Mokhiber: The United States is dropping cluster bombs on Afghanistan.
These are bombs that are yellow in color, the same color as the food rations
-- they are the size of a soda can.
Public interest groups that crusade against land mines, including The
Princess Diana Memorial Fund and the International Campaign to Ban Land
Mines, have called on the United States to stop using them because of
the threat they pose to Afghan civilians.
Is the President aware of this controversy over cluster bombs and is he
going to do anything about it?
Ari Fleischer: I'm going to refer you to the Pentagon on all
operational matters. The President is aware of the conduct, how the war
is being conducted, and the President supports the actions, of course.
Mokhiber: I have a second question. Paul Krugman in today's New York
Times, on the economic stimulus package, says that a group of Texas
energy companies will get big checks from the government under this
package. And he says they are disproportionate in size.
So, for example, while General Motors, which has 380,000 employees,
will get a check for $800 million -- TXU, which is the former Dallas
Power & Light, which has only 16,000 employees -- will get a check for
He points the finger at Vice President Cheney, saying that a group of
Texas energy companies, including TXU, Enron, ChevronTexaco, will get
these big checks.
The question is what role did Vice President Cheney have in developing
this economic stimulus package.
Ari Fleischer: The economic stimulus package or the energy package?
Mokhiber: The stimulus package -- these are tax rebates, the corporate
Fleischer: First of all, the President has proposed the economic
stimulus package to apply universally to lower and middle income
taxpayers, to other taxpayers, in the case of expenses, which he has
proposed, and in the case of corporate AMT, for all corporations that
currently are treated under the tax code unfairly, because they are
penalized for their investment plans. That was a proposal that was made
by the President, the Vice President of course concurs with it, and
that's where we stand.