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Impeach Bush

Franken Wins "Fair, Balanced" Round
E-Online
by Joal Ryan
August 22, 2003

It's open season on the words fair, and and balanced.

A federal judge in New York ruled Friday that Saturday Night Live alum Al Franken does, too, have the right to use fair, and and balanced, in that order, in the title of his new book.

In siding with Franken, the judge rejected an argument by Fox News that the comic was infringing on its trademarked slogan, the aforementioned "fair and balanced."

"In addition to thanking my own lawyers," Franken said after the ruling, "I'd like to thank Fox's lawyers for filing one of the stupidest briefs I've ever seen in my life."

Fox News had sought an injunction to stop the publication of Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, a sacrilegious and/or justified skewering of right-wing-skewing personalities, including President Bush, pundit Ann Coulter and Fox News' own Bill O'Reilly.

The book went on sale Tuesday, its publisher, the Penguin Group-owned Dutton, pushing up the launch after Fox News filed suit last week. Late Friday, Franken's tome was Amazon.com's top seller, besting the apolitical, but no-doubt riveting The South Beach Diet.

In rejecting Fox's argument, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin called the network's lawsuit "wholly without merit, both factually and legally."

It was not, however, without its entertainment value.

Just as Fox News' commentators are not known to mince words, neither do its lawyers. The suit said that Franken appeared to be "shrill and unstable," not to mention "increasingly unfunny." It noted the shouting match between him and O'Reilly at a press correspondents dinner in April to charge that Franken's behavior showed him to be "either intoxicated [or] deranged." In an apparent oversight, it did not make fun of him for that Stuart Smalley movie.

When he read the "personal attacks," Franken cracked last week, "I thought for a moment I was a Fox commentator."

Franken said his book, and its title, would be seen in the courts for what it was--parody. And that's just what Judge Chin said, ruling that the smart aleck's tweaking of Fox News was protected by the First Amendment.

On Friday, Fox News did not rule out an appeal.

"We don't care if it's Al Franken, Al [Grandpa Munster] Lewis or Weird Al Yankovic," Fox rep Paul Schur told the Associated Press. "We're here to protect our trademark and our talent."

The Fox News suit argued readers might confuse Franken's book for an official Fox News publication. The network trademarked the phrase "fair and balanced" in 1998.

Earlier, Paul Newman defended Franken with some satirical prose of his own. In a New York Times op-ed piece, the Oscar-winning Hollywood legend wrote that the Fox suit had inspired him to sue the Department of Housing and Urban Development because its commonly used acronym, HUD, might confuse audiences who associated him with the movie character also known as Hud.

"Newman claims piracy of personality and copycat infringement," he wrote.

Copyright © 2003 E! Entertainment Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Does anyone really think Fox is fair and balanced? Only if they're complete morons. Fox called Clinton and Gore liars for eight long years--based on guesses and supposition. Yet refuses to call Bush and Cheney liars when they lied right to our faces for over a year about WMD in Iraq. Fair? Balanced? Dream on.


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Al Franken's new book
Star Tribune
Kristin Tillotson
Published August 20, 2003

Satirist Al Franken's new book will hit stores Friday, the same day lawyers will hit a New York courtroom to offer arguments in a lawsuit the book has generated.

Fox News Channel sued the Minnesota native and his publisher over the title and cover of his new book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," saying that it had trademarked the phrase "fair and balanced" and that consumers could confuse Franken's biting liberal satire with the channel.

The book was originally set to be released Sept. 22.. But last week, it shot to the No. 1 spot on Amazon.com's nonfiction list following the cascade of publicity over the suit. Since then, publisher Penguin Group has ordered 40,000 more copies for its initial 250,000-copy press run and moved the release date up to Friday, a spokeswoman said.

The book includes a chapter about the memorial service held after the death of Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone. In an interview Tuesday, Franken said the chapter, the book's longest, is "closest to my heart." He characterized it as a "case study of how the right-wing media distorts things."

The book is Franken's fourth collection of political satire, following his best-selling "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations" in 1999.

Fox News, which registered the phrase "Fair & Balanced" in 1998, claims in its suit that Franken's use of the same words underneath a photo of Fox TV personality Bill O'Reilly on the book's cover is a deliberate attempt to mislead consumers.

In Monday's New York Daily News, O'Reilly wrote that his network and program are successful because "We don't do drive-by character assassinations, and we don't denigrate opposing points of view by launching gratuitous personal attacks."

Fox's suit described Franken with such terms as "shrill," "unstable" and "deranged."

Franken brushed aside questions about O'Reilly on Tuesday, saying "I don't want to make things personal."

Franken will be represented in court by Penguin's in-house counsel Alex Gigante, a well-known copyright-infringement specialist.

"He thinks we're in good shape," said Jonathon Lazear, Franken's agent, after a meeting Tuesday with Gigante and Franken. "A lot of latitude is given to titles of films, TV shows and books in terms of using parts of well-known phrases."

High-profile cases bear out that viewpoint. Earlier this month, film director Spike Lee lost a suit he filed in June to prevent the TNN cable channel from changing its name to "Spike TV." Lee claimed that television viewers would associate that name with his. Director George Lucas lost his 1985 suit against use of the term "Star Wars" in reference to the nickname given President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defensive Initiative plan.

The Authors Guild, a nonprofit network that lobbies on behalf of writers and freedom of expression issues, is compiling a list of titles it plans to submit in federal court today to show that the use of trademarked terms in titles is common and not confusing to the public. (See list at http://members.authorsguild.net.) Among the suggestions: Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions," taken from the Wheaties cereal slogan; director John Landis' film comedy, "Kentucky Fried Movie," and "Spam-ku," a collection of Spam-themed poetry.

© Copyright 2003 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Fox says they don't do "character assassinations" then says this about Franken, he's "shrill," "unstable" and "deranged." Fox engaged in character assassination in a legal document. Do you still think they don't do it on air also? Fox is for children.


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25 Things We Now Know
The Crisis Papers
By Bernard Weiner
August 18, 2003

Last year, close to the time of the first anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks, I wrote "Twenty Things We've Learned One Year After 9/11." Now we're approaching the second anniversary, and it's time for an update.

Things we could only speculate about a year ago have taken place -- to name just three: an invasion and occupation of Iraq (based on misleading intelligence and outright lies), an administration that may have committed the treasonous act of deliberately revealing the identity of a CIA agent, and shocking revelations about the computer-screen voting system now being put into place around the country for the 2004 election.

The abbreviated list below can be used both as a reminder to all of us why we're fighting this good, oppositional battle, and as a place to start from when organizing and talking to others about why you will be voting for someone other than George W. Bush in the presidential vote next year.

Here are the topics and here's what we've learned, all factually validated by -- or strongly suggested in -- journalistic reports.

THE IRAQ WAR

1. We know that a cabal of ideologically-motivated Bush officials, on the rightwing fringe of the Republican Party, were calling for a military takeover of Iraq as early as 1991. This elite group included Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Woolsey, Bolton, Khalizad and others, all of whom are now located in positions of power in the Pentagon and State Department.

They helped found the Project for The New American Century (PNAC) in 1997; among their recommendations: "pre-emptively" attacking other countries devoid of imminent danger to the U.S., abrogating agreed-upon treaties when they conflict with U.S. goals, making sure no other country (or organization, such as the United Nations) can ever achieve parity with the U.S., installing U.S.-friendly governments to do America's will, using tactical nuclear weapons, and so on. In short, as they put it, the goal is "benevolent global hegemony."

All of these extreme suggestions, once regarded as lunatic, are now enshrined as official U.S. policy in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, published by the Bush Administration in late 2002.

2. We know that Bush and his highest officials -- notably Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, and, to a lesser extent, Powell -- lied outrageously about Iraq's weapons capabilities in order to get their war plans endorsed by the Congress and the American people. The biggest of many whoppers involved were the made-up stories about nuclear "mushroom clouds" over America, unleashed by the Iraqi drone air force.

These lies may have fooled many Americans at the time, but other countries, especially in Europe, smelled the rotten evidence and the imperial ambitions and would have nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, denouncing the Bush Administration to its face. Up to 10 million citizens (mostly organized via the internet) marched worldwide on the same day to try to stop the invasion -- before the war had even started! -- something that had never happened before in world history.

3. We know that Rumsfeld wanted to move on Iraq just a few hours after 9/11, even though he was quickly informed that it was an al-Qaida operation and that there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement. When the CIA and other intelligence agencies said the same thing about a supposed al-Qaida link -- and Iraq's alleged nuclear program and other WMD -- Rumsfeld set up his own intelligence-gathering unit inside the Pentagon, the Office of Special Plans, and installed a number of PNAC hardliners to tell him what he wanted to hear. Their cooked-books "intelligence" became the basis for invading Iraq.

4. We know that Bush and his highest officials, their lies having been exposed by their own contradictory words, as usual first decided to blame others: The patsy this time was the CIA, and Tenet fell on his sword, sort of, in accepting the blame. (Angry elements in the CIA then began leaking damning information about Bush&Co. involvement in other WMD lies.)

When Karl Rove and the others snookered the media into focusing on a mere 16 words in Bush's State of the Union Speech about supposed uranium sales to Iraq, they looked at the polls showing a majority of Americans not caring about the lies as long as the evil Saddam had been removed, and began telling even more whoppers. (Meanwhile, in the U.K., Blair could lose his job because he lied even more blatantly than did Bush, if such is possible -- he trumpeted that Iraq could launch biochemical agents at British sites within 45 minutes -- and now he's been found out as well.)

5. We know that Bush and Blair felt compelled to "sex up" their justification for going to war against Iraq by focusing on the WMD issue because the real reason -- to bomb and take over a weak nation in that area of the world as a demonstration warning to other Middle East, oil-rich countries that they'd better come on board or face the same consequence -- would never win the support of the American people. Americans aren't big on overt imperial rule, and the bullying and arrogant militarism that go with such rule, preferring more subtle means of influence and control.

6. We know that although the U.S. promised that there would be a swift turnover of civil rule to the Iraqis, that promise has been revoked. The U.S. occupying authority has appointed its own governing council of hand-picked Iraqis, over which it has veto power, and is hoping that gesture will suffice long enough to set up the Western looting-system. Such behemoth Republican-supporting corporations as Halliburton and Bechtel are making out like bandits with reconstruction contracts awarded by the Bush Administration (in the case of Cheney's old firm Halliburton, with no competitive bidding!).

7. We know that the PNAC cabal, which relied on Iraqi exile fantasies, believed that the citizens of that invaded country would welcome the American & British forces with kisses and flowers. Instead, major factions of the country are engaged in nightly guerrilla warfare against their "liberators" and have killed and wounded more U.S. soldiers after Bush declared the end of major hostilities than were killed in the invasion battles. Oil pipelines and water systems are blown up regularly. There is the familiar odor across Iraq of a Vietnam-type syndrome; you know what I mean: just a little more force and we'll have them on the run/are those friendlies or bad guys? don't take chances, fire!/the troops will be home by Christmas/send another 100,000 soldiers quick.

8. We know that elements of the PNAC/Bush cabal appear anxious to move on to another country, though it's still unclear whether the next target for control (and perhaps "regime change") will be Syria or Iran -- with North Korea becoming more and more bellicose off to the side.

9. We know that two high officials of the Bush Administration leaked to a conservative newspaper columnist the name of a covert CIA agent -- which is a felony. The agent is the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the man sent by Cheney to Niger last year to see if there was anything to the story that Iraq supposedly was trying to buy "yellowcake" uranium; Wilson reported back saying that the story was "highly unlikely." After the Bush Administration continued to use this lie in various public speeches -- even though they knew the documents were forgeries -- Wilson wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times, documenting his version of events. Wilson has since said that by naming his wife, the Bush Administration is sending a warning to other potential whistleblowers in the Administration not to speak up or risk unpleasant consequences. The FBI says it may investigate the matter. Sure it will.

10. We know that just prior to the launch of the Iraq war, the U.S. announced its "road map" for Middle East peace in order to lower the possibility of upheavals in the Arab world. Since the U.S. refuses to fully and energetically engage in the peace process -- to do so would mean leaning heavily on Israel to make major concessions and remove its permanent settlements on Palestinian land -- there is not likely to be genuine and lasting peace in that tortured area of the world. Abbas can't control his extremists, Sharon has his own extremist streak -- the perfect ingredients for more slaughter, and more anger in the Arab/Islamic world against the U.S. and its Israeli proxy. And more fertile soil in which young terrorists can be grown.

THE 9/11 COVERUP

11. We know that the inner national-security circles of the White House knew an attack was coming from al-Qaida, with planes used as weapons, aimed at American icon targets. (These warnings were coming from other governments -- sometimes directly to Bush -- as early as the Spring of 2001 and intensified greatly during the Summer. That is the period, you may remember, when Bush went to ground in Texas for a month and Ashcroft would no longer fly in commercial jets. Even with this advance warning, the Bush Administration did nothing to interdict, stop or otherwise interfere with the terrorist attacks they knew were coming.

12. We know that Bush and Cheney, early on, approached the leaders of the House and Senate and urged them not to investigate the pre-9/11 activities of the Administration.

13. We know that, to this day, the Bush Administration has stonewalled and delayed turning over essential information to both the Congressional committee and to the blue-ribbon independent panel investigating the pre-9/11 period. When the Congressional report recently was released, the Administration redacted 28 pages dealing with the role of Saudi individuals and government officials in financing the terrorists, and, what's perhaps even more vital, redacted all papers related to the May 6 presidential briefing document from the CIA about the likelihood of a domestic terrorist air-attack in the United States.

14. We know that the coverup continues today, from the first days after 9/11, when Condeleeza Rice claimed that the Administration had no idea that planes could be used as weapons against buildings, to the blaming of the FBI for "not connecting the dots." The incoming Bush Administration, including Rice, had been warned by the outgoing Clinton Administration that the #1 national-security threat was al-Qaida terrorism; other Islamic terrorists had tried to use planes as weapons previously, and the chief defendant in the 1993 WTC bombing had admitted that al-Qaida wanted to bomb key buildings, including the Pentagon and the Congress, in future attacks.

The independent 9/11 commission has publicly expressed its frustration at how their investigation -- which must submit its final report in just a few months -- is being hampered by the consistent stonewalling and delaying tactics of the Bush Administration. Likewise, the victims' families are appalled by and angry at those examples of foot-dragging, denials and lying.

DOMESTIC ATROCITIES

15. We know that the Bush Administration paid off its backers (and itself) by giving humongous tax breaks, for 10 years out, to the already wealthy and to large corporations. This was done at a time when the U.S. economy was in recessionary doldrums and when the treasury deficit from those tax-breaks was growing even larager from Iraq war costs. So far as we know, the Bush Administration has no plans for how to retire that debt and no real plan (other than the discredited "trickle-down" theory) for restarting the economy and creating jobs. More than 2,000,000 citizens have lost their jobs since Bush was installed in the White House.

16. We know that the HardRight conservatives who control Bush policy want to decimate and eviscerate popular social programs from the New Deal/Great Society eras, including, most visibly, Head Start, Social Security, Medicare (and real drug coverage for seniors), aspects of public education. Since the programs are so well-approved by the public, the destruction will be carried out stealthily with the magic words of "privatization," "deregulation," "choice" and so on, and by going to the public and saying that they'd love to keep the programs intact but they have no alternative but to cut them, given the deficit and weak economy.

17. We know that those with a vested interest in energy policy (the Kenny Lays of America) had major impact in writing that policy, with no consumer-group input; this basically gave these energy cartels carte blanche to rob the states and the public blind. The push for "deregulation" led to gross and illegal manipulation of the energy markets in state after state, and has nearly pushed California, for example, into bankruptcy, with the Bush Administration not lifting a finger to help. And Cheney continues to refuse to tell the courts who attended those energy-policy meetings and what was discussed.

18. We know that Bush environmental policy -- dealing with air and water pollution, national park systems, and so on -- is an unmitigated disaster, more or less giving free rein to corporations whose bottom line does better when they don't have to pay attention to the public interest.

19. We know that in general, the public interest plays little role in the formulation of policy inside the Bush Administration. Those on the inside who have left have revealed that political considerations are at the heart of all decision-making, with little if any discussion of what might benefit the people. Further, they say, there is little or no curiosity to think outside the political box, or even to hear other opinions -- in other words, don't bother me with facts, my mind's made up.

20. We know that there seems to be a "faith-based" view of reality. For example, when there was public clamor for policy to deal with the effects of global warming, the Administration said that was a "controversial" issue that would need more study; it appointed a scientific panel to review the situation. When that panel reported that global warming was real and needed to be dealt with on an urgent basis, Bush denounced the scientists that he himself had appointed as little more than "bureaucrats" and dismissed their conclusions; he also deleted the section on global warming from the annual EPA report. EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman resigned, one would imagine at least partially out of total frustration in dealing with these Neanderthals.

21. We know that the Patriot Act -- which was rushed through Congress in the days right after 9/11, with few legislators having had a chance to read the final draft -- has generated a huge groundswell of public opposition. More than 130 towns and cities have passed resolutions opposing it in part or in whole. The main objections center around the removal of all sorts of constitutional guarantees of due process of law, such as lawyer-client confidentiality and the sanctity of home privacy, and which authorizes wiretapping and snooping into personal computer files without you ever knowing about it. Even though Ashcroft already has thrown U.S. citizens into military prisons, thus removing them from judicial review, he appears to be desirous of even more outrages in Patriot Act II, including the exiling and deporting of American citizens deemed to be "terrorists."

We know that the Bush neocons were able to get these and similar bills passed by invoking the patriotic buzzwords "national security" and "homeland defense." Most members of Congress went along so that they wouldn't be tarred with the "unpatriotic" brush. And, in general, the Administration constantly has manipulated post-9/11 fears in the population, because it serves their electoral/policy purposes to keep folks jittery and looking to the central government for assurance and stability. (There ARE bad guys out there who wish us harm, but it's possible to deal with that reality without all the Constitution-shredding and psychological manipulation.)

22. We know that more and more, the permanent-war policy abroad and police-state tactics at home -- with the shredding of Constitutional rights designed to protect citizens from a potential repressive government -- are taking us into a kind of American fascism domestically and an imperial foreign policy overseas. As a result, we are beginning to see more alliances between liberal/left forces and libertarians/traditional conservatives horrified that their party has been hijacked by extreme ideologues.

23. We know that the response to the 2000 Florida election debacle -- going to touch-screen computer voting machines -- may turn out to be even worse. Three outfits dominate the computer-voting market, all companies owned or supported by Republicans, and that they refuse to permit their software to be examined by outsiders, even though tests have revealed major flaws in their systems: The votes can be manipulated easily without any evidence that the count has been tampered with, and with no verifiable paper trail to check against the final tallies. (There are suspicions that this may actually have happened in the 2002 elections in a number of states, where Democrats were leading in the last-minute polls going into the election but lost when the computer votes were added up.)

Given what happened in Florida, the 2004 vote must be honest and fair and, perhaps even more important, must be SEEN as honest and fair by the citizenry at large. Another disputed election and democracy in America may well die a quick death -- or lead to revolutionary discontent about the need to restore our Constitution.

24. We know that the Bush Administration continues to nominate ideologically-minded conservative judges, especially for the all-important appellate courts. The Democrats fall for the bait -- opposing the handful of nominees who are truly repellant extremists -- and, to show how fair they are, approve the 100+ others. Thus, the neoconservatives lock in approval for their HardRight policies for years, maybe even decades, to come.

25. We know that after a long, quiescent snooze, where the ostensible opposition party, the Democrats, played obedient lap dog to Bush&Co., things are starting to shift. Many Democrats have suddenly discovered their spines and are opposing HardRight initiatives, though not as consistently and as firmly as they should (Daschle, for example, is a notorious wimp). The Democrats see the Bush Administration as more vulnerable with the voters today as a result of the disastrous and duplicitous way they bamboozled American citizens and Congress into approving the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Having a number of tough-speaking presidential contenders aim their darts at Bush&Co. policies certainly helps generate more opposition.

Well, those will do for starters. No doubt, you have plenty more to add: The possibilities seemingly are endless when it comes to Bush&Co. misdeeds, scandals, incompetencies, lies and crimes.

As the presidential election run-up approaches, and if we do our jobs correctly, more and more citizens will add up what has happened to their country since the terror attacks of two years ago, and decide that Bush&Co. has to go -- preferably by resignation, but, if not, by impeachment or by the voters.

Copyright 2003, by Bernard Weiner

Commentary:
The Internet continues to attack the Bushies for lying to us around the clock while the main stream media has moved on to more important things--like Arnold. Arnold--the actor with no plan has gotten more TV air time than all the democrats running for president combined. Fair and balanced? Where? Turn on your TV and prepare for endless fluff. They think you're a moron–and if you continue to watch that nonsense–you are.


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Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg
Fair.org
July 18, 2003

Five months later, the truthfulness of one claim in George W. Bush's State of the Union address has become the focus of growing media scrutiny. The attention media are paying to this single assertion should be part of a larger journalistic inquiry into other misstatements and exaggerations that have been made by the Bush administration about Iraq.

In the January 28 speech, Bush claimed that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." That assertion was similar to claims made previously by administration officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell (CBS Evening News, 12/19/02), that Iraq had sought to import yellowcake uranium from Niger, a strong indication that Saddam Hussein's regime was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.

In fact, the Niger story, as documented by journalist Seymour Hersh (New Yorker, 3/31/03) and others, was based on crudely forged documents. In addition, the administration's own investigation in March 2002 concluded that the story was bogus. As one former State Department official put it, "This wasn't highly contested. There weren't strong advocates on the other side. It was done, shot down" (Time, 7/21/03).

Bush's use of the Niger forgeries has received considerable media attention in recent days. Much of this reporting has been valuable, and some outlets have broadened the inquiry beyond one passage in a speech. The Washington Post's Walter Pincus, for example, suggests (7/16/03) that the uranium claim remained in the State of the Union address because "almost all the other evidence had either been undercut or disproved by U.N. inspectors in Iraq."

Much media coverage, however, has focused narrowly on the Niger incident, putting the press is in danger of ignoring the most important question the story raises: Does the uranium claim indicate a larger pattern of deceptive claims made about Iraq? At minimum, the following assertions made by the Bush administration also deserve media scrutiny:

Aluminum tubes: In the State of the Union address and elsewhere, the White House has claimed that Iraq was seeking to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes to use in processing uranium, tubes Bush said would be "suitable for nuclear weapons production." But a report in the Washington Post (9/19/02) months before Bush's address noted that leading scientists and former weapons inspectors seriously questioned the administration's explanation-- pointing out that the tubes, which would be difficult to use for uranium production, were more plausibly intended for artillery rockets. The Post also noted charges that the "Bush administration is trying to quiet dissent among its own analysts over how to interpret the evidence." Commendably, some reporters, like NBC's Andrea Mitchell (7/14/03), have questioned the aluminum tubes claim in recent reporting about Bush's State of the Union address.

Iraq/Al Qaeda links: When Bush announced the end of hostilities in Iraq in a May 1 speech aboard the USS Lincoln, he said of the defeated Iraqi regime: "We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda." While a Saddam Hussein/Osama bin Laden connection was one of the administration's early justifications for going to war, it has produced no evidence to demonstrate this link exists. There is evidence, however, that the administration was deeply invested in proving such a tie, as former Gen. Wesley Clark attested recently on Meet the Press (FAIR Media Advisory, 6/20/03). Yet media accounts of Bush's USS Lincoln speech hardly raised an eyebrow over this attempt to keep the Iraq/Al Qaeda link alive.

The trailers: Bush presented the discovery of two trailers in Iraq as proof that Iraq possessed banned weapons: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories," he told Polish TV (Associated Press, 5/31/03). "They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." But serious questions had been raised within the administration about whether these trailers had anything to do with biological weapons-- doubts that soon emerged in a New York Times article (6/7/03). No evidence has been put forward confirming that the trailers were designed for anything other than the production of hydrogen for artillery balloons, as captured Iraqis had said (London Observer, 6/8/03).

Weapons Inspections: More recently, Bush has flagrantly misrepresented the history of the prewar conflict with Iraq over weapons inspections, telling reporters on July 14, "We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." In fact, after a Security Council resolution was passed demanding that Iraq allow inspectors in, they were given complete access to the country. The Washington Post (7/15/03), describing Bush's remarkable statement, could only say that his assertion "appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring." Joe Conason (Salon.com, 7/15/03) took note of "the press corps' failure to report his stunning gaffe. The sentence quoted above doesn't appear in today's New York Times report, for example."

Powell's U.N. address: Some of the current reporting over the Niger uranium forgery notes that Colin Powell was less confident about the story, as evinced by the fact that he did not include the claim in his February 5 address to the United Nations. But Powell's speech had problems of its own. As pointed out by Gilbert Cranberg (Washington Post, 6/29/03), Powell embellished an intercepted conversation about weapons inspections between Iraqi officials to make it sound more incriminating, changing an order to "inspect the scrap areas and the abandoned areas" to a command to "clean out" those areas. He also added the phrase "make sure there is nothing there," a phrase that appears nowhere in the State Department's official translation. Further, Powell relied heavily on the disclosure of Iraq's pre-war unconventional weapons programs by defector Hussein Kamel, without noting that Kamel had also said that all those weapons had been destroyed (FAIR Media Advisory, 2/27/03).

Other pre-war deceptions: Even when administration deceptions have been exposed by prominent mainstream outlets, the media in general tend not to recall them or draw connections. In October 2002, in a notable front-page article titled "For Bush, Facts Are Malleable" (10/22/02), Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank noted two dubious Bush claims about Iraq: his citing of a United Nations International Atomic Energy report alleging that Iraq was "six months away" from developing a nuclear weapon; and that Iraq maintained a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft that could be used, in Bush's words, "for missions targeting the United States." While these assertions "were powerful arguments for the actions Bush sought," Milbank concluded they "were dubious, if not wrong. Further information revealed that the aircraft lack the range to reach the United States" and "there was no such report by the IAEA." But recent media discussions of Bush's credibility-- including in the Washington Post-- have rarely mentioned these examples.

Commentary:
Why aren't these stories on ABC, NBC and CBS every night? I'll tell you why. The networks decided that lying to you is easier than telling you the truth. There wasn't a shed of evidence from Bush that was true or based on facts or evidence. The media did and doesn't care about facts and evidence anymore. So why are you still watching them? Don't ever forget, the networks pushed war—an unjust war that killed thousands of innocent people. They must never be trusted again until heads role. As for Bush–we all know he's a pathological liar–that's why the media likes him so much. They lie more than he does.


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Exposing Howard Dean Part One: His Command Economy!
The American Daily
By Ryan Thompson
08/10/03

Saturday afternoon I visited Howard Dean's presidential campaign website to study the viewpoint of the opposition to see what the big excitement was about. After reading his views on issues, I decided to write several reviews on his campaign platforms. First, I will expose the economic policies of Howard Dean using the materials on his own website (www.deanforamerica.com)

Governor Dean has four fundamentals in regards to his economic policy for America.

1. Repeal the Bush tax cuts, and use those funds to pay for universal healthcare, homeland security, and investments in job creation that benefit all Americans.

2. Set the nation on the path to a balanced budget, recognizing that we cannot bring social or economic justice without a sound fiscal foundation.

3. Create a fairer and simpler system of taxation.

4. Assure that Social Security and Medicare are adequately funded to meet the generation of retirees.

Now I am going to explain the flaws in the viewpoint of Dean on economics using my knowledge in three areas; economics, history, and politics.

Dean's first fundament is an insult to the study of economics and history. Repealing the tax cuts of President Bush would have disastrous consequences on the American economy because Keynesian Theory of Macroeconomics states that tax cuts assist in economic revitalization and expansion. This idea has been proven several times around the world throughout the twentieth century most notably during the 1980's after the Reagan tax cuts, and during the 1950's and 1960's under Eisenhower and Kennedy. Also, tax cuts bring an increase in government revenues because everyone spends or invests their tax cut. Further, if Dean would remove the tax cuts of President Bush and spend it on universal healthcare the medical industry would collapse causing serious damage to the American economy.

After reading the second fundamental of Dean's economic policy, I arrived at a conclusion about his policy. The policy shown by Howard Dean is a socialist agenda. In this fundamental, he says that economic and social justice can be brought through balancing the federal budget. My question is how does balancing the budget in regards to his policies equal economic and social justice seeing he wants to cut defense in favor of socialistic government programs. I do agree with balancing the budget, and economic social justice, but our ways at reaching these goals could not differ more.

First, I would balance the budget by cutting every unneeded social program on the federal budget from school lunches to federal scholastic aid programs for college education. This kind of policy will give us a society where Americans will not receive an unfair government gift.

His third economic fundamental states his desire to "create a fairer and simpler system of taxation.' If you studied this principle without understanding his political philosophy you might take this the wrong way thinking that he wants a flat tax, but in all reality he wants to instate a socialist redistribution agenda. I support a fair tax code based on the same flat tax system instituted in Russia in 1999, which has been highly successful and fair. Mr. Dean does not understand the meaning of fairness seeing he wants to hurt the wealthy to help the poor in his Marxist agenda.

His final fundamental states that he wants to fund Social Security and Medicare so they have enough money in the future. Mr. Dean does not want to fund these programs properly, and he does not want people to have the ability to opt out of social security.

After reading the whole piece, I definitely believe that Howard Dean is nothing more than a socialist who is against the economic and political tradition of America.

Copyright 2003 American Daily unless otherwise noted.
Views are those of individual authors and not necessarily those of American Daily.

Commentary:
I put this up so I can blow this sniffling idiot away. So here goes; 1.) Dean wants to repeal Bush's tax cuts:
Tax cut that result in deficits are really tax increases. No economists in the world thinks taxes on the future are the only solution to slow growth. The Reagan tax cuts created the largest accumulation of debt in worlds history ($1.6 trillion or more than all previous presidents combined). Massive debt is really a massive tax increase, therefore any tax cuts that gives us long-term debt must be considered bad economic policy. There isn't a single economist in the world that supports massive debt.

2.) A balanced budget:
The author says a balanced budget makes Dean a "socialist." Can anyone spend more that a fiscal conservative? Be honest. WE have conservatives running the House, Senate, and the Presidency and we have the largest deficits in history. We also have projections of massive deficits for as far as the eye can see. The author is really saying he doesn't want to pay for what his government is spending--he wants the next generation to pay for his tax cut and spending. The author then falsely assumes you can balance the budget by cutting a few social programs like "school lunches" and "scholastic aid programs." He clearly doesn't understand the scope of the Bush deficits which are expected to be anywhere from $400-$500 billion a year.

3.)Create a fairer and simpler system of taxation:
The author thinks Dean is a socialist and therefore simply implies (but never proves) he's not for a fair tax system. What the author wants is clear; massive tax cuts for the super rich while leaving massive debt for the next generation to pay. Anything short of that will be called socialism. Of course anyone who supports taking money from the future and giving it to the super rich today is a REAL socialist. Bush and the republican Congress are 100% socialists.

4.)Fund Social Security and Medicare: The author punts. He knows Bush and Republicans hate Social Security and Medicare and he knows both are social programs that are being bankrupted by Bush. Bush promised not to touch these funds to finance his tax cuts. He lied.


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The Progressive Case for Howard Dean
AlterNet
By Nico Pitney
August 12, 2003

I passionately supported the Greens in 2000 and 2002. I traveled 125 miles to see Dennis Kucinich speak when he came to Los Angeles in May, and had the pleasure of introducing him to a crowd of several hundred when he visited Santa Barbara recently. Kucinich is a guiding light in Congress and, of the nine Democratic presidential contenders, his views most closely mirror my own.

Yet I won't be voting for Kucinich in the Democratic primaries, nor will I vote Green in the general elections. My support will go to Howard Dean.

Yes, I've read the unfavorable commentaries on Howard Dean by writers whose opinions I greatly respect, like Norman Solomon and Alexander Cockburn. And yes, I know that I disagree with some critical components of Dean's platform. Progressives should be well aware that they're going to disagree on a range of issues with every individual who has a chance at being in the White House two years from now. Our choice is not between Howard Dean and the-even-better-candidate who-has-a-shot-at-winning the-Democratic-nomination and-defeating-George-Bush; that other candidate doesn't exist. Neither Kucinich nor Al Sharpton nor Carol Moseley Braun nor any Green will be President. Progressives should incorporate these realities into their electoral strategy, however disappointing they may be.

In a recent column, Norman Solomon criticizes "liberal Democrats [who] routinely sacrifice principles and idealism in the name of electoral strategy," and then argues that Greens are practicing the reverse strategy – "principled idealism" without a coherent electoral strategy. But in the same column he remarks, "Few present-day Green Party leaders seem willing to urge that Greens forego the blandishments of a presidential campaign. The increased attention – including media coverage – for the party is too compelling to pass up." If this latter analysis is accurate, the impetus to run a Green presidential candidate has come not from principled idealism but a rather inconsiderate self-indulgence.

In any case, the role of ideals in the voting booth is hazy. Voting Green isn't necessarily the most effective way to achieve Green policies. More importantly, supporting and voting for Democratic candidates is in no way a personal affirmation of the Democratic Party platform. It is, in part, a recognition of Duverger's Law – one of the few reliable "laws" in the social sciences – which states that American-style, winner-take-all, plurality voting systems produce political structures intractably dominated by two parties. Moreover, it is a recognition that the Democratic Party is simply one network among many (albeit an incredibly powerful one) through which those seeking fundamental political change in the United States can act. Progressives ought to engage the Democratic Party in the same way that we engage any powerful institution; we should creatively test the limits of reform and attempt to produce change that will assist us in our own wider struggles.

The goal of progressives in the coming months, then, should be to continue what we're doing now – organizing, developing alternative social, economic, and environmental programs, and working to raise the national profile of our allies in the public sphere – while supporting Howard Dean and helping him win the primary and general elections. We have to keep close in mind what our country and our world will look like if George W. Bush's administration captures another term and can carry out its agenda without being restrained by reelection considerations. In what will likely be the most divisive and bitterly contested presidential election in decades, let's not use our precious energy and resources on candidates with no chance of defeating Bush. Rather, let's make sure to elect a candidate who, like Dean, at least supports publicly financed elections, instant run-off voting, and a constitutional amendment declaring that political contributions are not free speech, so that we directly strike at the structural stultification of our electoral system that forces us to limit our choices in the first place.

Why, of the establishment candidates, should progressives choose Dean? His platform is as good or better than those of Dick Gephardt and John Kerry, the only other two candidates with a hope at gaining the Democratic nod. Vastly more important, however, is the fact that Dean's web-focused campaign has the potential to revolutionize the way American politics operates, and progressives ought to be taking note.

Unfortunately, most left-leaning commentators have written about Dean as though their responsibility were to lead the well-intentioned but misguided progressive flock away from his campaign, implicitly and sometimes explicitly asserting that supporters have jumped on Dean's bandwagon without seriously considering his record. Antiwar.com's Anthony Gancarski questioned whether "Dean supporters are following their candidate blindly, without knowledge of the full spectrum of his positions." Potential Green presidential candidate Carol Miller told NBC News that she feels "sorry for those people [Dean's supporters] when they learn who the real Howard Dean is."

Putting aside the presumptuousness of such sentiments, they're also wildly ironic: The overwhelming majority of claims that Dean is a far-left candidate come from conservatives who are clearly attempting to marginalize one of the two prominent Democratic candidates. Almost without exception, right-wing commentaries on Dean compare his campaign to McGovern's and brand Dean as an "extreme leftist" whose support is built predominantly on activists' antiwar sentiment. Rush Limbaugh recently warned his listeners about a shift he perceived in mainstream reports on Dean: "Have you noticed how some in the press are starting to say Howard Dean is not that liberal? Keep a sharp eye out for that, because the left knows that being a far left, progressive liberal is a killer, so they're going to try to paint the picture of Dean as a moderate." Surprisingly enough, one of the few prominent progressives to make a substantive link between Dean and Kucinich was Ralph Nader, who noted that Bush "is very vulnerable but not if you campaign the way the major candidates – except for Dean and Kucinich – are campaigning."

There is, in fact, good reason to believe that progressive supporters of Dean are well aware of his record, and are choosing to support him despite its flaws. As American Prospect senior editor Garance Franke-Ruta points out, "the most important part of the Dean message is that it makes [supporters] feel that they have the power to control their own destiny. ... This sense of renewed personal power and hope seemed more important to most posters [to Dean's weblog] than any specific policies that Dean supports or does not support, and few on the threads agreed wholeheartedly with the former governor on all his positions. Most recognized that he is a centrist who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal."

Critically, Dean's progressive supporters share a visceral passion to purge the White House of George Bush and his dangerous administration. They seem to agree with Bernard Weiner of the Crisis Papers, who admits that "from a long-term historical perspective, the Democrats and Republicans look and behave virtually alike. But in the real world, where most people live, there is just enough of a difference to justify a vote for a reasonable Democratic candidate for President. One's sense of personal 'purity' might be slightly compromised by voting for the Democratic candidate and thus helping to perpetuate a system that is not as uncorrupted as we would all like. But I don't think we can afford that self-involved luxury in 2004; this election decision is simply too vital, a matter of life and death for so many around the world."

This all said, the weaknesses in Dean's platform must be accounted for and seriously assessed.

Dealing With Dean's Downsides

Military Spending: Dean has rightfully aroused anger and skepticism from progressives with his claims that he will not reduce military spending. It appears, however, that these statements are a political dodge of sorts to avoid media characterizations of Dean as the "antiwar candidate" and "weak on national security." Dean has told audiences that he would not reduce military spending but rather "redirect" it toward the development and implementation of renewable energy technology (an issue he ties to defense), homeland security measures to fund local first responders, inspect container ships and protect nuclear sites (a move that Alexander Cockburn himself recently called on Bush to make), and the purchase of old nuclear materials in Russia.

Military/Foreign Policy: Dean has called Bush's policy of renewed nuclear weapons development "insane" and opposes every significant component of "Star Wars" missile defense, declaring that any missile defense programs he would support will at least remain in compliance with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Dean also supports (with provisions, in some cases) the comprehensive nuclear test ban, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Biological Warfare Convention Protocol and the International Criminal Court (a website for the United Nations Association of the United States lists Dean as an "outspoken supporter" of the ICC). Dean supports signing the 1997 Landmine Treaty and believes that a similar treaty should be used to ban cluster bombs.

Norman Solomon mistakenly took Dean to task because "at his official campaign kickoff, Dean gave a 26-minute speech and didn't mention Iraq at all. It was a remarkable performance from someone who has spent much of the last year pitching himself as some kind of antiwar candidate." Despite the strength of this rebuke, Solomon failed to mention that Dean's speech contained nine paragraphs dealing with foreign policy, and that far from avoiding Iraq, Dean used the Iraq invasion to address a broader theme. Among other things, Dean declared: "Since the time of Thomas Paine and John Adams, our founders implored that we were not to be the new Rome. We are not to conquer and suppress other nations to submit to our will. ... We must rejoin the world community. America is far stronger as the moral and military leader of the world than we will ever be by relying solely on military power. ... [T]here is a fundamental difference between the defense of our nation and the doctrine of preemptive war espoused by this administration. The President's group of narrow-minded ideological advisors are undermining our nation's greatness in the world. They have embraced a form of unilateralism that is even more dangerous than isolationism. ... [T]hey would present our face to the world as a dominant power prepared to push aside any nation with which we do not agree." Since the speech, Dean has consistently spoken out on Iraq and many of the occupation policies. He has called on Bush administration officials to resign for misleading the American public, and continues to criticize those Democrats who voted for the Iraq resolution. He received significant critical press after saying that "the ends don't justify the means," when asked about the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons. On Dean's official website, one can find commentaries by campaign staffers like Ezra Klein condemning Bush's policies that force young, poor Americans to "fight and die in wars of choice."

Israel/Palestine: As Mid East analysts Ahmed Nassef and Stephen Zunes have pointed out, Dean's positions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are very disappointing for those who seek a just and sustainable peace in the region. Unfortunately, they're also standard amongst the Democratic presidential hopefuls. All nine candidates essentially toe the same line: they support a vague "two-state solution," the removal of settlements (without details as to how many or when), and the cessation of terrorism, and they concede that further details will have to be worked out by the relevant parties. JTA, a Jewish news service, recently had a piece focusing on a hawkish Democratic fundraiser named Peter Buttenwieser, who notes that the "litmus test for me is a candidate has to be good on Israel. ... But all of these candidates are good on Israel." This pattern is hardly new. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair wrote that Paul Wellstone, "in common with ninety-eight other senators, [has been] craven on Israel." Even Kucinich chose not to join nearly two dozen fellow representatives in voting against a strongly worded May 2003 House resolution that "supported Israel's incursions into Palestinian territories, and apparently endorsed as justifiable the brutality and bloodshed the Israeli Army inflicted on the unarmed civilians there," according to prominent English-language daily Arab News.

Trade: Dean has pledged to renegotiate current trade agreements (including NAFTA) and oppose new trade agreements that do not require the enforcement of internationally recognized workers' rights and environmental standards. He will also "oppose any further rounds of the World Trade Organization agreements that do not make substantial progress on incorporating" these rights and standards. When asked about policy toward Africa and the Caribbean Basin at the NAACP Presidential Forum, Dean voiced his support for debt forgiveness and remarked that "we need to get the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank off the backs of these countries. ... [T]he conditions that are attached mean that the whole country depends on a free market system in order to get food to the poorest people in that country. It doesn't make any sense at all. ... [N]ow that we're imposing a Western economic model on African countries, we find there's famine. What a big surprise. We need to work cooperatively with African governments instead of telling them what to do." Dean was awarded the inaugural Paul Wellstone Award by the AFL-CIO in January 2003 for "Exceptional Support of Workers' Freedom to Form Unions," and maintained a 100% rating with the AFL-CIO's Committee on Political Education while serving as a state representative. He is also a vocal proponent of workplace democratization, in which employees own the majority of a firm's stock.

Death Penalty: John Kerry opposes capital punishment, while Dean favors it for individuals who commit acts of terrorism or who murder young children or police officers. One wonders, though, whether Kerry's position is really preferable. He told NBC's Tim Russert that he opposes the death penalty "because I'm for a worse punishment. I think it is worse to take somebody and put them in a small cell for the rest of their life, deprived of their freedom, never to be paroled. Now, I think that's tougher. ... I don't think that – you know, dying is scary for a while, but in the end, the punishment is gone," and he couples his opposition with desires for harder prison service commitments so we don't have "some cushy situation where they live off the fat of the land in prison." Either way, it should be noted that Dean did not "suddenly [abandon] his perfectly acceptable reasons for opposing the death penalty ... to express his support for the machinery of death – a transparent bid for votes in the primary elections in southern states like South Carolina," as Alan Maass of the International Socialist Review writes. It is widely recognized that Dean's opinions on the death penalty began changing in 1994 after the Polly Klaas murder, and statements by Dean throughout his terms as Governor reflect this change in thinking. Dean strongly supports the Innocence Protection Act and has said that he will establish a Presidential commission to "analyze the causes of wrongful convictions around the country and recommend additional reforms at the federal and state level."

Gun Legislation: The "A" rating that Dean has received from the NRA is chilling, but it has to be taken in context. As Lance Bukoff points out, "the NRA rating system is actually rather 'passive' in its assessment of politicians. Put simply but accurately, an 'A' rating is 'earned' by not voting for or promoting any laws which would restrict gun ownership. Dean observes that Vermont is not NYC or LA or Philadelphia. Vermont is a state where gun violence does not occur in any way significant enough [in 2002, Vermont had five homicides] to warrant restrictive gun control laws, unless you take the deer's point of view, of course. So he says Vermont does not need them, and he did not sign any, and he did not promote any as a governor, and as a consequence he gets an 'A' rating from the NRA, but not because he shares a duck blind with NRA members. He goes further. He says he supports the Brady bill, he supports the assault gun ban, and he supports closing the gun show sale loopholes. And he also tells voters in states like New York, 'We don't need gun control laws in Vermont, but you probably do, and if that's the case you should make them.'"

Medicinal Marijuana: Dean's reputation as a hard-headed skeptic of medicinal marijuana belies his actual position, which is more nuanced (if a bit neurotic, presumably because of his experience as a doctor). Dean doesn't "believe the war on drugs is a criminal matter; it's a public health matter. I think to throw users in jail is silly." He recently told the Liberal Oasis that his "opposition to medical marijuana is based on science, not based on ideology. More specifically, I don't think we should single out a particular drug for approval through political means when we approve other drugs through scientific means. When I'm President, I will require the FDA to evaluate marijuana with a double blind study with the same kinds of scientific protocols that every other drug goes through. I'm certainly willing to abide by what the FDA says." After resisting a medicinal marijuana bill that had made its way through the Vermont legislature for the reasons stated above, Dean eventually did sign a bill in June 2002 that established a task force "to investigate and assess options for legal protections which will allow seriously ill Vermonters to use medical marijuana without facing criminal prosecution under Vermont law." The Marijuana Policy Project said the bill set "the wheels in motion for solid patient protection."

The Environment: Dean's Vermont "has one of the most progressive environmental programmes in America" according to the London Times. As former Vermont radio and television talk show host Jeff Kaufman points out, "During his decade in office, Governor Dean helped protect more land from development than all previous governors combined; ... he administered a 'best practices' agriculture plan that preserves land and water quality; he helped form the nation's first statewide energy efficiency utility (preventing more than one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions since 2000); and he championed a commuter rail system to lower traffic congestion and pollution while diminishing urban sprawl (in its last report on sprawl, the Sierra Club ranked Vermont as the second best state in America for land use planning)." Vermont also followed California's lead in establishing regulations on greenhouse gas emissions that go beyond standards set in the Kyoto Protocol. According to the New York Times, Dean "is calling for the auto industry to build cars that get 40 miles per gallon by 2015 and for 20 percent of the nation's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. ... [A]s president he would close the loophole that exempts sport utility vehicles from gas-mileage standards, ... make the Environmental Protection Agency cabinet level and work to re-establish the Clinton administration rules limiting roads in national forests." Even when Dean was judged less favorably on environmental issues, the executive director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, Elizabeth Courtney, recognizes that pressing economic circumstances impacted his decisions ("in the early 90s the rest of the country seemed to be pulling out of the recession and Vermont seemed to be languishing in it") and acknowledges Dean's general qualities as governor: "fresh candor and intelligence. You always know where Howard Dean stands. He is candid and honest in his communications with Vermonters, and he is appreciated for that. He's also very bright, and he has a clear sense of his direction." The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "[executive director of the Sierra Club Carl] Pope said that although the Sierra Club had some disagreements with Dean's land-use policies, Dean did 'fabulous things in Vermont.'"

Fiscal Conservatism: It now seems that Dean's hardline fiscal policies have paid some dividends. While virtually every state in the nation cuts funding for vital social services, Vermont ended the fiscal year with a $10.4 million General Fund surplus. For this accomplishment, Stephen Klein, chief fiscal officer for the current Vermont legislature, says that "Dean gets a large amount of credit." But Dean isn't as fiscally conservative as was suggested by Paul Wellstone's former press secretary Jim Farrell. Farrell argued in The Nation that Dean "targeted for elimination the public financing provision of the state's campaign finance law," cut education spending, and proposed "deep cuts in Medicaid." These claims are all true, but Farrell leaves out critical details. Dean, who is a strong supporter of publicly financed campaigns, used the money from the public financing fund to help balance Vermont's budget only after a federal court judge ruled that the spending limits provision in the campaign finance law was unconstitutional, meaning that the fund would sit untouched. Facing large state deficits, Dean proposed cuts in the amount of state funds to education because "dramatic increases in property values" already had produced an education fund that was "flush to overflowing with money," according to the Associated Press. The proposal to cut Medicaid was hardly serious; it was made as a threat to force Vermont's legislature to pass a 75-cent tax on tobacco products that Dean desired (the tax revenues actually went to fund Medicaid), a move supported by Vermont's PIRG and all of the state's major medical associations. Also, Dean does not support raising the retirement age to 68 or 70.

Human Rights: Dean not only signed the first bill in the United States recognizing civil unions for same-sex couples, but did it six months before his gubernatorial election when it was opposed by two-thirds of Vermont's population. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Dean differs from top-ranked Kucinich and Braun only on the issue of gay marriage, and is unique among top-tier Democrats in supporting federally-enforced equal rights legislation and GLBT-supportive education policies (Kerry and Gephardt only support state-based civil union legislation and both voted for "an amendment to the Improving America's Schools Act prohibiting federal funds 'for instructional materials, instruction, counseling, or other services on school grounds, from being used for the promotion of homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative'").

Dean, who sat on the board of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England for five years, is perhaps the strongest Democratic candidate in regard to abortion rights. The New Republic's coverage of a presidential forum on abortion rights mentioned that "Dean took partial-birth abortion, NARAL's most controversial and difficult-to-defend position, and made it the centerpiece of his speech, insisting that the term itself was an artifice manufactured by the right. 'This is an issue about nothing,' he proclaimed to the most boisterous applause of the evening." Dean strongly opposes parental notification and implemented a program in Vermont that provides specialized child care, health services and home visitation to all families, regardless of income. He wants to sign the UN's 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and ratify the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Apart from his platform and its flaws, however, Dean should be commended by progressives for accomplishing what social justice movements so often work toward and only rarely achieve – his campaign is creatively utilizing the internet to facilitate large-scale independent organizing, and drawing significant numbers of new and disillusioned voters into the political process, getting many of them to contribute their time and energy away from the computer screen.

Dean's campaign has developed an infrastructure to support grassroots activism unmatched by any in American history. The uniquely interactive nature of the campaign "creates, embraces, enhances, validates, and rewards intimacy," as one supporter wrote on the campaign's weblog. Dean has dropped in on threads and message boards at unofficial websites set up by supporters and fielded any questions that were asked of him. Author David Weinberger, commenting on Dean's guest-blogging at Stanford law professor Larry Lessig's website, asked, "Has any presidential candidate ever in history been dropped into a free-for-all quite like this? Could it be any more different than Bush's scripted press conferences and tailored, crotch-enhancing photo opps? Democracy just got a little real-er." Even some establishment commentators recognize the fundamental reforms being rushed in by Dean's campaign. Dick Morris, hardly cheering on such changes, recently argued that the "larger message of the Dean candidacy is that the era of TV-dominated politics is coming to a close after 30 years. ... [T]he inevitable replacement of television with the Internet as the fundamental tool of political communication is destined to accelerate. The true answer to campaign-finance reform, the Internet will open a real possibility of a transfer of power to the people."

Dean has also demonstrated an impressive ability to draw supporters from diverse backgrounds. From the politically-marginalized to the politically-uninitiated, from registered independents (who have set up personal websites to help bring new independents into the fold) to McCain and Perot supporters upset with Bush's accelerated neo-imperialism and cultural conservatism (who have a website of their own), Dean's message is resonating widely. According to the progressive youth mag Wiretap, every campaign's "youth outreach efforts were routine and shallow" except for Dean's, which is far larger and designed so that youth "are not just a passive audience for campaign speeches, but enlisted as community organizers" addressing issues beyond Dean's campaign, like Bush's attack on the Teach for America program. In polls, Dean frequently leads his fellow Democrats by wide margins amongst independent voters and men, who are typically more likely to vote conservative. This information is fantastic for folks who support Dean but wonder about his electability. It's also great news for progressives in general, who should be clammoring to draw such a politically-diverse group of individuals into left-leaning web-based political activism. The internet is the progressives' optimal playing field: decentralized, free of the constraints of the mass media, perfect for alternative information dissemination and mass organizing. Individuals who are drawn to Dean's blogs and mailing lists can be introduced to the various and sundry sites providing news, op-eds, and activism opportunities for progressives.

"Patience and fortitude conquer all things," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. In pressing times, progressives have demonstrated great fortitude by committing themselves to institutions and social movements that addressed injustices theretofore neglected. Howard Dean is no holy grail, but amidst a trend in our country toward widespread political ignorance and a sort of corporatized proto-fascist nationalism, perhaps it is our patience that is needed now. What we have in Dean is a man who can articulate liberal positions intelligently, passionately, and commandingly, and who has the grassroots/netroots support and an appeal to diverse constituencies that will allow him to defeat George Bush. Let's join Dean's campaign, get on his e-mail lists, and spread the word.

Nico Pitney is a student activist based in southern California

Commentary:
It's good to see the next generation of liberals continues to base their opinions on research and facts. Why is that so hard for conservatives? Are they simply lazy?


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World Bank chief issues opium alert
Guardian (UK)
Faisal Islam, economics correspondent
Sunday March 16, 2003
The Observer

Opium cultivation has reached record levels in Afghanistan, World Bank president James Wolfensohn warned yesterday. In an exclusive interview with The Observer, Wolfensohn revealed that drugs were now a bigger earner for the Afghan economy than overseas aid.
And he stressed that the failure to rid the country of its drug lords and poverty could undermine the West's moral case for invading Iraq.

'We should not forget the experience of Afghanistan is a proving ground for whether the international community can stay the course beside a fragile country as it builds itself up from the aftermath of conflict,' he said.

Wolfensohn said his officials now reckoned that drugs were back up to within 10 per cent of their peak production under the Taliban, and that the price of opium had risen from $100 a kilo to $500. The $1.4 billion (£885 million) proceeds from this industry last year compared with the $1.2 billion international aid that flowed into the country.

Opium was banned by the Taliban in 1999. A mere 1,685 hectares were cultivated the following year, according to the US State Department. However, last year a total of 30,750 hectares were harvested, helping restore Afghanistan to its role as the world's number one exporter of heroin precursors. Three quarters of all European heroin comes from Afghanistan, added Wolfensohn.

The trouble lay with the West's preoccupation with affairs elsewhere. Afghanistan once dominiated our attention. But that has now shifted to Iraq.

'The pattern is a common one,' said Wolfensohn. 'While there is shooting it gets headlines, but when it gets to issues of reconstruction the television crews leave and go to the next spot. There's less publicity and it goes off the radar screen and so the second fundraising is always less good than the first one. In the case of Afghanistan we're in that decline period.'

Wolfensohn will attempt to raise a further $600 million at a meeting of Western donors in Brussels tomorrow. The Afghan government is concerned that existing aid money is bypassing its budget entirely, imperilling the nation-building process.

Wolfensohn added that he hoped war could be avoided in Iraq, but that the World Bank was ready to assist rebuilding, and that funding would be less problematic.

'My guess is that this would not happen with Iraq because of the interest in oil,' he said. 'There is an implicit assumption that reconstruction would be paid for out of its oil, but we have not looked into it yet.'

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Commentary:
Afghanistan is a massive failure. We knew that back in March and we know it today. Where is the media? I know, I know--pushing Arnold around the clock. When can we expect the media to grow up, report the facts so we can change public policy? I'm guessing it'll be a very, very long time. It's easier to talk about nonsense like Arnold than distract us with a major NEW problem we're creating. The US imposed government of Afghanistan is as morally corrupt and the previous government because the current US government is morally corrupt.


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Opium Production Soars in Afghanistan
Hi Pakistan (PK)
August 15, 2003

WASHINGTON, Aug 15: US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that opium production in Afghanistan has gone up since the fall of the Taliban regime and he does not know how to curb it.

Talking to US servicemen and women at a town hall meeting in Washington on Thursday, Mr Rumsfeld said the opium production was "currently up from three years ago or so."

"And you ask what we're going to do, and the answer is, I don't really know. I think it's an awfully tough problem," said the defence secretary while responding to a soldier. Mr Rumsfeld said the Afghan heroin was a bigger problem for Europe and Russia rather than the US because it's mainly smuggled to the European nations.

He said Britain has taken the lead in trying to curb the production of opium, which is used for making heroin, in Afghanistan because "they have had the greatest concern about it. The United States has offered to help the UK."

Mr Rumsfeld said he knew that the Karzai government, the US and the other coalition partners were concerned about the problem and had tried various eradication methods. They even have tried to buy crops "and to buy people out from planting crops. And what they find is that the value is high," he added.

"I wish I had a quicker, better, easier answer, because it's a vicious problem," he said.

Copyright 1996-2002 . Hi Pakistan. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Opium production hits record levels in Afghanistan and the media all but ignores it. Is this what conservatives and the media call success? What is failure to these people? 9/11 wasn't considered a failure, bad intelligence and lies about WMD wasn't considered a failure and record deficits aren't considered a failure. Do they have any standards at all?


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Blair aide doubted level of Iraqi threat
The Boston Globe/Reuters
By Dominic Evans
8/19/2003

LONDON -- The dossier on which Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain based his case for war against Iraq contained no proof of any threat from Baghdad, according to an e-mail from a top aide released yesterday.

The e-mail, sent in September 2002, is the first public sign of questioning within Blair's inner circle about the strength of intelligence used to justify a war that most Britons opposed.

"The document does nothing to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat from [Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein]," Blair's chief of staff and longtime confidant, Jonathan Powell, wrote to a senior intelligence official.

"It shows he has the means but it does not demonstrate he has the motive to attack his neighbors, let alone the West," Powell wrote in an e-mail one week before the dossier was published on Sept. 24, six months ahead of the US-British invasion of Iraq.

Powell's comments, revealed in an inquiry into the suicide of weapons specialist David Kelly, cast further doubt on Blair's own claim in the foreword to the dossier that Iraq's biological and chemical weapons program posed a "serious and current threat."

His e-mail made clear the evidence alone would not turn skeptical public opinion, saying, "The dossier is good and convincing for those who are prepared to be convinced."

Senior Judge Lord Hutton's inquiry is a key test for Blair, whose public trust ratings have plunged over the government's handling of the Kelly affair and the failure to find any banned weapons in Iraq four months after Hussein's overthrow.

Kelly slashed his wrist after being named as the source for a BBC reporter who accused Blair's communications chief, Alastair Campbell, of "sexing up" the dossier by inserting claims that Hussein could deploy banned weapons at 45 minutes' notice.

The inquiry also saw an e-mail between Campbell and Powell, dated Sept. 5, in which Campbell said a decision was taken for a "substantial rewrite" of the dossier and a restructuring of the document "as per TB [Tony Blair's] discussion."

That will give fresh ammunition to critics who say that Blair's officials tried to unduly influence the intelligence services' presentation of evidence against Hussein.

A poll last week showed 41 percent of the British public blame the government for Kelly's death, and 68 percent think the government was dishonest over the Iraq war.

Blair released a series of prewar documents to bolster the case for military action. The September dossier has been criticized over the 45-minute claims, which came from a single uncorroborated source, and disputed allegations that Iraq had sought to acquire uranium from Niger for nuclear weapons.

A later "dodgy" dossier detailing Iraq's efforts to deceive UN weapons inspectors included large chunks lifted from a student thesis. A third dossier on human rights was filled with cases which were ignored when Hussein was an ally of the West.

Powell, in his note to Joint Intelligence Committee chief John Scarlett, said the government should make clear "we do not claim that we have evidence that [Hussein] is an imminent threat" when it published the September dossier. Many of Blair's own Labor Party parliamentarians, who only reluctantly backed military action, say the government did exactly that by playing up the 45-minute claims in the dossier.

Blair is due to return from vacation in Barbados to give evidence to Hutton's inquiry. Campbell is expected to take the stand today and, along with Powell, will be the closest of Blair's advisers to be questioned.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company

Commentary:
"The dossier is good and convincing for those who are prepared to be convinced." But is that the correct standard? The real standard should have been, "The information in the dossier is correct." Just about every word Blair told the Brits was a lie, just as just about every word Bush told us was a lie. When liars get away with lying to us, we're doomed.


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Bush reverses course, won't cut troops' pay
SF Chronicle
Edward Epstein
August 15, 2003

Washington -- The White House quickly backpedaled Thursday on Pentagon plans to cut the combat pay of the 157,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan after disclosure of the idea quickly became a political embarrassment.

The Pentagon's support for the idea of rolling back "imminent danger pay" by $75 a month and "family separation allowances" for the American forces by $150 a month collapsed after a story in some editions of The Chronicle Thursday generated intense criticism from military families, veterans groups and Democratic candidates seeking to unseat President Bush in 2004.

"We support extending the pay provisions," White House spokesman Jimmy Orr said late Thursday afternoon after a day in which Bush's political opponents bashed him for what they said was a callous attitude toward combat troops who are still suffering casualties.

"We intend to ensure they continue to receive this compensation at least at the current levels," the Defense Department said in a separate statement about members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.

The issue stems from congressional action April when the House and Senate increased the imminent danger pay for the first time in more than a decade to $225 a month from $150. The family allowance was raised from $100 to $250 monthly.

However, the increases, which were retroactive to last October, are set to expire on Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year, unless Congress and the president continue them.

Last month, the Pentagon sent Congress an interim budget report detailing requests for spending cuts. It said the Defense Department supported rolling back the increases, which it said would cost more than $25 million a month to continue. It said that in addition to supporting a pay rollback, Pentagon experts would launch a study of the entire issue of combat pay.

ARMY TIMES AGAINST CUTS
Word of the pay cut plans were first disclosed by the Army Times, an independent newspaper for service members, which editorialized against the idea.

When it returns from its August recess, Congress will try to resolve differences in the House and Senate versions of a $369 billion defense spending bill. The Senate version calls for continuing the higher levels of pay for service in Iraq and Afghanistan and other danger zones. The House wants to pay more for service in those two countries than for service in such other areas as Balkan peacekeeping duties.

Orr, the White House spokesman, said the administration now wanted the higher pay kept on the broadest possible basis.

"We'd like to see the pay provision more broadly applied to our men and women in uniform serving in many different capacities of defending our nation and its interests," he said.

If Congress doesn't act by Sept. 30, Orr said, it should make the higher pay scales retroactive so forces in dangerous areas don't lose even a day's pay.

Military base pay ranges from $1,064 a month for the lowliest recruit to almost $12,000 a month for a top general. The complicated military pay system also offers an array of housing and expense allowances for service members and their dependents and income tax breaks, in addition to combat pay.

PENTAGON DEFLECTS CRITICISM
The Pentagon's personnel chief, David Chu, told reporters at a hastily arranged press conference that the outrage was misguided. While it is true that the Pentagon favors allowing the extra combat pay allowances to expire in September, Chu said, it will ensure that overall compensation for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan remains stable by giving them other forms of pay raises.

"I would just like to very quickly put to rest what I understand has been a burgeoning rumor that somehow we are going to reduce compensation for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," Chu said. "That is not true. We are not going to reduce that compensation."

Another Pentagon official e-mailed every member of Congress saying that the department never intended to cut service members' pay in combat areas. If congressional authorization for the extra pay lapses on Oct. 1, he said, the Pentagon will use other funds to make sure no one loses pay.

The administration position changed after a day of roiling criticism of the Pentagon call for a pay cut.

Among hundreds of e-mails to The Chronicle, Marianne Leigh, the mother of two sons in the Army, wrote, "I'm appalled that Congress should even consider such a ludicrous idea."

"In my opinion these soldiers are still fighting a WAR. Not until each and every one of them come home is this war over," added Leigh, who has one son in Tikrit, Iraq, and another serving as a peacekeeper in Kosovo.

From Petaluma, reader Hans Clever suggested the military pitch a new slogan for the Army: "Pick up service, pick up challenge, pick up an even smaller paycheck."

Since Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 60 U.S. service personnel have died in combat-related incidents. Another 69 have been killed by disease, or from the heat or accidents.

CANDIDATES SPEAK OUT
Democratic politicians also weighed in.

In San Francisco, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said, "The idea is just unconscionable. The government can afford the billions they give in tax cuts to millionaires, but there's not enough to give a little something to men and women who are putting their lives on the line."

Another Democratic candidate, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., said, "Our military deserves every dollar they earn and more. . . . The administration should reverse itself immediately."

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, said, "How nice of them to clarify their position and reverse course."

Tauscher, a House Armed Services Committee member, said the pay cut idea typified her frustration with the Pentagon. "This was just the tip of the iceberg," she said. "They won't tell us how much the war in Iraq is costing, for instance."

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, sent Bush a letter protesting the Pentagon's pay cut idea.

"To call this misguided would be a gross understatement," wrote Thompson, a Purple Heart Vietnam war veteran.

"This is an outrageous and hypocritical affront to our soldiers in the Middle East who are being killed on a daily basis and to their families," he added.

©2003 San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary:
\ It's good to win one for our troops. Clearly this president and this congress use the military as props for their elections and they don't give a rats behind about them. After months and months of sweltering summer heat in Iraq, the troops are only now getting ice. Previously they had to buy local contaminated ice.

Bush has himself in one hell of a bind. He has the largest deficits in US history, record tax cuts for the super rich and all he has left to cut is military spending on our troops. It this guy really that pathetic? You decide..


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