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Impeach Bush

Japan Says No Proof of N.Korea Nuclear Warheads
Retuers/ABCNews Wire
June 20, 2003

— TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's government said on Friday it had no firm evidence to confirm a newspaper report that North Korea has several nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan.

Quoting unspecified Japanese and U.S. sources, Friday's Sankei Shimbun newspaper said Washington had informed Tokyo in about March that North Korea possessed several small warheads that could be carried by such missiles.

Each warhead weighed about 1,650 to 2,200 pounds, it said.

We don't have firm evidence and I believe that the United States probably does not either," top government spokesman Yasuo Fukuda told reporters. "Considering from various angles, we can't assert clearly (that North Korea has such warheads)."

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi himself told reporters on Friday that the situation was inconclusive, but added that North Korea must be urged to change its provocative ways.

"I think what is needed is efforts by the international community as a whole to make North Korea understand how meaningless its current provocative speech and behavior are," Koizumi said.

North Korea shocked Japan and the world in August 1998 when it launched a Taepodong ballistic missile that passed over Japan.

Experts believe North Korea has already deployed up to 100 Rodong-1 missiles, which have a range of around 800 miles and are capable of hitting Japan.

Pyongyang has been locked in a bitter dispute with Washington over its suspected nuclear weapons program.

The crisis erupted in October when U.S. officials said North Korea had admitted to working secretly to develop nuclear arms.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said Washington believes Pyongyang already "may have one or two" nuclear weapons.

North Korean state media have issued conflicting statements on the country's nuclear status, at times accusing U.S. officials of lying about Pyongyang's declarations while also suggesting the North had already reprocessed plutonium for bombs.

Its Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the North would strengthen its "nuclear deterrent force," dismissing the U.S. call for multilateral talks as a tactic to isolate Pyongyang.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Commentary:
Press reports continue to connnect Bush's "first strike" issued in Sept. of 2002 with N. Korea saying it has nukes. Good grief. Does someone have to connect the dots for these morons?

Japan and the US have no proof N. Korea ever had nukes. North Korea said they had nukes so Bush wouldn't attack them. It worked. Bush promised not to attack. This crisis has been over for a very long time, but the press still doesn't get it. Bush lost.

It's increasingly clear that the media can't do its own thinking or research. They simply repeat what the Administration gives them, without question. Do we have a free press? I don't see it. A free press would ask for proof.


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The Christian Science Monitor used forged documents
The Independent
By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent
21 June 2003

An American newspaper that accused George Galloway of taking £6m from Saddam Hussein has withdrawn its claim and apologised after discovering the documents it based its story on were forgeries.

But yesterday the suspended Labour MP pledged to continue his claim for damages against The Christian Science Monitor and called on the British Government to investigate what he described as a "conspiracy" against him.

Mr Galloway, suspended from the Labour Party after describing Tony Blair and George Bush as wolves during an interview on Arabic television before the war with Iraq, said he would also continue his legal action against The Daily Telegraph, which published separate allegations against him. Charles Moore, the editor, said his paper's allegations against Mr Galloway were unconnected to the Monitor story.

The paper, based in Boston, reported in April that documents it obtained in Iraq indicated Saddam's government authorised six payments to Mr Galloway, totalling more than $10m, between July 1992 and January this year. It said an unnamed Republican Guard general found the papers in a house outside Baghdad used by Saddam's son Qusay.

A document dated January 2003 is said to have authorised a cheque of $3m in recognition of Mr Galloway's "courageous and daring stands against the enemies of Iraq, like [Tony] Blair, the British Prime Minister, and for his opposition in the House of Commons and Lords against all outrageous lies against our patient people".

The MP for Glasgow Kelvin said: "I want to know who forged these documents. I am calling on the Prime Minister, as head of the co-occupying power in Iraq, to investigate. As a member of the House of Commons, indeed as a British subject, I have the right to the protection of the British intelligence services from a conspiracy hatched by persons unknown but whose handiwork was conducted in foreign territory co-occupied by Great Britain."

The parliamentary standards commissioner and the charity commissioners have begun investigations since the cash allegations were made.

Mr Galloway added: "I don't accept the [Monitor] apology. Firstly, a newspaper of their international standing should have conducted these basic checks on the authenticity of these documents before they published them and not more than two months afterwards.

"I said from the beginning that these allegations were based on malice, fabrication and forgery and they would soon fall apart under scrutiny. That is beginning to happen."

Paul Van Slambrouck, editor of the Monitor, said: "At the time we published these documents, we felt they were newsworthy and appeared credible, although we did explicitly state in our article that we could not guarantee their authenticity."

Charles Moore said: "The Christian Science Monitor's retraction has no bearing on the Daily Telegraph story. Our story was based on different documents found in different circumstances. They were not supplied or given to us but unearthed by our reporter, David Blair, in the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad."

He added: "The [Monitor's] documents were produced in the wake of our story by a mysterious figure using a pseudonym. They purported to be torn from official files but there was no evidence to support their authenticity. We were offered them but declined. We note that the experts [The Monitor] employed pronounced that the documents on which our story was based appeared genuine. We have complete confidence in our story, our reporter and the authenticity of our documents."

THE CHURCH NEWSPAPER THAT WAS FOUNDED ON TRUTH

THE CHRISTIAN Science Monitor is a respected international daily newspaper founded in 1908, and published by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, but it is not a religious newspaper.

Mary Baker Eddy, a Boston businesswoman, started it when American women did not have the vote. She wrote: "Looking over the newspapers of the day, one naturally reflects that it is dangerous to live, so loaded with disease seems the very air. These descriptions carry fears to many minds, to be depicted in some future time upon the body. A periodical of our own will counteract to some extent this public nuisance; for through our paper we shall be able to reach many homes with healing, purifying thought."

The Monitor holds that the "unblemished truth" is a fundamental human right. If widely disseminated, it lets citizens make informed decisions and take intelligent action, for themselves and for society.

© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

Commentary:
What's wrong with the media? They're lazy. Instead of checking their sources they rush to print and trash innocent people--more of those Christian family values we hear so much about I guess. How many stories did the Monitor write about Whitewater and WMD? Does ANYONE check their sources anymore? ANYONE?

Btw, The Christian Science Monitor Smeared Bill Clinton and blamed him for being innocent when he was exonerated on Whitewater. How dare he try to defend himself from a purely political investigation? How dare he?

Topping that they called President Clinton, "fundraiser-in-chief." Note how the Monitor refuses to call Bush the same derogatory word, even though he's raised more money in one year than Clinton raised in 10 years.

Is the Monitor fair and balanced? Nope. Is ANYONE OUT THERE?


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Kerry: Bush misled everyone of us
The Independent (UK)
By Rupert Cornwell
June 20, 2003

The leading Democratic presidential contender John Kerry has brought the Iraqi weapons controversy to the forefront of the White House race, accusing George Bush of "misleading every one of us" when he took the US to war against Saddam Hussein.

Senator Kerry said the President made the case for war based on at least two faulty intelligence findings - that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Niger, and that the Baghdad regime had drones able to mount biological attacks on the US. Mr Kerry, on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, said Mr Bush broke his promise to build an international coalition against Saddam and then waged a war based on questionable intelligence. "He misled every one of us," the Massachusetts Senator said. "That's one reason why I'm running to be President of the United States."

Despite Mr Kerry's robust language, it remains to be seen whether his broadside will ignite a political debate on Iraq's missing weapons. The debate in the United States has been relatively low key compared with the controversy in Britain, despite the post-conflict turmoil which has seen several American soldiers killed by Iraqis.

One reason that Mr Bush has had an easier ride than Tony Blair is the continuing public support for the war. The divisions among the nine Democrats seeking to win his job in 2004 have also helped. Three of the main candidates, Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator John Edwards and the former House minority leader Dick Gephardt, have strongly backed the war. Two other candidates, the former Vermont governor Howard Dean and Senator Bob Graham, have sharply questioned pre-war intelligence and the use made of it by the Bush administration.

But none of them has the stature on security issues of Mr Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran who later became a vehement opponent of that war.

On Iraq, he has been somewhere in the middle. He supported the congressional resolution last autumn giving Mr Bush the right to use force against Saddam, yet has been a strong critic of how the President went about the job.

But he has not always judged the mood right, running into a storm of criticism on the eve of the war when he suggested that there was a need for regime change in Washington as well as Baghdad.

He is on safer ground now, with his call for a full-scale investigation on Capitol Hill. Mr Kerry said said that it was too early to conclude whether or not war with Iraq was justified. But a congressional investigation into US intelligence on Iraq was essential.

He said: "I will not let him off the hook throughout this campaign with respect to America's credibility and credibility to me, because if he lied, he lied to me personally."

He said that it was not clear whether Mr Bush acted on poor, distorted or politicised intelligence. "I don't have the answer," Mr Kerry said. "I want the answer and the American people deserve the answer. I will get to the bottom of this."

* Former vice-president Al Gore, once a newspaper reporter, may be returning to the media business.

Mr Gore has been meeting potential investors interested in establishing a cable television network, according to Time magazine's online edition. Democrats are reportedly keen to launch a network to counter

© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

Commentary:
Kerry and Dean are hitting Bush the hardest, with Kerry being the most likely challenge to Bush. If Kerry thinks he can win the presidency and get democrats to come out and vote by waffling on this issue, he's sadly mistaken. Kerry should state Bush's CIA gave congress a sanitized version of intelligence that he now knows to have been false. I won't believe it, but it might sell.

Kerry has a couple good things going for him. When Bush wanted his silly war, there were no UN inspectors on the ground in Iraq and no UN Resolution to go to war. This was also long before Bush spent months lying to Americans about his evidence.

The problem for Kerry and all the democrats who believed Bush is how can we trust a leader who votes for something based on half-truths and guesses? They are as bad as Bush. Why didn't the Senate demand unsanitized intelligence from Bush and the CIA? And why did it take Kerry so long to oppose Bush even after the UN inspectors came up short months ago?

Bush lied, but Kerry let him get away with it.


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Bush & the End of Reason
Consortium.com
By Nat Parry
June 17, 2003

The United States is at a crossroads, with neither route offering an easy journey. In one direction lies a pretend land – where tax cuts increase revenue, where war is peace, where any twisted bits of intelligence justify whatever the leader wants and the people follow. In the other direction lies a painful struggle to bring accountability to political forces that have operated with impunity now for years.

The choice is so big, so intimidating, so important that many in politics, in the U.S. news media and on Main Street America don't want to believe that there is a crossroads or that there is a choice. They want to think everything's okay and go about their lives without making a choice. Or they hope someone else will do the hard work so they can stay on the sidelines as bemused observers.

But more and more Americans have a sinking feeling that the institutions that they count on to check abuses – the Congress, the courts, the press – are no longer there as bulwarks. The dawning reality is, too, that what ultimately is at stake is not simply the fiscal stability of the United States or the relative comfort of the American people. Nor even the awful shedding of blood by U.S. soldiers and foreign inhabitants in faraway lands.

What may be in the balance is an era of history that many Americans take for granted, an era that has lasted for a quarter of a millennium, an era that has given rise to scientific invention, to a flourishing of the arts and commerce, to modern democracy itself. There is a gnawing realization that the United States might be careening down a course leading to the end of the Age of Reason.

This possibility can be seen best in the details that still push their way to the surface, though the powers-that-be tell the people to ignore those facts or to reject the logical conclusions that flow from the facts.

Those troublesome facts may emanate from budget bean-counters who project a U.S. federal deficit smashing records of a decade ago, soaring beyond $400 billion a year and aiming toward the bankruptcy of Social Security and other basic government programs. Or the facts may come from cold economic data about the rise of poverty and the loss of 2 million jobs in America in the past couple of years.

But perhaps the most dramatic facts that we are told to ignore represent the gap between what George W. Bush claimed about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, his chief rationale for war, and what's been found.

Civilian Dead

Every day there are new revelations from intelligence officials that the evidence was manipulated to scare the American people into a war that the Associated Press conservatively estimates killed 3,240 Iraqi civilians, a figure culled from the records of 60 of Iraq's 124 hospitals. "The account is still fragmentary, and the complete toll – if it is ever tallied – is sure to be significantly higher," the AP reported. [AP, June 10, 2003]

In light of that carnage and the continuing bloodshed, the reaction to Bush's WMD deceptions can be seen as a measure of how enfeebled the U.S. political system has become. Will the American people demand serious answers from Bush and his administration over what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls "the worst scandal in American political history," taking the nation to war over a series of lies and distortions? Or will the "feel good" presidency roll on?

In September 2002, for instance, Bush started his march to war by going to the U.N. and demanding a tough stance against Iraq over its alleged WMD. "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons," Bush said. "Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons."

That same month, in secret, the Defense Intelligence Agency was finding the evidence was far less precise than Bush was claiming. "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or whether Iraq has – or will – establish its chemical warfare production facilities," the DIA said in a classified report. That information didn't reach the American people, however, until June, two months after the war, when Bloomberg News and other news outlets disclosed it.

On another occasion in those early days of war fever, Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair cited a "new" report supposedly from the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency saying Iraq was "six months away" from having a nuclear weapon. "I don't know what more evidence we need," said Bush.

Few in the U.S. news media noted that the IAEA had issued no new report. "Millions of people saw Bush tieless, casually inarticulate, but determined-looking and self-confident, making a completely uncorroborated (and, at that point, uncontradicted) case for preemptive war," observed author John R. MacArthur in the Columbia Journalism Review. [May/June 2003]

As Bush's pre-war drumbeat grew louder, so did the alarms about WMD. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U.N. that Saddam had amassed tons of chemical and biological weapons. Blair claimed that Iraq's WMD could be unleashed in only 45 minutes. Bush warned that Iraq's chemical and biological weapons could be put into unmanned planes that could spray poison on U.S. cities – though it was never clear how Iraq's short-range planes were going to fly halfway around the world. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Misleading the Nation to War."]

Even as the earlier IAEA claim proved inaccurate, Bush made new claims about Iraq's plans to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program, one of the scariest nightmares to Americans. Only later was it disclosed that two key pieces of evidence were bogus. A supposed document showing Iraq seeking nuclear material from Niger turned out to be a forgery, and metal tubing that the Bush administration insisted was for nuclear production actually would fit only for manufacturing conventional weapons.

Secret Evidence

While the Bush administration didn't repeat some of its wilder claims after they were debunked, it didn't retract them either. It simply moved on to new questionable assertions while keeping secret evidence that challenged Bush's shifting WMD case. On the eve of war, Bush declared that not to act against Iraq over these weapons would be "suicidal."

It should now be obvious that Bush never wanted a national debate about the need to go to war. He had reached his decision months earlier and simply wanted to herd the American people into his pro-war corral. One of his administration's favorite techniques for silencing the scattered voices of opposition was ridicule.

Bush's backers made particular fun of Hans Blix and his U.N. weapons inspectors for not finding any WMD. Dennis Miller, the decidedly unfunny right-wing comic, joked that Blix and his inspectors were like the cartoon character Scooby Doo as they fruitlessly sped around Iraq unable to find WMD. Other Bush supporters portrayed Blix as either incompetent or secretly sympathetic to Saddam.

Public figures who questioned Bush's presentation of the facts, such as actor Sean Penn, were subjected to a blacklist as they lost work due to public pressure from Bush's allies. Instead of objecting to these tactics of intimidation, which frequently sank to questioning the patriotism and even the sanity of critics, Bush and his top aides egged their followers on. [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Politics of Preemption."]

Tens of millions of protesters from all over the world who marched against war in Iraq raised nuanced, articulate objections to Bush's war policy. They raised questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence and whether U.N. inspectors should be given more time to search for WMD before resorting to armed conflict. But Bush summarily dismissed the protesters, likening the unprecedented mass demonstrations to a focus group.

"First of all, you know, size of protests – it's like deciding, ‘Well, I'm going to decide policy based upon a focus group,'" Bush said.

Bush's conservative allies also mounted public campaigns against the French, the Germans and the U.N. Security Council for their refusal to accept Bush's certainty about Saddam's WMD. The suggestion often was that the unwilling Europeans were on the take because of oil or other business deals with Iraq. Only the "coalition of the willing" was sincere and hardheaded enough to recognize Saddam's stockpiles of WMD and to take action.

Fruitless Search

American troops began scouring the Iraqi countryside for the banned weapons on the night of March 19-20 as the war started. So far the results have proved the skeptics right and left the U.S. military feeling like Scooby Doo on some comical mission.

After months of searching, Lt. Col. Keith Harrington, the head of one team tasked with finding the elusive WMD, said, "It doesn't appear there are any more targets at this time." He added, "We're hanging around with no missions in the foreseeable future."

In post-war comments, Blix has said none of the pre-war intelligence given him by the U.K. and U.S. was helpful in finding any secret Iraqi weapons. Blix also revealed that even on the day before the U.S. launched the invasion, the Iraqi government was answering questions about how it had disposed of its weapons stockpiles.

As criticism about his pre-war WMD claims has mounted, Bush has sought to preempt this new debate with bald assertions that he was right all along. "We found the weapons of mass destruction," he declared in reference to the discovery of two trailers that his administration touted as "the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program." But again scientists who have examined this evidence are challenging the conclusion.

"American and British intelligence analysts with direct access to the evidence are disputing claims that the mysterious trailers found in Iraq were for making deadly germs," the New York Times reported. The analysts "said the mobile units were more likely intended for other purposes and charged that the evaluation process had been damaged by a rush to judgment."

The analysts said the trailers were more likely used for producing hydrogen for weather balloons that help artillery units adjust for wind conditions, just as captured Iraqi scientists had claimed.

Also it appeared the administration was continuing its pre-war practice of covering up dissent about its interpretation of the evidence. In a press briefing about the administration's May 28 report claiming the trailers were mobile biological weapons labs, a U.S. official had told reporters that "we are in full agreement" about the WMD purpose of the trailers. The internal dissent only emerged later. [NYT, June 7, 2003]

The London Observer called the trailer flap another blow to Blair, who like Bush had cited the trailers as confirmation of pre-war WMD claims. "The Observer has established that it is increasingly likely that the units were designed to be used for hydrogen production to fill artillery balloons, part of a system originally sold to Saddam by Britain in 1987," the newspaper reported. [Observer, June 8, 2003] [For more on the Bush administration's rush to judgment on the trailers, see Consortiumnews.com's "America's Matrix."]

Bush also is seeking to subtly shift the argument about what constitutes proof. Instead of talking about "vast stockpiles" of forbidden weapons, he now predicts the U.S. will find evidence of "weapons programs," with the suggestion that proof of Iraq's capacity to make chemical and biological weapons – a very low threshold indeed – would suffice.

Taking the Offensive

Even as the administration's case for Iraq possessing a trigger-ready stockpile of chemical and biological warfare collapses, Bush's aides still don't hesitate to go on the offensive against their critics. Some top Bush aides even have the audacity to accuse the critics of manipulating the historical record.

"There's a bit of revisionist history going on here," sniffed Bush's national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on NBC's "Meet the Press" as she lashed out at former CIA analysts and others who questioned Bush's pre-war WMD claims. "As I said, revisionist history all over the place." [June 8, 2003]

In this Brave New World, up is definitely down and black is clearly white. Those who don't agree with Bush's false record are the "revisionists," which implies they – not Bush – are the ones playing games with history.

Besides the WMD distortions, the Bush administration pushed other pre-war hot buttons to get Americans juiced up for war. Bush and his aides repeatedly suggested that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda were in cahoots, a theme used so aggressively that polls showed nearly half of Americans polled believing that Saddam Hussein was behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Only now has it been disclosed that the Bush administration knew – and hid – direct evidence contradicting its claims about Iraqi collaboration with al-Qaeda. Before the war began, the U.S. government had captured two senior al-Qaeda leaders, Abu Zahaydah and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who in separate interrogations denied the existence of an alliance.

Abu Zahaydah told his U.S. interrogators last year that the idea of cooperation was discussed inside al-Qaeda but was rejected by Osama bin Laden, who has long considered Saddam an infidel and his secular government anathema to al-Qaeda's Islamic fundamentalism. While the Bush administration would have surely publicized an opposite answer from the captured al-Qaeda leaders, the denial of an alliance was kept under wraps. The al-Qaeda interrogations were revealed by the New York Times on June 9.

Media Allies

Rather than confess to its many errors and distortions, the administration has managed to keep control of the public debate by relying on its many media allies at Fox News, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and scores of other outlets. They continue to shout down and smirk at anyone who dares disagree with the conventional wisdom about a gloriously successful war.

Since the cessation of major fighting in Iraq, the TV networks also have shifted to other topics of supposed viewer interest, such as the Laci Peterson murder case, Martha Stewart's indictment and Sammy Sosa's corked bat.

In contrast to the round-the-clock coverage devoted to questions about President Bill Clinton's trustworthiness over his personal relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the cable TV networks have treated the WMD search as more like an ongoing "hunt" that will eventually find its prey. Questions about Bush's honesty often are treated in the context of Democratic Party partisan tactics – whether one of the candidates thinks he can score some political points – rather than as an issue of Bush's character and integrity.

Though the U.S. news media has been more skeptical about Bush's WMD claims now than before or during the war, the U.S. coverage pales in comparison to the far more aggressive treatment the deceptions are getting in the British press.

The U.S. pattern of soft-pedaling negative news is a continuation of the war-time pattern. During the conflict, journalists of other nations raised troubling questions and showed their viewers ghastly images of war, while their U.S. counterparts behaved more like cheerleaders trying to demonstrate their "patriotism" and keeping the worst horrors of war off the nation's TV screens.

In the days before the invasion, there was often a giddy eagerness to get the war started. MSNBC had a nightly program called "Countdown: Iraq" and correspondents barely suppressed their anticipation for the "shock and awe" bombing that the administration promised would be the ultimate in pyrotechnics. When the initial bombing didn't meet expectations, there was a palpable letdown. When the larger-scale attacks finally came, with mushroom clouds sprouting across the Baghdad skyline, one anchor gushed, "This is it … Absolutely awesome display of military power."

Throughout the conflict, U.S. news media outlets seemed more eager to "brand" themselves in red-white-and-blue than give the American people the fullest story possible. While images of carnage were consciously censored, happy stories were promoted endlessly, such as the hyped rescue story of Jessica Lynch.

Public Opinion

The impact of this favorable war coverage left many Americans, who originally were skeptical, feeling isolated and inclined to rally behind the troops, especially when faced with one-sided arguments about Saddam Hussein's dangerous weapons of mass destruction. As the major conflict was ending, there was also the euphoria about victory, the hope that Iraqis would be better off without the unsavory Saddam, and the relief that U.S. troop losses were relatively light.

Now, some Americans seem to view coming to grips with the fact that Bush lied about the reasons for war to be an unnecessary downer off a pleasant high. So far, the majority of Americans indicate that they would rather keep the warm glow of victory going than hold Bush accountable.

Polls have found a kind of willful gullibility. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, taken June 9-10, reported that 64 percent said the Bush administration had not intentionally misled the people about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction while only 31 percent thought otherwise.

The poll also showed that 43 percent of Americans say they are "certain it is true" that "Iraq had biological or chemical weapons before the war," with another 43 percent saying that was "likely but not certain." Only 9 percent said it was "unlikely but not certain" and 3 percent said they were "certain it is not true."

Similarly overwhelming percentages said they believed or were certain that Iraq had ties to Osama bin Laden. Only 11 percent said that was "unlikely but not certain" and 4 percent said that unproven claim was certainly not true.

Another poll, by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, found that 68 percent of Americans continue to approve of the decision to go to war. Of those supporting the war, 48 percent believed that U.S. forces had already found weapons of mass destruction.

For Republicans, this false belief seemed to be a kind of loyalty test. Among Republicans who said they follow international affairs very closely, 55 percent said they thought WMD had been found.

Judging from the polls, it appears that many Americans have been infected with a case of collective denial or already have adjusted to the new post-Reason Age. It is somehow considered wrong to challenge the conventional wisdom, which holds that the war was an unqualified success.

Americans have sustained their support for Bush even as more and more insiders from the U.S. intelligence community quit and try to explain the weaknesses of Bush's counter-terrorism strategies. One of the latest is Rand Beers, a career counter-terrorism adviser who left Bush's White House and joined the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

"The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism," Beers said in an interview with the Washington Post. "They're making us less secure, not more secure." Beers cited Bush's focus on Iraq as undermining the war on terror by robbing money from domestic security projects, hurting crucial alliances and creating breeding grounds for al-Qaeda.

"Counter-terrorism is like a team sport. The game is deadly. There has to be offense and defense," said the 60-year-old veteran who served on the National Security Councils of the last four presidents. "The Bush administration is primarily offense, and not into teamwork." [Washington Post, June 16, 2003]

New Paradigm

For the rest of the world, the broad American disconnect from reality must be unnerving, given the awesome power of the U.S. military arsenal. What does it mean when the most powerful nation on earth chooses fantasy over truth? What are the consequences when an American president realizes he can broadly falsify the factual record and get away with it?

The answers to these questions could decide the future of the American democratic experiment and determine the future safety of the world.

If the American people don't demand accountability for the lies that led to war, a new political paradigm may be created. Bush may conclude that he is free to make any life-or-death decision and then unleash his conservative allies to manipulate the facts and intimidate the opposition. By inaction, the American people may be sleepwalking down a path that takes them into a land controlled by lies, delusion and fear.

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., one of the few members of Congress to consistently raise questions about Bush's case for war, said the discrepancies between Bush's pre-war WMD claims and the facts on the ground "are very serious and grave questions, and they require immediate answers. We cannot – and must not – brush such questions aside."

Byrd also noted Bush's curious disinterest in the truth. "What amazes me is that the President himself is not clamoring for an investigation," Byrd said in a Senate speech on June 5. "It is his integrity that is on the line. It is his truthfulness that is being questioned. It is his leadership that has come under scrutiny. And yet he has raised no question, expressed no curiosity about the strange turn of events in Iraq, expressed no anger at the possibility that he might have been misled. …

"Indeed, instead of leading the charge to uncover the discrepancy between what we were told before the war and what we have found – or failed to find – since the war, the White House is circling the wagons and scoffing at the notion that anyone in the administration exaggerated the threat from Iraq," Byrd said. "It is time for the President to demand an accounting from his own administration as to exactly how our nation was led down such a twisted path to war."

There is, of course, another possible answer to Byrd's questions: that Bush feels he doesn't need to tell the truth, that he can make up whatever excuse he wants in support of whatever action he chooses, that he is beyond accountability. Bush may believe that it is his right to deceive the American people, that it is their job to follow, that he is a modern-day emperor leading the nation into a new era – beyond the Age of Reason.

Commentary:
If the media covered Bush's lied about WMD as much as they covered the warm-up to war, Bush wouldn't be in office anymore.

The question of an investigation is interesting. Republicans have agreed to review the intelligence but only if the democrats promise to not call it an investigation. These right wing nuts can control what democrats say and not say. This is appalling. The idea that democrats gave in to this nonsense is even more striking.

But back to the investigation. Should we have one or shouldn't we? I'd ask you to recall the Challenger accident again. Within seconds of the accident the investigation began. That mistake cost a few American lives. This mistake (lie) cost us almost 200 American lives so far and thousand of Iraqi's.

Supporters of Bush are telling you that the lives of US soldiers are less important than the lives of the Challenger crew. The Challenger accident most likely couldn't have been avoided, but the made-up war with Iraq could have.

Finally, war is said to be the failure of diplomacy. There was no diplomacy with Iraq. Neither Bush nor Powell went to Iraq to try to find a peaceful solution and neither the press nor the Democrat Party cared.


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Bell rebukes Homeland Security report
The Baytown Sun
By Ken Fountain
Published June 18, 2003

The fallout from the bolting of the "Killer Ds' from the Texas Legislature and the ensuing search by state and federal law enforcement continued Tuesday as U.S. Rep. Chris Bell slammed a Department of Homeland Security report clearing department personnel of wrongdoing.

Bell, D-Houston, U.S. Rep Nick Lampson, D-Beaumont, and other members of the Texas Congressional delegation held a press conference in Washington to rebuke the report, released Monday.

The heavily redacted 26-page report and exhibits (including transcripts of phone conversations) detail the requests by officials of the state's Department of Public Safety to a DHS air and marine craft tracking center in California to help locate the private plane of state Rep. Pete Laney, D-Hale Center.

Laney was one of the 51 House Democrats who staged the May walkout to break quorum and kill a controversial redistricting bill being pushed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay, D-Sugar Land.

Former House Speaker Laney was flying several other lawmakers to Ardmore, Okla., where they were meeting others who were traveling by bus.

A Department of Homeland Security press release accompanying the full report said that the department's Office of Inspector General said that the OIG had found that the federal employee's response "had no reducible effect on (DHS's) mission or resources' and was "appropriate under AMICC's guidelines,' referring to the Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center of DHS's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, located in Riverside, Calif.

"Essentially, AMICC's response entailed making eight phone calls, which consumed no more than 40 minutes of one dispatcher's time. This is a nominal use of DHS resources,' the press release states.

"Just a cursory reading of the report would leave just about anyone to conclude that there are some very serious issues here,' Bell said by phone after the press conference.

To Bell and other Democrats, how much time was spent is a nominal issue.

"My principal concern is that it is quite clear that the Department of Homeland Security was led to believe early on by law enforcement that they were looking for a downed aircraft, that this was an emergency situation,' Bell said.

The transcripts, in which all names of state and federal personnel are redacted, show that at one point, the AMICC dispatcher offered to launch a search and rescue effort for Laney's plane, Bell said.

The response from the DPS official, Lt. Will Crais, was "I don't know if we want to go that far,' Bell said. "That's the clincher. If it really was an emergency situation, of course you would want to do that.'

But, Bell says, the transcripts also indicate that the DHS officials became aware that they were becoming involved in a partisan political squabble. Later, Crais tells the federal employee that he wants to get permission from a state representative to initiate a search and rescue mission. A while later, Crais says that the unnamed representative indeed wants officials to conduct the mission.

Bell is one of eight Democratic members of the House Government Reform Committee who have invoked the seldom-used "Seven Member Rule' that allows them to compel Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to release the recordings and documents. So far Ridge has not responded.

‘‘The information we are seeking is not classified. It's not related to national security. There's no reason Secretary Ridge should not release the information immediately,'' said Chris Bell.

Today is the deadline for Ridge to comply with that request, Bell said.

If Ridge doesn't meet the deadline, Bell said, he and his fellow Democrats would have the option to sue in court, or demand that Ridge testify before congressional committees investigating the matter.

"I'll wait until (today) and see what happens. Then we'll decide what to do,' Bell said.

Lampson, in a press release, said, "The (DHS) has released this report, but they are still not answering our basic questions. We don't have access to all of the evidence.

"The report also states that the response to a request to search for Pete Laney's aircraft had no reducible effect on DHS resources. It doesn't comment on whether it was misuse, and that is the subject matter at issue. Was DHS improperly used for political purposes? They're still playing cover up on that one,' the release continues.

Bell, a freshman congressman, represents most of Baytown, Highlands and Crosby. Lampson represents a portion of Baytown and most of West Chambers County.

Attempts to seek comment from a DHS spokesman were unsuccessful.

In a related development, House Majority Leader DeLay said Tuesday he's willing to give Democrats time on the House floor to apologize to Republicans, in light of the DHS investigation report.

"I'm glad to see the Democrats have no credibility on this issue, now that they have been misleading the press for well over a month now,' DeLay said. "I would be glad to give them time to go down on the floor and apologize ... I'll make sure they have time to contradict themselves or to set the record straight, if they care to do so.'

In response to DeLay's comments, Rep. Max Sandlin, D-Marshall, said Democrats deserve apologies for DPS destroying information and refusing to turn over information and the Homeland Security Department's refusal to release recordings and transcripts.

‘‘There's one way we get this straight and everyone can be happy ... you turn over the tapes, original tapes, you turn over transcripts and you reconstruct for the Congress all of the information claimed destroyed,'' Sandlin said.

The investigator's report does not address whether the DPS acted legally by telling the federal agency the plane might be missing. DeLay said it would be up to state investigators to decide whether the DPS officer involved should be held accountable.

‘‘The federal government has the responsibility to enforce the law, whatever the law is. I'm not a prosecutor or an attorney. I'm not going to comment on what they should and shouldn't do. I am going to comment that they should enforce the law, whatever that may be,'' DeLay said.

© 2003 Baytown Sun. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Why are all the logs blacked out? Laws were broken and we have a right to know who broke them. I smell cover-up.


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Democrats Threaten to Sue Homeland Defense
San Antonio Express
By Gary Martin
Express-News Washington Bureau
Web Posted : 06/18/2003 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are threatening to use legal means to retrieve documents from the Homeland Security Department concerning the use of federal agencies to track missing Texas state lawmakers last month

Democrats on Tuesday dismissed an Inspector General's report that cleared federal agencies of wrongdoing over a 40-minute search for an aircraft that belonged to state Rep. Pete Laney, D-Hale Center.

Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas, said the department's inspector general investigation failed to answer key questions about the use of federal resources for a political manhunt.

"Cover-ups never work," Frost said. "That's something that Richard Nixon learned 30 years ago and that Texas Republicans are learning right now."

Laney fled the state with more than 50 Democrats to block a Republican-backed congressional redistricting bill from being passed in the Texas House.

Republican leaders ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to find and return the lawmakers, most of whom went to an Ardmore, Okla., hotel.

Federal agencies were cleared of any misdeeds, and transcripts show Texas officials never revealed the true nature of the search for the Piper aircraft.

Rep. Chris Bell, D-Houston, accused Republican leaders from Texas of ordering the partisan search and the Department of Homeland Security of issuing a whitewash report to cover tracks.

Bell is leading a group of lawmakers who have issued a deadline to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to turn over documents by today pertaining to the use of federal agencies in the search for the Texas Democrats.

A Ridge spokesman at the department said no further documents or information would be forthcoming.

"We believe the full transcript as well as the inspector general's report has satisfied their request," Brian Roehrkasse said.

Democrats said the report does not clear DPS officials or state representatives who were misleading in their direction to federal agencies. And the transcript released includes blacked out and redacted sentences.

"If there is nothing to hide, then release the evidence," Bell said.

"It is not enough to publish a blacked-out transcript and declare the matter closed," he added.

The Democrats said they are pursuing legal means to force Ridge to testify before congressional committees and are using subpoenas to retrieve documents.

Portions © 2003 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Ridge is hiding information about his department from Congress. Is it this easy to usurp the congress and rule of law without regard to oversight? It appears so---as long as republicans are in control of congress that is.

As wimpy as Democrats are they're a far cry better than Republicans. We need a change across the board. The current regime must go.


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Sgt. David Borell's statement: US treatment of Iraqi Injured
An Impeachable Offense
WNWO--Toledo
June 23, 2003

"Working together with the Iraqi people for peace and prosperity."

That's what the sign reads at the North Gate to Sustainer Army Airfield Northwest of Baghdad. The implications of those words, it would seem, are far-reaching. Perhaps even all-encompassing. To me, it would seem to say that we, the Americans, are here to help. Help restore the Iraqi economy, help restore law and order, help the Iraqi people build anew that which has been taken from them. And, surely, help them in their times of dire need. Help them when there are truly none others for them to turn to.

As a military force, we came to this country under two pretenses. One, to rid the world of what has been termed a dire and immediate threat to world peace. This threat was embodied in Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party he led. We accomplished, if not completely, then at least practically, that goal. Saddam is no longer in a place of power here. Instead, we created, hopefully, a foundation for the Iraqi people to rule themselves. Our second pretense was much more enigmatic. We came to give the Iraqi people peace and freedom such as many Americans have known all their lives. This second mission was, to me, one of greater import and purpose. I came to be a part of that force that would serve to provide the Iraqi people with a freedom that they have never known. It seemed to me a noble mission at the least.

In almost 14 years of military service, the Army has taught me many things. Most of what I believe about duty, honor and obligation has come from those things I learned as a young soldier. I was taught to be a warrior and an unstoppable, indefatigable combat power, but, at the same time, to be a humanitarian. To give any assistance I could possibly provide to those people who were innocent of hostilities or even those who were not but who no longer represented a threat to US forces. I learned that the American military was meant to be much more that a combat force. That we are a peacekeeping force, trained and equipped not only for the perils of combat, but also, and sometimes above all else, to help. To build instead of destroy. I came to Iraq as a Military Policeman to rebuild and practice that which has been so deeply ingrained in me throughout those years of military service. And to be a part of that greater purpose I believe we all seek.

But today, I saw something which caused me to question exactly where the Army as an institution places it teachings. I saw something that flies in the face of every moral lesson I have ever learned from my leadership in the military. Moreover, it flew in the face of simple human dignity and obligation.

While working at that North Gate of Sustainer Army Airfield, not far from the sign at the entrance, I was approached by an Iraqi father in need of assistance. He took me back to his car where his wife and three children waited with a patience that could only have been born of a life of adversity. Once there, he showed me first his son. He was a boy of perhaps 10 or 11 years old. His eyes were a deep shade of brown and stared at me without tears. His mother held him in her arms and gently fanned him with a piece of cardboard both for comfort and to keep flies off of him. Across his body were wounds of unimaginable origin. Most of his legs and arms were singed clean of the top layers of flesh. His face was contorted with the same manner of burns. I can only imagine the intensity of the pain he was in. He said nothing to me, but his eyes pleaded with me nonetheless. He was in need of help. The very help that I was trained to offer. In fact, the very help I was taught, and fervently believe, it is my duty to offer. He didn't ask much, or so I thought. Only some relief from the pain that a boy his age should never have to endure.

But the damage didn't end there. In the front seat were his sisters. The youngest was around 5 years old and the older one around 8 or 9. They too were covered in burns. The five year old had hands covered with burns. The right half of her face had also been burned. On her right hand was a blister the size of a baseball. The eight year old suffered the same agonizing injuries. Both her arms and hands and the left side of her face were covered. Like their brother, they did not cry nor even complain. They made no sound at all. One look into their eyes, though, and no word of complaint was necessary. No verbal communication could possibly have conveyed the amount of pain or suffering they were going through. But, looking into their eyes, I knew that they were pleading with me to help. If not as an American soldier, trained and equipped to do so, than as a fellow human. They were asking me and they were asking America. I could no more ignore this pleading than if it were to have come from my own daughters. And it was my own daughters I saw when I looked at these young girls.

Without hesitation, I made contact with the only people available to me and requested assistance. My chain of command contacted the base hospital and, after what seemed an eternity to me but was more realistically probably only and hour or so, assistance finally came in the form of two Majors, both doctors, from the base hospital. But even an hour or so seemed too long to me. Judging from the traffic on the radio, there was apparently lengthy discussion as to whether or not any assistance at all would be forthcoming. But it did finally come, and I fully believed that these children would receive at least some care. At minimum, a token amount to relieve their suffering until something else could be done. My beliefs, my faith in the Army were not to be realized.

Both "doctors" looked briefly at the son. Perhaps a minute. No probing, no questioning as to the extent of the injuries. No discussion as to how they could help. And, without so much as a cursory examination of the girls, announced that there was nothing they could do. "Long-term care" is what they said was needed. "These wounds are not life-threatening" was emphatically pronounced. And, most injuriously to my conscience, that we, as Americans, had not caused the wounds and, thusly, would not treat them. I was informed that the "rules of engagement" for the treatment of local nationals was that the wounds had to threaten life, limb or eyesight or had to have been caused by Americans. The children were coarsely sent on their way with no treatment was administered. I was left with nothing to answer the pleading of these children but to empty my first aid bag of anything useful to give their father. And empty it I did, but to what end? It wasn't enough and he and I both knew it.

What would it have cost us to treat these children? A few dollars perhaps. Some investment of time and resources. But are we not here for just that purpose? Did we not depose the "evil regime"? Or did we just replace it with one of our own making? I cannot imagine the heartlessness required to look into the eyes of a child in horrid pain and suffering and, with medical resources only a brief trip up the road, ignore their plight as though they are insignificant. Only Iraqis seeking that which they should be able to provide themselves. "We are not here to be the treatment center for the country." These words were actually spoken to me by one the "doctors". But, if not us, then who? The local "hospital", if it can even be called that, had already refused them treatment. There was no one else.

The last time I checked, prior to the arrival of American and coalition forces, the Iraqi people had a government, albeit an appalling one. And they had an infrastructure, albeit a surely inadequate one. But, we, in our "noble" effort to give the Iraqi people freedom and secure peace for the world, have taken what little they had away. They no longer have any real form of government, and, lacking that, no true infrastructure. So who is to provide these things taken from them? By virtue of the morals and standards taught me by the Army, we, as Americans, are. It is we who are here to "work together". It is we who mean to give the Iraqis "peace and prosperity." Apparently, working together does not mean medical treatment for children who have done nothing wrong and have nowhere else to turn.

I wear a silver bracelet on my arm. It was given to me by my wife before I was deployed here. On one side is engraved "Duty, Honor, Country" and on the reverse is "With Love, Rachelle". I wear it to remind me of why I'm here. Why I'm so far from my wife and children, why I'm sacrificing my time and my energy and placing myself at personal risk of injury or death. "Duty, Honor, Country" is what I have been taught for almost 14 years. But the Army failed 3 young children today for no reason. And, in so doing, they betrayed those values. I used to be proud of what I'm doing and of being an American soldier. After today, I wonder if I will still be able to carry the title "soldier" with any pride at all. Or simply with the knowledge that a "soldier" couldn't even help 3 small children.

David J Borell

Sergeant, US Army

323rd Military Police Company

Copyright © 2003 WNWO-TV, a Raycom Media station.  Associated Press may have contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Commentary:
This is a very good story. The media carried this story about US soldiers feeling bad about Iraqi injuries--paying the ol' patriotism nonsense as usual. With this story, the truth finally comes out, but it's most likely too late. Most Americans probably believed the first version of events. The sanitized version of reality.

Injured people must be taken care as required by the Geneva Convention. When the military failed to do so they violated the Convention. Their commander is Bush and he's responsible.

One other point. The press is starting to get it. What the military says one day is most likely not true, so the media needs to verify, verify, verify. They also seem to understand how Bush operates too. He can't tell the truth. Verify, verify, verify.


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U.S. deficit as a percent of GDP
Providence Business News
June 23, 2003

"The question for the markets is how permanent those deficits are,' said Ed McKelvey, senior economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Bigger deficits tend to drive bond yields higher and may limit a rally, while stock prices follow bond markets and may be hurt by long-term deficits, he said.

A $400 billion deficit is close to 4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, the congressional agency said. The 1992 deficit was 4.7 percent of GDP.

The two-year Treasury note yield has fallen to 1.11 percent, the lowest since at least 1950, according to Sidney Homer's "A History of Interest Rates.' The S&P 500 Index has gained 21.5 percent over the last three months.

Deficit projections in Washington have been raised several times from CBO's February estimate of $199 billion, as the Treasury brings in less tax revenue than predicted and Congress spends more for domestic programs, homeland defense and wars on Iraq and terrorism. President George W. Bush, in his February budget, projected an annual deficit of $304 billion.

Wall Street economists have been forecasting a deficit of as much as $500 billion this year. Goldman Sachs anticipates the shortfall will reach about $425 billion in 2003 and $450 billion in 2004.

Congress this week is debating plans to add benefits to Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, at a cost of $400 billion over the next decade.

As federal spending outpaces the revenue collected, Congress recently raised the Treasury's borrowing power by almost $1 trillion to $7.4 trillion.

The current fiscal year lasts through Sept. 30.

Bloomberg News

Published 06/10/2003

© Copyright 2002 Providence Business News Inc. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
There's some talk within conservative circles that the deficits are within historical ranges. That's simply not true. The deficit is around 4% of GDP. From just after WW2 to the Reagan years, the deficit exceeded the 4% range just once, in 1976. The Reagan and Bush years were fiscal disasters with seven out of 12 budget deficits exceeding 4%.

Conservatives are asking you to compare this fiscal disaster with two previous republican presidents and say it's noooot so bad. Don't be fooled. It's bad.

The borrow and give-away policies of conservative tax cuts create massive debt. Debt is really unpaid taxes plus interest. So if you think you're getting a tax cut you're not. Don't be fooled. Bush and republicans are postponing when you have to pay the bill (plus you can add billions more to finance the debt they create).


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University of Michigan Affirmative Action Constitutional
The New York Times
By DAVID STOUT
June 23, 2003

ASHINGTON, June 23 — In its most important statements on affirmative action in a quarter-century, the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the admissions policy of the University of Michigan law school today, finding that minority applicants may be given an edge, but struck down the part of the university's undergraduate-admissions system that relies on a point system.

The pair of rulings did not go as far as opponents of affirmative action would have liked, nor perhaps as far as people committed to affirmative action would have wished.

But taken together, the twin decisions were the most important rulings on the subject since the landmark Bakke decision of 1978, which rejected rigid quotas but recognized race as a "factor" in admissions and hiring decisions.

The rulings today, which followed the basic reasoning of the Bakke decision and thus reinforced it, are expected to resonate through private colleges and universities, businesses and other areas of everyday life even though they technically address only admissions at public institutions.

The law school's policy was affirmed in a 5-to-4 ruling, written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, that rejected Bush administration arguments on behalf of the plaintiffs that the policy should be voided. She declared that the Constitution "does not prohibit the law school's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body."

"Effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic groups in the civic life of our nation is essential if the dream of one nation, indivisible, is to be realized," Justice O'Connor wrote.

In upholding the law school's policy, she cited the rationale of the Bakke decision, which was written by Justice Lewis F. Powell for a far less conservative Supreme Court than the one that sits now. "Today we endorse Justice Powell's view that student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions," Justice O'Connor wrote.

At another point, she reiterated Justice Powell's emphasis that "truly individualized consideration demands that race be used in a flexible, nonmechanical way."

Justice O'Connor was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Dissenting were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Chief Justice Rehnquist called the law school program "a naked effort to achieve racial balancing" in accordance with statistics.

"This is precisely the type of racial balancing that the court itself calls `patently unconstitutional,' " he wrote.

In its 6-to-3 ruling on undergraduate admissions, the justices struck down a point system under which applicants were rated on various factors, including race. In so ruling, the court showed the wariness with which it has regarded the general concept of "quotas" in recent years.

Chief Justice Rehnquist, writing for the majority, found that in considering undergraduate applicants, the university had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

Chief Justice Rehnquist, too, relied upon the landmark 1978 decision. "Nothing in Justice Powell's opinion in Bakke signaled that a university may employ whatever means it desires to achieve the state goal of diversity without regard to the limits imposed by our strict scrutiny analysis," he wrote.

The University of Michigan decisions were handed down as the court set to conclude its 2002 term. The justices also upheld the use of filters to screen out Internet smut in public libraries and struck down a California law requiring insurance companies that do business in the state to disclose information about their Holocaust-era policies.

Still to be decided is a death-penalty case from Maryland, involving the extent of a defense lawyer's duty to search out background information that might persuade a court to spare a defendant.

In the undergraduate case, Justices O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas sided with the chief justice, as did Justice Breyer, in part.

Justices Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg dissented, as did Justice Breyer, in part.

The law school case is Grutter v. Bollinger, No. 02-241; the undergraduate case is Gratz v. Bollinger, No. 02-516. Both can be read on the Supreme Court Web site: www.supremecourtus.gov.

The University of Michigan's leadership was elated at the outcome. "A majority of the court has firmly endorsed the principle of diversity," the university's president, Mary Sue Coleman, told The Associated Press. "This is a resounding affirmation that will be heard across the land from our college classrooms to our corporate boardrooms."

But Curt Levey, a lawyer for the three white applicants rejected by the university and its law school, told The Associated Press that the court had invited decades of continued legal battles.

"The court left a small crack in the door to use race. The court long ago said quotas are no good. Today they told us that mechanical systems such as Michigan's point system are no good. Schools are going to have to walk that very fine line," and risk lawsuits any time they cross it, Mr. Levey said.

Together, the decisions and dissents run to some 150 pages, which are certain to be pored over by lawyers, educators and policymakers for some time.

Although the Bush administration had sided with the plaintiffs, President Bush issued a carefully worded statement in which he applauded the high court "for recognizing the value of diversity on our nation's campuses."

Mr. Bush said there were "innovative and proven ways" for colleges and universities to promote diversity without quota systems, and that he looked forward "to the day when America will truly be a colorblind society."

It was no surprise that today's decisions were not entirely clear-cut, given the tone of the oral arguments before the tribunal on April 1. (The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, had upheld the law school plan. It had not yet ruled on the undergraduate plan when the Supreme Court decided to hear both cases. The plaintiff-students had won their cases in District Court.)

During oral arguments, the yearning for nuance became especially obvious when Kirk O. Kolbo, a lawyer from Minneapolis, had a sharp exchange with Justice O'Connor.

"The Constitution protects the rights of individuals, not racial groups," Mr. Kolbo said. He described his clients — Barbara Grutter, who was turned down by the law school when she applied at the age of 43, and Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher, who failed to win admission as undergraduates — as the victims of discrimination.

Justice O'Connor, whose position at the center of the court on this issue made her the object of particular attention, challenged Mr. Kolbo. Was he saying that race "can't be a factor at all," she wanted to know.

"Race itself should not be a factor among others in choosing students, because of the Constitution," Mr. Kolbo replied.

Justice O'Connor objected that the court's precedents held otherwise. "You are speaking in absolutes, and it isn't quite that," she said.

Justice Thomas explained his dissent in part by quoting Frederick Douglass: "What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice."

The justice went on, "Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
A few quick points. First, the Court said the point system is wrong only when it applies to race, but it's ok to use points if you can throw a basketball or kick a football. Good grief, is the court this stupid? If points for race are unconstitutional, why not say all points are unconstitutional also?

The second part of this ruling shows how inconstant conservatives are. In the Boy Scouts v.s. gays case the court said the Boy Scouts are a private institution and they can do whatever they want, including discriminate against gays and non-religious employee's and members.

Using that logic, most universities are private institutions and they should be allowed to as they please, which would include making an enrollment policy of their own choosing. The conservatives on the Court don't have any solid beliefs about the Constitution, they have only political beliefs. To them gay is bad so it's ok to discriminate. Affirmative Action is bad so it's unconstitutional. But both cases are about private instructions, not gays and not AA. Private institutions can do as they please.

On top of these two massive problems we have a third. Why should this conservative court be making admission policy for any college on any issue? Race is a protected class so why not let colleges protect it as they choose instead of imposing conservatives beliefs? Besides, a law college as prestigious as Michigan isn't going to ruin itself by lowering the bar to a point where no one would want to attend. More big conservative government.


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E.P.A. Leaves Out Data on Climate Change
An Impeachable Offense
The New York Times
By ANDREW C. REVKIN with KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
June 19, 2003

he Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to publish a draft report next week on the state of the environment, but after editing by the White House, a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures has been whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs.

The report, commissioned in 2001 by the agency's administrator, Christie Whitman, was intended to provide the first comprehensive review of what is known about various environmental problems, where gaps in understanding exist and how to fill them.

Agency officials said it was tentatively scheduled to be released early next week, before Mrs. Whitman steps down on June 27, ending a troubled time in office that often put her at odds with President Bush.

Drafts of the climate section, with changes sought by the White House, were given to The New York Times yesterday by a former E.P.A. official, along with earlier drafts and an internal memorandum in which some officials protested the changes. Two agency officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the documents were authentic.

The editing eliminated references to many studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tail-pipe emissions and could threaten health and ecosystems.

Among the deletions were conclusions about the likely human contribution to warming from a 2001 report on climate by the National Research Council that the White House had commissioned and that President Bush had endorsed in speeches that year. White House officials also deleted a reference to a 1999 study showing that global temperatures had risen sharply in the previous decade compared with the last 1,000 years. In its place, administration officials added a reference to a new study, partly financed by the American Petroleum Institute, questioning that conclusion.

In the end, E.P.A. staff members, after discussions with administration officials, said they decided to delete the entire discussion to avoid criticism that they were selectively filtering science to suit policy.

Administration officials defended the report and said there was nothing untoward about the process that produced it. Mrs. Whitman said that she was "perfectly comfortable" with the edited version and that the differences over climate change should not hold up the broader assessment of the nation's air, land and water.

"The first draft, as with many first drafts, contained everything," she said in a brief telephone interview from the CBS studios in Manhattan, where she was waiting to tape "The Late Show With David Letterman."

"As it went through the review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change," Ms. Whitman said. "So rather than go out with something half-baked or not put out the whole report, we felt it was important for us to get this out because there is a lot of really good information that people can use to measure our successes."

James L. Connaughton, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House advisory group, said, "It would be utterly inaccurate to suggest that this administration has not provided quite an extensive discussion about the state of the climate. Ultimately, E.P.A. made the decision not to include the section on climate change because we had these ample discussions of the subject already."

But private environmental groups sharply criticized the changes when they heard of them.

"Political staff are becoming increasingly bold in forcing agency officials to endorse junk science," said Jeremy Symons, a climate policy expert at the National Wildlife Federation. "This is like the White House directing the secretary of labor to alter unemployment data to paint a rosy economic picture."

Drafts of the report have been circulating for months, but a heavy round of rewriting and cutting by White House officials in late April raised protest among E.P.A. officials working on the report.

An April 29 memorandum circulated among staff members said that after the changes by White House officials, the section on climate "no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change."

Another memorandum circulated at the same time said that the easiest course would be to accept the White House revisions but that to do so would taint the agency, because "E.P.A. will take responsibility and severe criticism from the science and environmental communities for poorly representing the science."

The changes were mainly made by the Council on Environmental Quality, although the Office of Management and Budget was also involved, several E.P.A. officials said. It is the second time in a year that the White House has sought to play down global warming in official documents.

Last September, an annual E.P.A. report on air pollution that for six years had contained a section on climate was released without one, and the decision to delete it was made by Bush administration appointees at the agency with White House approval.

Like the September report, the forthcoming report says the issues will be dealt with later by a climate research plan being prepared by the Bush administration.

Other sections of the coming E.P.A. report — on water quality, ecological conditions, ozone depletion in the atmosphere and other issues — all start with a summary statement about the potential impact of changes on human health and the environment, which are the two responsibilities of the agency.

But in the "Global Issues" section of the draft returned by the White House to E.P.A. in April, an introductory sentence reading, "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment" was cut and replaced with a paragraph that starts: "The complexity of the Earth system and the interconnections among its components make it a scientific challenge to document change, diagnose its causes, and develop useful projections of how natural variability and human actions may affect the global environment in the future."

Some E.P.A. staff members defended the document, saying that although pared down it would still help policy makers and the agency address the climate issue.

"This is a positive step by the agency," said an author of the report, who did not want to be named, adding that it would help someone determine "if a facility or pollutant is going to hurt my family or make it bad for the birds, bees and fish out there."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
The redacted and sanitized report is an attempt by Bush to defraud the Congress and the American people. Lying to Congress or defrauding the government are both felonies.

The Bush cronies remind me of that Pope who wanted to excommunicate Galileo for saying the earth was not the center of the universe. The Pope didn't care what the science said, he had his beliefs and he damn wanted science to reflect them or else. What a small and petty president. It took the Catholic Church about 300 years to admit it made a mistake. Will it take republicans that long too?


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