collected by volunteers, he said.
Mannix said he was assured that his people didn't add anything to the registration cards or make any changes. But he can't speak to what Sproul staff members did, and there might have been some people hired by the company who violated the rules, Mannix said. or (503) 399-6615

Bush upsets JFK's daughter

October 28, 2004

CAROLINE Kennedy Schlossberg, daughter of the late US president John F. Kennedy, today urged current President George W. Bush not to invoke her father's name in his campaigning against Democratic rival John Kerry.

Mr Bush attacked Mr Kerry in Wisconsin yesterday, saying: "His record not only stands in opposition to me, but in opposition to the great tradition of the Democrat Party of America.

"The party of Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, and John Kennedy is rightly remembered for confidence and resolve in times of crisis.

Senator Kerry has turned his back on 'pay any price' and 'bear any burden' and he has replaced those commitments with 'wait and see' and 'cut and run'," Mr Bush said.

Ms Kennedy Schlossberg took exception to such rhetoric.

"It's hard for me to listen to President Bush invoking my father's memory to attack John Kerry. Senator Kerry has demonstrated his courage and commitment to a stronger America throughout his entire career," she said.

"President Kennedy inspired and united the country and so will John Kerry.

"President Bush is doing just the opposite. All of us who revere the strength and resolve of President Kennedy will be supporting John Kerry on Election Day," Ms Kennedy Schlossberg said in a statement.

Bush Campaign Shuts Off Foreign Access To Website

Dubya takes Australia offline

By staff writers and wires

October 28, 2004

GEORGE W. Bush doesn't trust the outside world to view his US election campaign website, and that includes close ally Australia.

The US President's re-election aides said today it had cut off access to its website from certain foreign countries "for security reasons", but declined to elaborate.

"The measure was taken for security reasons," campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

The President's campaign office said earlier it had received telephone calls about access failures.

Mr Bush's campaign aides would not offer any more details, but last week the site went down for about five hours after a "denial of service" attack.

When the web address "" was typed from's office, the following message appeared:

"You are not authorized to view this page. You might not have permission to view this directory or page using the credentials you supplied.

"If you believe you should be able to view this directory or page, please try to contact the website by using any e-mail address or phone number that may be listed on the home page."

Obviously, without access to the homepage, finding e-mail addresses or phone numbers is impossible, leaving millions of interested users around the world without access.

British website "", which analyses Internet traffic to detect fraud and count the most visited sites, said the Bush campaign website had been inaccessible from London, Sydney and Amsterdam since Monday, although Canada was apparently not affected.

The website was down and inaccessible for several hours on Tuesday in what campaign officials said could be the work of hackers. with Agence France-Presse.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

A Different Approach......

This article appeared in The Daily Citizen

Against abortion? Vote Kerry

By R.J. Taylor
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:54 PM CDT

The political marriage between moral and fiscal conservatives in the Republican Party has not been an altogether holy one. Election after election, the controlling fiscal elites have deceived the well-meaning with empty campaign pledges on issues such as abortion.

The truth is that Republicans created-and have preserved - the Constitutional right to abortion that many, including myself, deplore. The striking down of the state sodomy laws in 2003 was also quite Republican, but that topic is for another day. The federal judiciary has been appointed by Republican presidents for 24 out of the last 36 years. Seven justices of the United States Supreme Court are Republican, while only two are Democrats.

Justice Harry Blackmun, a Nixon appointee, wrote the Roe v. Wade decision which gave Constitutional protection to certain abortions in 1973. At the time, Governor Ronald Reagan of California was an ardent abortion supporter, as was the chairman of the Republican National Committee, George Bush (the former president).

In case after case, the 77 percent Republican Supreme Court has upheld abortion. Why? Republican elites know that if millions of unwanted children were required by law to be born, the government's welfare liability would explode.

When parents hate their fetuses so much that they want to kill them, they are not fit parents for those children, if born. If unwanted children are required to be born - not because they have loving parents, but rather as a function of government policy - then the government must assume financial responsibility for their care.

Parents who would kill their own children simply cannot be trusted. The cost of raising the estimated 45 million aborted children per generation would be astronomical. The very thought makes Republican elites tremble at the knees.

Whenever I ask Republicans how much their taxes would be raised to support all the unwanted children if Roe were overturned, they always respond that they would not be willing to pay one extra penny. This is a moral bankruptcy in itself: They want the government to force children to be born to infanticidal parents, but then they do not want the government even to pay for milk for the babies to drink! The central problem is that no one wants to pay for the mistakes of others, not even when the lives of the innocent are at stake. If we abortion opponents were to mobilize to demand the expansion of the welfare system to care for the unwanted children after Roe, our position would be morally consistent and we might save millions of lives. But in my entire life I have never met a Republican who was willing to mushroom welfare spending, whether to benefit children or not.

For whom should moral conservatives vote in the presidential election on Nov. 2? We should vote for the candidate of the party with a track record for curbing abortion. In response to questionnaires filed at abortion clinics since Roe, women reveal that their motives are heavily economic. It is not surprising that during the high "misery index" years of Reagan/Bush I, the number of annual abortions topped 1.4 million.

Under Clinton, abortions fell more than 200,000 per year and the abortion ratio dropped to the 1974 level. While Clinton's Welfare Reform Act of 1996 cut welfare benefits, his economic policies promoted employment for people at the bottom of the food chain so that they could take care of their families. Although abortion statistics under George W. Bush have not been released, I fear for fetuses now more than ever.

Bush's policies have contributed to the largest loss of jobs and health coverage during my lifetime, while concentrating the benefits of aggressive taxcutting on the wealthiest one percent and ballooning the national debt. During his first two years as president, the poverty rate in Arkansas surged from 17 to 19 percent, harming the lives of thousands of our state's families.

John Kerry proposes to create economic opportunities so that ordinary families can take care of their children, born and unborn. It is high time for moral conservatives to seek an amicable separation from the Republican Party.

R. J. Taylor lives in Searcy.

Examination of GOP backed, Sproul & Associates

Breaking All the Sprouls

Voter Outreach of America – a front group run by Republican operative Nathan Sproul and financed with more than $600,000 from the RNC – hired Tyrone Mrasek to register voters. The LA Times reports, Mrasek "was given a written script to ask people whether they favored Bush or Sen. John F. Kerry. To those favoring the Massachusetts senator, Mrasek replied that he was just taking a poll and thanked them for stopping." He was told to offer registrations to people who favored Bush and tell them "George Bush really needs your help this election." There was a backup plan for anyone who inadvertently signed up a Democrat: outside Sproul's office Mrasek "found a stack of signed registrations for Democratic voters in a trash can." Similar stories of partisan dirty tricks by Sproul have been documented in Oregon, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

LEAVE NO REPUBLICAN OPERATIVE BEHIND: Nathan Sproul doesn't just collect money from the RNC for running voter registration scams. As a director for Voyager Expanded Learning, he receives buckets of cash for selling the "Voyager reading curriculum" to schools attempting to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act.

SPROUL'S COMPANY USES CONNECTION TO BUSH TO GET CONTRACTS: The Public Advocate of the City of New York accused Voyager of using "politics to gain contracts," including close ties to Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The Public Advocate notes, "as Texas Governor, George W. Bush pushed a proposal giving $25 million in state money to after school programs that would aid Voyager, which had contributed more than $45,000 to Bush and over $20,000 to Bush's lieutenant governor running mate."

SPROUL'S COMPANY MANIPULATES RESEARCH TO PUSH PRODUCT: There is controversy on the effectiveness of the Voyager reading curriculum. Most of the research that does exist has been conducted by people with "connections to, or financial interest in, the company." The research is described by university scholars who specialize in reading curriculum as "flimsy and unscientific."

ED DEPARTMENT PRESSURES SCHOOLS TO HIRE SPROUL'S COMPANY: Many education experts believe "the research used to justify Voyager's claims to success were unscientific and produced very little results." Nevertheless "the U.S Education Department led applicants for federal reading funds to believe that approval of their application would be speeded up if they indicated a preference for particular commercial programs, including Voyager."

Information provided by

The GOP's Shameful Vote Strategy

By Harold MeyersonWednesday, October 27, 2004; Page A25

With Election Day almost upon us, it's not clear whether President Bush is running a campaign or plotting a coup d'etat. By all accounts, Republicans are spending these last precious days devoting nearly as much energy to suppressing the Democratic vote as they are to mobilizing their own.
Time was when Republicans were at least embarrassed by their efforts to keep African Americans from the polls. Republican consultant Ed Rollins was all but drummed out of the profession after his efforts to pay black ministers to keep their congregants from voting in a 1993 New Jersey election came to light.
For George W. Bush, Karl Rove and their legion of genteel thugs, however, universal suffrage is just one more musty liberal ideal that threatens conservative rule. Today's Republicans have elevated vote suppression from a dirty secret to a public norm.
In Ohio, Republicans have recruited 3,600 poll monitors and assigned them disproportionately to such heavily black areas as inner-city Cleveland, where Democratic "527" groups have registered many tens of thousands of new voters. "The organized left's efforts to, quote unquote, register voters -- I call them ringers -- have created these problems" of potential massive vote fraud, Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman James P. Trakas recently told the New York Times.
Let's pass over the implication that a registration drive waged by a liberal group is inherently fraud-ridden, and look instead at that word "ringers."
Registration in Ohio is nonpartisan, but independent analysts estimate that roughly 400,000 new Democrats have been added to the rolls this year. Who does Trakas think they are? Have tens of thousands of African Americans been sneaking over the state lines from Pittsburgh and Detroit to vote in Cleveland -- thus putting their own battleground states more at risk of a Republican victory? Is Shaker Heights suddenly filled with Parisians affecting American argot? Or are the Republicans simply terrified that a record number of minority voters will go to the polls next Tuesday? Have they decided to do anything to stop them -- up to and including threatening to criminalize Voting While Black in a Battleground State?
This is civic life in the age of George W. Bush, in which politics has become a continuation of civil war by other means. In Bush's America, there's a war on -- against a foreign enemy so evil that we can ignore the Geneva Conventions, against domestic liberals so insidious that we can ignore democratic norms. Only bleeding hearts with a pre-Sept. 11 mind-set still believe in voting rights.
For Bush and Rove, the domestic war predates the war on terrorism. From the first day of his presidency, Bush opted to govern from the right, to fan the flames of cultural resentment, to divide the American house against itself in the hope that cultural conservatism would create a stable Republican majority. The Sept. 11 attacks unified us, but Bush exploited those attacks to relentlessly partisan ends. As his foreign and domestic policies abjectly failed, Bush's reliance on identity politics only grew stronger. He anointed himself the standard-bearer for provincials and portrayed Kerry and his backers as arrogant cosmopolitans.
And so here we are, improbably enmeshed in a latter-day version of the election of 1928, when the Catholicism of Democratic presidential nominee Al Smith bitterly divided the nation along Protestant-Catholic and nativist-immigrant lines. To his credit, Smith's opponent (and eventual victor), Herbert Hoover, did not exploit this rift himself. Bush, by contrast, has not merely exploited the modernist-traditionalist tensions in America but helped create new ones and summoned old ones we could be forgiven for thinking were permanently interred. (Kerry will ban the Bible?)
Indeed, it's hard to think of another president more deliberately divisive than the current one. I can come up with only one other president who sought so assiduously to undermine the basic arrangements of American policy (as Bush has undermined the New Deal at home and the systems of post-World War II alliances abroad) with so little concern for the effect this would have on the comity and viability of the nation. And Jefferson Davis wasn't really a president of the United States.
After four years in the White House, George W. Bush's most significant contribution to American life is this pervasive bitterness, this division of the house into raging, feuding halves. We are two nations now, each with a culture that attacks the other. And politics, as the Republicans are openly playing it, need no longer concern itself with the most fundamental democratic norm: the universal right to vote.
As the campaign ends, Bush is playing to the right and Kerry to the center.
That foretells the course of the administrations that each would head. The essential difference between them is simply that, as a matter of strategy and temperament, Bush seeks to exploit our rifts and Kerry to narrow them. That, finally, is the choice before us next Tuesday: between one candidate who wants to pry this nation apart to his own advantage, and another who seeks to make it whole.

American Taxpayers Foot Huge Bill for Mess in Iraq

The Washington Post reports this morning that the Bush administration plans to request an additional $70 billion in emergency funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. These new costs—on top of the $144 billion already spent—only reinforce the administration's misleading promises about Iraq and its inability to plan effectively for the post-war environment.

  • The administration ignored warnings about Iraqi insurgents before the war. Prior to the invasion, the Bush administration was explicitly warned of an Iraqi insurgency by top officials at the State Department, the National Intelligence Council and the Army War College. The administration ignored these warnings, preferred to believe its own rhetoric about being greeted as liberators, and failed to effectively plan to secure Iraq after the invasion.

  • The administration allowed 380 tons of explosives and sensitive nuclear equipment and materials to be looted from Iraq, endangering our troops. The failure to anticipate and plan for the post-war insurgency left these deadly materials free for any one to take. Now, our troops must face a growing insurgency and well armed opponents seeking to make the most out of the administration's post-war blunders.

  • The American people are the only ones to pay for Bush administration miscalculations. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld decided to send fewer troops to Iraq than the military recommended, too few to secure places like Al Qaqaa. Costs continue to escalate in a conflict Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz said would pay for itself relatively quickly. The administration not only doesn't admit mistakes, but also doesn't believe in accountability.

  • GOP Targets New Voters

    October 27, 2004

    The emerging facts on voter suppression clearly show that the GOP has a well-coordinated, targeted strategy to block tens of thousands of newly registered voters—many in predominantly African American precincts—from casting their vote.

  • The GOP is specifically targeting African Americans for voting challenges in Ohio and Florida. The Ohio GOP has filed 35,000 challenges against new voters in the state and is sending thousands of poll watchers to directly challenge voters in precincts. A new study by ACORN shows that African Americans were the target of nearly half (46 percent) of the GOP challenges in Cuyahoga County (which includes Cleveland), even though African Americans constitute only 27 percent of the county population. The BBC obtained emails from the Bush campaign showing a 15-page "caging list" in Florida with "1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida."

  • The GOP has used its partisan Secretaries of State in Ohio and Florida to block newly registered voters. Republican officials in Ohio and Florida have done everything in their power to stop the tidal wave of newly registered voters by using narrow technicalities to throw people off the rolls. Thousands of new voters in Florida were removed from the rolls because they didn't check a box affirming their citizenship status, even though their signature on the same form affirms their status as citizens.

  • The GOP is pushing the myth of voter fraud to cover up its very real efforts to suppress new voters. The GOP has tried to equate "voter fraud" with the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters this year and millions in 2000. But there is not one case of a fraudulent vote being cast so far this year and only a handful of prosecuted cases over the past decade. Inflated voter rolls do not equal fraud. Counties frequently have inflated rolls because of the backlog of removing "deadwood" – people who have died, changed address, or moved to another state. The registration process weeds out false registrations as well.

  • Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.

    Lament of a lifelong Republican who turned moderate Democrat

    In 1960, as a recent college graduate and new Navy Ensign, I registered to vote for the first time as a Republican. For a fiscal and social moderate, the Republican Party was a good place to be. But today's GOP is no longer the party of Lincoln or Eisenhower or Reagan. The Bush Republican Party has moved so far to the right, and is so intolerant of dissent, there is simply no room for moderates anymore.
    So, after more than 40 years, I changed affiliation. I simply could no longer associate my name with the neoconservative extremists who have hijacked the Republican Party and have abandoned so many of its most cherished principles. Here are just three examples:

    Balanced budget

    Traditionally, a balanced budget has been the cornerstone of Republican fiscal management. No more. During his term, Bush and his party have converted the largest surplus in history into the largest deficit. In fiscal year 2004, the federal government spent well over $400 billion more than it collected, the largest deficit in U.S. history, with similar red ink projected for fiscal year 2005. Why?

    Because Mr. Bush was determined to push through huge tax cuts, primarily benefiting the wealthy, while funding enormously expensive military operations. As Republican Senator John McCain observed, never before has the federal government cut taxes in the middle of a war.

    State sovereignty

    Republicans have always defended the sovereignty of the 50 states against overzealous intervention by the federal government -- until recently. In 1994, Oregon voters passed a statewide initiative authorizing physicians to prescribe, but not administer, lethal drugs to dying patients who meet specific criteria. Shortly after taking office, Attorney General John Ashcroft threatened to prosecute physicians so prescribing under the Controlled Substances Act. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this "unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers ... (who) are the primary regulators of professional medical conduct." Why was this not obvious to Bush and Ashcroft?

    Individual freedom

    The Republican Party has a long history of protecting individual rights and freedoms. Consider, then, the case of the "morning-after" pill. There are 3 million unwanted pregnancies in this country each year. By prescription, the morning-after pill has proven extraordinarily safe and effective for more than a decade. Nevertheless, the Bush FDA refused to allow its sale over the counter, thereby denying millions of women access to last-minute contraception. Why? Principally, because Mr. Bush and his supporters from the religious right believe that a fertilized egg immediately constitutes a human life, even before implantation. Therefore, any disruption of the process constitutes "destruction" of a human life.

    Ours is a democracy, not a theocracy. When did it become acceptable for personal religious beliefs to dictate public health policy? Perhaps one day the Republican Party will disassociate itself from those who seek to impose their personal version of God's word on the rest of us, and from those who think that huge income tax cuts for the wealthy constitutes viable economic policy. Until then, I will remain affiliated with the Democratic Party, the only major party that still values dissent and moderation, and still cares about the welfare of the average American.

    Steven D. Popell lives in Los Altos Hills, Calif.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    California: Wal-Mart pays $500,000 to deny workers healthcare

    Wal-Mart Gives Money to Defeat Mandate


    Associated Press Writer

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. contributed $500,000 Tuesday to try to defeat a California ballot measure that would require large and mid-size employers to help pay for health insurance for their workers.

    "We had no choice but to get involved," said Cynthia Lin, a spokeswoman for the retail giant. She said new television ads promoting Proposition 72 "attempt to make Wal-Mart a scapegoat, claiming we do not provide affordable health care. These are outright lies."

    More than $13.3 million has been raised to defeat the measure, with the bulk coming from fast-food chains and department stores.

    Dr. Richard Corlin, former president of the American and California medical associations and a Proposition 72 supporter, predicted that Wal-Mart was "wasting money on a losing campaign."

    "Wal-Mart had a lot of choices," he said. "They could have taken a more socially responsible point of view and said we have some holes in our coverage for our employees and we need to correct that."

    Proposition 72 would require employers with at least 50 workers to pay at least 80 percent of the cost of health insurance for employees who work more than 100 hours a month.

    The ads targeting Wal-Mart cite a University of California labor institute report that said California pays $32 million a year for health services for Wal-Mart employees who lack adequate health insurance.

    Wal-Mart and other businesses opposing Proposition 72 have disputed the report's accuracy, saying it came from a pro-labor union think tank.

    "Wal-Mart believes employers should provide quality health care coverage to their employees, and we do," Lin said. "We offer a wide choice of affordable health care options to both full- and part-time employees in California and across the country."

    But Robert Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, said Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart "denies coverage to half its employees through outright disqualification or by requiring premium co-payments that are out of reach for its poverty wage employees."

    News From The Right

    October 26, 2004

    Election 2004: The Jewish Vote

    Radio talk-show host Dennis Prager writes that there "are overwhelmingly powerful Jewish reasons to vote for President Bush and equally powerful Jewish reasons not to vote for John Kerry" in that "every American Arab and Muslim group that is anti-Israel is supporting John Kerry." Read

    Author Samuel Blumenfeld warns American Jews that voting for John Kerry will aid Israel's enemies: "Israel's enemies want Kerry to win, and that includes Yasser Arafat, plus the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad who said that 'Jews rule the world by proxy.' Iran, the new socialist Spanish government, and the Vietnamese reds want Kerry to win." Read

    Jeffrey Epstein, media relations director for Vietnam Veterans for the Truth, continues the group's "unfit to command" branding of Sen. Kerry and urges Jewish Americans to not "betray your president or your people. It is time to cast a decisive vote driven by both intellect and conscience. It is time to vote for the man who stands by We the People, as Americans, and as members of the Jewish community. It is time to stand by George W. Bush." Read


    The Washington Post reports on Sinclair Broadcasting, the media company that required its stations to broadcast portions of a documentary critical of John Kerry. Sinclair head David Smith denies having a political agenda in what the Post describes as "a rare, wide-ranging and sometimes feisty and combative interview." Read

    Election: Voting Guides

    Eagle Forum has provided a list all the candidates endorsed by its PAC. Read

    Monday, October 25, 2004

    News From The Right

    October 25, 2004

    Voter guides

    Like a number of right-wing groups, the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) has produced a comparison of the records and proposals of George W. Bush and John F. Kerry on key issues of interest to women--ranging from taxes to government spending to healthcare. IWF graded the two candidates from A to F. President Bush came out on top with a B grade, compared to the senator's D. Read

    The Center for Education Reform has released a voter guide covering education positions for candidates for president, governor, the U.S. Senate, and state education chief. Read

    The John Birch Society has released its annual Conservative Index scoring key votes in the Senate and House. Read

    The Traditional Values Coalition has posted its voter guides / score cards for the 108th Congress online. Read

    Baptist Press reports on the "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics" newspaper ad sponsored by Catholic Answers and placed in USA Today. The ad lists five "non-negotiable" moral issues that should guide how Catholics vote: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and marriage equality for same-sex couples." Read


    The National Religious Broadcasters launches a get-out-the-vote radio and television campaign targeting evangelical Christians who sat out November 2000 elections, urging them to cast their ballots this year. Concerned Women for America founder Beverly LaHaye, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson and Focus on the Family founder and chairman Dr. James C. Dobson are among the 25 right-wing religious leaders involved in the campaign. Read

    WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah comes out for re-electing President Bush because "like it or not, Osama bin Laden and his jihadist allies have one short-term goal above all others - defeating George W. Bush at the polls." Farah claims that a "victory by John Kerry, a lifelong appeaser of totalitarianism, would hand the terrorists their biggest morale boost since Sept. 11, 2001." Read


    Concerned Women for America applauds the thirteen states that have anti-gay marriage initiative on this years ballot. “Last November, four judges in Massachusetts stepped over the line with their lawless ruling,” said CWA's Bob Knight. “Americans are standing up and saying: ‘We will not accept counterfeit marriage.’” Read

    Big G.O.P. Bid to Challenge Voters at Polls in Key State


    Republican Party officials in Ohio took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots.

    Party officials say their effort is necessary to guard against fraud arising from aggressive moves by the Democrats to register tens of thousands of new voters in Ohio, seen as one of the most pivotal battlegrounds in the Nov. 2 elections.

    Election officials in other swing states, from Arizona to Wisconsin and Florida, say they are bracing for similar efforts by Republicans to challenge new voters at polling places, reflecting months of disputes over voting procedures and the anticipation of an election as close as the one in 2000.

    Ohio election officials said they had never seen so large a drive to prepare for Election Day challenges. They said they were scrambling yesterday to be ready for disruptions in the voting process as well as alarm and complaints among voters. Some officials said they worried that the challenges could discourage or even frighten others waiting to vote.

    Ohio Democrats were struggling to match the Republicans' move, which had been rumored for weeks. Both parties had until 4 p.m. to register people they had recruited to monitor the election. Republicans said they had enlisted 3,600 by the deadline, many in heavily Democratic urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Dayton and other cities. Each recruit was to be paid $100.

    The Democrats, who tend to benefit more than Republicans from large turnouts, said they had registered more than 2,000 recruits to try to protect legitimate voters rather than weed out ineligible ones.

    Republican officials said they had no intention of disrupting voting but were concerned about the possibility of fraud involving thousands of newly registered Democrats.

    "The organized left's efforts to, quote unquote, register voters - I call them ringers - have created these problems," said James P. Trakas, a Republican co-chairman in Cuyahoga County.

    Both parties have waged huge campaigns in the battleground states to register millions of new voters, and the developments in Ohio provided an early glimpse of how those efforts may play out on Election Day.

    Ohio election officials said that by state law, the parties' challengers would have to show "reasonable" justification for doubting the qualifications of a voter before asking a poll worker to question that person. And, the officials said, challenges could be made on four main grounds: whether the voter is a citizen, is at least 18, is a resident of the county and has lived in Ohio for the previous 30 days.

    Elections officials in Ohio said they hoped the criteria would minimize the potential for disruption. But Democrats worry that the challenges will inevitably delay the process and frustrate the voters.

    "Our concern is Republicans will be challenging in large numbers for the purpose of slowing down voting, because challenging takes a long time,'' said David Sullivan, the voter protection coordinator for the national Democratic Party in Ohio. "And creating long lines causes our people to leave without voting.''

    The Republican challenges in Ohio have already begun. Yesterday, party officials submitted a list of about 35,000 registered voters whose mailing addresses, the Republicans said, were questionable. After registering, they said, each of the voters was mailed a notice, and in each case the notice was returned to election officials as undeliverable.

    In Cuyahoga County alone, which includes the heavily Democratic neighborhoods of Cleveland, the Republican Party submitted more than 14,000 names of voters for county election officials to scrutinize for possible irregularities. The party said it had registered more than 1,400 people to challenge voters in that county.

    Among the main swing states, only Ohio, Florida and Missouri require the parties to register poll watchers before Election Day; elsewhere, party observers can register on the day itself. In several states officials have alerted poll workers to expect a heightened interest by the parties in challenging voters. In some cases, poll workers, many of them elderly, have been given training to deal with any abusive challenging.

    Mr. Trakas, the Republican co-chairman in Cuyahoga County, said the recruits would be equipped with lists of voters who the party suspects are not county residents or otherwise qualified to vote.

    Sunday, October 24, 2004

    GOP Tricksters Con College Students into Registering Republican

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Oct 24, 2004, 06:16

    Scores of college students in Pennsylvania and Oregon have had their voting registrations switched by teams of Republican canvassers circulating bogus petitions and, in some cases, partially concealed voter registration forms students were requested to sign.

    The canvassers have visited campuses asking students to sign petitions advocating lower auto insurance rates, medical marijuana or stricter rape laws, according to elections officials.

    After signing their names, the students were pressured into registering with the Republican Party by being told that their signatures otherwise would be invalid, or they were asked to fill out the signature and address portions of blank voter registration forms as proof of citizenship. In multiple instances, students already registered to vote have had their registrations changed without their consent, elections officials said yesterday.

    Petition canvassers in Pennsylvania apparently did not identify themselves, although one told a University of Pittsburgh student that he was being paid by the Republican Party.

    In another instance, the head of the Oregon Students Association said a canvasser at Portland State University told him he was with Project America Votes, a Republican-backed registration effort.

    Elections officials said the switch in party registration would not affect the students' eligibility to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice on Nov. 2, although it could determine the party primaries in which they could take part in the future. Several said they were mystified why the canvassers would bother to change registrations, although one told a student in Oregon that he was receiving $12 for each new Republican registration.

    Students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a branch campus of Montgomery County Community College told officials they were tricked into filling out blank voter registration forms, listing their names and addresses when they signed a petition advocating the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    "I'm pretty sure that they weren't students," said Erik Strobl, an IUP student who said he signed the petition. Strobl said the canvasser then asked him to put his signature and address on a voter registration card. Although Strobl had already registered to vote as a Democat, he did so when he was told his signature was needed to verify his status as a voter.

    Several days later, Strobl received a mailed notification that his party registration had been switched to Republican.

    IUP appeared to have been hardest hit by the scam. County voter registration director Donna Hoover said as many as 400 registration suspect forms have arrived in her office. Most of them, she said, changed the registered party of students who had signed up to vote just days earlier during a registration drive by two other groups, America Coming Together and VIP.

    "Most of the students had registered Democrat the day before," Hoover said. "I've talked to the sheriff."

    Markings on many of the forms appeared to be in the same handwriting, she said.

    "I kind of thought there was something odd. I don't even know which party would have done it," Hoover said. "These people circled the different spots (on the form) for the people to fill in."

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