Nominations for September 2005

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

Project Censored Editorial Board: Carolyn Epple, Charlene Tung, Dorothy Freidel, Francisco Vazquez, Greta Vollmer, Jeanett Koshar, Mary Gomes, Michael Ezra, Myrna Goodman, Patricia Kim-Rajal, Philip Beard, Rashmi Singh, Rick Luttmann, Ronald Lopez, Stephanie Dyer, Thom Lough, Tim Wandling, Tony White, Gary Evans MD, Andy Roth, Ben Frymer, Wingham Liddell, April Hurley MD and Karilee Shames

U.S. Representative McKinney Censored in Congress

Reviewed by Charlene Jones

Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) used the word “impeachment” on the House floor but, she said, it was not reflected in the official transcript of her September 8 description of “high crimes and misdemeanors visited on the American people.” In a speech entitled Tremendous Challenges that Face our Country, McKinney recounted the incompetence of the Bush Administration in addressing the needs of hurricane Katrina victims and the policies of Republican elites responsible for rampant poverty and an increased racial divide. Questioning everything from the lack of action on Katrina to rewarding the rich, the congresswoman later promised to use the word repeatedly on the House Floor until she sees it reflected in the Congressional Record.

Deregulation Champion Named Chair of FERC

Reviewed by Ned Patterson

The Bush Administration announced on June 29 that Joseph Kelliher, a staunch supporter of the free-market principles of deregulation, would be named to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This news was a welcome surprise to many industry lobbyists and energy executives who know Kelliher and have a cozy relationship with him. A FERC chairperson’s primary responsibility is to protect consumers from the manipulative tactics of the energy industry. In 2003, after a legal battle, the White House was forced to release several hundred pages of task force-related documents that showed the extent to which Kelliher went to solicit key players in the industry to help write the National Energy Policy.

“Disaster Profiteering Act” Waives Taxpayer Protections

Reviewed by David Abbott

House Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) and Representative Kenny Marchant (R-TX) have introduced legislation that will waive taxpayer protections and eliminate competition in contracting during declared emergencies or national disasters. The legislation is rumored to be included in an amendment to the next Katrina Relief bill and is designated H.R. 3766. If passed, this legislation will affect several current national emergencies as well as homeland security-related and national security spending.

EPA Rules to be Suspended for Katrina

Reviewed by Lesley Amberger

Legislation is in the works to suspend EPA rules regarding Hurricane Katrina. The Republican chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is preparing the proposal despite the reaction from EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, who states he has no immediate need for any rules to be eased. The EPA has already suspended some clean-air requirements to ease the flow of gasoline supplies after Hurricane Katrina. Senator James Jeffords, I-VT believes that a bill like this will be environmentally destructive and will have long term effects, paving the way for environmental abuse. Furthermore, the provision proposes that the EPA can request an extension to prolong issuing waivers after the 120 days laid out in the bill, permitting further violations.

Whistleblowers’ Days may be Numbered

Reviewed by David Abbott

Army Corps of Engineers Senior Contract Officer Bunnatine Greenhouse, has been demoted after raising objections to multi-billion dollar no-bid Halliburton contracts. Her complaints within the agency were ignored, so she went public with her concerns about corrupt contracting practices. In response to her actions, she began receiving poor performance reviews. Greenhouse is the latest in a line of whistleblowers that are being silenced.

Internet Giant Yahoo Informs on Journalist

Reviewed by Charlene Jones

Collaboration with the Chinese government by multinational corporation Yahoo led to imprisonment of journalist Shi Tao for “divulging state secrets.” According to Reporters Without Borders, when Yahoo’s Hong Kong enterprise helped supply information to China’s state security authorities. The media watchdog accused Yahoo of becoming a police informant in order to further its business ambition.

Power Plants Go Unregulated

Reviewed by Bailey Malone

In March 2005 the EPA took power plants off the list of sources of toxic pollutants, and instead has created a pollution trading scheme. A resolution challenging the EPA’s cutback of Clean Air Act requirements to reduce mercury emissions failed in the Senate this September, leaving an estimated 1 in 6 women at risk of passing mercury poisoning on to their newborn children. Despite the Senate vote against the resolution, many states continue to lead the way with plans to crack down on mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Pat Robertson Cashes in on Katrina

Reviewed by David Abbott

Pat Robertson, Founder and Chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has used his influence with the Republican Party to cash in on the Katrina disaster. The Bush Administration has approved the inclusion of his relief organization on FEMA’s list of key donation organizations. Operation Blessing has funneled millions of dollars into Robertson’s coffers. Of the organizations listed on FEMA’s website, only two are non-“faith-based.”

Pentagon Plans New Landmine Production

Review by Matt Johnson

The Pentagon has requested $1.3 billion for two new antipersonnel landmines, the first of which could roll out as early as 2007. The United States has not used antipersonnel landmines since the first Gulf War when 100,000 mines were scattered by plane across Iraq and Kuwait. This move would end a moratorium on landmine use signed into law by George H.W. Bush in 1992 and would call into question the United States’ previous intention to join the 145 country 1997 Mine-Ban treaty. There have been reports of U.S. use of landmines in the war in Iraq, but the Pentagon has yet to either confirm or deny this claim. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has estimated that such weapons kill and maim 500 people, mostly civilians, per week.