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Impeach Bush

Obey the law and keep Bush off the Illinois ballot
lp.org (Libertarian)

Illinois should obey its ballot access laws -- and keep President George W. Bush off the 2004 ballot.

So said the Libertarian Party of Illinois, after Republicans revealed that they would not nominate their 2004 presidential candidate until seven days after the Illinois deadline for certifying candidates for the November ballot.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has requested that the Illinois State Board of Elections ignore the law, and place President Bush's name on the ballot anyway.

"The Republican Party needs to abide by the same rule of law as everyone else," said Illinois LP Executive Director Jeff Trigg. "You can be sure if the tables were turned -- and it was the Libertarians nominating their presidential candidate seven days after the deadline -- they wouldn't lift a finger to help us stay on the ballot."

The Republican Party will nominate its presidential candidate -- almost certain to be incumbent George W. Bush, who faces no significant opposition and has already announced he will seek re-election -- at its national convention on September 3, 2004. That's 61 days before the November 2 general election.

However, Illinois state election law requires presidential candidates to be certified at least 67 days prior to the general election.

In response, the RNC has asked the State Board of Elections (SBE) to grant them an "exception" to the law. The board said it would consider the request at an upcoming meeting after getting a legal opinion from Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

But Libertarians said the State Board of Elections does not have the authority to grant exemptions -- and thus arbitrarily decide which political parties must follow the law.

At a press conference in the State Capitol Press Room in Springfield on May 19, Trigg said the only way Bush can qualify for the ballot is if the Illinois General Assembly changes the law.

"The SBE should not have the authority to arbitrarily change deadlines in the election laws to accommodate any candidate," he said. "Anything short of legislation passing through the General Assembly to solve this problem is blatantly wrong."

Noting that Libertarian candidates have been kept off the ballot in the past because of restrictive ballot access laws, Trigg said the law should be enforced equally.

"Libertarians don't believe President Bush should be kept off the Illinois ballot because of a technicality, any more than they believe their own candidates should suffer the same fate," he said. "But the fact is that Libertarian and other candidates have been taken off the ballot on technicalities -- and the Republican Party needs to abide by the same rule of law as everyone else."

If the SBE does grant Bush an exemption to the law, it will merely prove that Illinois has a "double standard," said Trigg.

"Illinois election laws are already unequal, as it is much easier for Republicans and Democrats to get on the ballot than it is for opposition candidates," he said. "Now they want to add insult to injury by failing to meet their own rules and expecting those rules to be changed to accommodate them?

"There is an obvious double standard when it comes to ballot access in Illinois."

If the SBE does waive the legal requirements for President Bush, the Illinois LP could file a lawsuit to challenge the decision, said Trigg.

The Illinois LP's press conference garnered media coverage from the Copley News Service, the Associated Press, and newspapers and television stations across the state.

Copyright © 1994-2003, the Libertarian Party except where otherwise noted. All rights reserved worldwide.

Commentary:
I recall how conservative were bent on keeping to the "letter of the law" when it came to certifing election results in Florida. Shouldn't the same standard apply today? Illinois and other states shouldn't have to change, ignore or violate their laws to accommodate Bush. He wants the convention in NY and he wants it as close to the 9/11 anniversary as possible and by doing this his name can't be on ballots in some states.

How many other states require candidates name on the presidential ballot before the end of August?

I get a kick out of the republican party asking the State to ignore its own election laws. The rule of law crowd believes in laws they agree with.


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British Panel Clears Blair of Charges of Doctoring Iraq Data
The New York Times
By WARREN HOGE
July 07, 2003

LONDON, July 7 — A House of Commons committee cleared the government today of charges that it doctored evidence of Iraqi weapons, but the committee criticized the government's handling of intelligence findings, saying it resulted in Prime Minister Tony Blair's unknowingly misinforming Parliament.

The committee on foreign affairs said that while there was no proof of "politically inspired meddling," a government dossier published last September was written in language that was "more assertive than that traditionally used in intelligence documents."

The committee also questioned the prominence given a claim that the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons capable of being launched in 45 minutes.

The panel said that a second dossier, published in February and now referred to as the "dodgy dossier" because it commingled intelligence with a plagiarized scholarly article, was mistakenly presented to lawmakers as pure intelligence by Mr. Blair, who had no notion of its true provenance.

The document, the panel said, was "almost wholly counter-productive" and undermined the credibility of the government's case for going to war.

Although the committee cleared Mr. Blair and his ministers of deliberately misleading Parliament, its 54-page report said that the "jury is still out" on the accuracy of many of the government's assertions about Mr. Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

The committee formally exonerated Alastair Campbell, Mr. Blair's powerful director of communications and strategy, of a charge that he personally influenced the last-minute insertion of the claim about Mr. Hussein's weapons-launching capability against the advice of the intelligence services. But the exoneration came only after the panel's chairman, Donald Anderson, a Labor Party member, cast a tie-breaking vote.

The five-member minority argued that the panel, which has no subpoena power, had been denied access to officials and reports that would have given it the basis to arrive at any conclusion about Mr. Campbell's role.

Mr. Campbell appeared before the committee last week to deny the charge and to demand an apology from the BBC, which first broadcasted the charge in May. The BBC had quoted an anonymous official saying that Mr. Campbell had added the claim in an effort to "sex up" the document and reinforce the justification for taking military action.

In a characteristically combative appearance, Mr. Campbell told the panel that the report was "a lie" and an unacceptable insult to the government. The broadcasting network has said it stands behind the story.

The dispute has become a take-no-prisoners struggle between the government and the public broadcaster, and Mr. Blair raised the stakes on Sunday by saying that the report was "as serious an attack on my integrity as there could possibly be." In an interview with the British Sunday newspaper The Observer, Mr. Blair said, "You could not make a more serious charge against a prime minister."

Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said today that the report supported government demands for an apology from the BBC. But the BBC retorted with a demand that the government cease accusing it of being biased in its coverage of the war.

The committee is one of two parliamentary panels looking into allegations that the government may have exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq before the war. The other, an intelligence panel, will take its testimony behind closed doors and submit its report to the prime minister for revisions before making it public.

The charges pose a growing problem for Mr. Blair, who conducted an aggressive campaign to convince the British public of the need for military action against Mr. Hussein. The claim about Iraq's ability to launch chemical and biological weapons quickly was a key part of the government's argument for swift action.

The continuing failure to discover unconventional weapons in Iraq is calling into question Mr. Blair's repeated prewar assurances that there was unequivocal evidence of their existence.

In addition, the high-profile involvement of Mr. Campbell in the current dispute has renewed criticism of the Blair government for being too dependent on presentation and spin. It has also spurred the aggressive British press, which often feels bullied by Mr. Campbell, to pursue the case with extra vigor.

Polls show that public trust in Mr. Blair, the most persistently popular prime minister in British history, has been decreasing rapidly in recent weeks, with doubts about the missing weapons and the possibly doctored evidence the main cause of the drop.

In clearing Mr. Campbell of the most serious charge against him, panel members said they thought the dispute between him and the BBC was a sideshow and should not be permitted to divert attention from the overall issue of the intelligence findings and whether they were manipulated by the government.

The committee said that Mr. Campbell should not have been allowed to oversee the compiling of the dossiers and should not do so in the future. One Labor Party member of the panel who voted against the government, Andrew Mackinlay, said the way the so-called "dodgy dossier" was put together under Mr. Campbell's aegis was "breathtaking in the extreme."

The dossier turned out to be a mixture of pure intelligence and unattributed passages from an article by an American scholar, Ibrahim al-Marashi, in the Middle East Review of International Affairs, and the committee said Mr. Blair had inadvertently "misrepresented its status" by passing if off as material gathered solely from intelligence sources.

Sir John Stanley, a Conservative member of the panel, said that the examination of whether the government provided Parliament with thorough and accurate weapons information must continue because the matter was of "paramount importance."

He noted that the war in Iraq was not a result of an invasion or an act of terror. "Never before," he said, "has Britain gone to war on the basis of an intelligence assessment."

© The New York Times 2003

Commentary:
Let me see if understand this. Blair lied to Parliament about WMD in Iraq but didn't knowing do so. He's either incompetent or the Brits have one hell of a cover-up on their hands.

The record is clear. Blair said he had absolute evidence that Hussein had WMD and he was wrong. Not once, not twice, but dozen's upon dozen's of times. We can forgive a single mistake, or even a series of mistakes, but when our governments lies to us around the clock for months we have to bring these governments down. Blair in the US lied, Howard in Australia lied and Bush lied. We have a lot of work to do.


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Dubya's Money Men
ABCNews
By Michael S. James
July 03, 2003

July 3 — If money is the mother's milk of politics, as one Republican fund-raiser puts it, then George W. Bush is swimming in it, thanks to a small army of "Rangers" rounding up cash for the presumptive GOP presidential candidate.

Already, Bush's money-gatherers — include dozens of wealthy or influential business executives, lawyers, lobbyists and politicians — have fanned out around the country to help guide parades of donors to Bush fund-raisers such as those in Washington (collecting a reported $3.5 million), New York ($4 million), Los Angeles ($3.5 million), and San Francisco ($1.6 million).

The campaign's estimated tally as of Monday — a cool $34.2 million arranged through the coordinators and other sources. By contrast, among Democrats who disclosed their fund-raising results, Howard Dean's campaign claimed Tuesday to have raised the highest total last quarter, $7.5 million, which would beat John Edwards' first-quarter-leading total of $7.4 million.

So who are the Bush fund-raisers raising such unheard of sums?

One example is David Miner, a North Carolina state representative and one of at least 225 people — and probably more — who during the Bush 2000 campaign earned the title "Pioneer" by crossing a $100,000 fund-raising barrier.

This time around, Miner thinks he can raise at least twice as much money for his candidate. That's because individual contribution limits have been doubled to $2,000, and Bush is a sitting president running unopposed for his party's nomination (North Carolinian Elizabeth Dole competed for dollars in 2000). If Miner reaches the $200,000 level, it would earn him the newly created title of Bush "Ranger."

"Given his record, he's going to be a candidate that people will be excited about," Miner enthused. "I'm personally very excited about and look forward to raising money for his campaign."

Click here for Bush's top 10 fund-raisers in 2000.

Political observers believe Bush's network of fund-raisers, along with campaign-finance rule changes that work strongly in Bush's favor, will likely allow the president to overwhelm any Democratic opponent with an unchallenged flurry of spending.

"It doesn't seal the election, [but] this financial advantage digs a very deep and steep hole for the Democrat," said Michael J. Malbin, director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, which is affiliated with George Washington University in Washington.

If Democrats are to have hopes of winning, he added, they will have to move from a heavy reliance on so-called soft money, revive their badly atrophied hard-money contributor networks and organization, and manage to catch lightning in a bottle politically.

"There's no question they're at a disadvantage, but they're not out of the game," said Malbin, also a professor of political science at the State University of New York at Albany. "The big thing is whether one of them has a big issue that catches on."

Dems Pockets Empty, Hands Tied?

Big campaign donations, and "bundlers" who specialize in raising them, have been a part of politics since George Washington's day. Past presidents William McKinley and Richard Nixon were among the fund-raising masters, according to Malbin.

Recent Democratic campaigns for Bill Clinton and Al Gore also deployed such bundling networks.

But in the current era, political observers see the Bush fund-raising machine in a league of its own. Some expect the Bush campaign may raise a record $200 million, largely through individual "hard money" donations, before the election is through. The total would approximately double the Bush campaign's record fund-raising total for the 2000 election.

Bush is expected to pull in so much hard money that he'll be able comfortably to eschew federal matching funds until the Republican nomination in September 2004 ushers in his general election campaign. Not needing or taking the millions of dollars in matching funds would allow him to bypass accompanying limits on campaign spending.

On the other hand, if a Democrat takes matching funds, likely necessary to compete with other primary opponents who will be accepting them, he or she might find purse strings tied shut after spending to the limit to win a politically and financially bruising primary.

That's because once the spending limit is reached, the Democrat's campaign would not be allowed to spend any more money directly (others can spend, with restrictions, on its behalf) until he or she becomes the official nominee at summer 2004's Democratic convention, which will kick off their general election campaign against Bush.

The so-called McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform rules — the same ones that raised the hard-money contribution limits to $2,000 per person, per campaign — clamped down on soft money, the large, indirect sums from special interest groups.

"In '92 and '96, the parties spent soft money between March and July … and now they cannot do it, so they must spend hard money to replace the soft money," Malbin said. "George Bush will have a lot of money, and the Democrat will have almost nothing. And Bush in March will be able to define the difference between himself and the Democrat."

Influence of Wealthy

Watchdog groups are troubled by the situation.

"This clearly shows that hard money is equally problematic [as soft money] because it is amassed from the same set of wealthy circles from which the soft money gets amassed," said John Bonifaz, founder and executive director of the National Voting Rights Institute.

"The Rangers is just another example of how the hard money increases in the McCain-Feingold law will explode the capacity of campaigns like the Bush campaign to raise hard money," he said.

Bonifaz's group, jointly with the Austin-based Texans for Public Justice and others, is challenging parts of McCain-Feingold in court, attempting to return individual contribution limits to $1,000. The groups expect to be before the Supreme Court in September, arguing higher contribution limits give undue influence to the wealthy.

"People who give that kind of money are in the top wealthy 5 percentile, if not 1 percentile, of the nation," Bonifaz said. "The average citizen is completely locked out of this exclusive fund-raising activity."

Bush officials and fund-raisers counter that many Bush contributors are not wealthy, and give small amounts, rather than the full $2,000.

Texans for Public Justice, which calls itself nonpartisan, fears there could be some sort of payback involved for the fund-raisers. It identifies 43 Pioneers from the 2000 campaign it says later were offered Bush administration appointments, including 19 foreign ambassadorships and Cabinet positions as secretaries of labor (Elaine Chao) and homeland security (Tom Ridge).

"There is no doubt that high donors get extraordinary access," said Andrew Wheat, the group's research director. "The Pioneers are going to get their calls answered. It's all about access, and does access help you get government contracts? Does access help you get government appointments? Of course it does."

But Miner maintains there are no significant perks for his Bush fund-raising efforts, which generally consist of a few hours of calls each week for Bush, in between his own government duties and fund-raising.

"Anyone who's capable of raising $100,000 or $200,000, we don't need another pin or another set of cuff links or anything," he said. "We've all been active in raising money in politics for many candidates. And so you can only go into so many cocktail receptions and they get very old after awhile."

When asked why people would go through the trouble of being a Ranger or Pioneer, Dan Ronayne, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, deflected questions on perks, saying only that volunteers go through the effort to achieve "good government."

Miner added: "I think people do it because they believe in the president and they believe in what he's doing. There's not really any perks to this program. You know, I think we get better seats at the Republican convention and we get invited to a party here and there, but there's no great benefit."

Copyright © 2003 ABCNEWS Internet Ventures.

Commentary:
Let's put this into perspective shall we? In eight years President Clinton raised a fraction of what Bush is raising in one year, but almost every political pundit called Clinton some sort of derogatory phrase like, "fund-raiser in chief." Has a single reporter or pundit called Bush the same words? When Bush raises money, it's goood, when a democrat president raises money it's a scandal and baaaad.

The media is worthless, we kinda know that. And those who give to Bush have no conscious. He's presiding over the largest deficits in US history and he lied to us about a threat to our national security. Let's just say those who continue to support Bush have no standards.


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Text of Tape Purported to Be From Saddam
Mercury News/AP
Posted on Fri, Jul. 04, 2003

Text of remarks purportedly made by deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in an audiotape aired Friday by Qatar-based al-Jazeera television. The text is translated from the Arabic by The Associated Press. There was no immediate way to confirm the tape's authenticity, though reporters and others who have often heard Saddam speak said it sounded like him.

Oh great people, our great military, children of our great country, we are now on June 14, 2003.

People have been asking why they haven't heard the voice of Saddam Hussein. We face a lot of trouble in getting our voice to you even though we have been trying.

I first say that I am still in Iraq and I miss you all, even though I am in your midst, but you know how things are.

I talk to you today and all the honorable Arabs across the world. I told you before this last battle and during it that we would not fail you and would not cause God to be angry at us.

What happened has happened, we sacrificed what we sacrificed: our rule, but not our principles.

They wanted to occupy Iraq and impose on it what they wanted without a fight in exchange for our keeping our seats of power under their colonialist subservient control, so that we would become like others you know. The invaders were disappointed and their actions were thwarted.

Oh brothers and sisters, I give you the good news of telling you that jihad cells and brigades have been formed.

I am with some of my companions in Iraq and I salute them and you. I salute those fighting and I salute their perseverance and courage, and I ask God to give them patience and to make them a role model for all Iraqis.

The casualty numbers that the Americans are announcing are false.

We refused to hold onto power if that meant submitting to the American threats.

This act of theirs is just the beginning of their aim to control the whole region.

They aim to destroy Iraq, and what they called the weapons of mass destruction was nothing but a cover for their plans. You have seen how they destroyed both the old and new civilizations of Iraq. All the science centers, museums and schools. They questioned thousands of people, even simple workers.

I ask the invaders, where are these weapons of mass destruction?

Make the mujahideen secure and catch any spies. We call on Iraqis that deal with the Americans to stop doing so.

I call upon you to protect these heroic fighters and not give the invaders any information about them or their whereabouts during their operations. To stop giving names or any true information about them. They are doing their job in a satisfactory manner for God and nation. They accepted the call of the leadership for jihad.

There is resistance, and I know you are hearing about this. Not a day passes without them (suffering) losses in our great land thanks to our great mujahideen. The coming days will, God willing, be days of hardship and trouble for the infidel invaders.

"We (the regime) fulfilled our obligations to you and sacrificed what we had to, except our values, which are based on our deep faith and honor. We did not stab our people or our nation in the back. No to surrender and no to cooperation and we thank God for everything."

©Associated Press 2003

Commentary:
It's highly likely bin Laden is alive and well and so is Saddam. Why exactly did we go to war again? To get rid of bad people? Hell we knew Saddam was bad a long time ago. So what was the real reason? Anyway, Dan Rather was able to get an interview with Saddam before the war started, but the CIA and US military intelligence still can't find the man even though the US controls the country. Amazing--if you believe the party line that is.

As long as Saddam is alive Bush can blame him for the utter ineptness of those trying to run Iraq and the continued slaughter of US soldiers. They argue it's Saddam or the fear of Saddam not the brazen incompetence of Bush.


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Dean's candidacy is now strong enough to squash
Boston Globe

By Joan Vennochi
7/3/2003

IT IS OFFICIAL: Howard Dean is a real, live Democratic presidential candidate. So now, he, like any other pesky mosquito at a Democratic Leadership Council picnic, must be swatted away.

To professional campaign watchers, the news that Dean, the former governor of Vermont, raised nearly $7 million in the last fund-raising quarter puts him in the category of serious contender in the race to win the Democratic nomination. Not only does the man now have real money to wage a campaign; he also has real people turning out to hear him wage it: 3,200 in Austin, Texas, 1,200 in Seattle, and 2,500 in Santa Fe.

Such unorchestrated enthusiasm thrills Dean supporters. But Democratic party ''centrists'' are sounding the stop-Dean-now alarm.

Consider the article headlined "No Left Turn," coauthored by Al From and Bruce Reed, the founder/CEO and the president, respectively, of the Democratic Leadership Council, that was published in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal: "For party and country, the stakes couldn't be higher, so we've urged candidates to follow President Clinton's strategy and seize the vital center, not veer left," they wrote, apparently too freaked out to mention the name of the person at the helm of this disastrous, leftward tilt - Howard Dean. But it is pretty clear they are thinking about Dean and his high-octane rhetoric when they warn about candidates who "preach to the converted, only louder."

Reflecting the concerns of the Democratic political establishment, the national media establishment is also turning up the heat on Dean. The crux of their criticism so far, as documented by The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz: Dean doesn't spend time charming the press, which could be a plus with the general public.

And in case you missed it, which you probably did, Dean also gave "perhaps the worst performance by a presidential candidate in the history of television" on a recent appearance on "Meet the Press" as reviewed by one New York Daily News columnist.

Of course, if stumbles, stammers, and twisted syntax determined who could not reach the White House, George W. Bush would not be there now.

Supporters of Senator John Kerry are edging gingerly into the new political day that dawned when Dean raised $7 million. Jack Corrigan, a Kerry supporter who helped Michael Dukakis win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, sees a vast difference between using Massachusetts and Vermont as launch pads for a national campaign. "Massachusetts is a major industrial and post-industrial state. Vermont, what is it?" asks Corrigan, answering his own question like this: "It's Ben-and-Jerry land."

Concedes Corrigan: "He obviously did raise some money running from the left wing of the Democratic Party. That has been tried before and it can be successful in a crowded field. But is it a good idea for the Democratic Party? Not without something more."

Dean's early opposition to the war with Iraq and his continuing criticism of its aftermath do resonate with the political left. However, painting Dean as a left-wing extremist may not be that simple for Democrats: "He's the only progun pacifist you can find in the race," Corrigan observes.

The Democrats still don't get it. Voter interest in a Howard Dean-like candidate is fueled by something deeper than ideology. How else to explain why Senator John McCain of Arizona, a Republican, drew support from Democrats when he ran for president in 2000? That is what Dean's opponents should try to understand as they puzzle over the phenomenon that makes Dean the hot candidate of the moment in presidential campaign circles.

Political strategists and consultants who plot elections like generals plot battle plans talk about a candidate who can tap the "vital center." Average voters are looking for a human being with feelings and values that reflect their own.

In this highly cynical age, expectations for our politicians run very low. But we can still dream about someone who isn't moved by polls and headlines, who has a core of beliefs that resist traditional labels and standard political equivocation. McCain and former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, a Democrat, both tapped into that longing during the last presidential primary season. Neither one stopped the centrist promoted by their respective parties, and Dean won't either.

His opponents will see to that.

Joan Vennochi's e-mail address is vennochi@globe.com.

This story ran on page A13 of the Boston Globe on 7/3/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Commentary:
By this author's reasoning Bush ran as a centrist, not a conservative, therefore Dean too must be a centrist and not a liberal. Good grief. Where does the Globe find these idiots?

Does Bush have core beliefs. Nope. You get a tax cut because there's a surplus, then you get a tax cut to stimulate the economy or stating it more honestly, you get a tax cut no matter what happens. In the real world that's called pandering.

Bush went to war with Saddam because he had a nuclear program, no, a program to create more WMD's, no because he was a really bad guy. Core values or pandering?.

Dean was against the war even though the vast majority of Americans were for it. Does that sound like a poll driven candidate or someone who panders? Only in the world of morons and political pundits.

Dean will be the next president.


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Howard Dean: Candidate not ready for prime time
SeattlePi.com
By MARIANNE MEANS
SYNDICATED COLUMNIST

July 02, 2003

WASHINGTON -- As he made his presidential bid official last week, some of the early excitement was fading from Howard Dean's campaign.

With his outsider's antiwar pitch and his air of independence, the former Vermont governor has elbowed his way out of the "who's he?" category into serious contention for the 2004 Democratic nomination. But recent verbal blunders indicate that his lack of Washington experience might be a distinct drawback.

Dean, a physician by profession, has patterned his campaign after Arizona Sen. John McCain's insurgent "Straight Talk Express" in the 2000 Republican primaries. Dean is selling himself as a guy who lays it on the line. An imitation, however, is never as good as the original.

McCain's candor had impact because as a Senate veteran, he knew what he was talking about. It is not clear that Dean does. Or that, in a pinch, he is all that candid.

Dean, 54, has separated himself from the rest of the Democratic pack with relentless criticism of President Bush's interventionist foreign policy. By contrast, in varying degrees, his most important rivals have backed the Iraq War.

He says his support is built from mouse pads, and indeed he has extensively utilized the Internet to solicit donations. Yet in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary, he trails Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry by 9 points.

With the formal announcement, it was supposed to be Dean's big week of major media buzz. But the buzz was decidedly mixed.

His teenage son was caught with four buddies who were arrested for breaking into a country-club beer locker, an awkward development for any candidate stressing family values. He was interviewed by Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," and he bombed. He was as shallow and uninformed as North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, whose candidacy has been staggering under a similarly pitiful earlier performance ever since. (Note: Edwards' home state was incorrect in the original version of this column.)

And Dean wasn't nearly as pleasant on screen as Edwards had been. He came across as impatient and snappish.

The former governor might have been so distracted by his son's troubles that he failed to prepare adequately for the interview. But presidential candidates have an obligation to remain focused on their message, no matter the chaos in their personal lives. This is not a harmless game of tiddlywinks. And "Meet the Press" is a big deal.

Dean is famous for speaking spontaneously. Increasingly, it seems that he could use a well-rehearsed text or two. He ducked several questions for which he should have had answers.

He couldn't say whether he supported the complicated Medicare bill moving through Congress. He said that he didn't like the bill but he didn't want to offend Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, who supports it.

"It's a political Washington type of trap, and it's a terrible, terrible dilemma for the Democratic senators to be in," he said.

Similarly, he was undecided about the wisdom of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, which he has favored in the past. "I go back and forth on that," he said.

Although, as governor, he signed a measure allowing gay couples to legally merge in civil unions, he refused to say whether as president he would recognize the legality of a gay marriage performed for Americans in Canada. "I can't answer that question because it's a legal question," he said.

Asked about his past opposition to the death penalty, Dean said he had partially changed his mind, but his reasoning was rambling and incoherent. He denied Russert's charge that he had been forced to apologize three times to fellow candidates for remarks that were out of line. In a rhetorical tap dance worthy of Bill Clinton, he agreed he'd said he was "sorry" but said he didn't consider that an apology.

He said we need more troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, although when pressed he did not know how many were there now or how many more would be required. If elected, "I will have the kinds of people around me who can tell me these things," he said.

Earlier, Dean had accused his Democratic rivals of needing a "backbone transplant." But when asked who he was talking about, he refused to mention any names, suggesting that his own backbone was rather rubbery.

Dean has said Vice President Al Gore should have taken the issue of gun control "off the table" in the 2000 election because it cost him three states. But Dean wouldn't say in the interview why it shouldn't be debated. "Well, you can debate it all you want," he snapped irritably.

One disastrous interview does not spell the end for Howard Dean. He faces a far bigger problem -- whether he is perceived as too weak on national-defense issues, reminiscent of George McGovern. That would really do him in.

Marianne Means is Washington, D.C., columnist with Hearst Newspapers. Copyright 2003 Hearst Newspapers. She can be reached at 202-298-6920 and means@hearstdc.com

©1996-2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Commentary:
Excitement for Dean is fading is what this author says. What evidence does he provide? Less money? Less coverage in the news, nope, didn't say either. Maybe his crowds are small and getting smaller. Nope that's not listed either. This pundit simply states what you're supposed to believe without proving a word of it. Dean is fading. That is his spin, god forbid the author provide a single fact to prove his points, he just spins..

Also note how almost every pundit says Dean is really McCain or McCain-light. They tell you McCain didn't win, therefore Dean can't win either--don't believe them.

The Meet the Press line is also necessary if you're a complete idiot. The US and Canada have always respected each others marriages. Dean was asked about gay marriage in Canada. He's a doctor, not a lawyers, so what's wrong with him saying he needs a legal opinion? Of course this pundit doesn't understand such things. He's a moron and he thinks you are too.

But the pundit waits till his last sentence to try to destroy Dean. Is he weak on defense? What evidence does he provide one way or the other? None.

So here's what we get from this article; Dean is like McCain, though McCain was strong on defense, but Dean isn't, so Dean has an even less chance of winning and Dean is like McGovern, because McGovern was weak on defense and because he's like McGovern he can't win. Twisted logic? How about no logic and pure spin?

I have a kinda cool way of looking at Dean. Maybe Dean is like Dean and trying to compare him to others is an attempt to distract you from who he really is. Don't fall for it.


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$25 million reward out for Saddam
Arizona Republic
Associated Press
Jul. 3, 2003 08:01 AM

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. government is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to the capture of Saddam Hussein or confirmation of his death, in addition to up to $15 million for information on either of his two sons, the occupation administration said Thursday.

The offer was made in a prepared release by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority and applies to Saddam and both his sons, Odai and Qusai, said Sgt. Amy Abbott, a U.S. military spokeswoman in Baghdad.

The bounty for Saddam matches the $25 million the United States has offered for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader missing since U.S. forces entered Afghanistan and helped topple the Taliban regime.

In April, the United States offered unspecified rewards to Iraqis who provide information about government officials and weapons of mass destruction. Officials have not said whether anyone has collected any of those rewards.

Saddam was last reportedly seen alive in the war's waning days in the Azamiyah neighborhood of northeastern Baghdad. At least two U.S. airstrikes targeted him during the war but it is not known if any were successful.

U.S. officials say capturing Saddam and his sons is crucial because the uncertainty surrounding his fate can be used as a rallying point for anti-U.S. forces.

Attacks against occupation forces have been increasing in recent weeks, with at least 26 U.S. troops killed in hostile fire since major combat was officially declared over on May 1.

Copyright 2003, azcentral.com. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
The US wouldn't have an reward out for Saddam if we thought he was dead. Since the reward is offered (in the press) in early July we can safely assume Bush has known for a very long time that Saddam is alive and well. This leads us to Bush's "bring em on" statement. Since Saddam is believed to be alive and in Iraq, why does he want him to attack US troops?


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'Bring 'Em On' Fetches Trouble
CBS News/AP
July 3, 2003

(CBS/AP) Three words directed by President Bush to fighters attacking Americans in Iraq have triggered attacks of a different kind — from those critical of the president's approach to foreign affairs.

Answering press questions on Wednesday about the violence in which 26 Americans have died since major combat in Iraq ended more than a month ago, the president vowed to find and punish "anybody who wants to harm American troops," and said the attacks would not weaken his resolve to restore peace and order in Iraq.

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," Mr. Bush said.

At least, that's what he said according to the official White House transcript. But reporters say the phrase actually sounded like "bring 'em on."

Either way, the tone rubbed some Democrats and foreign commentators the wrong way.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., called the president's anguage "irresponsible and inciteful."

"I am shaking my head in disbelief," Lautenberg said. "When I served in the Army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military commander — let alone the commander in chief — invite enemies to attack U.S. troops."

Britain's anti-war Guardian newspaper dubbed the statement a "gesture of presidential bravado." It did not help, in critics' eyes, that the president made the statement with a picture of Teddy Roosevelt on a rearing horse — a cowboy image some people overseas associate with the current president.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Mr. Bush's combative tone was not meant to invite attacks on Americans. "I think what the president was expressing there is his confidence in the men and women of the military to handle the military mission they still remain in the middle of," Fleischer said.

According to Lautenberg, one third of U.S. casualties in Iraq have occurred since Mr. Bush declared major combat over two months ago.

On Tuesday, assailants traveling in a vehicle in central Baghdad fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. military vehicle, wounding three soldiers. Another grenade slammed into a U.S. truck on a road south of Baghdad, injuring three soldiers, one of whom died at a field hospital overnight.

Mr. Bush expressed impatience with the criticism leveled at his administration in recent weeks.

"See, we've been there for, what — I mean, how many days?" the president said. "Frankly, it wasn't all that long ago that we started military operations. And we got rid of him, much faster than a lot of people thought."

The president often uses robust language when describing or addressing America's enemies. On several occasions this year he referred implicitly to the killings of al Qaeda operatives by saying that some had been arrested or "otherwise dealt with," often to knowing chuckles from friendly crowds.

©MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Commentary:
The press is trying to cover for Bush again. Note the words "The president often uses robust language..." Good grief, has the meaning of robust changed? Bush sounds like an idiot, taunting our enemies to kill our soldiers. What kind of leader asks for trouble? Robust? Huh? Moronic is more like it. For people who use written words to make a living they sure as hell don't know what the words mean. Robust came straight from the Bush press office.


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U.S. Manufacturing Shrank in June
By John M. Berry
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 2, 2003; Page E03

U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in June for the fourth month in a row, but it did so only slightly while a rising number of new orders indicated the sector will expand in the second half of the year, the Institute for Supply Management reported yesterday.

The ISM's monthly index of conditions in the factory sector rose to 49.8 last month from 49.4 in May. A reading below 50 indicates that the sector is shrinking; a reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Meanwhile, domestic automakers reported selling new cars and light trucks at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of roughly 13 million last month, up slightly from the pace of April and May. The sales exceeded most analysts' estimates, but they were helped by various incentives that industry experts valued at $3,000 to $4,000 per vehicle.

The two reports were among several in recent weeks that have suggested that the economy has stabilized and may be poised for a pickup after periods of weakness before and during the war in Iraq.

"The economy is not only rising -- an ISM reading above 42.9 is consistent with an expanding economic pie -- but its momentum is building," said Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics in Cleveland. "Still, with the end of the war and the passage of major new tax cuts, it's a big disappointment that the bounce-back is so muted."

The income tax cuts enacted a few weeks ago will be showing up in workers' take-home pay beginning this week, and late this month the Treasury Department will begin mailing checks to many taxpayers of $400 per child, reflecting an increase in the child tax credit to $1,000 this year from $600. The checks will be based on information from tax returns filed for last year.

The Federal Reserve also sought to boost the economy further last week by cutting its target for overnight interest rates a quarter-percentage point, to 1 percent, the lowest level since a few weeks in 1961.

On the job front, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said its monthly compilation of layoff announcements by U.S. firms showed 59,715 jobs cut last month, the fewest since November 2000. The figure was 13 percent lower than May's and was more than a third smaller than in June 2002. Nevertheless, fewer layoffs don't necessarily mean more hiring, but rather that companies "are simply staying with the workers they have, resulting in a stagnant job market," the firm cautioned

Norbert J. Ore, who heads the Institute for Supply Management's business survey committee, said that last month's results show that "while the overall economy appears to be in a recovery, the manufacturing sector failed to grow in June." But the separate indexes for new orders, production and new export orders, all of which were above 50 in May and rose last month, were "encouraging as it appears that manufacturing is positioned for a recovery in the second half."

"The mood of the survey respondents has definitely turned upbeat," Ore added.

Jerry Jasinowski, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said the report "showed no real improvement in the overall state of manufacturing last month," but he added that the orders figures were heartening. "These indicators confirm what we have been hearing from our members," he said.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said that construction spending fell 1.7 percent in May instead of increasing slightly as many analysts predicted. Both private and public construction declined, as did residential construction despite the strength in the housing market. The overall monthly construction drop was the third in a row.

In some parts of the East, including the Washington area, heavy rain in May delayed some construction, particularly on new homes. But high vacancy rates have depressed office and store construction, and excess production capacity has held down construction of new factories. In addition, said Scott Winningham of Stone & McCarthy, a financial markets research firm, "the growing fiscal problems at the state and local level, and the associated cutbacks in spending may be responsible for the recent weakness in public construction spending."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Ok, once again we have to read, then reread the story to find the truth. First we learn that a number below 50% indicates manufacturing is in recession or shrinking. The current number is 49.8.

Then we get this quote from an economic moron: "The economy is not only rising -- an ISM reading above 42.9 is consistent with an expanding economic pie -- but its momentum is building," said Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics in Cleveland." So, below 50% means things are bad, but this guy says anything about 42.9% is consistent with an expanding economy. Expanding? Momentum building? You decide. Too bad they didn't use the word "robust," a word the Bush White House toys with whenever they screw up.

We need a few months of data before we can see what's really going on in the economy. One number here or there does not a trend make. It's likely the economy will recover someday, it always does. But we shouldn't give Bush credit for something that always happens, though we can bet he'll take credit for it.


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U.S. punishes foes: world criminal court
The Globe/AP
July 2, 2003

Washington — The United States is suspending military aid to about 35 countries in a dispute over the new International Criminal Court.

Overall, about $48-million (U.S.) in aid will be blocked, according to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. Among the nations affected is Colombia, where some U.S. assistance for fighting drugs and terrorists could be in jeopardy.

The aid cutoff is because the countries failed to meet a Tuesday deadline for exempting Americans from prosecution before the new war-crimes tribunal.

In addition to Colombia, the following countries were declared ineligible to receive U.S. military assistance, according to a State Department announcement Tuesday night:

Africa: Benin, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia.
Europe: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia.
Western Hemisphere: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
Asia: Fiji, Samoa

The U.S. administration is simply acting to protect its troops, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

"These are the people who are able to deliver assistance to the various states around the world, and if delivering aid to those states endangers America's servicemen and servicewomen, the President's first priority is with the servicemen and servicewomen," he said.

Congress set a July 1 deadline for most recipients of U.S. military aid to exempt U.S. soldiers and other personnel from prosecution before the new UN International Criminal Court. The Bush administration fears the court could leave U.S. personnel subject to false, politically motivated prosecutions.

The Clinton administration signed a 1998 treaty that created the court, but the Bush administration nullified the signature and has sought a permanent exemption from prosecutions. Those efforts have been blocked by the European Union, though the UN Security Council last year gave the United States a second one-year exemption.

U.S. diplomats have pressed allies to approve bilateral agreements exempting Americans. Advocates of the court have accused the Bush administration of trying to bully weaker nations and undermining an important advance in human rights.

Under the law approved by Congress last year, at least 27 foreign states were exempted from the military-aid cutoff, including the 18 other members of the NATO military alliance and the two largest recipients of military aid, Israel and Egypt. U.S. President George W. Bush can exempt other nations if he deems it in the U.S. national interest.

The White House identified six nations that received full waivers: Gabon, Gambia, Mongolia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tajikistan. Sixteen more received waivers until Nov. 1 or Jan. 1 to give them time to complete their ratification processes.

Mongolia, Senegal, Botswana and Nigeria received waivers even though the State Department had not identified them as signing exemption agreements. The State Department did not say why they were included.

Only about $5-million of the $600-million in this year's Colombian aid is at risk. Most of the remaining money has been already spent or was part of an anti-drug fund that is not considered military aid, even though some of the money goes to Colombian armed forces.

The effect could be greater in 2004. Of the $575-million requested by the Bush administration for Colombia, about $112-million could be jeopardized, according to State Department figures

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Commentary:
What this? This US is suspending military aid to ONLY 35 countries? Is there a single country on earth that we're not arming to the teeth? And now 35 countries will get a little less for a short time. The US defense industry needs money, it needs to be fed and the US government has created a cradle to grave military welfare program for US companies wanting more money. I think it stinks. Why are we arming so many countries? How do we know what they'll do these weapons a year from now, or a decade from now. Aid if fine, military aid, no way.


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