Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Impeach Bush

Blair Accused of Exaggerating Iraqi Arms
The Guardian/Associated Press Writer
By JILL LAWLESS
Tuesday June 17, 2003 3:09 PM

LONDON (AP) - The British government made selective use of intelligence to justify going to war with Iraq, two former senior Cabinet ministers told lawmakers Tuesday, first day of a parliamentary inquiry studying the issue.

Former House of Commons leader Robin Cook, who quit in March to protest the government's pro-war stance, told lawmakers he feared Prime Minister Tony Blair's government had used intelligence about Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs ``to justify a policy on which we had already settled.''

Clare Short, who also quit as international development secretary over the Iraq war, said the government exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Cook was the first witness to appear before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry into how intelligence was used in the months before the war on Iraq. The opening day of the investigation was televised live in Britain.

The lawmakers are looking into claims that Blair's government ``sexed up'' intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to make a more compelling case for war.

Blair has said there is not ``a shred of truth'' in allegations that the government manipulated evidence about Iraq's weapons programs.

In the United States, Congress is to begin hearings into the intelligence case for war this week, but Republicans have rejected calls for a more formal inquiry.

Cook said intelligence information was a bit like ``alphabet soup.''

``I fear on this occasion what happened is that those bits of the alphabet that supported the case were selected,'' he said.

``I fear the fundamental problem is that instead of using intelligence as evidence on which to base a decision about policy, we used intelligence as the basis on which to justify a policy on which we had already settled.''

Cook and Short said they had been told by security sources before the war that Saddam's weapons did not pose an immediate threat.

Short said she had seen reports from the foreign intelligence service MI6 that said Iraqi scientists were still working on chemical and biological weapons programs, but did not support government claims that Saddam had weapons ready to use.

``I think that is where the falsity lies,'' Short said. ``The exaggeration of immediacy means you cannot do things properly, and action has to be immediate.''

Cook said he had received a similar briefing from MI6.

Two parliamentary committees are investigating claims that Blair's office redrafted a dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, published in September, to emphasize the claim that Iraq could fire chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of Saddam giving an order to do so. Intelligence officials reportedly believed the information was unreliable.

Cook said he believed Saddam ``did not have an immediate threat capability'' in the run-up to the war, and he doubted whether investigators would find evidence of substantial chemical and biological arms programs in Iraq.

``Such weapons require substantial industrial plant and a large work force. It is inconceivable that both could have been kept concealed for the two months we have been in occupation of Iraq,'' Cook said.

Over the next few weeks the committee will hear evidence from senior politicians including Foreign Secretary Jack Straw - but not Blair, who said last week that neither he nor his staff would appear. Blair will give evidence to another inquiry by the Joint Intelligence Committee, which unlike the foreign affairs committee meets in private.

Blair has resisted calls for a full public inquiry. The threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was the main reason given by the British government for going to war, but inspectors have found no hard evidence of chemical, biological or nuclear arms.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Commentary:
Blair had access to US intelligence and if he's like Australia's PM he didn't bother to do an independent verification of data. However, Blair clearly said things Bush hasn't said. For example he said Iraq was 45 minutes away from launching a weapon of mass destruction. Bush too has said things Blair hasn't said. Both Blair and Bush have one thing in common, they have to continue to say they didn't lie, regardless of how many facts prove they did.

Wouldn't it be easier to just say "we screwed up." The coverup continues.


top

When Will House Republicans Call for Bush's Impeachment?
commondreams.org
by Steve Pittelli
Published on Tuesday, June 17, 2003

It has now become clear that President Bush lied to the American people in order to promote a war. That war continues and has already led to the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians, hundreds of U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqi soldiers. In truth, Bush's lies are more than just lies. They are high crimes and the President should now be subject to impeachment.

There are those who say that the President's current popularity or the Republican majority in the House and Senate preclude the possibility of his impeachment. Perhaps they are underestimating the moral integrity of our Republican congressmen. In fact, some of them have already publicly stated their opinions on this subject. They did so in February of 1999 when they served as Impeachment Trial Managers for the Senate Impeachment Trial of former President Clinton. Let's look at what they had to say then:

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois),

"There is a visibility factor in the president's public acts, and those which betray a trust or reveal contempt for the law are hard to sweep under the rug...They reverberate, they ricochet all over the land and provide the worst possible example for our young people.'

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin)

"The truth is still the truth, and a lie is still a lie, and the rule of law should apply to everyone, no matter what excuses are made by the president's defenders…We have done so because of our devotion to the rule of law and our fear that if the president does not suffer the legal and constitutional consequences of his actions, the impact of allowing the president to stand above the law will be felt for generations to come…laws not enforced are open invitations for more serious and more criminal behavior.'

Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)

"It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter.'

Steve Buyer (R- Indiana)

"I have also heard some senators from both sides of the aisle state publicly: I think these offenses rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, to state publicly that you believe that high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred but for some reason you have this desire not to remove the president -- that desire, though, does not square with the law, the Constitution, and the Senate's precedents for removing federal judges for similar offenses.'

Rep. Lindsey Graham (R - South Carolina, Now Senator)

"The president of the United States sets atop of the legal pyramid. If there's reasonable doubt about his ability to faithfully execute the laws of the land, our future would be better off if that individual is removed. And let me tell you where it all comes down to me. If you can go back and explain to your children and your constituents how you can be truthful and misleading at the same time, good luck.'

These, of course, are just a few examples. It is likely that most of those who voted to impeach Clinton are on record as to the high ethical standards they were following. Certainly, they must follow these same standards when considering Bush's egregious lies and the consequences of those lies. It is time to draft the Articles of Impeachment and let those who oppose them state why this case deserves more leniency than was given to former President Clinton.

© Copyrighted 1997-2003

Commentary:
Republicans won't impeach Bush because he's their cash cow. Bush can raise money faster than any candidate in US history and his party needs all the money it can get so it can avoid talking about real issues. Real issues like deficits. If republicans valued "truth" and the "rule of law" Bush would be gone by now. They value power more than their oath to defend the Constitution.

The only one way to stop the current regime is by denying it power. All republicans in every part of the country have to be voted out of office. The message will be heard and they'll be forced to change.


top

Not Buying Revisionist Sales Job on Iraqi Weapons
Baltimore Sun/CommonDreams.org
Jules Witcover
Published on Wednesday, June 11, 2003

WASHINGTON - In a few short months, President Bush has turned from being Paul Revere on the "imminent threat" of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction into a patient teacher of recent history.

"Intelligence throughout the decade showed that they had a weapons program," he instructed White House reporters the other day. "I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out they did have a weapons program."

Nobody argues, though, with Saddam Hussein having had such weapons in the early 1990s, that he used them against rebellious Kurds and that U.N. inspectors found and directed the destruction of weapons components before they withdrew from Iraq in 1998.

So the pertinent question has always been whether, as the Bush administration insisted in launching the invasion, those weapons were in hand and so ready for use as to constitute a clear and present danger requiring immediate military action.

Mr. Bush's latest expressions of conviction that the Iraqis had a "weapons program" seemed a distinction and a hedge from his earlier statement on Polish television that "we found the weapons of mass destruction." His reference was to the two mobile facilities suspected of being capable of producing deadly chemical or biological agents.

With reporters parsing his words as if he were Bill Clinton playing semantic games over his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer found it necessary to say that Mr. Bush, "in saying programs, also applies to weapons," and "that includes everything knowable up to the opening shots of the war."

In the absence of the discovery of such weapons, however, the president is now actively engaged in low-balling the WMD rationale for the war. In saying that history will conclude he made the "absolute right decision" in invading Iraq, he is substituting Iraqi "liberation" as his justification, itself a somewhat premature self-congratulation in light of the continued turmoil in the conquered country, including more U.S. military casualties.

Although Mr. Bush did emphasize the goal of "regime change" as the invasion approached, the "imminent threat" of weapons of mass destruction was the driving force in the administration's argument that more time could not be afforded U.N. inspectors in their quest for them.

Understating the importance of the existence or absence of WMD at the time of the invasion won't settle the critical question of whether administration officials hyped government intelligence about the threat to win congressional support for launching pre-emptive war. Without WMD, what was being pre-empted?

E-mails to a columnist are hardly the equivalent of a Gallup poll, but mine have taken an interesting turn in recent weeks, from strong defenses of the president to questions about his rationale for the war.

One e-mailer writes: "You ask whether Bush's case was built on deception? Do Marylanders like crab cakes? It is abundantly clear from recent remarks by Secretary [of Defense Donald H.] Rumsfeld that the whole WMD argument was a gigantic hoax and fraud. He is now left to arguing that the Iraqis may have destroyed them. ... These people just lie. Why don't you just come out and say it?"

Another asks: "If Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied about having sex with an intern, shouldn't George W. Bush also be impeached for the much more serious lie of inventing the case for war against Iraq out of whole cloth?" And another: "Mr. Bush is a liar. I don't buy the spin that his intelligence was giving him wrong information. The CIA wasn't convinced about Iraq, and we all know how he discredited [U.N. chief inspector Hans] Blix."

Finally, another reader writes: "I find it odd that you do not utter the word 'impeach' in your articles. About the missing WMD which were the rationale for going to war in Iraq, Senator [Robert C.] Byrd is right to keep looking at the Constitution. If the Republicans were right to hound and clamor for impeachment of President Clinton because he 'lied' about his personal life, lying about reasons for going to war and putting many lives at risk is so much more egregious and serving of impeachment. Why the silence?"

Jules Witcover writes from The Sun's Washington bureau. His column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Copyright (c) 2003, The Baltimore Sun

Commentary:
Do you find it odd that the press isn't hounding Bush and the entire republican party? There's a reason. Not since McCarthyism has the press played a central part in a political scandal. Without the networks and cable pushing war around the clock and without the lack of questions about evidence, the press allowed this president to lie to us and take us to war based on those lies. The media is a major part of the current scandal and it's not in their best interest to pursue it. They pushed Bush's lies about WMD just like they pushed charges and innuendo against Bill Clinton for eight years. The story is more important than the facts. Trust the US media at your own risk.


top

Court Says U.S. May Withhold Detainee Names
New York Times
By NEIL A. LEWIS
June 17, 2003

WASHINGTON, June 17 — A sharply divided appeals court ruled today that the Justice Department was within its rights when it refused to release the names of more than 700 people arrested for immigration violations in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The 2-to-1 ruling by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the government's contention that disclosing the names of people arrested on immigration charges after the September 2001 attacks could help Al Qaeda figure out how law-enforcement officials were conducting the nation's antiterrorist campaign.

The opinion extends a string of significant legal victories, against some setbacks of lesser importance, for the White House from federal judges as they begin to rule on challenges to the administration's actions in response to the terrorist attacks.

An appeals court in Philadelphia has already upheld the right of the administration to hold hearings in secret on possible immigration violations in connection with the attacks. Another panel of the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that the detainees at the naval base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba are outside the reach of American constitutional law. And in January, the appeals court based in Richmond, Va., gave the administration a major victory in ruling that a wartime president like Mr. Bush could indefinitely detain a United States citizen captured as an enemy combatant on the battlefield and deny that person access to a lawyer.

Today's case pitted two fundamental values against each other — the right of the public to know details of how its government operates versus the government's need to keep some information secret to protect national security.

The majority opinion, written by Judge David B. Sentelle, said that courts had always shown deference to executive branch officials in the field of national security.

"The need for deference in this case is just as strong as in earlier cases," Judge Sentelle wrote in the opinion that was joined by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson. "America faces an enemy just as real as its former cold war foes."

Judge Sentelle said that when government officials tell the court that disclosing the names of the detainees will produce harm: "It is abundantly clear that the government's top counterterrorism officials are well suited to make this predictive judgment. Conversely, the judiciary is in an extremely poor position to second-guess" government views in the field of national security.

Judge David S. Tatel offered a blistering dissent, saying that the majority of the court was just agreeing with what he said is the Bush administration's demand to "simply trust its judgment."

Judge Tatel wrote that "by accepting the government's vague, poorly explained allegations, and by filling in the gaps in the government's case with its own assumptions about facts absent from the record, this court has converted deference into acquiescence."

The opinion also demonstrated again the ideological divide on the nation's appeals courts and especially the District of Columbia Circuit, which is widely viewed as second in importance only to the Supreme Court. Judges Sentelle and Henderson are Republican appointees while Judge Tatel is a Democratic appointee.

Kate Martin, the director of the Center for National Security Studies, the lead plaintiff, said the case will be appealed, either to the full District of Columbia Circuit or to the Supreme Court.

The case revolved around an effort by several civil liberties groups that had asserted the Freedom of Information Act required the Justice Department to disclose the names of those detained on immigration charges. The government argued that it was entitled to an exception in the law that allowed information to be withheld for continuing law-enforcement investigations.

Attorney General John Ashcroft argued that while he was obliged by the Constitution to disclose the names of anyone arrested and charged with a criminal act, he did not have to do so in the case of those charged with immigration violations. In addition, he argued that it would violate the privacy of those arrested on immigration violations

Today's ruling reversed a lower court decision by Judge Gladys Kessler, who said that while there were important national security concerns, "Unquestionably, the public's interest in learning the identity of those arrested and detained is essential to verifying whether the government is operating within the bounds of law."

A report this month from the Justice Department's inspector general, relying on information not available to the public, seemed to bolster the case that the arrests of people on immigration violations demonstrated the kinds of problems the public is generally entitled to be aware of.

That report found "significant problems" in the way the authorities arrested and treated hundreds of illegal immigrants as part of the Sept. 11 investigation. The report concluded that authorities had made little effort to distinguish real terrorist suspects from those who became ensnared by chance in the investigation. Many suspects were jailed for months, often without being formally charged or given access to lawyers, and some inmates in Brooklyn were physically and verbally abused before they were cleared of any terrorist ties, the report said.

"This report highlights what we believe is fundamentally wrong with the court's decision," said Steven Shapiro, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the plaintiffs.

"Our whole reason for seeking this is because we believe that secrecy invites abuse and we now know that from this report that abuses did take place," Mr. Shapiro said.

The report also asserted that the vast majority of the immigration detainees had no connection with terrorists. But Judge Sentelle's opinion today said that declarations by government officials establish "that many of the detainees have links to terrorism."

Mr. Ashcroft said that, "Today's ruling is a victory for the Justice Department's careful measures to safeguard sensitive information about our terrorism investigations as well as the privacy of individuals who chose not to make public their connection to the government's probe."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
The courts have gone bonkers. Immigration charges have nothing to do with National Security and according to the Constitution the government must have a grand jury indictment before it can charge someone. The Bush regime is being helped by the courts in destroying what little remains of the Constitution.

The Guantanamo Bay ruling shows how far the courts are willing to go to destroy the "rule of law." The POW's in Cuba are being held on orders of a US president by the US military. To suggest the courts can't touch that case is absurd. Can the US government kidnap you or me, take us to Cuba and then deny us our rights too? The courts say they can. It's out of their reach. Such nonsense fills our court rooms and is despicable. If I were king for a day, I'm remove everyone of these judges.

We need a new president, a new congress, a new court system and a new media. A lot to do, but it's not impossible. Bush and the republican congress would have been shamed from office by now if the media was doing its job. But instead they pander, waiting for the next (made-up) story from the Administration.


top

Inquiry on Search for Texas Dems Released
By SUZANNE GAMBOA
The Associated Press
Monday, June 16, 2003; 8:15 PM

WASHINGTON - Investigators found no wrongdoing by a Department of Homeland Security agency that helped Texas police track down the private plane of a state legislator who fled with other Democrats to Oklahoma in a political dispute.

The department's inspector general concluded in a report released Monday that a dispatcher at the California-based Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center made eight phone calls that took no more than 40 minutes to track down a Piper Cheyenne belonging to state Rep. Pete Laney, a Democrat.

Laney flew to Ardmore, Okla., last month to prevent a vote on a congressional redistricting bill in the Texas House that had been pushed by U.S. Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Fifty other Democrats also fled to Ardmore.

The investigators said that help given to the Texas Department of Public Safety had "no reducible effect" on the center's mission.

"This is a nominal use of (Department of Homeland Security) resources," the investigators said.

The center, part of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Homeland Security Department, monitors drug traffickers and possible terrorist activities.

Democrats have been urging Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to release transcripts of the conversations between the center and the department. They have alleged that DeLay or other Republicans used the agency for political purposes. DeLay has said he did not contact the agency.

"What do the Democrats say now about their lies?" said DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella.

In Austin, Bob Richter, a spokesman for House Speaker Tom Craddick, said the findings were "what we expected all along."

The investigators' findings are "yet another authority, concluding that there were no inappropriate actions taken" in the attempt to round up the Democrats, said Kathy Walt, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry.

Center staffers say the Texas DPS called on May 12 requesting for help in finding an aircraft "believed to be overdue." The center told investigators they average 30 to 40 calls a day requesting assistance from individuals, localities and states.

"We had a plane that was supposedly to be going from Ardmore, Okla., to Georgetown, Texas. It had state representatives in it and we cannot find this plane," the DPS told the center, according to the redacted transcript.

The agency said it blacked out names of employees and other information for privacy reasons.

The center's operations manual says it will help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for humanitarian efforts if it has the resources, the report said.

After the center was unable to find the Texan's plane, it suggested DPS call the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to request a search and rescue. The Texas DPS initially turned that down, but later called back to get information on how to start a search and rescue.

Lt. Will Crais of the DPS has said in a deposition that he acted alone in contacting the center. But the investigator's report says several individuals requested someone or something - that information also was blanked out - look for the airplane.

Revelations that the anti-terrorism agency had assisted in the search prompted a string of letters from lawmakers in Congress, including presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who chairs the House Government Affairs Committee, and Rep. Jim Turner of Texas, ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Lawmakers also questioned whether the agency has enough safeguards in place to prevent misuse of anti-terrorism resources. The investigation did not address whether the caller acted improperly by leading the center to believe the plane was in trouble.

Democrats have insisted that the department let them inspect all transcripts, recordings and related documents. But Ridge has declined, saying the probe was a "potentially criminal investigation."

Some Democrats have invoked a rule that allows seven members of the House Government Reform Committee to compel Ridge to release the documents and tapes. Ridge has until Thursday to comply.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, was unsatisfied with the heavily redacted report.

"This attempt to filter the truth raises as many unanswered questions as it offers gaps and omissions. It's really more of a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy than a comprehensive investigation," Doggett said in a statement.

On the Net: http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?theme89&content975

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
Ok, here's the real deal. It's a felony to defraud the US government in any way. The nuts in Texas told Homeland Security an airplane was missing. That was a lie and a felony. Giving false information to a law enforcement agency is also a crime, but I bet there's no jail for these republicans.

Since a good chunk of the report is deleted there's no telling if the Homeland Security Department committed crimes also.


top

Senator Decries Tornado Detection Cuts
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID
The Associated Press
Monday, June 16, 2003; 3:37 PM

WASHINGTON - The wind profiler system, an array of instruments that helps track tornadoes in the Midwest and provided data on the disintegration of the space shuttle, has been marked to be cut from the 2004 federal budget.

But that plan is already drawing sharp criticism from one powerful senator.

The profilers are essential for the Weather Service, said Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Appropriations Committee. "We will not allow them to be eliminated."

There are 35 profilers in use, most of them in the Midwestern area known as tornado alley, where forecasters say the instruments help improve short-range forecasts and warnings.

Three others are in Alaska where they help track storms and forecast the movement of dust blasted into the air by volcanoes.

That dust can damage aircraft engines, and Stevens says the profilers have proven their worth, allowing airlines to reroute planes to avoid dangerous zones and letting the Air Force to relocate its planes to safety during eruptions.

"The profilers give us the ability to trace substances in the air," Stevens said, adding that they also could help track biohazards.

The profilers are especially valuable during severe weather, said Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., a consortium operated by several colleges and universities.

In early May, the machines showed the air was increasingly unstable, a situation that led to a severe tornado outbreak across several states. The tornadoes killed more than 40 people.

A study concluded that the profilers were critical in forecasting the outbreak, and without them, many more lives might have been lost.

Rather than being eliminated, the profiler network should be expanded nationwide, Anthes said.

Ronald D. McPherson, executive director of the American Meteorological Society, said the information from the profilers "is a vital part of the observing system, especially for severe weather in tornado alley."

They are vital for forecasters dealing with a "really short-fused situation" in the period one to three hours before severe weather strikes, he said.

Although upper-air measurements are collected by balloons every 12 hours, similar data can be read hourly - or more often - in places that have profilers, explained Kelvin Droegemeier, a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.

The readings are useful for forecasts of lake-effect snows and mountain storms, Droegemeier said.

In addition to the profiler systems in the Midwest and Alaska, there is one in Syracuse, N.Y., a region that suffers major lake-effect snows regularly.

Dave Miller, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - the Weather Service's parent agency - confirmed that the system had been marked to be cut from the budget.

The Weather Service has shown that the profilers are useful, he said, but they are competing for money for other systems like new radars and satellites. It became a question of priorities, he said.

Miller said the agency is considering the possibility of restoring the system to operation sometime in the future.

Another problem is that the radio frequency used by the profilers to report their data will be turned over to private business, so the system will need new transmitters, Sen. Stevens noted.

In addition to restoring funding for 2004, Stevens said Congress would call on the Weather Service to develop a plan to modernize the system by converting it to digital communications.

A spokesman for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said the senator will work with other lawmakers to keep the profilers in service.

The profilers are ground-based instruments, which some say look like a set of bedsprings or a sheet of chicken wire on the ground. They went into operation in 1992 at a cost of $20 million. Cutting them from the budget will save $4.15 million in 2004.

The sites operate automatically, sending Doppler radar signals to measure wind direction and speed at various levels - up to about 50,000 feet. This means that in areas with profilers aviators receive more regular and accurate updates on wind speed and direction and warnings of turbulence.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
I have a unique solution for Bush's record deficits. Since the rich clearly don't want to pay their fair share in taxes (we're borrowing money so they can have their taxes cut) how about denying them access to some of the things government does? So, in super rich neighborhood, they get no tornado sirens, no weather warnings, nothing. Then after a super storm hits one of the neighborhoods we tell them you wanted you taxes cut, tough luck.

They beg us to raise their taxes.


top

U.S. May Hit New Debt Ceiling in 2004
The Associated Press
Monday, June 16, 2003; 2:54 PM

WASHINGTON - The government could hit the new $7.4 trillion limit on the national debt next year- any time from April through October, Treasury Department spokesman Rob Nichols said Monday.

President Bush last month signed a bill allowing a record $984 billion increase in the amount the federal government can borrow. It marked the second increase in the debt ceiling in roughly a year. In June 2002, the debt ceiling was increased by $450 billion to $6.4 trillion.

The issue is politically touchy. Democrats have blamed the government's need to borrow more on Bush's tax cuts, his handling of the economy and ballooning federal government budget deficits. Republicans have blamed the weak economy and the costs of fighting terrorism for the need to extend the debt limit.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
In less than three years Bush has created $844 billion of debt. To put this in perspective, all presidents prior to Reagan created just $944 billion of debt. Our current debt is $6.6 trillion but by the time you read this it'll be higher. Debt is going up that fast.


top

Bush cuts funding for AmeriCorp
By JENNIFER C. KERR
The Associated Press
Monday, June 16, 2003; 9:01 PM

WASHINGTON - Caught in the middle of an accounting dispute between two federal offices, AmeriCorps - the national service organization hailed by President Bush - is cutting funding for volunteer programs across the nation.

On Monday, the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, announced its first round of program grants for the coming months, and many nonprofit groups saw their funding scaled back or wiped out.

"This will be a difficult year for AmeriCorps," said Sandy Scott, spokesman for the federal agency. "Many good programs that deserve funding won't receive it."

The corporation approved 53 grant applications this year - enough to support an estimated 3,000 AmeriCorps member positions. That's down drastically from the 255 "state competitive grants" awarded last year, which provided money for some 16,000 volunteer positions.

Scott pointed out that more grant announcements will be made this summer and the corporation remained hopeful that it will reach its goal of 50,000 volunteers.

But the groups that organize volunteers to mentor children, build homes for the poor or clean up polluted streams described the cuts as drastic, and said they will have a ruinous impact on their operations - in some cases shutting down entire programs.

"This is the wrong time in America to be cutting national service," said Michael Brown, president of the Boston-based group, City Year - which helps recruit and train young volunteers in 14 cities nationwide.

The outcome for his group: 820 spots funded by AmeriCorps through state competitive grants have been slashed to 187 available slots for volunteers.

Paul Schmitz, CEO of Public Allies, said the cuts are "absolutely devastating not just to us but to the entire field." His group - which is headquartered in Milwaukee - also mobilizes young volunteers, and it receives about a third of its funding from AmeriCorps.

The corporation laid most of the blame for the cash shortfall on a dispute between the General Accounting Office and the Office of Management and Budget over how much money AmeriCorps must set aside in a trust, which goes to pay college scholarships for volunteers.

The corporation also has been saddled with questions from congressional investigators about its own business procedures for approving more volunteer positions than it had money for last year.

The "over-approval" means money from this year's budget will have to go to pay volunteers slated for service last year, further draining the pool of slots for potential volunteers this year, according to the agency.

Scott said he anticipates another round of the state competitive grants later in the year, which could restore some of the lost funding. That, however, will depend on how the GAO and OMB resolve their differences. And even then, the nonprofit groups said the overall funding would still be far below what was granted in previous years.

Bush has issued calls for more Americans to volunteer in their communities - especially in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

For next year, the president requested an increase of more than $150 million for AmeriCorps - which was created by former President Clinton. That would allow for an expansion of the program to cover the enrollment of some 75,000 volunteers, and boost overall funding to $554 million.

It is not clear whether that funding will become a reality, though - especially given that the GOP-led Congress voted to cap AmeriCorps enrollment at 50,000 volunteers this year.

The nonprofits that depend on AmeriCorps grants said they need help from Bush, in the form of a supplemental funding request to Congress for additional funds.

AmeriCorps volunteers usually spend about a year working full-time in community service projects. In return, they receive stipends of $9,300 a year and educational awards of $4,725 for college or graduate school.

On the Net:

AmeriCorps: www.americorps.gov

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
In Bush's State of the Union he said he wanted to make AmeriCorps stronger. Republicans in Congress applauded him wildly. After the applause and the camera's are gone they gut spending.

Bush and his rubber stamp congress have no shame.


top

Hillary Book Review: Distorting History
Washington Times
By David N. Bossie
June 17, 2003

"Hillary Clinton and the Sorcerers Stone" sounds like the title to a new Harry Potter book. Far from the unvarnished truth, Mrs. Clinton's new memoir serves up a large helping of selective history, omissions and other magical make-believe. After reading Mrs. Clinton's book, it's clear Hillary — like Bill Clinton — never accepts responsibility for her actions. Instead, she continues to unfairly blame Ken Starr and the so-called "vast right-wing conspiracy" for her and her husband's troubles.

In her book, Mrs. Clinton does not address many important questions from her time as First Lady. Those of us involved in the investigations are not surprised by her continued fabrications. But it is important to establish a record of those lies, so that her fantasy will not go unchallenged as she begins her own bid for the White House.

Fiction: Mrs. Clinton falsely claims that the Whitewater Independent Counsel exonerated her and President Clinton and that the investigations didn't amount to anything. Truth: Mrs. Clinton fails to mention Mr. Starr's 12 Whitewater convictions, including the Clinton's business partner's Jim McDougal, who died in prison, and Susan McDougal, who refused to testify, former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and Mrs. Clinton's Rose Law Firm partner and Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell.

Fiction: Mrs. Clinton continues to unfairly attack Mr. Starr on his broad and lengthy investigation. Truth: She fails to mention Mr. Starr inherited the main body of his investigation from the-then attorney general Reno appointed special counsel Robert Fiske and that it was White House stonewalling that caused the investigation to linger.

Fiction: Mrs. Clinton claims to have cooperated fully and completely with all investigations. Truth: Mrs. Clinton ignores the unmeritorious assertion of attorney-client privilege to block prosecutors from questioning government lawyers; the attempt at securing a secret-service privilege to block investigators from questioning the president's Secret Service detail; and obstructing the investigation with constant refusals to turn over documents with unfounded executive privilege claims. All these tactics were defeated in court, but served to drag out the investigation.

Omission: Mrs. Clinton ignores the nearly one million dollars given to Mr. Hubbell after his resignation from the Justice Department, seen by investigators as hush money. Mrs. Clinton fails to mention White House associate counsel Jane Sherburne's memo to "monitor" Hubbell's cooperation with the independent counsel's office or Mr. Hubbell's jailhouse assertion that he would not "roll-over."

Fiction: Mrs. Clinton continues to spin the false tale that the Rose Law Firm billing records, once found, exonerated her and fails to address how the billing records got into her private office in the residence of the White House. Truth: The billing records were under subpoena for over two years and were probably never going to be turned over. Mrs. Clinton's assistant Carolyn Huber found them and turned them over to the independent counsel's office. Mrs. Clinton fails to disclose that her fingerprints were found on the records and that the records contradict her testimony under oath about her work for Madison Guaranty and Mr. McDougal's fraudulent Castle Grande real estate deal.

Fiction: Mrs. Clinton states that the night of Vince Foster's death, his office wasn't sealed because it was not a crime scene. Truth: Mr. Foster was dead either from homicide or suicide, which made his office a crime-scene. Numerous individuals entered Mr. Foster's office the night of his death and Secret Service officer Henry O'Neil testified that he witnessed Maggie Williams, Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff, carrying documents out of Mr. Foster's office. We will never know what was taken out of Mr. Foster's office the night of his death.

Fiction: Mrs. Clinton tries to distance herself from Mr. McDougal and the Whitewater business venture. Truth: There were eleven loans and numerous fraudulent financial transactions completed to benefit Whitewater, including one loan to Mrs. Clinton from Mr. McDougal owned Madison Bank. Jim and Susan McDougal were both convicted for a series of fraudulent loans, including one to Bill Clinton, which was only discovered by happenstance after a tornado hit an abandoned car.

Fiction: Mrs. Clinton slanders Billy Dale, the former travel office chief, in an attempt to prove she was right to fire and investigate him. Truth: Mrs. Clinton tried to install a relative of Mr. Clinton into the travel office and dole contracts out to their friends. Mrs. Clinton states in her book, Mr. Dale "offered to plead guilty to a criminal charge and to serve a brief prison sentence, but the prosecutor insisted on going to trial," and lost. This lowly attack only serves to smear Mr. Dale while making her look good. After Mr. Dale was acquitted on all charges his legal bills were paid by a bi-partisan vote of Congress.

This was the modus operandi of the Clinton White House. Attack those who accuse, selectively leak information and blame the leaks on your enemies, claim cooperation while at the same time, assert privilege and refuse to turn over documents and provide testimony. Mrs. Clinton will need more than a magic potion to make the American people forget the Clinton's eight years in the White House.

David N. Bossie is the president of Citizens United. He served as the chief investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and an investigator on the Senate Whitewater Committee.

All site contents copyright © 2003 News World Communications, Inc.

Commentary:
It goes to show you that no matter how many facts come out the Clinton haters will continue to spew their lies. President and Ms. Clinton were exonerated on Whitewater and they need to get over it. No one in the Clinton Administration did anything wrong while they worked for the President. Good grief, will they liars ever stop lying?

Republicans and the media attacked President Clinton around the clock using baseless innuendo until Reno relented under pressure from Clinton to appoint an investigator. It was the only way he could get on with governing. To suggest otherwise is pure hyperbole.

Regarding Hubbell; "...seen by investigators as hush money" Good god, did they prove it? Nope. So keep the lies going, maybe some moron out there will believe them. Remember how they think, guilty until proven innocent, and then after proven guilty, guilty because they were accused.

First Lady Clinton was accused and exonerated regarding the Rose Law firm dealing and papers.

If the Clinton's were guilty of anything why is it that they were found innocent of ALL charges and not even indicted?

Wouldn't it be nice for republicans in Congress to pay all the legal bills they created by endless investigations into the Clinton's and everyone who worked from them? Needless to say republicans in congress have no morals.


top

Hillary yawner never gets to the good part
Chicago Sun Times
BY MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
June 15, 2003

Who is Hillary Rodham Clinton? We all know her husband. He's a hard guy to be non-intimate with. Early in his presidency, he was asked on TV what kind of underwear he wore and chatted away merrily about how he mostly preferred boxers but occasionally wore briefs.

Pandora's boxer shorts, once opened, are not easily buttoned up again. He remains the only president to have his, ah, distinguishing characteristics officially examined by a U.S. Naval surgeon when they became a matter of legal dispute. And not long after that his, er, DNA wound up getting analyzed by the FBI crime lab.

Now go back to that early, almost coy revelation: boxers or briefs. Imagine asking Hillary what kind of bra she wears, underwired or not. You can't do it. In inverse proportion to her pants-dropping husband, Sen. Clinton has become ever more swathed in protective clothing, ever more veiled. For years we've wondered: What's she really like? What's going on deep inside, under that inscrutable exterior? Now in this searingly intimate memoir, the most intriguing woman of our time finally tells all. You'll marvel at her painful candor as she reveals:

*France's Bernadette Chirac is ''an elegant, cultured woman''!

*Nicaragua's Violeta Chamorro is ''an elegant, striking woman''!!

*Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto is ''a brilliant and striking woman''!!!

*Canada's Aline Chretien is ''intelligent, sharply observant and elegant''!!!!

. . . but Russia's Naina Yeltsin is merely ''personable and articulate about children and their health care needs.''

Hmm. As for Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, they aren't in the least bit elegant, cultured, striking, elegant, brilliant, elegant, striking, elegant, sharply observant and elegant, so Sen. Clinton has less to say about them. And Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick and all the rest aren't even personable and articulate about health care needs, so they don't get mentioned at all.

Presumably if you looked hard enough you could find someone somewhere on the planet who's been scouring the bookstores in search of 500 pages of woozy platitudes on foreign dignitaries he's barely heard of. But that demographic would hardly cover the 8 million bucks Simon & Schuster shelled out to Mrs C. Hey, it wouldn't even cover the cost of that five-word description of the prime minister of Canada's wife, for which, by my calculations, her publishers paid Hillary $200.

But S&S are betting that there's a larger market out there, and that torpor is Sleeping History's unique selling point. Hillary's constituency doesn't want soul-baring--that's playing on Ken Starr terms. They want dullness--the dullness that reassures them that Hillary, once you dig her out from the cigars and Gap dresses of posterity, is still the serious thinker and feminist icon they told us she was in 1992.

''The woman is stronger than Queen Elizabeth I of England, a greater strategist than Catherine the Great of Russia, braver than Boadicea or the Amazons of old,'' wrote Erica Jong--just this week!

I am woman, hear me . . . recite long lists of overseas receptions I attended. As it happens, there's as little in her book about the specifics of Hillary's health care plan as there is about the specifics of Bill's pick-up technique, but no one will ever know because no one who isn't being paid to will get that far.

Hillary's fans will buy the book, open Chapter One, and read, ''I wasn't born a first lady or a senator. I wasn't born a Democrat. I wasn't born a lawyer or an advocate for women's rights and human rights. I wasn't born a wife or mother . . . '' and think, well, that's just like the early bits of the Old Testament, all the begetting, or in this case all the things she wasn't begot as, so I'll just skip ahead to Chapter Two, and I'll bet it's really crackling along by now.

And Chapter Two begins: ''What you don't learn from your mother, you learn from the world' is a saying I once heard from the Masai tribe in Kenya.''

And you think, well, isn't that just wonderfully diverse, and she heard it from an actual tribe in Kenya! Any tribesman in particular? Or did they all yell it out in unison as her motorcade passed by? Either way, it's the sort of soothing multicultural sentiment that separates an enlightened progressive from rabid knuckle-dragging redneck Clinton-haters, and that's all you need to know. So you put the book up on the shelf and never open it ever again.

The main victim of this approach is Bill Clinton. From the moment they met, she knew he ''had a vitality that seemed to shoot out of his pores,'' but none shoots out in Hill's leaden prose. I'll bet he had a better time reading Monica's Story, which captures Bill's oozing pores better than his wife's book does. Monica's version at least captures the boy president at his most endearingly adolescent, as his girlfriend's continuing contacts with her previous adulterer drive the president of the United States into paroxysms of jealousy: ''He's such a jerk!'' rages the leader of the free world over his rival, high school drama teacher Andy Bleiler. In Hillary's version, you feel only the absence of Bill's much vaunted ''passion.''

Monica's Bill is the Lounge-Act-In-Chief: ''He undressed me with his eyes.'' Hillary's Bill is a clunky wonk: ''While I was challenging discrimination practices, Bill was in Miami working to ensure McGovern's nomination.'' Monica says, ''The irony is that I had the first orgasm of the relationship.'' In Hillary's book, there are no orgasms, ironic or otherwise.

As for the two-paragraph ''controversy'' of this 500-page yawn, who cares? Either Hill is Bill's co-conspirator, and, in the furtherance of their own ambitions, they used the Democratic Party the way Bill uses women. Or there's this book's version, in which she's the last person of the planet still willing to believe Bill's version of events--not exactly Catherine the Great or Elizabeth I, but a gullible shill who by rights should have just put herself out of the running for president.

But time and again the Clintons have survived setbacks that would have clobbered lesser politicians. And if using gregarious Bill as the advance man for chilly Hilly's own ambitions wasn't the original plan, it is now.

Whatever she says, I can see her running, and, in certain circumstances, I can see her narrowly winning. Another Clinton presidency, and a disaster for the country. History repeats itself, but in defiance of the usual order: first the trouser-dropping farce, then tragedy.

Commentary:
I couldn't find one good review of Senator Clinton's book. It seems the entire media is still stuck in hate Hillary and Bill mode. I suppose after spending so many years lying about things they didn't do wrong the media is forced to continue to attack so they can be confidant. Calling Hillary a "gullible shill" is typical of these family values types.

Remember, when you read her book you're instructed to yawn and not believe what she writes. This comes from the same media types who haven't written a kind word about her in their lives.


top