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 US Appeals Court OKs Secret Deportation Hearings *
 CIA Says Iraq Unlikely to Strike US Unless Provoked
 US Conducted Germ Warfare Tests on American soil
 The rule of law--and republicans
 NY Times poll (economy/war charts)
 Impending Clash With Iraq Begets a Clash of Administrations
 Democrats and war
 Public Says Bush Needs to Pay Heed to Weak Economy
 Interfaith letter to Bush opposing war
 Vatican reasserts opposition to war in Iraq
 Mormon Church Takes Anti-War Stance
US Appeals Court OKs Secret Deportation Hearings *
An Impeachable Offense
Reuters.com
October 09, 2002

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A divided U.S. appeals court Tuesday upheld the federal government's right to hold secret deportation hearings in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, saying media access to the proceedings could endanger national security.

In a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the May 29 order of a U.S. district judge in Newark, New Jersey, who said government secrecy rules in immigration cases violated the First Amendment right to a free press.

"We hold that the press and public possess no First Amendment right of access," Chief Judge Edward Becker wrote in a 48-page majority opinion.

Three weeks after his panel heard arguments in the case, Becker said "the primary national policy must be self-preservation" in light of the U.S. war on terrorism and warned that opening deportation hearings could give terrorists dangerous insights into federal investigations.

"Most obviously, terrorist organizations could alter future attack plans, or devise new, easier ways to enter the country," he said.

"They might also obstruct or disrupt pending proceedings by destroying evidence, threatening potential witnesses or targeting the hearings themselves," added Becker, who was joined in the ruling by Judge Morton Greenberg.

Judge Anthony Scirica dissented, saying he agreed with the lower court that a decision on whether to close any deportation hearing could be left to the presiding immigration judge.

The ruling, which marked the Justice Department's first appellate-level victory on the constitutionality of its secrecy rules, formally applies to immigration proceedings in the Third Circuit's jurisdictional region, which includes New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

But legal experts said it could have important national implications in light of a conflicting ruling by a judicial panel from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the Justice Department in August to hold an open hearing for the co-founder of an Islamic charity accused of funneling money to terrorist organizations.

"The fact that we have this conflict certainly makes it much more likely this will be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court," said Temple University law professor Jan Ting, who served as assistant commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1990 to 1993.

More than 750 people have been detained on immigration violations as part of the Sept. 11 investigation, according to the Justice Department. Many of the cases have been in New Jersey, which has a large Middle Eastern immigrant community.

Tuesday's ruling was a blow to the New Jersey Law Journal and the North Jersey Media Group, media outlets that first challenged government secrecy rules last March. The American Civil Liberties Union has argued the case.

"We believe the decision is wrong, and that it is at odds with the bedrock principle that a constitutional democracy should not conduct secret hearings to deprive individuals of their liberty," said Lee Gelernt, attorney for the New York-based ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project.

Gelernt said plaintiffs would consider all options, including a possible hearing before the full Third Circuit court, which is comprised of 19 appellate judges.

Up to now, the Third Circuit court has ruled civil proceedings to be subject to a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court opinion recognizing an unbroken history of open criminal trials in Anglo-American law dating to before the Norman Conquest.

Tuesday's ruling acknowledged a similarity between deportation hearings and civil trials. But the majority opinion said there is no historical right for access to administrative hearings before immigration judges who belong to the executive branch of government.

The opinion pointed to the current practice of closing Social Security hearings as well as proceedings involving abused alien children as precedents for secret government hearings that do not involve criminal or civil courts.

Commentary:
Deportation hearing are national security. Give me a break.

The court ruling violates many sections of the Constitution. The constitution says all trials have to be public. It also says we have we a free press. How can the press be free if it's denied access to information? Also, an individual can not be deprived of liberty without due process. How do we know due process is taking place if we're denied access? The core principles of the Constitution have been shredded by the courts and the Bush Administration. Who's left to defend us from them?


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CIA Says Iraq Unlikely to Strike US Unless Provoked
Reuters.com
October 09, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA said the probability of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein initiating an attack without provocation on the United States in the foreseeable future was "very low," according to a letter made public on Tuesday.

But if he was attacked, the likelihood that Saddam would respond with biological or chemical weapons was "pretty high."

The letter, dated Oct. 7, was signed by Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin on behalf of CIA Director George Tenet and sent to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham in response to the Florida Democrat requesting the CIA declassify parts of its secret assessment on Iraq.

The Senate is debating how much authority to give President Bush in a war powers resolution, and some Democrats complained that the CIA was not providing intelligence that contradicted the Bush administration's views on Iraq.

Bush, in a televised speech on Monday night, sought to rally public support around his position that Iraq poses a danger to the United States because of its biological and chemical weapons and ties to terrorists./

The CIA assessment in the letter to Graham said Iraq appeared to have stopped short of terrorist attacks against the United States.

'DRAWING A LINE'

"Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW (chemical and biological weapons) against the United States," the CIA said.

"Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions," the letter said.

Tenet, in a statement, said there was "no inconsistency" between the CIA's view of Saddam's growing threat and the view expressed in the president's speech.

"Although we think the chances of Saddam initiating a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) attack at this moment are low -- in part because it would constitute an admission that he possesses WMD -- there is no question that the likelihood of Saddam using WMD against the United States or our allies in the region for blackmail, deterrence, or otherwise grows as his arsenal continues to build," Tenet said.

The letter declassified dialogue from a closed Oct. 2 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, in which a senior intelligence witness was asked what Saddam would do if he did not feel threatened.

"My judgment would be that the probability of him initiating an attack -- let me put a time frame on it -- in the foreseeable future, given the conditions we understand now, the likelihood I think would be low," the witness said.

In response to a U.S. attack, the likelihood that Saddam would respond with chemical or biological weapons was "pretty high," the intelligence witness said.

INFORMATION FROM DETAINEES

The CIA said its understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda was "evolving" and based on sources of varying reliability. The United States blames al Qaeda for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but officials say they have not found any direct link between the attacks and Iraq.

"Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank," the CIA letter said. "We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda going back a decade."

"Credible information indicates that Iraq and al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression," the CIA said.

Bush, in his speech, said some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq, including a senior leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year.

U.S. officials told Reuters that was a reference to Abu Musab Zarqawi who lost a leg in Afghanistan, but that he was no longer in Iraq.

"Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al Qaeda, suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military actions," the letter said.

The CIA last week publicly released an unclassified report on Iraq's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons capabilities.

Commentary:
Once again our intelligence agencies are telling us Bush is lying to us. Let's impeach Bush for lying to us about national security. I realize a lie about national security isn't as sexy as a lie about a bj, but maybe it should be.


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US Conducted Germ Warfare Tests on American soil
Reuters.com
October 09, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newly-declassified Pentagon reports acknowledge that the United States used deadly chemical and biological warfare agents during Cold War military tests on American soil and in Britain and Canada, U.S. defense officials said on Wednesday.

The reports on tests between 1962 and 1971 to determine the vulnerability of troops to Sarin and VX nerve agents and other weapons of mass destruction were being sent to Congress and would be discussed at a Pentagon briefing later on Monday, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified.

The reports were an acknowledgment of much wider Cold War testing of toxic arms involving U.S. forces than earlier admitted by the Pentagon.

Wednesday's latest in a series of "fact sheets," released in response to veterans' health complaints, follow reports earlier this year on 1960s warship vulnerability tests using Sarin and VX against U.S. Navy ships and crews in the Pacific Ocean.

The reports on the U.S. land tests in Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland and Florida did not all involve deadly agents and were also used to learn how climate and a battle environment would affect the use of such arms, officials said.

The release comes as international tension is growing over U.S. consideration of a possible military invasion of Iraq to end what Washington charges are its weapons of mass destruction. Iraq flatly denies having such weapons programs.

INCLUDED BRITISH, CANADIAN TESTS

U.S. defense officials said the documents showed that tests conducted with the Canadian government used VX and tests in Britain used Sarin.

Within minutes, Sarin can trigger symptoms including difficult breathing, nausea, jerking, staggering, loss of bladder-bowel control and death.

Extremely lethal VX is an oily liquid that is tasteless and odorless and considered one of the most deadly agents ever made by man. With severe exposure to the skin or lungs, death usually occurs within 10 to 15 minutes.

The U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are working to identify at least 5,000 people believed to have participated in the land and sea tests. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress has scheduled hearings this week into the test reports and government responsibility to any veterans made ill by the experiments.

The defense officials told Reuters that investigations indicated that no lethal agents in the tests involving troops were dispersed to the general population in the U.S. tests on land in Alaska, Hawaii and Maryland.

But they confirmed a New York Times report that some milder substances did escape into the air with the dispersing of a plant fungus in an area of Florida, a bacteria in Hawaii and a mild chemical irritant in remote Alaskan wilderness.

"We are taking this action now because we do care about veterans and we do care about service members and their health and any potential ill health effects that might have resulted from their service to their country," the Defense Secretary for Health Affairs, William Winkenwerder, told The New York Times.

The newspaper quoted defense officials as saying that military and medical investigators were studying reports on 35 additional tests that might have been conducted with live chemical and biological agents during the same period, but whose results remain classified.

The investigation is going slowly because the records are on paper, stored at Fort Douglas in Utah, The New York Times said.

In the reports issued in May involving warships, the Pentagon gave no indication that any crews of the ships and military tugs used in the experiments had suffered illness from the experiments.

Commentary:
So much for the US having the moral high ground in regards to using chemical and biological weapons. Maybe now, we can racket down the rhetoric and a sane foreign policy can be achieved. The next time Bush talks about Saddam gassing his own people, recall we did the same thing. No one will ever know how many of our people our government killed.


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The rule of law--and republicans
Reuters.com
October 07, 2002

DALLAS (Reuters) - U.S. House Republican leader Dick Armey has retaliated against media company Belo, which he has blamed for his son's failed bid for a congressional seat through unfavorable coverage by the company's flagship paper, The Dallas Morning News, the daily charged on Monday.

The Dallas Morning News said Armey, a Texas Republican, attempted to slip language into a military appropriations bill likely to speed through Congress as early as this week that would force Belo Corp to divest itself of one of its Dallas-area media properties.

The newspaper said executives at Belo accused Armey "of an abuse of power, saying he is retaliating against the company out of anger at its newspaper coverage."

The provisions were not included in a working draft of the appropriations measure after objections were raised, but U.S. House of Representatives and Senate conferees could add it when they meet early this week to finish the bill, the paper said.

"His misuse of congressional leadership powers for personal retaliation toward Belo is not in keeping with the positive results Congressman Armey has produced for his constituents during his long tenure as a member of the Texas congressional delegation," Robert Decherd, Belo's chairman, was quoted as saying.

Armey, who is retiring at the end of the year, has blamed The Dallas Morning News for his son's failure earlier this year to win the Republican nomination for his House seat, it said.

After Scott Armey lost an April 9 run-off election, Dick Armey accused the newspaper of "vicious unprofessionalism," it said.

Scott Armey, who the paper said was not available for comment on the story, responded quickly to a call placed to his office and said his legislative concerns centered around his new post as the U.S. General Services Administration's greater Southwest regional administrator.

He said during the congressional campaign and during his tenure in the government of Denton County, to the northwest of Dallas, the paper tried to smear his image with reporting he said was biased and inaccurate.

"It is the typical coverage I have come to expect from The Morning News in that it is sloppy at best and intentionally damaging at worst," Armey said of the paper's article on Monday.

Armey did not cite Belo for having an organized campaign to damage his image, but did blame two reporters covering Denton County and their managing editor with having a personal vendetta.

Belo executives said the legislation proposed by Dick Armey would force the company to sell one of its three Dallas-area media properties: The Dallas Morning News, WFAA Channel 8, or the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Dallas-based Belo owns 19 television stations, four daily newspapers and several cable TV and Internet properties.

Officials from Armey's congressional office were not immediately available for comment.

Commentary:
Lucky for us we'll be spared the antics of small-minded, petty, vindictive morons like Gramn, Armey and Helms. Our national nightmare is coming to an end.

Armey wasn't impeached for the same reason Newt wasn't (even though Newt lied under oath in a congressional investigation)--because it wasn't about a bj.


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nyt

bush economy


amer economy

Commentary:
It's said a picture is worth a thousand words. Bush will do everything in his power to wipe these pictures from our minds. Enough said.


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Impending Clash With Iraq Begets a Clash of Administrations
latimes.com
October 7, 2002

Al Gore turned heads the other day with his campaign-style denunciation of President Bush's strategy toward Iraq. But Gore was only part of a larger trend that's attracted much less notice.

In speeches and congressional testimony, almost all of the Clinton administration's leading architects of national security and foreign policy have come out against Bush's approach to Iraq. The clash of nations is generating a clash of administrations.

Most of the Clintonites, especially former President Clinton himself, have framed their disagreements less belligerently than Gore. But all have reached the same bottom line, arguing that Bush is moving too quickly toward war.

While all say they eventually could support an invasion to destroy Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction, the Clintonites insist that war, if it comes at all, should come only after another attempt at disarming Iraq through U.N. inspections. Only then, they maintain, can the United States mobilize broad international support for an invasion--and reduce the risk of what Clinton last week called the "unwelcome consequences" of an attack.

In raising these arguments, the Clinton administration alumni never have seemed so much like a government in exile. Though insiders say they aren't coordinating these remarks, in the last few weeks virtually identical objections to Bush's course have come from Clinton, Gore, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former national security advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, retired Gen. John M. Shalikashvili (Clinton's choice as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who directed the NATO war in Kosovo. They probably didn't agree this much when they were in office.

Intriguingly, the Clintonites' dissents are dividing them not only from the Bush team but also from the Democrats closest to them during their tenure: the congressional "New Democrats" associated with the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.

When Bush last week unveiled the compromise congressional resolution that would authorize him to use force almost immediately against Iraq, he was flanked by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), the current and prior chairmen of the DLC. Almost all of the congressional New Democrats--including New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton--are likely to vote for the resolution.

The Clinton alumni haven't specifically opposed the resolution. But their arguments challenge its underlying grant of power to Bush to invade Iraq virtually as soon as he wants.

At the core of the conflict between the Bush and Clinton teams is a very different conception of how America can best pursue its aims in the world.

The Bush administration generally believes that if the United States demonstrates enough resolve, the rest of the world will follow our lead; the Clintonites are much more concerned about maintaining international legitimacy and support for American actions.

That's not only because they believe it will be easier to both invade and rebuild Iraq if other countries are on board; they also maintain that as the world's dominant power, the United States benefits from strong international institutions that establish expected rules of behavior. As Shalikashvili put it: "Every time we undermine the credibility of the United Nations, we are probably hurting ourselves more than anybody else." No Bushie outside the State Department would ever say that.

To maximize international unity against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Clintonites want to launch a new round of tougher, unfettered arms inspections and invade Iraq only if those inspections fail. The Clintonites see that approach as a win-win: either Hussein disarms or he resists, providing the evidence that will rally a broad international coalition to depose him.

If the United States acts sooner, and virtually alone, the Clintonites see a long list of potential dangers. They worry that other nations would cooperate less in the war against terror if we invade Iraq over their objections. They fear that Hussein would be more likely to use chemical and biological weapons, or funnel them to terrorists, if he believes he's doomed anyway. They're concerned that a war without broad international support could destabilize friendly governments in the region (like Pakistan and Jordan)--or create a radicalized post-Hussein Iraq that becomes a source of anti-American recruits for Al Qaeda.

Above all, Clinton, Gore, Albright, Berger, Shalikashvili and Clark all have argued that Bush's doctrine of preemptive attack may establish a precedent that haunts America. While Clinton has said that any president would act against an imminent security risk, he's suggested that attacking Iraq now would give license for other nations to invade antagonists they consider potential threats. Think India and Pakistan, or China and Taiwan.

It's not too surprising that the Clinton and Bush teams would divide so sharply. In effect, the Clintonites are arguing for a bulked-up version of their containment policy toward Iraq, which the Bushies always considered inadequate. And if the Clintonites think Bush is moving too quickly toward war, the Bushies feel Clinton was too slow to use force as the threat from Al Qaeda or Iraq metastasized.

More revealing is the split between the Clintonites and the New Democrats in Congress. Part of the difference is politics: Opposing Bush is easier for former administration officials who aren't running for anything this year. But something more substantive is at work too.

The former Clinton officials base their arguments on the belief that Iraq doesn't pose an unacceptable threat in the near-term. Intellectually, most elected Democrats probably agree. But as officeholders still accountable to voters, they are less willing to take the risk that they are wrong. "Sure, there are risks to preemption," says Bayh. "But after Sept. 11, we've learned there are real risks to not acting." In other words, if in doubt, take him out.

That conclusion will swell the vote for Bush's resolution, even among Democrats who agree with almost everything Clinton and his colleagues have said. While the Clintonites have persuasively cataloged the dangers of acting too quickly in Iraq, it's the dangers of inaction that are likely to carry the most weight as Congress moves toward authorizing a second Persian Gulf War.

Commentary:
There is still an opposition party--it's called the Clinton Administration. Thank god sanity still exists in some quarters. Democrats appear to be too cowardly to do what is right because the media will destroy them (to say nothing of the ad campaign republicans would run). With each passing day Clinton and his team look better.


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Democrats and war
nytimes.com
October 6, 2002

WASHINGTON — DEMOCRATS may mock President Bush's political mastermind Karl Rove as "General Rove" these days, but their derision is wrapped in envy. For most of the 50 years since a real general — Dwight D. Eisenhower — last won the White House, polls have shown that Americans "trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America," as Mr. Rove told party leaders in January.

With his vague but authoritative 1952 campaign pledge, "I shall go to Korea," Eisenhower sought to assure a public weary of Harry S. Truman's conduct of the Korean War that he could untangle the mess. In 1968, Richard M. Nixon's campaign hints of a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war served a similar political purpose, though the conflict continued into his second term.

From the dawn of the cold war through the collapse of the Soviet Union, Republicans have been seen, with few exceptions, as the party of cold-eyed realism in foreign affairs, more united than the Democrats and more willing to use force. Only once — in 1964, when Democrats successfully portrayed Barry Goldwater as reckless — did that hurt the Republicans. Now they have held the White House for 18 of the last 30 years, and have a deeper bench of experienced officials to rely on.

With Iraq grabbing the headlines, the Democrats' worst fear is that voters will rally around their commander-in-chief and his party to produce atypical electoral gains for the president's party in the midterm elections. Indeed, when Mr. Rove suggested last winter that Republicans could turn war to their advantage, Democrats denounced his words but did not dispute his thesis.

Yet even now, Democrats remain splintered over the most effective way to counter the Republicans's edge. In an Op-Ed article in The New York Times last week, former Senator Gary Hart of Colorado argued that the party had let itself be marginalized on defense by failing to take the lead in pressing for coercive weapons inspections in Iraq, for example. A day later, Senator Zell Miller, Democrat of Georgia, countered in The Wall Street Journal. In an article that included a stinging reminder of the role Mr. Hart played as the antiwar campaign manager of George S. McGovern's disastrous 1972 presidential campaign, he asserted: "No matter how laudable or well-intended, the anti-war, peace-at-almost-any-price position is a loser for Democrats."

Republicans were not always the war party. For most of the 20th century until Pearl Harbor, the G.O.P. was the party of isolationism and America First, wary of foreign entanglements even to counter the rise of fascism. In fact, it was Democratic presidents who led the country to victory in both world wars, and into stalemate in Korea and the quagmire of Vietnam. As late as 1976, Bob Dole, running for vice president with the visible wounds of World War II, complained bitterly of a century of "Democrat wars." But Vietnam splintered the country and the Democratic Party in particular, leaving Democrats leery of the costs of combat losses. Jimmy Carter's seeming powerlessness in the face of the Iranian hostage crisis and its failed desert rescue mission paved the way for Ronald Reagan's military buildup and his challenge to the "Evil Empire" of Soviet Communism. After the eight Reagan years, Michael S. Dukakis's effort to look warlike by posing in a tank only brought him ridicule.

In the 1990's, there was a resurgent strain of Republican isolationism, as some party leaders complained that President Bill Clinton was too willing to mire the United States in ill-conceived humanitarian missions and regional conflicts with risky half-measures. Even some Republican supporters of a robust engagement abroad shared this view, including Senator John McCain of Arizona, who denounced Mr. Clinton for pursuing a "feckless, photo-op foreign policy."

While Mr. Clinton's administration was hesitant at the start to commit American troops abroad, by the end of its second term it had, in fact, conducted two major bombing campaigns in the Balkans that helped end genocide there and led to the fall of the Serbian dictator, Slobodan Milosevic.

Among Republicans, Mr. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a senator who was part of the generation of bipartisan cold warriors who saw rebuilding postwar Europe and building NATO as the best way to contain Communism. But George W. Bush, campaigning in 2000, eschewed "nation-building" and suggested Washington should take a more modest approach in world affairs, "humble — proud and confident of our values, but humble."

Once in office, however, President Bush quickly developed a reputation for decisive American action in foreign affairs. His forceful response to the Sept. 11 attacks and his administration's vision of Iraq as a potential beachhead of democracy in the Arab world accentuated that willingness, and expanded the president's commitment to nation-building by any other name.

Democrats often say that much of what Mr. Bush is doing resembles Mr. Clinton's approach to world problems — assembling "coalitions of the willing" to confront threats to peace in a region when they arise. But they complain that they didn't get the degree of support from Republicans that Democrats are now extending to Mr. Bush.

THAT is at least partly because Republicans, despite tensions between "realists" and "neo-conservative idealists" over Iraq, tend to be more disciplined and ideologically cohesive than Democrats, who are traditionally more tolerant of internal dissent and more ambivalent about the use of force. That has led the Democrats to suffer more from what Leon Fuerth, who was former Vice President Al Gore's national security adviser, calls "post-Vietnam syndrome."

Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, says Democrats also fell prey to a "fundamental misreading of public opinion" on Vietnam. For much of the war, he said, "a lot of people disagreed with the policy, but favored a tougher response" than the limited, but still costly, campaign Lyndon B. Johnson undertook. Their position echoed criticism Truman had faced in Korea — that by accepting restraints on warmaking in the nuclear age, a Democratic president had thrown away the hope of clear victory.

"Nixon's silent majority was not a figment of his imagination," Mr. Mellman said. "When the public looks at foreign policy and defense, they're looking importantly at who's stronger. The currency of the realm, unfortunately, has been the strength dimension to a greater extent than the wisdom dimension."

Michael O'Hanlon, a defense policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said that Mr. Gore often failed in his presidential campaign to claim credit for the Clinton administration's foreign policy successes "because the consultants all said no one cared about foreign policy." This year, after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, Mr. Bush isn't making that mistake.

Commentary:
Interesting read. I don't believe a word of it, but it's interesting for those who do believe such nonsense. One party buys power with tax cuts, republicans. The media today is owned by huge corporations, all of whom received massive tax cuts by Bush and his cronies, ergo, favorable news coverage. Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich and received "coverage from hell." But that's a given.

The republican party controls the presidency during this silly war on terrorism and because of this simple fact Americans have more faith in their party for war-time nonsense. But we already know the American people don't WAR, so the media MUST do whatever is necessary to keep Bush and his cronies in power so news coverage remains almost around the clock war instead of what we really want. Blame the media big time, but also blame the democrats for not having the balls to stand up to corporate interests that run the media and our congressional races. Campaign finance reform where are you?


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Public Says Bush Needs to Pay Heed to Weak Economy
nytimes.com
October 7,2002

A majority of Americans say that the nation's economy is in its worst shape in nearly a decade and that President Bush and Congressional leaders are spending too much time talking about Iraq while neglecting problems at home, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found signs of economic distress that cut across party and geographic lines. Nearly half of all Americans are worried that they or someone in their household will be out of a job within a year.

The number of Americans who said they believe the economy is worse than it was just two years ago has increased markedly since the summer. The number of Americans who approved of the way Mr. Bush has handled the economy — 41 percent — was the lowest it has been in his presidency. Many people said they worried that a war in Iraq — which most Americans view as inevitable — would disrupt an already unsettled economy.

The poll found that despite the emphasis by Mr. Bush since Labor Day on the need to move against Saddam Hussein, support for such a policy has not changed appreciably since the summer. While most Americans said they backed Mr. Bush's campaign against Iraq, the sentiment was expressed with reservations and signs of apprehension about its potential repercussions.

encourage more terrorist attacks in the United States. They said they did not want the United States to act without support from allies and did not want the United States to act before United Nations weapons inspectors had an opportunity to enter Iraq.

As Congress prepares to resume debate on a resolution supporting the use of force in Iraq, Americans said they thought members of both parties were trying to manipulate the issue for their political advantage.

"Bush is spending way too much time focusing on Iraq instead of the economy, and he's doing it as a political move," said Gladys Steele, 42, a homemaker from Seattle who is a political independent, in a follow-up interview yesterday. "He thinks keeping us fearful about going to war will distract us from how bad the economy is."

The poll was conducted a month before what Democrats and Republicans view as an extraordinarily competitive round of midterm Congressional elections.

In recent days many Democrats have grown glum about the upcoming election, arguing that Mr. Bush and the White House have successfully drowned out domestic issues that the Democrats had hoped to capitalize on with his talk of war. Many Democrats had even feared that the debate over war had undermined their chances of winning the House and holding on to their one-seat margin in the Senate.

Mr. Bush is to deliver a national address on the subject tonight.

But the Times/CBS News poll suggests that no matter what is happening in Washington, voters are more concerned with the economy and domestic issues than with what is happening with Saddam Hussein, presenting the Democrats a glimmer of hope as Congress prepares to vote on the Iraq resolution and adjourn to campaign.

Whether any of this makes a difference in an election that will most likely be decided in a handful of Senate and House races is an entirely different matter. A nationwide poll, while revealing of broad sentiments in the American electorate, cannot be used to predict results accurately in the relatively small number of Congressional races that are considered competitive.

This poll, conducted by telephone Thursday through Saturday, was taken of 668 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

By every indication, the subject of Iraq should dominate the news out of Washington for at least the next week. There is Mr. Bush's speech tonight, and then the debate in Congress is expected to last at least through Friday.

In addition, in a handful of competitive races, Republican candidates are seeking to use the issue of acting against Iraq as a way to undercut Democratic opponents.

Two-thirds of Americans say they approve of the United States using military power to oust Mr. Hussein. A majority of Americans say that Mr. Bush has a clear plan to deal with Iraq; by contrast, a majority say the White House does not have a clear plan to deal with terrorism at home.

But there are signs of ambivalence.

With Mr. Bush pushing for quick action against Baghdad, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they wanted to give the United Nations more time to try to send weapons inspectors into Iraq.

Similarly, most Americans said Mr. Bush should not act until he wins approval from Congress — and they applauded Congress's pushing the administration for details on its Iraqi plans.

There were also clear suggestions that some Americans suspected that Mr. Bush's intentions went beyond simply disarming Iraq. More than half said that Mr. Bush was more interested in removing Mr. Hussein than in removing potentially lethal weapons.

Fully 7 in 10 respondents said they expected that war with Iraq was inevitable. More than half said they believed that Iraq poses a greater threat to the United States today than it did two years ago.

On a number of measures, the poll suggested that politicians in Washington were out of step with the concern of Americans. Again and again, in questions and in follow-up interviews, respondents talked more about the economy than Baghdad and expressed concern that leaders in Washington were not paying enough attention to the issues that mattered to them.

"There is no balance right now between finding solutions to our domestic problems and our foreign affairs," said Michael Chen, 30, an independent who works as a sales manager in Beaverton, Ore. "No one is talking about how to solve the economic downfall."

Geoff Crooks, 44, an independent who lives in Lincoln, Neb., said: "We are paying way too much attention to Iraq."

"Meanwhile, the stock market has fallen 25 percent and tons of people are unemployed — including myself," said Mr. Crooks, who had worked as a travel consultant.

Democrats have hoped that concern about the economy would allow them to turn this election into a referendum on Republican fiscal policies, in a way that would sweep out of office a large number of Republicans — what politicians refer to as a nationalization of the election. So far, there is no evidence that that has begun.

But the concern about the economy would seem to be a matter of concern for Mr. Bush, who is two years away from his own re-election campaign. More than two-thirds said the president should be paying more attention to the economy than he is.

"I hate to say this because I'm a Republican, but the economy was better when Clinton was in office,' said Donna Doolittle, 42, a benefits coordinator who works at a hospital in Holiday, Fla. "Maybe interest rates are low now, but health insurance is going up; there are layoffs."

Mrs. Doolittle said she thought that Mr. Bush was trying to make the country "feel safe after what happened" but added, "We need to feel safe about the economy, too."

There were other findings that could prove important over the final weeks of the campaign. Over the summer, Democrats had hoped that the turmoil on Wall Street and reports of corporate malfeasance would give them an issue to use against Republicans. The poll found that nearly half the respondents thought that Mr. Bush was more interested in protecting corporations than in protecting ordinary Americans.

There was unhappiness as well among Americans about Congress. Nearly half of the respondents said they disapproved of the way Congress was doing its job, and 70 percent said they thought it was time to throw out some incumbents and bring in some new members. In 1994, when Republicans, lead by Newt Gingrich, swept Democrats out of control of the House, that figure was 84 percent.

But at the same time, in a not-unusual bit of discordance often found by poll takers measuring the view of Congress, more than half of registered voters said they would vote to re-elect their own local representative.

Not unusually, among all respondents, Republicans were seen as stronger on the military and in dealing with terror — the issues that have largely dominated the news out of Washington over the past month. Democrats are seen as the stronger party in dealing with domestic issues; in particular, Social Security and prescription drugs. Those are the issues that party leaders said they were planning to try once more to emphasize once Congress leaves Washington and the campaigns move into their final days.

Commentary:
The democrats have won the debate. It's the economy stupid. Yet, the media has wall to wall coverage of this silly war. Why? Better pictures, better ratings? Without doubt, the media, the republican party and the president don't give a damn what Americans want. Shame on the media, shame on the congress and shame on the media. But most of all, shame on DEMOCRATS for being cowards.


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Interfaith letter to Bush opposing war
icujp.org
September 12, 2002

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We, like all Americans, kneel in prayer and remembrance for the tragedy and violence that obliterated the lives of so many people one year ago. As American religious leaders, we have sought during this year to listen, to learn, and to grow in our faith and compassion both for persons in our congregations and also for those many outside of our churches. We applaud your leadership in bringing peoples of disparate faiths together to worship, to mourn, and to move on boldly with our lives – in a more caring fashion and with appreciation for the precious gifts of God given to all humankind. Today, however, we write out of concern that those same precious gifts may be damaged by actions being contemplated by our nation.

We, leaders of American churches and church-related organizations, are alarmed by recent statements by yourself and others in the Administration about pre-emptive military action against Iraq for the expressed purpose of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein. Understanding that Mr. Hussein poses a threat to his neighbors and to his own people, we nevertheless believe it is wrong, as well as detrimental to U.S. interests, to take such action.

We oppose on moral grounds the United States taking further military action against Iraq now. The Iraqi people have already suffered enough through more than two decades of war and severe economic sanctions. Military action against the government of Saddam Hussein and its aftermath could result in a large number of civilians being killed or wounded, as well as increasing the suffering of multitudes of innocent people.

It is detrimental to U.S. interests to take unilateral military action when there continues to be strong multilateral support for a new weapons inspection regime and when most governments in Europe and the Middle East resist supporting military action. It is important for the U.S. to cooperate with international efforts to control Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, if possible, through a regional weapons-of-mass-destruction control initiative.

The pre-emptive use of military force by the United States to deal with proliferation problems, as serious as they may be, establishes a dangerous precedent, particularly for other nations that feel threatened by the weapons capabilities of their neighbors. Furthermore, unilaterally overthrowing enemy governments heightens concern in other countries about American respect for their integrity as nations, as well as for international law.

U.S. military action at this time has great potential to further destabilize the region. It is likely that international support for the war on terrorism will erode if the United States attacks Iraq without a United Nations mandate. Militants in Arab and Islamic majority countries would seize the opportunity to incite people against not only the United States but also against governments that cooperate with the U.S. An invasion of, or intensified military action against, Iraq will divert attention from the need to seek ways to reduce international terrorism and will retard efforts to restore stability in Afghanistan.

Rather than attacking Iraq, we urge that your priority in the Middle East be an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire and peace settlement. As do many in the world, we look to the United States government to set an example for the international community. As Christian religious leaders responsible for millions of U.S. citizens we expect our government to reflect the morals and values we hold dear – pursuing peace, not war; working with the community of nations, not overthrowing governments by force; respecting international law and treaties while holding in high regard all human life.

Note: The link includes a list of signatures.


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Vatican reasserts opposition to war in Iraq
CathNews.com

The Vatican renewed its opposition to war in Iraq on Wednesday, saying military action would only make matters worse and that a pre-emptive strike raised serious ethical and legal problems.

"It's unilateralism, pure and simple," the Vatican's UN observer, Archbishop Renato Martino, said in comments published in the Italian newsweekly Famiglia Christiana.

The principle of a "first strike" as well as its possible use in Iraq "provoke profound reservations be it from the ethical or legal point of view," he said.

He recalled the Vatican's opposition to the 1991 Gulf War, saying: "Everyone knows the way it turned out. War doesn't resolve problems. Besides being bloody, it's useless," he said.

The Vatican's foreign minister has said the United Nations must authorize any military action in Iraq and a papal adviser has warned against the "unacceptable human costs and grave destabilizing effects" of a preventive strike.

The Italian government has sided closely with the United States in its campaign against Iraq.


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Mormon Church Takes Anti-War Stance
ABCNEWS.com
Oct. 6, 2002

S A L T L A K E C I T Y, Oct. 6 — The Mormon church issued a strong anti-war message at its semiannual General Conference, clearly referring to current hostilities in the Middle East, advocating patience and negotiation, and urging the faithful to be peacemakers.

"As a church, we must renounce war and proclaim peace," said Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which acts under the direction of church President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Nelson never directly referred to Iraq or current moves toward war, but he mentioned the conflict in the Middle East and said "resolution of present political problems will require much patience and negotiation."

The Golden Rule's prohibition of one interfering with the rights of others was equally binding on nations and associations and left no room for retaliatory reactions, Nelson said at the meeting Saturday.

Descendants of Abraham Christians, Jews and Muslims "are in a pivotal position to emerge as peacemakers," he said.


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