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Impeach Bush

GOP Out Spends Dems by Over $186 Million

Poll Driven WH--no consideration of policy--full Esquire Letter

Judge Disregards Merit of GAO Against Cheney

9/11 Lies Continue to Fall

Snow Lacks Ethics
US Controls Iraqi Copies of Report--appalling

Poll-Evangelical Christians one of the least likable groups

Court rules against NRA and Ashcroft--2nd Amendment

GOP Out Spends Dems by Over $186 Million
opensecrets.com

REPUBLICAN PARTY
2001-2002 Election Cycle

 

 

Total

Hard money

Soft money

Raised:

$510,756,508

$289,041,340 (57%)

$221,715,168 (43%)

Spent:

$494,351,122

$281,117,554 (57%)

$213,233,568 (43%)

Cash On Hand:

$52,783,773

$27,852,912 (53%)

$24,930,861 (47%)

Debts:

$1,160,800 

   

DEMOCRATIC PARTY
2001-2002 Election Cycle

 

 

Total

Hard money

Soft money

Raised:

$327,080,806

$127,447,392 (39%)

$199,633,414 (61%)

Spent:

$307,565,178

$128,834,388 (42%)

$178,730,790 (58%)

Cash On Hand:

$29,932,979

$8,099,344 (27%)

$21,833,635 (73%)

Debts:

$6,657,412 

   

Commentary:
The press tells us the democrat party is dead, or so they want. In reality the GOP simply out spent democrats by an amazing $186,785,944. So, how do you get control of congress? You buy it. In the next article you can read why republicans need so much money.


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Poll Driven WH--no consideration of policy--full Esquire Letter
Esquire.com
By Ron Suskind
EX-BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TELLS ESQUIRE:
NO SERIOUS CONSIDERATION GIVEN
TO DOMESTIC POLICY IN WHITE HOUSE AT ALL

"It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis"

[page 1--Excerpts]

In Pulitzer-Prize winning author Ron Suskind's second significant examination of the workings of the Bush White House for Esquire, respected former domestic policy adviser John DiIulio speaks out for the first time since leaving the White House. DiIulio, along with several current White House officials, offers a stunning appraisal of the administration, especially regarding the utter dominance of Karl Rove's political office on all domestic policy matters. Following are excerpts from Suskind's "Why Are These Men Laughing?" in the January 2003 Esquire:

* "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus," DiIulio tells Esquire. "What you've got is everything—and I mean everything—being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

* A current senior White House official: "Many of us feel it's our duty—our obligation as Americans—to get the word out that, certainly in domestic policy, there has been almost no meaningful consideration of any real issues. It's just kids on Big Wheels, who talk politics and know nothing. It's depressing. DPC [Domestic Policy Council] meetings are a farce."

* Senior White House official: "Don't you understand?…We got into the White House and forfeited the game. You're supposed to stand for something . . . to generate sound ideas, support them with real evidence, and present them to Congress and the people. We didn't do any of that. We just danced this way and that on minute political calculations and whatever was needed for a few paragraphs of a speech."

* DiIulio: "Besides the tax cut…. the administration has not done much, either in absolute terms or in comparison to previous administrations at this stage, on domestic policy. There is a virtual absence as yet of any policy accomplishments that might, to a fair-minded non-partisan, count as the flesh on the bones of so-called compassionate conservatism."

* Another senior White House official: "The view of many people [in the White House] is that the best government can do is simply do no harm, that it never is an agent for positive change. If that's your position, why bother to understand what programs actually do?"

* DiIulio: "Karl is enormously powerful, maybe the single most powerful person in the modern, post-Hoover era ever to occupy a political advisor post near the Oval Office."

* DiIulio: "When policy analysis is just backfill, to back up a political maneuver, you'll get a lot of oops."

Suskind's previous article on the Bush White House, for Esquire's July 2002 issue, "Mrs. Hughes Takes Her Leave," revealed an administration reeling from the departure of senior aide Karen Hughes and anticipating the ascendancy of Rove. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told Suskind at that time, "I'll need designees, people trusted by the president that I can elevate for various needs to balance against Karl…. But it won't be easy. Karl is a formidable adversary."

Suskind's new story takes a fresh look at the balance of power in the White House, six months after Hughes' departure. DiIulio's comments are rare, especially for this administration, because they are both critical and on the record. He was appointed in January 2001 to create the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which the president conceived as the cornerstone of "compassionate conservatism." At the time, President Bush called the University of Pennsylvania professor, author, and historian "one of the most influential social entrepreneurs in America."

[page 2-Forward and The Letter]

On October 24, John DiIulio, a former high-level official in the Bush administration, sent the letter below to Esquire Washington correspondent Ron Suskind. The letter was a key source of Suskind's story about Karl Rove, politics and policymaking in the Bush administration, "Why Are These Men Laughing," which appears in the January 2003 issue of Esquire. On Monday, December 3, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said that the charges contained in the story were "groundless and baseless." After initially standing by his assertions, DiIulio himself later issued an "apology." Esquire stands strongly behind Suskind and his important story.

CONFIDENTIAL
To: Ron Suskind
From: John DiIulio
Subject: Your next essay on the Bush administration
Date: October 24, 2002

Dear Ron:

For/On the Record

My perspective on the president and the administration reflects both my experiences at the White House and my views as a political scientist and policy scholar. Regarding the former, I spent a couple one-on-one hours with then-Governor Bush during a visit he made to Philadelphia a few months before the Republican Convention there. I helped with certain campaign speeches and with certain speeches once he became president. I spent time with the president in briefings, in meetings with groups, and on certain trips. I was there in the White House during the first 180 days. I was an Assistant to the President, and attended many, though by no means all, senior staff meetings. I was not at all a close "insider" but I was very much on the inside. I observed and heard a great deal that concerned policy issues and political matters well outside my own issue sets. Regarding the latter, I have studied American government and public policy and administration for over twenty years. I have worked and run research programs at both liberal and conservative think tanks, developed community programs through national non-profit groups, and so forth.

In my view, President Bush is a highly admirable person of enormous personal decency. He is a godly man and a moral leader. He is much, much smarter than some people—including some of his own supporters and advisers—seem to suppose. He inspires personal trust, loyalty, and confidence in those around him. In many ways, he is all heart. Clinton talked "I feel your pain." But as Bush showed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, he truly does feel deeply for others and loves this country with a passion.

The little things speak legions. Notice how he decided to let the detainees come home from China and did not jump all over them for media purposes. I could cite a dozen such examples of his dignity and personal goodness. Or I recall how, in Philly, following a 3-hour block party on July 4, 2001, following hours among the children, youth, and families of prisoners, we were running late for the next event. He stopped, however, to take a picture with a couple of men who were cooking ribs all day. "C'mon," he said, "those guys have been doing hard work all day there." It's my favorite—and in some ways, my most telling—picture of who he is as a man and a leader who pays attention to the little things that convey respect and decency toward others.

But the contrast with Clinton is two-sided. As Joe Klein has so strongly captured him, Clinton was "the natural," a leader with a genuine interest in the policy process who encouraged information-rich decision-making. Clinton was the policy-wonk-in-chief. The Clinton administration drowned in policy intellectuals and teemed with knowledgeable people interested in making government work. Every domestic issue drew multiple policy analyses that certainly weighted politics, media messages, legislative strategy, et cetera, but also strongly weighted policy-relevant information, stimulated substantive policy debate, and put a premium on policy knowledge. That is simply not Bush's style. It fits not at all with his personal cum presidential character. The Bush West Wing is very nearly at the other end of this Clinton policy-making continuum.

Besides the tax cut, which was cut-and-dried during the campaign, and the education bill, which was really a Ted Kennedy bill, the administration has not done much, either in absolute terms or in comparison to previous administrations at this stage, on domestic policy. There is a virtual absence as yet of any policy accomplishments that might, to a fair-minded non-partisan, count as the flesh on the bones of so-called compassionate conservatism. There is still two years, maybe six, for them to do more and better on domestic policy, and, specifically, on the compassion agenda. And, needless to say, 9/11, and now the global war on terror and the new homeland and national security plans, must be weighed in the balance.

But, as I think Andy Card himself told you in so many words, even allowing for those huge contextual realities, they could stand to find ways of inserting more serious policy fiber into the West Wing diet, and engage much less in on-the-fly policy-making by speech-making. They are almost to an individual nice people, and there are among them several extremely gifted persons who do indeed know—and care—a great deal about actual policy-making, administrative reform, and so forth. But they have been, for whatever reasons, organized in ways that make it hard for policy-minded staff, including colleagues (even secretaries) of cabinet agencies, to get much West Wing traction, or even get a non-trivial hearing.

[page 2]

In this regard, at the six-month senior staff retreat on July 9, 2001, an explicit discussion ensued concerning how to emulate more strongly the Clinton White House's press, communications, and rapid-response media relations—how better to wage, if you will, the permanent campaign that so defines the modern presidency regardless of who or which party occupies the Oval Office. I listened and was amazed. It wasn't more press, communications, media, legislative strategizing, and such that they needed. Maybe the Clinton people did that better, though, surely, they were less disciplined about it and leaked more to the media and so on. No, what they needed, I thought then and still do now, was more policy-relevant information, discussion, and deliberation.

In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical, non-stop, 20-hour-a-day White House staff. Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but, on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking—discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare; near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera. Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue.

Likewise, every administration at some point comes to think of the White House as its own private tree house, to define itself as "us" versus "them" on Capitol Hill, or in the media, or what have you, and, before 100 days are out, to vest ever more organizational and operational authority with the White House's political, press, and communications people, both senior and junior. I think, however, that the Bush administration—maybe because they were coming off Florida and the election controversy, maybe because they were so unusually tight-knit and "Texas," maybe because the chief of staff, Andy Card, was more a pure staff process than a staff leader or policy person, or maybe for other reasons I can't recognize—was far more inclined in that direction, and became progressively more so as the months pre-9/11 wore on.

This gave rise to what you might call Mayberry Machiavellis—staff, senior and junior, who consistently talked and acted as if the height of political sophistication consisted in reducing every issue to its simplest, black-and-white terms for public consumption, then steering legislative initiatives or policy proposals as far right as possible. These folks have their predecessors in previous administrations (left and right, Democrat and Republican), but, in the Bush administration, they were particularly unfettered.

I could cite a half-dozen examples, but, on the so-called faith bill, they basically rejected any idea that the president's best political interests—not to mention the best policy for the country—could be served by letting centrist Senate Democrats in on the issue, starting with a bipartisan effort to review the implementation of the kindred law (called "charitable choice") signed in 1996 by Clinton. For a fact, had they done that, six months later they would have had a strongly bipartisan copycat bill to extend that law. But, over-generalizing the lesson from the politics of the tax cut bill, they winked at the most far-right House Republicans who, in turn, drafted a so-called faith bill (H.R. 7, the Community Solutions Act) that (or so they thought) satisfied certain fundamentalist leaders and beltway libertarians but bore few marks of "compassionate conservatism" and was, as anybody could tell, an absolute political non-starter. It could pass the House only on a virtual party-line vote, and it could never pass the Senate, even before Jeffords switched.

Not only that, but it reflected neither the president's own previous rhetoric on the idea, nor any of the actual empirical evidence that recommended policies promoting greater public/private partnerships involving community-serving religious organizations. I said so, wrote memos, and so on for the first six weeks. But, hey, what's that fat, out-of-the-loop professor guy know; besides, he says he'll be gone in six months. As one senior staff member chided me at a meeting at which many junior staff were present and all ears, "John, get a faith bill, any faith bill." Like college students who fall for the colorful, opinionated, but intellectually third-rate professor, you could see these 20- and 30-something junior White House staff falling for the Mayberry Machiavellis. It was all very disheartening to this old, Madison-minded American government professor.

[page 3]

Madison aside, even Machiavelli might have a beef. The West Wing staff actually believed that they could pass the flawed bill, get it through conference, and get it to the president's desk to sign by the summer. Instead, the president got a political black eye when they could easily have handed him a big bipartisan political victory. The best media events were always the bipartisan ones anyway, like the president's visit to the U.S. Mayors Conference in Detroit in June 2001. But my request to have him go there was denied three times on the grounds that it would "play badly" or "give the Democrat mayors a chance to bash him on other issues." Nothing of the sort happened; it was a great success, as was having Philly's black Democratic mayor, John Street, in the gallery next to Mrs. Bush in February 2001 at the president's first Budget Address. But they could not see it, and instead went back to courting conservative religious leaders and groups.

The "faith bill" saga also illustrates the relative lack of substantive concern for policy and administration. I had to beg to get a provision written into the executive orders that would require us to conduct an actual information-gathering effort related to the president's interest in the policy. With the exception of some folks at OMB, nobody cared a fig about the five-agency performance audit, and we got less staff help on it than went into any two PR events or such. Now, of course, the document the effort produced (Unlevel Playing Field) is cited all the time, and frames the administrative reform agenda that—or so the Mayberry Machiavellis had insisted—had no value.

Even more revealing than what happened during the first 180 days is what did not, especially on the compassion agenda beyond the faith bill and focusing on children. Remember "No child left behind"? That was a Bush campaign slogan. I believe it was his heart, too. But translating good impulses into good policy proposals requires more than whatever somebody thinks up in the eleventh hour before a speech is to be delivered, or whatever symbolic politics plan—"communities of character" and such—gets generated by the communications, political strategy, and other political shops.

During the campaign, for instance, the president had mentioned Medicaid explicitly as one program on which Washington might well do more. I co-edited a whole (boring!) Brookings volume on Medicaid; some people inside thought that universal health care for children might be worth exploring, especially since, truth be told, the existing laws take us right up to that policy border. They could easily have gotten in behind some proposals to implement existing Medicaid provisions that benefit low-income children. They could have fashioned policies for the working poor. The list is long. Long, and fairly complicated, especially when—as they stipulated from the start—you want to spend little or no new public money on social welfare, and you have no real process for doing meaningful domestic policy analysis and deliberation. It's easier in that case to forget Medicaid refinements and react to calls for a "PBOR," patients' bill of rights, or whatever else pops up.

Some are inclined to blame the high political-to-policy ratios of this administration on Karl Rove. Some in the press view Karl as some sort of prince of darkness; actually, he is basically a nice and good-humored man. And some staff members, senior and junior, are awed and cowed by Karl's real or perceived powers. They self-censor lots for fear of upsetting him, and, in turn, few of the president's top people routinely tell the president what they really think if they think that Karl will be brought up short in the bargain. Karl is enormously powerful, maybe the single most powerful person in the modern, post-Hoover era ever to occupy a political advisor post near the Oval Office. The Republican base constituencies, including beltway libertarian policy elites and religious right leaders, trust him to keep Bush "43" from behaving like Bush "41" and moving too far to the center or inching at all center-left. Their shared fiction, supported by zero empirical electoral studies, is that "41" lost in '92 because he lost these right-wing fans. There are not ten House districts in America where either the libertarian litany or the right-wing religious policy creed would draw majority popular approval, and, most studies suggest, Bush "43" could have done better versus Gore had he stayed more centrist, but, anyway, the fiction is enshrined as fact. Little happens on any issue without Karl's okay, and, often, he supplies such policy substance as the administration puts out. Fortunately, he is not just a largely self-taught, hyper-political guy, but also a very well informed guy when it comes to certain domestic issues. (Whether, as some now assert, he even has such sway in national security, homeland security, and foreign affairs, I cannot say.)

[page 4]

Karl was at his political and policy best, I think, in steering the president's stem-cell research decision, as was the president himself, who really took this issue on board with an unusual depth of reading, reflection, and staff deliberation. Personally, I would have favored a position closer to the Catholic Church's on the issue, but this was one instance where the administration really took pains with both politics and policy, invited real substantive knowledge into the process, and so forth. It was almost as if it took the most highly charged political issue of its kind to force them to take policy-relevant knowledge seriously, to have genuine deliberation.

Contrast that, however, with the remarkably slap-dash character of the Office of Homeland Security, with the nine months of arguing that no department was needed, with the sudden, politically-timed reversal in June, and with the fact that not even that issue, the most significant reorganization of the federal government since the creation of the Department of Defense, has received more than talking-points caliber deliberation. This was, in a sense, the administration problem in miniature: Ridge was the decent fellow at the top, but nobody spent the time to understand that an EOP entity without budgetary or statutory authority can't "coordinate" over 100 separate federal units, no matter how personally close to the president its leader is, no matter how morally right they feel the mission is, and no matter how inconvenient the politics of telling certain House Republican leaders we need a big new federal bureaucracy might be.

The good news, however, is that the fundamentals are pretty good—the president's character and heart, the decent, well-meaning people on staff, Karl's wonkish alter-ego, and the fact that, a year after 9/11 and with a White House that can find time enough to raise $140 million for campaigns, it's becoming fair to ask, on domestic policy and compassionate conservatism, "Where's the beef?"

Whether because they will eventually be forced to defend the president's now thin record on domestic policy and virtually empty record on compassionate conservatism, or for other reasons, I believe that the best may well be yet to come from the Bush administration. But, in my view, they will not get there without some significant reforms to the policy-lite inter-personal and organizational dynamics of the place.

Shalom,

John


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Judge Disregards Merit of GAO Against Cheney
Reuters.com
December 9, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit by the investigative arm of Congress that sought the identities of those consulted by an energy policy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney.

U.S. District Judge John Bates said the head of Congress' General Accounting Office, Comptroller General David Walker, lacked standing to ask the courts to resolve such a weighty constitutional dispute between Congress and the executive branch.

Walker filed suit in February demanding Cheney hand over a list of executives consulted in 2001 in drafting the policy. It was the first time the GAO had taken the executive branch to court over access to documents.

The GAO was originally asked to obtain the task force details at the request of Reps. Henry Waxman of California and John Dingell of Michigan, Democrats who suspected private-sector groups heavily influenced the White House energy plan.

The Bush administration refused to supply the information, saying the request undermined the executive's ability to consult confidentially with outsiders about policy matters.

Bates, in his ruling, said the GAO lacked standing because Walker's request had not been endorsed by Congress.

"Such an excursion by the judiciary would be unprecedented and would fly in the face of the restricted role of the federal courts under the Constitution," the judge wrote.

There was no immediate comment on Bates' ruling from either Walker or the White House.

Environmental groups say they were mostly excluded from the closed meetings of the task force, which produced a policy calling for more oil and gas drilling, as well as a revival of nuclear power.

Other such disputes over documents have been settled out of court. Even former President Richard Nixon, who fought other court battles over executive privilege, handed over papers requested by the GAO.

The GAO had asserted it had the right to the documents as part of congressional oversight of the executive branch. But the Bush White House had argued the GAO was overreaching its authority.

Commentary:
Bates was hired by Bush last year. He's a political nut, not a real judge. Now we know why Bush is hell bent on putting his judges in place. They are devoted to protecting him regardless of what the law says.

The Laws creating the GAO and the amendments clearly give the GAO standing. The Congress gave the GAO the power to get information from the Executive Branch, that is its purpose. Bates is saying the GAO can't go to court to get that information because it lacks standing. The law says otherwise. This is another in a long string of political decision made by courts to protect Bush and his cronies. It will be overturned.

Bates didn't rule of the merit of the case (typical conservative judge) but instead he said the GAO wasn't doesn't have the power to seek information from Cheney. Bates also says the Congress didn't ask for this information. Both are lies. Members of Congress did ask the GAO for this information and the Congress gave the GAO the power to get information from the Executive Branch. Are we to believe that the GAO can only get information the Administration chooses to give it? That is the straw-man fallacy this political appointee (oops, judge) makes.


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9/11 Lies Continue to Fall
Orginal Title:FBI Agent Tells of Vast Probe Into 9/11 Attacks
ABCNews/Reuters
December 10, 2002
— By Adam Tanner

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Before carrying out their plot to hijack four passenger planes, the Sept. 11 pilots diligently wired back surplus money they no longer needed, an FBI agent told a court Tuesday.

FBI special agent Matthew Walsh, 33, gave a broad overview of the U.S. investigation into last year's attack during his testimony at the trial in Hamburg of Mounir El Motassadeq, the first suspected Sept. 11 conspirator to stand trial.

Walsh told how a stewardess on the first flight headed for the World Trade Center in New York called in details of the hijack shortly before the crash, the first of four that killed a total of about 3,000 people.

"On the telephone she said she saw these people stabbing a passenger as well as other flight crew," he said. "The passenger in 10B had stabbed the passenger in front of him. She thought the passenger was already dead."

"I believe he had his throat cut," he said. "She also stated it was very hard to breathe, so we assume that mace or another gas was used."

The ringleader of the attacks, Mohamed Atta and two other pilots lived in the northern German port city of Hamburg during the 1990s. Moroccan student Motassadeq is charged with serving as the paymaster of the al Qaeda cell based in Hamburg which is accused of masterminding the attacks.

Walsh told the court that the suspected pilot of the second plane into the World Trade Center, Marwan Al Shehhi, received more than $10,000 in cash transfers from Ramzi Bin Al-Shaibah, an ex-Hamburg resident who is suspected of playing a major role in the plot and is now in U.S. custody.

Another man in the United Arab Emirates transferred about $110,000 to an account in Florida that several of the hijackers used, the FBI agent said.

In the end, the plotters apparently had funds left over. "In the days leading up to September 11 it seems that the hijackers were returning the money they no longer needed," Walsh said.

UAE authorities have previously said three hijackers sent $15,000 back before the 2001 attack.

FLIGHT SCHOOL

The FBI contacted every flight school in the United States as part of its biggest investigation ever and researched all of the passengers on the plane to seek common links, Walsh said.

"On the whole all the hijackers as students were reserved and kept to themselves, rarely spoke to anyone else including teachers," he said. "They were not widely known, at least these four, as being good pilots."

"After Atta and Al Shehhi had gotten their licenses for propeller planes, they went to a simulation center where they practiced flying large jet aircraft," Walsh said. "Instructors who taught those sessions said they were only interested in turns and approaches."

The plotters also went on several flights in preparation.

"They took several trips across country from New York, Boston and Washington out to California. On all these trips they used the same type of aircraft that was used on September 11," Walsh said.

During the testimony, Motassadeq mostly listened quietly, taking notes from time to time.

Commentary:
A few notes. First, there is no tie to bin Laden in this article. When it comes to the facts (not what the government says) bin Laden seems to always be missing. He may show up at some point but so far I haven't seen any convincing evidence he had anything to do with 9/11.

We were also told this so-called attack was very sophisticated and took years of planning and millions of dollars. All three were clearly lies. For the price of a few hundred thousand dollars they were able to destroy billions of dollars of property and kill thousands. All those involved appeared to have been students and the planning seems to have taken months, not years. What else have they lied to us about?


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Snow Lacks Ethics
Orginal Title:Former CEO Comes With Some Baggage
WashingtonPost.com
December 10, 2002
By Paul Blustein, Don Phillips and David S. Hilzenrath

Just like Paul H. O'Neill, the man he expects to replace as Treasury secretary, John W. Snow has been chosen for President Bush's Cabinet after heading a major U.S. corporation and serving in a top executive-branch job in the Ford administration. When Snow was introduced yesterday as Bush's nominee for the Treasury post, Washington and Wall Street were abuzz over how he represented a smooth-mannered, politically savvy version of the pugnacious O'Neill.

"If you were looking for someone who was a clone of Paul O'Neill, you would probably find John Snow," said Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis. "It's the same person without the rough edges."

But while Snow's strong point may be that he brings an easygoing temperament and the keen political instincts that O'Neill famously lacks, his record as chief executive of CSX Corp., a giant railroad operator, has drawn less favorable reviews than O'Neill's tenure running Alcoa Inc. Some of the actions Snow took -- and failed to take -- while in charge of CSX may prove politically troublesome to the White House as his nomination proceeds to the Senate.

Two years ago, for example, the railroad was cited by federal authorities for significant track-safety violations -- a stark contrast with the situation at Alcoa, where O'Neill's obsession with eliminating workplace accidents made the aluminum company America's safest major firm. A merger that Snow engineered with Conrail, the freight line once owned by the government, has been plagued by problems. Perhaps most important, Snow's compensation and the ties between members of the company's board of directors are akin to some of the practices that have aroused public fury at business executives' behavior after a series of scandals over the past year.

Through an executive compensation program, as of late 1996 CSX had lent Snow $24.5 million toward the purchase of company stock valued at $32.3 million, according to a report the firm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. CSX's stock price stock subsequently declined, and in 2000 the company forgave outstanding loans to Snow and other executives.

Furthermore, the independence of the CSX board of directors' compensation committee was compromised, the AFL-CIO charged, because its chairman and one of its members had purchased millions of dollars of property from CSX subsidiaries in the real estate business.

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said the loan-forgiveness program "was available to a large number of senior [CSX] executives and was legal, appropriate and fully disclosed to shareholders at the time." Concerning the real estate purchases involving members of the compensation committee, the company said they "were at market prices and on an arm's-length basis."

Snow also sold 120,000 shares of CSX stock at $35.22 a share on Aug. 8, less than a month before the company announced that its third-quarter outlook was weakening because of slowing coal traffic -- a revelation that caused its shares to drop to about $29. The stock has hovered at $26 to $29 since then.

A company official said yesterday that Snow's sales came within the legally permitted time frame after a promising report that the company issued on July 25 stating, among other things, that the hot summer would cause utilities to order more coal. CSX executives were shocked when that forecast proved wrong, the official said.

Notwithstanding those controversies, Snow has been a leader in the corporate community on ethics issues, co-chairing the Conference Board's Blue-Ribbon Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise. Indeed, he has devoted an enormous amount of his time in recent years to public policy matters, including heading the Business Roundtable, a powerful organization of major corporations, in the mid-1990s. As a result, Snow tended not to engage in day-to-day operations of CSX except in crisis situations such as the charges of safety violations, when he moved swiftly and forcefully to rectify problems, according to company officials.

"His heart was not always in running a business," said one close friend, who said Snow has often expressed a desire to return to government service. "He's been looking for an exit strategy." Under an employment agreement signed last year, Snow may receive severance benefits worth millions of dollars if he left the company to "fulfill an appointment to public office," a company report shows.

Snow's record reveals why he would make such an appealing candidate to a White House seeking a smooth pitchman for its economic program. According to those who have watched him operate, Snow is disinclined by temperament to alienate important constituencies or blurt out zingers -- the sort of behavior that got O'Neill into trouble when, for example, he worried aloud on television that international loans to Latin America would be siphoned away into Swiss bank accounts.

"The most surprising thing is how much his background is substantively like O'Neill's," said William A. Niskanen, the former chief economist in the Reagan White House who is now chairman of the Cato Institute. "But he has a reputation for having good relations with Congress. He shepherded CSX through a period of substantial industry deregulation in the late '70s, and bought Conrail, which required political approval. Those are traits that I think will serve him well."

Much of Snow's career, from his time in government during the Ford administration to his management and sale of CSX's shipping subsidiary, Sea Land Services, was devoted to the deregulation of transportation, beginning with airlines and ending with ocean shipping in the 1990s. Snow, a PhD economist with a law degree, rose from assistant general counsel at the Transportation Department in 1972 to deputy undersecretary in 1975. He was administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1976 to 1977.

Because of his salesmanship abilities and credibility, he was one of the Ford administration's principal champions of transportation deregulation.

[end of page one]

"I think that John brings together all the skills and knowledge he needs to deal with Washington, combined with knowledge of how to run a big corporation," said Rush Loving, a Baltimore transportation consultant who is writing a book about the acquisition of Conrail by CSX and Norfolk Southern Corp.

But Snow's distant management style has led him to crisis after crisis. In the spring of 2000, when the Federal Railroad Administration cited CSX for deteriorating track conditions leading to a 60 percent increase in track-caused accidents over five years, Snow immediately announced that he would personally lead an internal review of CSX's maintenance practices.

"One of the things John can do is make big decisions," said Tom Hoppin, who worked with Snow in government and later served as one of his top corporate officials before retiring. "John never had any trouble saying no."

His boldest move by far, the surprise bid for Conrail in October 1996, triggered a bidding war with Norfolk Southern that ended with Conrail being split between the two. Because the price was bid so high -- to $10.5 billion -- both companies were saddled with enormous debt that has put a severe damper on CSX's profitability ever since.

Those troubles contributed to the decline in CSX stock that led to the company forgiving the millions of dollars in loans to Snow and other officers.

When CSX offered to forgive those loans, it also returned stock valued at more than $4 million that Snow had used as a down payment. The down payment was supposed to be "at risk," CSX reports said.

"The retroactive forgiveness of these loans that were used to buy CSX stock . . . has the appearance of rewarding failure," William B. Patterson, director of the AFL-CIO's investment office, wrote in a letter last year to the chairman of CSX's compensation committee.

"This is as egregious as any situation we encountered," Patterson said yesterday.

CSX Vice President Robert W. Shinn said yesterday that after CSX acquired Conrail, "the board recognized that the original expectations of this compensation plan were no longer valid" because "it often takes several years to realize the benefits of rail mergers."

Corporate loans to executives and directors were banned as part of the legislation passed this year in response to scandals at companies such as Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. The founder and onetime chief executive of WorldCom received loans of more than $400 million to buy stock.

In a July interview, Snow was asked by CNN anchor Aaron Brown whether he had gotten "any $400 million loans." Snow replied, "No, that's a pretty staggering number, isn't it?"

Asked if the proposal to ban such loans went too far, Snow said he could "see some valid uses for some loans under some circumstances . . . but certainly there's been abuse of this."

Commentary:
How many loans worth millions have YOU had forgiven? If the answer is none, then this isn't someone we should admire or expect to lead us in the right direction. Rewarding failure is why conservatives say they hate socialism. Too bad they don't practice what they preach. Also, recall how republicans attacked Clinton appointee's because of so-called sweet-heart deals. Times change don't they? Today, you can't be a republican and be in public life if you haven' gotten one.

Finally, from other press reports it appears Bush thinks this man is better able to push his agenda. Too bad Bush's agenda is based on lies and half-truths. There are no surpluses guys, but they still pretend (and act) as if there are. Ignore the fact, I've already made up my mind conservatism. Yeah, that's what we need. Give me Bill Clinton any day.


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US Controls Iraqi Cop of Report--appalling
ABCNews.com/Reuters
December 10, 2002
By Nadim Ladki

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said Tuesday that Washington had strong-armed the United Nations into ceding control over Baghdad's arms dossier and predicted the Americans would use the 12,000-page document as a pretext to wage war.

U.N. member countries, including Norway and Syria, also assailed the United Nations over the dossier, accusing the world body of favoring the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia while relegating others to "'B' class membership."

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said Washington had wrested control over distribution of the documents from the United Nations in "an unprecedented blackmail operation."

"This American behavior aims at manipulating United Nations documents to find covers for aggression against Iraq," said a statement, as U.N. arms experts hunting for banned weapons began their biggest search of a nearly two-week-old mission.

Chased by a motorcade of journalists, inspectors sped out of their Baghdad headquarters Tuesday to investigate five sites, including the alleged center of Iraq's nuclear program.

The facility, 250 miles northwest of Baghdad, has been alleged to be where Iraq produced "yellow cake" -- refined uranium ore -- used in Iraq's nuclear program.

President Bush has vowed to lead an international coalition to disarm Iraq by force if necessary, while Baghdad insists it has none of the nuclear, biological or chemical weapons Washington alleges it has.

The dossier, which is supposed to give a full accounting of Iraq's past and present weapons programs, was ordered by the Security Council as part of a tough new resolution demanding Iraq disarm or face the possibility of war.

EARLY AND UNCUT COPY

Diplomats and U.S. officials said Monday that after an intense lobbying campaign, the United States received an early and uncut copy of Iraq's 11,807-page weapons declaration and whisked it to Washington for analysis.

The United States was then put in charge of making duplicates for its four fellow permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France and Russia -- on grounds that Washington had the best photocopying capabilities.

Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the Security Council president for December, said he made the decision after coming under pressure from the United States. He said he called Security Council members and "we did it."

The Security Council had previously agreed to leave the report with U.N. inspectors until it was screened for material that might aid others in making weapons. All five permanent members are nuclear powers.

The decision upset several of the 10 non-permanent members of the 15-member Security Council, including Norway and Syria, as it overrode what the body had decided Friday.

"It's in contradiction to...every kind of logic in the Security Council," Syrian U.N. Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe told the BBC.

"It's quite unacceptable to have a 'B' class membership," Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen told NRK public radio. "It is important that all members of the Council should have the same access to the material."

Diplomats said the dossier appeared to contain the names of foreign arms suppliers -- something that could prove embarrassing for the countries involved, including Security Council members.

U.S. CONCLUSIONS WEEKS AWAY

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he expected U.S. experts to take weeks to draw conclusions about the dossier, which Iraq issued at the weekend in hopes of avoiding war.

"The thing to do is to not prejudge it, be patient and expect that it will take days and weeks probably to go over, and come to some judgments about it," Rumsfeld told reporters before his arrival Tuesday in the Eritrean capital Asmara.

U.S. experts are expected to search for discrepancies between Iraq's disclosures and U.S. intelligence data.

A global Reuters survey of 18 defense experts, released on Tuesday, showed that 10 believed war was still likely or very likely and six said chances were 50-50 that U.S. troops would go into Iraq, probably in January or February.

In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said it would be naive to think that President Saddam Hussein was likely to comply with the U.N. demands. But official Iraqi newspapers accused the United States and Britain of planning to attack Iraq despite Baghdad's handover of a "complete and accurate" dossier.

In an apparent swipe at Washington, Russia said U.N. arms inspectors should draw their own conclusions about the dossier before states accused Iraq of breaking U.N. resolutions.

In Washington, the U.S. military said U.S. and British warplanes attacked an anti-aircraft missile system in a "no-fly" zone in southern Iraq in response to what it called "Iraqi threats against coalition aircraft."

Commentary:
Bush is so afraid of what is in the report that he and the US get an uncut version of the report and then get to make all the copies everyone else sees. Why? What is Bush hiding and why does the US insist on making the copies for other countries? Is Bush and his cronies going to create new pages, eliminate others etc. Yep! Appalling! After Bush is finished with the report it won't be worth the paper it's written on. We can only hope there are other versions.


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Conservative Group Vows to Defeat New Economic Advisor
Original Title:Bush Under Pressure to Reconsider Economic Adviser
Reuters.com
December 10, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is under pressure from conservative Republicans to reconsider the expected appointment of former Goldman, Sachs Chairman Stephen Friedman as chief economic adviser due to concerns about his commitment to tax cuts, Republican sources said on Tuesday. "We are doing everything we can to quash this appointment," said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a pro-tax-cut lobby group. "We're not real high on him. He is a deficit-phobic."

Friedman's appointment appeared all but locked up over the weekend and administration officials said he was still likely to get the nod to replace ousted National Economic Council Chairman Lawrence Lindsey. But one official cautioned: "Nothing has ever been final on that."

Moore and other conservatives dislike Friedman's association with centrist groups such as the Concord Coalition, which was founded to promote deficit-reduction policies.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declined to speculate on the appointment.

Commentary:
This conservative group wants tax cuts no matter what, even though we know the cut Bush already passed are causing massive deficits. Typical conservative. Don't bother him with the facts, he's already made up his mind.


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Poll-Evangelical Christians one of the least likable groups
datalounge.com/
December 6, 2002

This article has nothing to do with Bush or republicans but it's something very few news organizations will report. Censorship in America is still Level Red--the highest category.

WASHINGTON -- The American Family Association, a far right lobbying group in Washington, released results from a recent survey that shows mainstream Americans see evangelical Christians as one of the least likable groups in the country.

Researchers from the Barna survey asked respondents how they felt about evangelicals, born-again Christians, ministers, and other groups of people in society. According to the survey, evangelicals came in tenth out of eleven, narrowly beating out prostitutes.

Fellow evangelical George Barna, president of the Barna Research Group, said religious conservatives "have a lot of work to do" in combating the general public's negative views.

Speaking to distressed members of the AFA, he said, "We may not be 'evil' people, we may not be 'bad' people -- we may be completely loving and wonderful. But somehow we are being perceived by non-Christians in America as a group of people who are not particularly loving [and] not particularly generous, kind, or understanding."

Particularly galling to the AFA constituency was the country's more open embrace of gay men and lesbians. Gay people, a group conservatives frequently slander and oppose politically, ranked significantly higher in the survey than evangelicals.

"Whether that's because the media portray evangelicals in a negative light or because [religious conservatives have] earned that 'badge of dishonor,' if you will, we've got to figure that out," said Barna, "we have to address that."

Affirming results from other studies, the Barna survey also found the more highly educated non-evangelicals are, the less likely they are to have a positive view of fundamentalist Christians.


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Court rules against NRA and Ashcroft--2nd Amendment *
Original Title:Federal Court Rules Citizens Do Not Have Individual Right to Bear Arms
FoxNews.com/AP
December 06, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court, upholding California's assault-weapons ban, decided that the Second Amendment does not guarantee individuals the right to bear arms.

The three-judge panel's unanimous ruling Thursday conflicts with Attorney General John Ashcroft's interpretation of the Second Amendment and with a 2001 ruling by the federal appeals in New Orleans.

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the amendment's right to bear arms is intended to maintain effective state militias and is not an individual right.

"The historical record makes it equally plain that the amendment was not adopted in order to afford rights to individuals with respect to private gun ownership or possession," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the same federal court that ruled earlier this year that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the separation of church and state.

National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said it was too early to know how Thursday's ruling will affect the gun rights debate, but he said the NRA was disappointed.

"For 131 years we've been standing steadfastly to protect the freedoms of all law abiding Americans and stand steadfastly that the Second Amendment is an individual right and will continue to do so," Arulanandam said.

The amendment reads, in full: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

In its ruling last year, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the Second Amendment does protect an individual's right to bear arms, but that those rights are subject to narrowly tailored restrictions.

Ashcroft has said that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms, compelling a flood of defendants to petition federal judges to vacate their weapons convictions.

Judges, however, have balked at the petitions and upheld the laws prohibiting felons from possessing firearms and other gun prohibitions. Many of those cases are on appeal.

Attorneys for the gun owners who sued in the case decided Thursday did not return telephone calls seeking comment on whether they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The appellate court said the high court's guidance on the gun control issue has been "not entirely illuminating."

In 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal law prohibiting the interstate transport of sawed-off shotguns. The Supreme Court found that the weapon in question was not suitable for use in the militia and therefore not constitutionally protected.

In Thursday's case, weapons owners challenged 1999 amendments to the 1989 California law that outlawed 75 high-powered weapons with rapid-fire capabilities.

The initial law, enacted in response to a 1989 schoolyard shooting in Stockton that killed five children and wounded 30, banned certain makes and models of firearms. The amendments banned additional "copycat" weapons based on a host of features, instead of particular models.

"While I respect the rights of Californians to pursue hunting and sports shooting, and of law-abiding citizens to protect their homes and businesses, there is no need for these military style weapons to be on the streets in our state," said Bill Lockyer, California's attorney general.

Following California's lead, several states and the federal government have passed similar or stricter bans.

The 9th Circuit has been known for rulings to the left of its peers.

In June, another 9th Circuit panel ruled that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. Reinhardt voted with the majority in that 2-1 ruling, which is on hold pending appeal.

The case is Silveira v. Lockyer, 01-15098. (PDF)

Commentary:
It's not important what you think about the 2nd Amendment but it is important to know that special interest groups (the NRA) and Ashcroft have been lying about the second for far too long.

If you have the time read the case listed above (a link is provided). Or if time is limited, read page 56 of the ruling. If after reading the whole ruling you disagree with it, I'd be very surprised. I have a feeling conservative nuts will never read the ruling but will spend days trying to destroy it.
Also, if the gun issue is boring for you, read it for the history. Very rich!

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