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Impeach Bush

NY Fiscal Crisis Is Echoed Across Nation

This Time a Bush Embraces Voodoo Economics Theory

Budget Irony: And the Envelope, Please

Recess Appointees Relinquish Title Only *

GOP Looks To Move Its Social Agenda

Pentagon Papers' Ellsberg Sees Deja Vu in Iraq

Limbaugh--the UnAmerican

FBI probes Saudi Arabia

WH Worried Over Saudi Connection

NY Fiscal Crisis Is Echoed Across Nation
Washington Post
By Michael Powell
Sunday, November 24, 2002

NEW YORK -- Fun City's gilded ride is over.

The subway fare is jumping, maybe 33 percent. Property taxes could go up 18 percent. The official unemployment rate noses toward 8 percent; the mayor wants to put tolls on the Brooklyn Bridge; and eight firehouses sit on his chopping block.

Protestors scream the mayor's name and threaten voter mayhem. But New York City and state face a combined $15 billion deficit, a fiscal crisis of historic proportions, and the horizon holds only dark clouds.

"We are in a lot of trouble, no way around it," said state Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat representing New York's silk stocking district on Manhattan's East Side. "We're facing billion-dollar deficits, and that's not chopped liver."

New York has lots of pinched company. From the rocky coast of Maine to California's Pacific Palisades, cities and states are stumbling through the hangover of the 1990s boom. Maine legislators no sooner filled a $229 million deficit than officials warned last week of an additional $40 million budget hole. Pittsburgh and Boston each face budget gaps of more than $60 million next year. In Philadelphia, the mayor has begun laying off city workers.

California faces an almost unimaginable $21.1 billion state shortfall next year -- and the resurgent Republican minority in that state has returned vowing to hang any tax increase like a millstone around the neck of Democratic legislators and the governor. This is a familiar pattern. After a campaign season spent mostly avoiding the fiscal crisis, governors, mayors and legislators find themselves consumed by talk of cuts, deficits and layoffs or tax increases.

"Most of the nation's cities and states are in the same shape as New York City," said Chris Hoene, research manager at the National League of Cities. "For the first time in 10 years, you have to talk about cities facing a genuine recessionary economy."

Only two states forecast fiscal blue skies: Hawaii and Idaho. In a report released Friday by the National Conference of State Legislatures, two-thirds of the states reported declining revenues, and more than half face budget deficits. For this fiscal year, states face a collective budget hole of at least $17.5 billion.

The District government closed a $323 million gap in its $5.8 billion budget in September by raising taxes and paring spending on social services and schools. Maryland reduced spending last week by cutting services, tapping the state's reserve fund and canceling bonuses for some workers. But that $500 million cut won't affect a shortfall of $1.2 billion expected in next year's $22 billion budget.

Virginia, which had reduced its two-year, $50 billion budget by more than $3 billion this year, cut state services and laid off 1,837 employees last month. But the state still must find a billion dollars more in savings this winter.

Throughout the 1990s, most cities and states could cut taxes and rely on a buoyant national economy to keep overall revenues soaring. In New York City, then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani slashed taxes, and spent his second term adding thousands of employees to the payrolls and building the two most expensive minor-league baseball stadiums in the United States.

It was the best of all possible worlds -- until it wasn't. Last year, 18 states broke with recent practice and raised taxes by more than 1 percent to cover budget deficits.

"If we continued to cut taxes, we might as well turn off the lights in American cities," said Harvey Robins, a top-ranking aide to two former New York mayors. "[Mayor Michael] Bloomberg's problem is that for years, no one made any tough choices."

The turnabout is particularly striking in New York, not least because the city stood as a golden symbol of the nation's boom time. Gov. George Pataki blanched at any mention of "budget deficit" during his recent reelection campaign. Bloomberg, a fellow Republican, pointedly avoided much discussion of how to close New York's looming $6 billion budget deficit.

"Until Election Day, there was no incentive to be candid," said John Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. "Now the chickens are really coming home to roost."

Two weeks ago, just after Election Day, Bloomberg unfurled proposals for two large tax hikes: a 25 percent property tax increase and a $3 billion personal income tax increase for suburban commuters. (The state Legislature abolished the city's commuter tax years ago.)

A billionaire media mogul and a political novice, the mayor has surprised many with the artfulness of his politics. But his budget moves have begun to draw catcalls. The Citizens Budget Commission, a business-backed watchdog, gave Bloomberg's first budget a grade of D. It noted that the city was "spending far beyond its means."

Many budget analysts also shook their heads when the mayor declared that the city workforce and budget were streamlined.

"It was a very amateurish statement," said Steve Savas, a Baruch College professor, whose Privatization Research Institute analyzes state and city governments around the world. "Raising taxes and slashing services before you've even attempted to refashion the workforce is the wrong starting point."

The size of Bloomberg's proposed income tax levy on suburban commuters also has proven problematic. New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey (D) threatened to declare a cross-river tax war, and suggested the commuter tax could be DOA in Albany, where the state Legislature must give its approval.

Bloomberg wants to use about $1.1 billion from the commuter income tax to underwrite a cut in the personal income tax for city residents. But that move would mostly benefit the city's wealthiest residents, and that led to more headaches for the mayor. The New York Daily News summarized the equation thusly: "The rich would get richer while the poor would pay more."

The Daily News then did the math and found that Bloomberg would come out perhaps a million dollars ahead, because his rising property tax bill would be offset by a much larger cut in his personal income tax.

As his administration raises fees on everything from tennis permits ($100 a year) to the city's none-too-swank public swimming pools, Bloomberg has found himself becoming something of a political piñata. A poll last week found that the mayor's political approval rating had dipped from 65 percent to 41 percent.

"There's no shared pain, and the gap between rich and poor just gets wider and wider," said Bertha Lewis, executive director of the Working Families Party, an influential third party that released a critical study of the proposed personal income tax. "Mayor Bloomberg LLP comes from the wealthiest class, and it hasn't escaped our notice that he is cutting their taxes."

New York's City Council seems certain to pass an 18 percent property tax increase. But if Bloomberg's commuter tax proposal dies, it's not clear where the city might turn for help, other than starting to lay off some of its 250,000 employees. Some have suggested that the city reinstate a stock transfer tax, which Tokyo and London use to raise millions of dollars. But Bloomberg argues that this would register as another injury to an industry that dominates the city economy.

The state can't offer much fiscal balm. Last week, Pataki's budget chief asked state agency chiefs to draw up lists of cuts, warning that the budget problems "are likely to be more daunting" than once envisioned.

"The city needs the state, but we've done a terrible job of managing our money for decades," said Krueger, who is no less critical of Democrats than Republicans when it comes to fiscal management. "With an $8 [billion] to $10 billion state deficit, where . . . is the money going to come from?"

Still, the crisis has stopped short of fiscal apocalypse. The underlying economy in most major cities is weak but not disastrously so. In the recession of the early 1990s, for instance, New York bled 280,000 jobs -- this time around, the city has lost 150,000 jobs. Fortune 500 companies are not, by and large, fleeing the big cities, whether in New York, Boston or Los Angeles. And the social plagues of earlier eras, from AIDS to crack to homicidal violence, seem in check.

Posed against such optimism is this danger: Every level of government, from federal to state to city, is facing a landscape marked by budget deficits and tax cutting. Should the economy continue to muddle along, government coffers will remain dangerously low.

"This isn't a problem for just one level of government; we're all tied together," Hoene said. "There is the uncomfortable feeling right now that we might be at just the beginning of this crisis."

Commentary:
Bill Clinton presided over one of the greatest economies in US history. What did we do with all that money? It seems our states spent it and/or gave it back in tax cuts instead of preparing for a rainy day. Now that the rain has turned into a flood (Noah, we could use an ark about now), it's obvious tax cut schemes are irresponsible and immoral. Faced with deficits for as far as they eye can see, Bush and his cronies continue to propose more tax cuts.


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This Time a Bush Embraces 'Voodoo Economics' Theory
Washington Post
By Dana Milbank
November 14, 2002

President Bush took a ride on the Laffer Curve yesterday and espoused a tax-cut theory his father once derided as "Voodoo Economics."

After a meeting with his Cabinet, the president was asked about the federal budget deficit. "Well, we have a deficit because tax revenues are down," he said. "Make no mistake about it, the tax relief package that we passed -- that should be permanent, by the way -- has helped the economy, and that the deficit would have been bigger without the tax-relief package."

That is orthodox supply-side theory: the notion that tax cuts, by stimulating the economy, actually increase the government's tax revenue. Such thinking, popularized by Arthur Laffer and his Laffer Curve, was the ideological fuel for Ronald Reagan's tax cuts.

Most economists since then have reached a consensus that while tax cuts have an "economic effect" that partially offsets the lost revenue from tax cuts, the overall result is still lost revenue. That's the case for Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut from last year. "I don't know anyone who has said that the makeup in revenue because of the economic effect is greater than the reduction, and I would concur with that," said Eric M. Engen, a former Federal Reserve economist with the American Enterprise Institute.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), in his last days as Senate Budget Committee chairman, labeled Bush's statement as "dream-world economics." Said Conrad: "I don't know where he learned his math, but he didn't learn them in North Dakota schools, because we learned that if you subtract money, you have a bigger deficit."

The White House's Office of Management and Budget, in a budget report issued last summer, determined that the tax-relief package reduced revenue by $41 billion in the last fiscal year and would reduce revenue by $94 billion this year and $1.49 trillion over 10 years. Such "static" scoring does not consider the economic effect of tax cuts.

Asked about Bush's statement, OMB spokesman Trent Duffy said that the tax cut produced growth that "certainly softened the recession's impact on revenues." But, he added, "by how much and to what degree, it's impossible to know."

Urban Institute President Robert Reischauer said Bush is "not way off base" to say the tax cuts mitigated the economic downturn, but "the magnitude of these effects is not as great as he believes."

Even some supply-side theorists were unsure about Bush's argument that his tax cut reduced the deficit. "It's decreasing revenues," said Jude Wanniski, a former Wall Street Journal editorialist who popularized supply-side views.

But Bush got hearty support from one famous economist. Told of Bush's statement, a pleased Arthur Laffer replied: "This is the correct way of putting it."

Staff writer Jonathan Weisman contributed to this report.

Commentary:
Bush's own OMB says his tax cut is reducing revenue, but he says the exact opposite. Bush's truth is NEVER based on facts. If Bush continues to support his tax cut or asks congress for another cut he must be removed from office by impeachment. If republicans in Congress support borrowing more money and giving it away, they too should be impeached and removed from office. Perhaps it's tine for a Constitutional Convention.

Dear President Clinton, Please send money. Sincerely GWB.


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Budget Irony: And the Envelope, Please
Washington Post
By Dana Milbank
November 19, 2002

The Bush White House has praised Congress's failure to pass new spending bills that would increase the federal budget. "There's a new sheriff in town, and he's dedicated to fiscal discipline," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

If you disagree with the new sheriff's budget maneuvers, however, you should probably let the White House know with a phone call rather than a letter. One victim of the president's fiscal discipline, it turns out, is the White House mail operation.

Officials on the House Appropriations Committee say there are no fewer than 17 trailers storing unopened mail addressed to the White House. Those familiar with the problem say that in the absence of adequate funds to screen for anthrax, the mail is piling up.

The White House requested $53 million for its Office of Administration, which includes the mail sorting, for fiscal 2003, which began last month. That's a huge increase from the $35 million the office received in fiscal 2002.

But under the "continuing resolution" passed by Congress and signed by President Bush to keep the government running in the absence of new spending bills, the increase the White House asked for has not come through. The current squeeze is even greater considering that the Office of Administration was given an additional $55 million in emergency funds last year related to the terrorist attacks.

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, pointing out that the White House is receiving "significantly less" under the continuing resolution than it requested for fiscal 2003, say this is a fine example of the White House being hoist with its own budgetary petard. "This is just one in a long line of problems that the White House thinks will magically go away by sticking its head in the sand like an ostrich and ignoring the budget crisis," said David Sirota, the committee's Democratic spokesman.

Republicans on the committee have a slightly different take. "I'm aware of the problem -- they've got 17 trailers of backed-up mail," said John Scofield, spokesman for the committee's majority. But, Scofield said, "it's a management problem" causing the backup, not a money shortfall. If the White House doesn't have enough money for the mail, he said, it's because the White House's Office of Management and Budget didn't make an adequate request.

OMB said there are "sufficient funds to continue current operations."

After last year's anthrax-by-mail crisis, in which the bacterium was found in a remote White House mail processing location, the location, in Anacostia, was shut down; it still hasn't been declared "clean" of anthrax. To fix the contamination problem, the White House set up a pilot operation to screen and treat the mail at the Aberdeen Proving Ground's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, congressional aides said. But that is not supposed to be the permanent home for White House mail operations. To develop such a home, the White House needs about $3.5 million beyond its request, congressional sources said.

Stacia Cropper, chief operating officer in the White House Office of Administration, declined through a White House spokeswoman to be interviewed. The spokeswoman, who asked that her name not be used, said the backlogged mail is from the time of the anthrax attack, adding, "I'm told that there are fewer than 10" trailers full. She said Bush and other top officials still get their mail promptly.

Budget problems are only the latest woes to afflict the White House mail operation since the anthrax scare. In August, two men working for the contractor decontaminating the White House remote mail facility were arrested and charged with mail theft. The two were accused of stealing $35,000 in traveler's checks sent to the White House Federal Credit Union and an undetermined amount of cash for America's Fund for Afghan Children. Bush last October had asked American children to send $1 to the White House for the fund.

Congress is waiting for the White House officials to present a "business systems analysis" explaining how they would fix the mail problem. The proposal, due two weeks ago, is itself delayed.

Bush's plan to expand AmeriCorps, the government's community service organization, has made little progress in Congress, where the program faces opposition from Bush's own party. But the parent of AmeriCorps, the Corporation for National and Community Service, is not standing idle. It has rewritten the AmeriCorps volunteers' pledge.

The new pledge omits the earlier promises to "take action," "seek common ground" and "persevere" in the face of adversity. Instead, it adds a promise to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States" without "mental reservation or purpose of evasion." And it ends with, "So help me God."

The revised pledge has provoked an angry response from former volunteers and a letter of protest from the National AmeriCorps Association, which called the change "fundamentally unnecessary." One former volunteer wrote in a posting on the association's Web site that "Bush is trying to turn a do-good, liberal institution into a youth army for his maniacal wars against foreigners and our very own people."

Christine Benero, a spokeswoman for the AmeriCorps parent, said the proposed change would make the volunteers' pledge "more consistent with the federal oath of office." The new pledge, like the old, would be optional.

Staff writer Stephen Barr contributed to this report.

Commentary:
Bush wants more spending, gets more spending and now the hole in fiscal discipline is large enrough to drive a mack truck through. What to do, what to do? Bush can't cut spending because he buys votes with spending increases (just like Reagan). The era of Big Government is back and Bush's party is giving it to us.


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Recess Appointees Relinquish Title Only *
An Impeachable Offense
Washington Post
By Dana Milbank
November 23, 2002

President Bush yesterday extended the tenure of two of the most controversial members of his administration after their recess appointments expired with the adjournment of Congress.

Bush designated Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be acting solicitor for the Labor Department. Scalia had been Labor's solicitor since January, when he was installed as a recess appointment while the Democratic-controlled Senate was on break. Scalia can serve in the acting capacity for 210 days, leaving plenty of time for Bush to renominate him and for the Senate, soon to be under Republican control, to confirm him.

In a similar action, the State Department said Otto J. Reich, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, would become Bush's "special envoy to the Western Hemisphere." Though Reich's principal deputy will become the acting secretary, Reich will continue in "the same function," said State spokesman Philip Reeker. Reich was installed as a recess appointee at the same time as Scalia. His new post does not require Senate confirmation, although it is possible Reich will later be renominated to his old job.

Senate Democrats had blocked confirmation votes for both men. Democrats had opposed Scalia's nomination to be the number three official at Labor because of vigorous opposition from trade unions, in part because of his work to defeat workplace ergonomic regulations, which he labeled "quackery." AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney had said Scalia's "extreme views on key worker protections place him outside the mainstream and make him unsuited to hold this important position."

"The appointment will provide continuity in the department's senior leadership until the full Senate has an opportunity to vote on his nomination," the Labor Department said yesterday. Scalia was originally nominated in April 2001.

Democrats had objected to positions taken by Reich, a conservative Cuban American, because of his role in the Iran-contra scandal during the Reagan administration. Reich's Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean was responsible for propaganda promoting the administration's support of the contras against Nicaragua's government.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) said yesterday in a statement that he would continue to oppose Reich as assistant secretary of state if he were renominated. "We would hope the president would select a nominee with bipartisan support, which clearly Mr. Reich doesn't have," he said.

Reeker said Reich has "the complete confidence" of Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. "Ambassador Reich's performance as assistant secretary of state since January has been exemplary," he said.

Commentary:
With so many Supremes having children working for Bush it's unlikely they'll do anything to stop this unconstitutional president. The Constitution requires all appointments be confirmed by the Senate. They have not been confirmed. Bush then waited for the Senate to leave town and appoint them again. This is a clear violation of the Constitution and an impeachable offense. If a president can use endless recess appointments then the Senate would never be able to give consent.


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GOP Looks To Move Its Social Agenda
Washington Post
By Jim VandeHei
November 25, 2002

With Democrats no longer blocking their way in the Senate, President Bush and Republican congressional leaders plan a more vigorous push on their social policy agenda by trying to limit abortions, provide greater support to religious groups and increase funding for sexual abstinence and fatherhood programs, according to White House officials and key lawmakers.

When the Democrats' 18-month rule of the Senate ends in January, Bush -- backed by a new Senate majority, a larger House majority and what many GOP officials perceive as a new mandate from voters -- will be in a stronger position to make broad social changes than he was during his first two years in office. Republicans plan to use this power to help more religious groups administer government social programs; appoint more conservative judges and outlaw late-term abortions; and increase funding for pro-family initiatives and sexual abstinence teachings as part of a new welfare law.

Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum (Pa.), the Senate GOP's third-ranking leader, said Bush and the Republican-led Congress will take the country in a "more conservative direction" in the next two years. "There are a lot of conservative groups who would like to see things they care about considered," he said.

Senate Majority Leader-elect Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said most of the country is hungry for policies that discourage abortions and encourage churches and other groups to help families.

"The only places where these ideas are considered bad are on the two coasts," Lott said in an interview last week. "Where the meat is in the sandwich, the rest of America, these are pretty mainstream ideas."

Lott said Republicans will focus most of their attention on terrorism and economic issues, but not shy away from fights over social policies that most Democrats oppose.

Bush, a born-again Christian, supports the party's social agenda, though some advisers worry that high-profile fights over abortion or other divisive issues might turn off independent voters in 2004. The president is eager to advance the cause where he can, aides said, although he has shown a willingness to soft-pedal some proposals when political opposition grows.

To be sure, Republicans risk a voter backlash if they are seen as overreaching on domestic policy. Exit polls from the Nov. 5 elections suggest the GOP picked up seats as a result of Bush's popularity and his handling of the war on terrorism, not the party's social agenda.

In a news conference Wednesday, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) predicted Republicans will try to "placate" conservatives, which "gives us an opportunity to showcase the difference" between the two parties heading into the 2004 elections.

Republicans are under pressure from many leading social conservatives to move aggressively in the months ahead. Kenneth L. Connor, president of the Family Research Council, is circulating an analysis of the 2002 elections that contends religious conservatives tipped the balance of power in key Senate races in Minnesota and Missouri and helped return Republicans to the majority.

In the clearest sign yet that compromise isn't on their minds, the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council and other socially conservative groups helped sink a bankruptcy bill shortly after the elections because it contained a provision they felt would discourage abortion critics from protesting.

Abortion rights will be a major battleground next year, too. Lott has promised a vote next Congress to outlaw a procedure that critics call "partial birth" abortion. The House can easily pass the ban on late-term abortions, and it appears Republicans should have the 60 Senate votes they need to follow suit and send it to the president.

Douglas Johnson, top lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee, said an early head count shows at least 62 incoming senators will support the ban, which if enacted is destined for a Supreme Court challenge. Bush's plan to appoint many more conservative judges to the federal bench could pay dividends when abortion issues such as this reach the courts.

Republicans want to amend federal law to allow a person who violently harms or kills a pregnant woman to be charged for a separate offense of killing or harming the unborn child. This builds on the administration's efforts this year to classify a fetus as a human being worthy of health care coverage and embryos as "human research projects."

Many antiabortion activists believe there are two key preliminary steps to overturning Roe v. Wade: Solidly establish in law, government policy and the minds of voters that a fetus is a human being and, therefore, warrants equal protection; and get more conservative judges appointed, particularly to the Supreme Court.

Republicans also plan to press for legislation to make it a federal crime to transport minors from states with parental notification laws across a state line to obtain an abortion.

Wading deeper into the church-and-state debate, Bush wants to further his program to help religious groups win government contracts to administer social programs such as soup kitchens and rehabilitation programs for drug addicts and alcoholics.

He wants to expand the number of contracts that religious groups can compete for and clarify the "do's and don'ts when they take federal money," said H. James Towey, head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. "We're hopeful the new [congressional] leadership might bode well for faith-based" initiatives.

Even with Democrats controlling the Senate, the administration made progress in expanding the role of religious groups. It spent nearly $30 million to provide technical advice to such groups interested in winning government contracts. It also worked with agency heads to encourage them to consider religious groups when doling out federal money. The government does not keep reliable figures on how much money flows to religious groups, so it's impossible to gauge precisely how much progress Bush made.

To expand the government's interaction with religious groups, Bush needs to clarify what these groups can do without violating the Constitution's ban on government-established religion. Towey is working with Congress to enact a law that spells out how religious groups can play a larger public role. Even if congressional action is stymied, the president would likely issue new regulations to help religious groups work with the government, Towey said.

The incoming Republican-controlled Senate wants to increase tax breaks for people who give money to religious charities, and the House wants to open more government programs to religious groups.

Santorum has told the White House that, during the debate over welfare reform, he will fight for a provision to allow religious groups to discriminate against certain people -- gays, for instance -- when hiring if they don't share their religious beliefs. "I will make that stand," Santorum said.

With Republicans in the majority in the Senate next Congress, Bush will have a much better chance of passing a welfare law that increases funding for abstinence and puts a heavier emphasis on promoting two-parent families and responsible fatherhood.

Commentary:
I can't think of a group of people more immoral than born-again Christian Conservatives. As the US becomes more conservative all moral fiber is being destroyed. Thinking back a couple years, who would have thought the US would be in an endless war. (A war Bush claims will take longer than his presidency.) Immoral people will always find a reason to hate and kill innocent people. So, let Bush push his conservative agenda--his party has already bankrupted our Treasury with tax cuts and spending, they might as well show us how morally bankrupt they are too.


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Pentagon Papers' Ellsberg Sees Deja Vu in Iraq
Reuters.com
Sun November 24, 2002

MIAMI (Reuters) - When Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg wrote a new memoir chronicling his decision to leak secret U.S. military documents exposing official lies about the Vietnam War, he had no inkling the United States could soon be at war with Iraq.

A week after the October release of his book, "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers," Congress authorized President Bush to wage war if necessary to disarm Baghdad.

Ellsberg is busy doing what he wishes he had done earlier during the Vietnam War -- sounding the alarm.

"I would give anything that is mine to give to avert this war, anything truthful and nonviolent to avert this war, which I think will be a catastrophe, and it will usher in an age of catastrophes," Ellsberg told Reuters during a weekend visit to the Miami Book Fair.

"The future is bleak but not hopeless. I am trying to do what I can to at least warn people. The risks are too great."

Ellsberg's view of the probable future is bleak indeed.

If Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network launches a "spectacular" terrorist attack on the United States as the FBI has warned, it will trigger a U.S. invasion of Iraq even if Baghdad is not involved, he predicts.

If there is no attack soon, the United States will provoke Iraq into shooting down one of its aircraft in the "no-fly" zones in southern and northern Iraq, he said.

"If Saddam doesn't manage to shoot down one of our planes, our planes will fly lower and lower," Ellsberg said. "We're going to be at war with Iraq well before Christmas."

Saddam would then use poison gas against U.S. troops, triggering a retaliatory U.S. attack on his bunkers with earth-penetrating nuclear weapons that would inadvertently cause mass civilian deaths and "create hundreds of thousands of new recruits for suicide training," he said.

"I believe they (the U.S. government) are very smart. They would have to be very stupid to believe that this would reduce the chances of terrorism. It will increase it sharply."

Saddam would make his weapons of mass destruction available to al Qaeda, allowing them to stage attacks that will wipe out Israel and many of its neighbors and prompt armies sympathetic to Islamist causes to take over Pakistan and Indonesia and set off a grab for Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

A NEW AGE OF BARBARISM?

"It will make it impossible for these countries whose cooperation in hunting for al Qaeda cells is absolutely essential," Ellsberg said. "We will no longer be able to reduce al Qaeda's strength. ... Osama will be a hero for the Muslim world for the next thousand years."

End result: A new age of barbarism, he said. "The world is going to look eventually like Afghanistan outside of Kabul."

Others have posed such doomsday scenarios, but in the case of Iraq, the United States' military superiority has grown so overwhelming since the 1991 Gulf war that even NATO has been left behind. Iraq's military is much smaller than it was. U.S. officials have said they have no intention of using nuclear weapons against Saddam, but have warned that if he unleashes biological or chemical agents, all bets are off.

In making his predictions, Ellsberg does have unique credentials, albeit from a different age and a different conflict.

The former Marine and ex-Pentagon official was part of a defense think tank that wrote a secret study of U.S. policy in Vietnam. The 7,000-page study, which became known as the Pentagon Papers, revealed that four presidents had steadily lied to the public and Congress about the U.S. war in Southeast Asia.

Disillusioned, Ellsberg leaked it to newspapers in 1971, setting off a furor that helped pave the way for the U.S. pull-out from Vietnam.

Ellsberg was imprisoned on espionage charges that were thrown out in 1973 and says he regrets only that he did not blow the whistle sooner.

"The worst thing I ever did was help get the bombing started" in Vietnam, he said.

He wrote his book, he said, because it holds timeless lessons on "the folly of self-delusion."

It opens with Ellsberg's discovery that the supposed North Vietnamese attack on a U.S. Navy ship in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 probably never happened and that President Lyndon Johnson knew it when he used the purported attack to persuade Congress to authorize U.S. military force in the region.

Ellsberg calls the Iraq war authorization "Tonkin Gulf II," adding: "I've studied this government's decision-making for 44 years. I don't know these specific individuals but I know some of their advisors. I understand that thinking.

"This war will look very, very bad within months after it starts," he said. "This war is an abomination that must not happen."

Commentary:
I don't share Ellsberg's belief that almost all is lost with Bush's silly war. But things are very bad. The US has lost all sense of morality and "just war." We military consumes 70% of all military spending in the world and Bush wants more. When will it stop? We go to war because we can and because it distracts us from our real problems. Sex and war sell newspapers and keeps cable talk (news) occupied.

Ellsberg is correct when he says the following; "I believe they (the U.S. government) are very smart. They would have to be very stupid to believe that this would reduce the chances of terrorism. It will increase it sharply." Bush and the republican party need war like a fish needs water. The first Bush created bin Laden when he invaded Iraq. This Bush is making sure there are generations of bin Laden clones. Hilter, like Bush used hate and fear. Today, everything Bush does seems justified by the masses.


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Limbaugh--the UnAmerican
SpinSanity.org
November 20, 2002

Rush's Rant

There's a very high likelihood we're going to even face additional terrorist attacks ... No country is safe from this threat, not even us, no country is going to be perfect in its efforts to fight it. And Senator Daschle, you know this. Just as you know that you are hoping to benefit politically when our economy stagnates and people lose jobs, you are hoping to politically benefit with the next terrorist attack. And that's what this comment of yours was about yesterday, Senator, and that's what make it so despicable. This is almost the Wellstone memorial all over again. You know another attack is going to happen and you're setting it up so that you can say, "See I told you so and this President [did] nothing to stop it." You are seeking political advantage in the war on terrorism just exactly as you sought political advantage after the war on terrorism started on September 11. Just as you sought political advantage with the economy plundering [sic], just as you sought political advantage with the stock market collapse, just as you sought political advantage with the corporate scandals.

You seek political advantage with the nation at war. There is no greater testament to the depths to which the Democratic Party and liberalism have fallen. You now position yourself, Senator Daschle, to exploit future terrorist attacks for political gain. You are worse, sir, than the ambulance-chasing tort lawyers that make up your chief contributors. You, sir, are a disgrace. You are a disgrace to patriotism, you are a disgrace to this country, you are a disgrace to the Senate, and you ought to be a disgrace to the Democratic Party but sadly you're probably a hero among some of them today...

Way to demoralize the troops, Senator! What more do you want to do to destroy this country than what you've already tried? [pounding table] It is unconscionable what this man has done! This stuff gets broadcast around the world, Senator. What do you want your nickname to be? Hanoi Tom? Tokyo Tom? You name it, you can have it apparently. You sit there and pontificate on the fact that we're not winning the war on terrorism when you and your party have done nothing but try to sabotage it, which you are continuing to do. This little speech of yours yesterday, and this appearance of yours on television last night, let's call it what it is. It's nothing more than an attempt to sabotage the war on terrorism for your own personal and your party's political gain. This is cheap. And it's beneath even you. And that's pretty low.

Commentary:
I don't normally respond to the rants of those beneath contempt but this one was on all the news stations but none of them quoted what Rush actually said. Limbaugh is as foul as they come. The link above includes his actual words. In his tripe he complains that Daschle destroyed the military during the Clinton years. Needless to say, Limbaugh is one of those conservatives who never lets facts get in the way. We all know republicans controlled both Houses of Congress during the last six years of Clinton, not democrats or Daschle. Disproving this limp-minded fool is as easy as it gets.

But, it's the sheer lack of intellect, lack of character and lack of integrity that gets me. To think some people actually believe what this man says. If I were them I'd go back to my school and demand my money back.


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FBI probes Saudi Arabia
Washington Post/AP
November 23, 2002

A draft report by a joint congressional committee looking into the terrorist attacks says the CIA and FBI ignored the possibility that two of the hijackers, Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, both Saudis, were given Saudi money from two Saudi men they met in California in the year before the attacks, The New York Times reported in its Saturday editions. Almidhar and Alhazmi were on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

The committee also accused the Saudi government of not fully cooperating with American investigators.

"The FBI has been investigating this and I'm not going to prejudge the conclusion of that investigation," said Dan Bartlett, a spokesman for the Bush administration.

Bartlett, who accompanied President Bush to a NATO summit in Europe, disputed congressional critics of the probe.

"As anyone who knows this issue will tell you, it's very difficult to track financing of terrorist networks because most of it is done in cash," he said. "I don't agree with the assessment it's not been aggressively pursued."

The two hijackers met with Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan, who were receiving financial support from the Saudi government, the Times said. Officials were not sure what kind of stipends they were receiving, the newspaper said.

Newsweek said, however, the FBI uncovered financial records showing payments to the family of al-Bayoumi from a Washington bank account held in the name of Princess Haifa Al-Faisal, wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States and daughter of the late King Faisal.

Sources said the payments amounted to about $3,500 a month. The money filtered into the al-Bayoumi family's bank account in early 2000, just a few months after Almidhar and Alhazmi arrived in Los Angeles from an al-Qaida planning summit, Newsweek said in a report posted on its Web site Friday night.

Payments for roughly the same amount began flowing every month to Basnan.

Administration officials told Newsweek they did do not know the purpose of the payments from Princess Haifa's account. They also were uncertain whether the money was given to the hijackers by al-Bayoumi or Basnan.

The princess' office said "she will cooperate fully with the United States."

The debate over possible Saudi link raises a sensitive political issue for the Bush administration as it is one of the United States' closest and most important allies in the Persian Gulf at a time when the administration is considering war with Iraq.

In its draft report, the joint congressional committee staff said investigators should have followed up on the meetings of the four men to determine whether there was a Saudi connection to the hijacking plot.

The FBI said in a statement Friday it had "aggressively pursued investigative leads regarding terrorist support and activity." It noted that both al-Bayoumi an Basnan had been charged with visa fraud.

The joint committee's final report is to be completed in December in classified form.

Commentary:
This story is far different than the Reuters spin on this subject. Note the words "closest and most important allies." This is contrasted with Reuters which says; "Saudi-U.S. relations were strained after the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks." The Post story above is the truth, the story below is a lie.


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WH Worried Over Saudi Connection
Reuters.com
November 23, 2002

BUCHAREST, Romania (Reuters) - A day after U.S. sources said a congressional inquiry was investigating a possible money trail from the Saudi Arabian government to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, a White House official cautioned on Saturday that it was too early to jump to conclusions.

U.S. sources said on Friday that a congressional inquiry into intelligence failures related to last year's Sept. 11 attacks was investigating a possible funding link between the Saudi government and two of the hijackers.

"While you have an ongoing investigation, it's important not to rush to judgment," said National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack during a visit by President Bush to Romania.

The sources said the probe received information in recent months about the possibility that money was funneled from the Saudi government through Omar Al-Bayoumi, a Saudi who lived in San Diego, to hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.

Some government sources cautioned there was no definitive proof of Saudi government involvement, but that congressional investigators were looking at information that suggested it.

Saudi-U.S. relations were strained after the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks after it was discovered that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. About 3,000 people died in the attacks.

FBI agents found the phone number of the Saudi Embassy in Al-Bayoumi's apartment, The Washington Post reported. Saudi officials told the Post that there was no link between Al-Bayoumi and any Saudi government employee.

White House officials said the FBI is conducting a broad investigation into the attacks and their financing. "They (the FBI) have in fact received some cooperation from the Saudis on this investigation which is ongoing," McCormack said.

"They do no have the luxury of supposition. They have to deal with the facts and they are pursuing them," he said.

It was not immediately clear when the investigators suspect that Saudi funds passed through Al-Bayoumi to the two hijackers, who were aboard the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

U.S. and British media have reported that U.S. federal investigators believe Al-Bayoumi helped pay the rent for the two men's San Diego apartment.

The joint congressional inquiry is expected to complete its report by the end of the year and issue an unclassified version next year.

Bush is to sign legislation on Wednesday authorizing an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks.

Commentary:
Now the spin begin and Reuters is saying US-Saudi relations have been strained since 9/11. That's a blatant lie. Bush's father was doing business with the Saudi's and Bush ordered the FBI not to investigate the Saudi family. Bush has never said relations between the US and Saudi Arabia are strained. Reuters is rewriting history again. Shame on them.


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