Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Google Files Long-Awaited I.P.O.

Big technology news today:
Google Inc., the popular Internet search engine company, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today to raise as much as $2.72 billion in its long-awaited — and ballyhooed — stock market debut.

Based in Mountain View, Calif., the company has been secretive about both its business activities and its intentions. The S.E.C. filing, which fills nearly 1,000 pages, details plans for an initial public offering that is widely expected to transform Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former graduate students who started Google just six years ago, into instant billionaires.

In the filing, Google disclosed its earnings and revenues for the first time.

For all of last year, the company said it had net income of $105.6 million on revenues of $961.8 million. So far this year, the company has earned $63.9 million, up sharply from the $25 million in net income it earned in the first three months of 2003.
This New York Times article has more details.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Bush risks looking weak in 9/11 testimony

Time for a change of course:
President Bush's closed-door testimony to the Sept. 11 commission alongside Vice President Dick Cheney carries political risks for the White House. Leaning too much on Cheney could make Bush look weak, and inconsistencies with other officials could raise new questions.

Trying to head off criticism of Thursday's unusual side-by-side appearance, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday that he expects Bush rather than Cheney to handle most of the questions.
Read the full article.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Gambling interests bankrolling Eyman

Tim Eyman is being bankrolled by the gambling industry - big surprise You can get the full story by visiting NPI's Permanent Defense division.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Rice testifying before the 9/11 Commission

She's testifying now. Watch it live on cable. Here's the Center for American Progress's take:
Condoleezza Rice appears today before the Sept. 11 Commission on condition that her testimony "should not be cited as a precedent." In fact, it is an important precedent and it should be cited as such.

As a matter of principle, the president has no right to exempt the national security adviser from public questioning. After all, the secretary of state has traditionally been the president's principal adviser on foreign affairs, and yet he testifies regularly before the Congress, as well as special investigatory commissions. If confronted with a particular question that raises a matter of executive privilege, the secretary may refuse to testify and challenge his questioners to hold him in contempt. The notion that he could entirely exempt himself from public questioning is utterly alien to our Constitution.
The Bush administration only caved because the pressure on the White House was tremendous. Rice's appearance relieves the pressure without really answering the commission's requests.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Major combat operations in Iraq

alternate text

A huge victory over Wal-Mart

When political leaders in the California city of Inglewood blocked Wal-Mart's request for a huge new supercenter, the company created a $1 million campaign to place an initiative on the ballot and ask voters.

But voters have refused to swallow Wal-Mart's bait. Voters soundly rejected an initiative that would give Wal-Mart the authority to build and a construct a new supercenter, and skip all the environmental and civic regulations.

NPI congratulates the City of Inglewood and its citizens for standing against the Beast of Bentonville and refusing to allow Wal Mart to subvert them.

Read more: California Voters Reject Wal-Mart Initiative

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Wal-Mart's campaign of subversion

When political leaders in the California city of Inglewood blocked Wal-Mart's request for a huge new supercenter, the company created a $1 million campaign to place an initiative on the ballot and ask voters. Of course, Wal-Mart used paid signature gatherers to get on the ballot, proving the company is willing to resort to Eyman, Sizemore, and BIAW tactics to get what it wants by tricking voters.

Read more: Stymied by Politicians, Wal-Mart Turns to Voters

Friday, April 02, 2004

Eyman helping himself to his own campaign funds

Initiative profiteer Tim Eyman has decided that this year, rather than tell his supporters he's going to ask for donations if he's successful, and then, despite failure, ask anyway, that he'll start a little early.

Eyman is helping himself to a $3,100-a-week salary from campaign contributions to his new initiative, which would open up the state to gambling and pretend to cut state property taxes by $400 million.

For the next 15 weeks, until the July 2nd petition deadline, Eyman will collect about $46,500 total in funds.

This new revelation is not shocking or monumental. Rather, it is just another confirmation that Eyman's initiative factory has always been about business and not about policy.

Read the full statement at Permanent Defense.

Big Oil Over America

A clip from today's Progress Report:
In 2000, George W. Bush campaigned "on a promise that he would persuade OPEC to keep oil supplies plentiful." Bush promised he would "'jawbone' OPEC members by calling them and saying 'we expect you to open your spigots.'" But as OPEC slashes production and prices at the pump skyrocket, it seems that the President's pledge was all talk. While Saudi officials did visit the White House yesterday, they had already "led the push to cut OPEC production by 1 million barrels per day starting in April" and refused to formally reverse their position. Meanwhile, the President refused to "personally lobby oil cartel leaders to change their minds" about the production cut, with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham "declining to respond to repeated questions on whether the president had specifically spoken with leaders of Saudi Arabia." One explanation for the Administration's hands-off attitude towards Saudi Arabia: President Bush's close ties with the regime.

RECKLESS FISCAL POLICY LEADS TO HIGHER GAS PRICES: While the President and his surrogates demagogue the issue of rising gas prices, their own irresponsible fiscal and monetary policies are partly to blame. In the last two years, "the price of oil in dollars rose by 51%...but it rose by only 4% in euros." Why? According to two scholars at the Century Foundation "a declining U.S. dollar that's worth less in the international market is an important cause of the run-up in oil prices." The dollar is slumping in part because of a glut of U.S. Treasury bonds caused by "enormous deficits generated by tax cuts, increases in spending and sluggish economic performance." The weak dollar is also a reflection of "falling international confidence in U.S. [fiscal] policy." Unfortunately, "the Bush administration is doing little about it."

PLAN B – TRASH THE ENVIRONMENT: Instead of applying diplomatic pressure to Saudi Arabia, the Administration is again considering putting public health at risk by waiving clean air regulations. Ordinarily, states that fail to meet federal clean air requirements must use specially blended gas during the summer to reduce air pollution. But Energy Secretary Abraham confirmed yesterday that the Administration is considering not requiring states that violate federal clean air requirements to use the special gas. The move could marginally lower prices in some states but may also expose people in some states to even higher levels of dangerous air pollution.

PLAN C – ROLL OUT FAILED POLICIES: The Bush Administration has repeatedly failed to get its energy bill through Congress – a multi-billion-dollar package of tax breaks and incentives for big energy companies crafted in secret by Vice President Dick Cheney and executives like former Enron CEO Ken Lay. Yesterday, Press Secretary Scott McClellan said that, had the Administration's bill passed, "we wouldn't be in this mess now." But, as Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) notes, there is nothing in the bill "that would have effect on gas prices in the short term at all, or affect them substantially in the long-term either." Specifically, the legislation "does nothing to increase refining capacity, ease problems with so-called boutique fuels or reduce oil imports."

TAX BREAKS FOR GAS GUZZLERS: Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has made the U.S. more dependent on OPEC by providing incentives for Americans to buy cars that use the most gas. The President's 2003 "economic stimulus" package allowed business owners and the self-employed to deduct the cost of large SUVs (weighing 6,000 pounds or more) - up to $100,000 – quadruple the previous amount. That means it is possible to buy the Hummer H2, which goes for a minimum of $50,000 and gets 10 miles to the gallon, and deduct the entire amount. Meanwhile, the tax incentives for hybrid gas-electric cars remain paltry. The result is that "American buyers continued to shift from passenger cars to the largest and least fuel-efficient new vehicles that auto manufacturers offer, even as gasoline prices soar."
We recommend you check out the NPI's Energy & Power page.

Locke wields line item veto, institutes open primary

Washington's embattled primary fight has taken another twist:
Gov. Gary Locke vetoed a primary election scheme yesterday adamantly opposed by the political parties, leaving Washington voters with separate party primaries to replace the popular but court-rejected "blanket" primary.

He also left the fall election picture heavily clouded, as various opponents of the governor's action promised a referendum against the portion of the bill he signed, a lawsuit contesting his partial veto and a voter initiative to give the state the very type of "Top Two" primary he vetoed.

Those uncertainties -- and voters' unfamiliarity with whatever new system survives -- loom over a primary less than six months away, in one of Washington's most important election years in decades.

Doing what he previously hinted at, Locke rejected sections of the bill that would have created a system somewhat similar to Louisiana's, advancing the top two primary vote-getters to the general election even if both belonged to the same party.

He signed the remainder of the legislation, a fallback, "open primary, private choice" system similar to that of Montana and eight other states. It limits each voter to choosing from among only one party's candidates but keeps secret which party's ballot the voter selects. There is no party registration.

The Legislature passed the measure with the Montana system as a backup in case the Top Two was thrown out in court, a goal the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties had vowed to pursue.
Read more at the Seattle P-I

White House Attempting to Play Games Again

Voice of America news reports:
The commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks says it wants to know why the Bush administration has withheld documents from the files of former President Bill Clinton.

A lawyer for Mr. Clinton, Bruce Lindsey, says Bush aides have turned over only a quarter of the 11,000 pages that Mr. Clinton was ready to offer the commission. The lawyer says that as a result, the commission may not have a complete picture of the Clinton administration's anti-terrorism efforts.

A spokesman for the commission, Al Felzenberg, says the panel is negotiating with the White House to determine what documents have been held back and why. He says the White House may have "good reasons" for its decision.

The New York Times cites former Clinton aides as saying the files contain highly classified documents about efforts to subdue al-Qaida, the group that carried out the September 11 attacks.

White House spokesmen acknowledge that some documents have been held back, saying the papers were not relevant to the investigation. The spokesmen say the Bush administration is giving the commission all the information it needs to do its job.

Presidential records are sealed by law for five years after a president leaves office. Under that provision, the Clinton administration's papers would be sealed until January, 2006. But an exception was made to allow early access for the September 11 commission.

Thursday, the commission said it will hear public and sworn testimony from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on April 8.

The White House had originally refused to let Ms. Rice appear before the commission, but relented following public pressure.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Lisen to the all new Air America Radio via the web

We recommend listening to Air America Radio, the nation's first liberal radio network, by going to Portland affiliate 620 AM KPOJ.

alternate text