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Impeach Bush

Frist And The Power of Money

Unemployed to Lose Benefits

Bush Loses Printing War

UN Inspector to Bush--show me!

Printing Flap *

Bush and Ashcroft--racists

Most Favor Nuclear Option Against Iraq

Ground Forces Chiefs, Pentagon at Odds

Bush Advised to Declare Iraq in Violation of U.N.

 
Frist And The Power of Money
.AP/Washington Post
By Siobhan McDonough/Associated Press Writer
December 27, 2002

-WASHINGTON –– As fund-raiser-in-chief for Republican Senate candidates, Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist helped generate record amounts for colleagues who in January will address him as "Mr. Majority Leader."

During his two years at the helm of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Frist helped raise $124 million, money that fueled the GOP's takeover of the Senate last month. The 50-year-old heart surgeon turned politician also gave Republicans hundreds of thousands of dollars from his own political action committee.

Frist is also proud of his party's get-out-the-vote drive last month. "Normally, it is the Democrats who are so good at turning out the vote," he says on the NRSC's Web site. "But this year we had a plan in place and we executed it with surgical precision."

Senate Republicans on Monday chose the second-term senator to replace Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi as the head of their caucus when Congress reconvenes Jan. 7, the GOP holding an effective 51-49 majority. Lott agreed to give up the post last week amid a furor over racially insensitive remarks he made Dec. 5 at a 100th birthday celebration for retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

As the Senate GOP's campaign chairman, Frist spent two years collecting from candidates he sought out and persuaded to run for office, then gave them and incumbents the money and tools to win.

Frist helped collect more than $58 million in regulated "hard" money donations for GOP Senate candidates in the 2001-02 election cycle, exceeding the $48 million raised by the Democrats' Senate campaign committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

He also helped raise more than $66 million in "soft" money – large, unregulated gifts from corporations and wealthy individuals – breaking the NRSC's own soft-money record of $43 million in 2000, according to the nonpartisan research group that tracks the money in politics.

In addition, Frist gave $232,000 to Republican candidates by dipping into his own leadership fund-raising committee, Volunteer PAC.

He gave the maximum $10,000 donation to 16 candidates, several of whom were in tight races, including incumbent Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado and six newcomers: Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, John Sununu of New Hampshire, James Talent of Missouri and John Cornyn of Texas. Suzanne Terrell of Louisiana, another beneficiary, lost to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in a Dec. 7 runoff.

Volunteer PAC also sent $620,000 in hard and soft money to the NRSC.

His success put Frist in the perfect position to assume his party's mantel when Lott stumbled. It also endeared him to a White House that for the first time in 18 months will have its own party controlling the agenda in the Senate as well as the House.

"Senator Frist has tremendous integrity, an ethic of hard work and the ability to lead," said Talent, who lobbied other Republicans in the incoming Senate class to support the Tennessean.

Dole also praised Frist's "excellent job" at the NRSC, predicting he will follow up his leadership on important health care issues to become "a compassionate and effective majority leader."

Democrats, meanwhile, recognize Frist as an astute play of hardball politics.

"He authorized the first attacks of my re-election campaign against me and I understand that," said Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who defeated the White House's hand-picked challenger, Rep. John Thune, by fewer than 550 votes.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, citing alleged incidents of intimidation of minority voters in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and New Jersey, called Frist's elevation to Senate leader "disturbing."

"If the Republican Party is sincere in wanting to reconcile its poor record on race, it's not enough to get rid of Trent Lott," McAuliffe said. "Senator Frist should start this effort now with a full accounting of the voter intimidation incidents that happened on his watch."

Frist is a Harvard Medical School graduate and founder of Vanderbilt University's organ transplant center. He also is the son of the founder of HCA, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain.

Commentary:
This story is very telling about about how far politics has fallen in recent years. Frist isn't a great leader, a great mind or a man who inspires others. Instead, he's a leader because he can raise money and lots of it. When did this man have time to do his job? Like Bush he spends most of his time raising money and governing, well, that's for the small people out there. Wouldn't it be nice to read Frist is a great legislator instead?

Republicans out-spent democrats by $186 million in 2002. Why does the press ignore this very important fact? Did conservative ideas win in the last election or did money? You figure it out. [hint: The era of ideas died when Bill Clinton left office]


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Unemployed to Lose Benefits
AP/Washington Post
By Leigh Strope/AP Labor Writer
December 27, 2002

WASHINGTON –– Federal unemployment benefits will get cut off Saturday for almost 800,000 jobless workers because Congress failed to pass an extension before adjourning for the year.

There's little holiday hope for those unemployed workers, and the 95,000 each week thereafter who start losing state benefits. Congress won't reconvene until Jan. 7.

"Regrettably, the House Republican leadership turned their backs on these families and refused to act, and the administration chose not to intervene before Congress adjourned," Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle said Friday. "This inaction by Republicans was unconscionable then and it is even more so now."

The Democratic-led Senate approved a comprehensive benefits extension costing anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion that would have covered people affected by Saturday's cutoff and another 1 million who already had exhausted all benefits. The House passed a more modest $900 million plan of five extra weeks for workers in a few states with high unemployment rates. But the two sides failed to resolve their differences.

President Bush, after weeks of criticism from Democrats, ended his silence on the issue in his radio address last week and said extending benefits for the unemployed should be the "first order of business" for the new Congress. But he failed to say how many people should be covered and for how long, or which plan he favors.

Democrats and groups supporting an extension complained again Friday that Bush's refusal to press Congress was to blame for Saturday's cutoffs.

"The president's announcement was too little, too late for the unemployed," said Maurice Emsellem, public policy director for the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for the jobless.

The expiring federal benefits package – up to 13 weeks – was passed in March to help workers who were starting to run out of their state benefits, which in most cases allow up to 26 weeks. Jobless workers who haven't exhausted their entire 13-week federal extension still will get cut off Saturday.

GOP leaders claimed the government could not afford the $5 billion price tag on the Senate plan. They also said the economy is improving. The nation's unemployment rate climbed to 6.0 percent last month, while in previous recessions, the rate was much higher – 10.8 percent in 1983 and 7.8 percent in 1992.

But supporters of an extension argue that it would help boost the economy by giving money to the people who need it most.

Commentary:
There are so many flaws in this article, where does one begin? "GOP leaders" in the second to last paragraph. Who are these nuts? Do they include Trent (spend-a Lot) Lott, or Bush (spender-in chief)? Republicans borrow money from middle class programs like social security and Medicare and give it to the rich. Then they tell us we don't have enough to help those who need it because they gave it all away to those who don't need it. The borrow and spend tactics of conservatism is immoral. I think most people are getting that part. Borrowing money (ie: deficits) and then giving that money away (ie:tax cuts) is immoral. Lucky for us most Americans are too ignorant to know how crafty and evil this belief system is.


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Bush Loses Printing War
AP/Washington Post
December 27, 2002
By Larry Margasak

WASHINGTON –– The charts, graphs and endless numbers that comprise the next $2 trillion-plus federal budget will be produced, as before, by the Government Printing Office. Behind that simple fact is a break with 81 years of tradition.

For the first time since the initial budget was printed in 1921, the nation's public printer had to earn the job through competitive bidding.

The Government Printing Office won with an offer of $387,000, the Office of Management and Budget announced this week, a sharp reduction from the more than $500,000 the GPO charged last year. Based on a comparable amount of work, the estimated savings are $118,370, the budget office said.

The White House budget office and the printing office have been feuding over the need for competition, with Bush administration officials arguing it would save money and the GPO insisting the bidding was unnecessary.

After the announcement, both sides claimed victory. The administration touted the savings; the printing office said the competition proved that nobody could beat its price.

The budget for the upcoming fiscal year is to be released Feb. 3. The GPO will print at least four of the five volumes; one might be handled by a private printer if, as last year, the White House wants special color technology.

The GPO also makes the budget available on compact disks and over the Internet.

The printing office was founded in 1861 to separate the government's printing work from political patronage.

The budget work bidding won't end the dispute between the White House and the GPO.

Mitchell Daniels Jr., the director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced in May the administration would require competitive bids for executive branch printing of all types, which now costs $650 million a year.

He estimated the change would save taxpayers $50 million to $70 million annually in surcharges that agencies now pay the printing office.

Printing office spokesman Andrew Sherman has disputed those numbers, pointing out the GPO already subcontracts 75 percent of its work to private companies that must bid for the jobs.

Each federal agency would have to hire its own experts to handle the competition now consolidated at the centralized printing office, Sherman said.

Daniels' spokesman, Trent Duffy, said the bidding for the budget "proves competition works. This represents the potential and opportunity for massive savings across the government when competition is introduced in the contracting process," he said.

Sherman said the GPO's competitive victory shows his office has "the most efficient way to get it done." Only the printing office has a distribution system to send copies to all federal agencies, members of Congress, the courts and 1,200 designated libraries where the public can view the documents, he said.

"No private printer could do that," he said. Asked how the GPO could now do the job for less, Sherman responded, "We sharpened our pencils and re-engineered our processes to give them a better price."

Duffy said OMB, by law, could not reveal the bids of GPO's competitors.

Commentary:
I like the last line in this article. "...OMB, by law, could not reveal the bids..." Since when did Bush's OMB care about the law? Bush and his OMB might want to read up on Title 44 and stop breaking the law.

the GPO bid is lower than last year. But who's to say that bid is accurate. Bush is ASSUMING the bid is correct, but in reality, the number will most likely be a lot higher. GPO will simply shift its costs to another printing job. What a joke. If Bush ask and gets less money for GPO in the next budget (won't happen) we'll know he was successful. If on the other hand he asks for and gets more money (will happen) we'll know this was all a sham. Dah! Another example of the "illusion of savings," from the budget-buster-in -chief.


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UN Inspector to Bush--show me!
AbcNews.com/Reuters.com
By Paul Majendie
December 20, 2002

LONDON (Reuters) - Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said on Friday the United States and Britain are not giving him the intelligence he needs to prove Iraq may be concealing weapons of mass destruction.

Asked if he was getting all the co-operation he wanted from Western intelligence agencies, Blix said: "Not yet. We get some but we don't get all we need."

"If the UK and the US are convinced and they say they have evidence, well then one would expect that they would be able to tell us where is this stuff," he told BBC radio.

As he called for more help from Western intelligence, his inspectors resumed their hunt for banned weapons in Iraq.

Working on the Muslim rest day for the second week in a row, they drove to the sprawling al-Tuwaitha complex, the main site of Iraq's nuclear program.

But Blix said they needed the eyes and ears of Western spies and satellites to make the search more effective.

"The most important thing that governments like the UK or the US could give us would be to tell us of sites where they are convinced that they keep some weapons of mass destruction. This is what we want to have," he said.

"We get a lot of briefings about what they believe the Iraqis have. But what of course you really need to have is an indication of a place where things are stored -- if they know it," he said.

"They have all their methods to look, to listen to telephone conversations. They have spies, they have satellite etc. They have a lot of sources which we do not have."

Washington said it was already providing Blix's team with information they needed.

"We will provide the inspectors with every possible assistance and all the support they need to succeed in their crucial mission. And we are doing that," a State Department spokesman said.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose country has threatened to disarm Iraq by force if need be, said Baghdad was in "material breach" of a U.N. Security Council resolution by failing to disclose its arms of mass destruction.

Britain said it was "deeply disappointed" with Iraq's arms declaration, given to the council on December 7, but stopped short of calling it a material breach, language that could be used to justify war against President Saddam Hussein.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Iraq had so far treated inspections as "a bit of a game of hide and seek."

Blix agreed, telling the BBC: "If the Iraqis gave us full co-operation, we would not need any intelligence."

Asked if the 12,000-page Iraqi dossier amounted to full disclosure, he said: "We don't know. It may be full disclosure or it may not be.

"We do not think that Iraq has submitted adequate supporting evidence for the text and therefore we would say that the Security Council can have no confidence that this is a complete document."

Asked what was missing from the Iraqi document, he said: "If you produce anthrax or mustard gas, then you have records and it should be possible to find them.

"They have all the evidence in their archives and they could present that and they have failed to do so," Blix said. "The declaration per se is not credible."

Commentary:
Blix, Bush and Blair have one problem. They use the word "if" as if it is absolute truth. Note the second to last paragraph in this story. "If you produce anthrax...then you have records." His entire argument is based on the word "if." [if cows could jump over the boom we'd have something really cool to talk about]. But, Blix is a lot smarter than Bush in that he wants Bush to prove Iraq has these weapons. The old saying, "put up, or shut up" comes to mind.

Bush has had a year to make his case against Iraq and still can't do it. Can we find a more inept man to be president? It's time like these that I miss Bill Clinton. At least Bill told us the truth.


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Printing Flap--Impeachable Offense *
washingtonpost.com
December 20, 2002
By Alan Cooperman

Producing the federal budget is never simple, but this year, there's an extra rub: a battle over the physical production of the document itself.

That responsibility for years has gone to the Government Printing Office, whose 1.5 million-square-foot plant five blocks from the Capitol is the world's largest facility for processing, printing and distributing documents.

But now the White House's Office of Management and Budget is proposing to decentralize and largely privatize the government's printing operations, beginning with President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal 2004, a four-volume set totaling 3,030 pages.

In an Oct. 29 letter, OMB Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. informed the GPO that the White House was seeking competitive bids for the printing contract, and he invited the GPO to submit its best price. This week, the OMB proudly hailed the result: The GPO offered to do the job for $387,000 if the document is in black and white, or $412,000 if the White House wants its red ink displayed in, say, red ink.

The OMB is still mulling bids from private contractors and says it will announce before Christmas who will print the budget, due Feb. 3. But it appears competition has cut the cost by at least 18 percent from last year, when the GPO charged $505,000 to print a document that had about 100 fewer pages.

"We want competition because it saves the taxpayers money, and this proves it," said OMB spokeswoman Amy Call.

Not so fast, says the GPO. The printing office acknowledges that "we sharpened our pencils and re-engineered our processes to give them a very competitive bid," said spokesman Andrew M. Sherman. But, he added, there are still many reasons why the federal government should turn to the GPO for the printing of official documents.

To begin with, Sherman noted, it is the law. Title 44, the federal statute on printing, requires executive branch agencies to use the GPO, an arm of Congress.

The OMB says the law is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. The administration is revising regulations to allow all 130 federal departments and agencies to contract independently with commercial printers, a plan the GPO fears could result in the loss of as much as half its 3,000 employees and two-thirds of its $712 million in annual revenue.

Congress, however, has perennially thwarted such plans. In 1994, Vice President Al Gore proposed much the same thing as part of his Reinventing Government initiative. So did the Reagan White House in 1987. In fact, the dispute over whether it is more or less costly to centralize government printing goes all the way back to the floor debate before Congress established the GPO in 1860.

The White House might have expected to gain the upper hand this year when Bush nominated Bruce R. James, a Republican from Nevada, to head the GPO. As an entrepreneur who ran several printing companies before retiring in 1993, James appeared to be a natural ally in the administration's effort.

But James, 59, who was confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 20 and began work as the nation's public printer last week, has stood up for the GPO.

"It makes a lot of sense from the point of view of saving taxpayers' money to centralize the procurement of government printing," he said in an interview. "I think Mr. Daniels initially didn't understand that the GPO has built over the years probably the most efficient printing procurement operation in the country."

What OMB officials did not seem to realize until recently, James added, was that the GPO already farms out the bulk of the government's printing to the private sector. In its own plant, the GPO prints only the Federal Register, the Congressional Record, blank U.S. passports and a few large or specialized products, such as the budget. It seeks competitive bids from a pool of 16,000 private printers across the country for more than 80 percent of the work it receives from the executive branch.

Angela Styles, the OMB's administrator of procurement policy, said the White House was well aware that the GPO acts as a clearinghouse for competitive bidding. But she said many agencies chafe at the GPO's "severe" fee for that service -- 7 percent of the contract's cost in most cases, and 14 percent if the lead time is less than 10 days.

Sherman said the GPO not only supervises contracts but also distributes documents to federal depositories, ensuring that they are catalogued and made available to the public. If hundreds of government entities were to contract independently, he said, there would be more documents missing from the public record.

Styles said there are already many "fugitive" documents because "agencies are fed up" with the GPO's high prices and cumbersome procedures.

Robert S. Willard, executive director of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, an independent board that advises both Congress and the White House, said the argument over printing persists because "the real numbers aren't known."

"Nobody has done a thorough study on this," Willard said. "It's a gut-level reaction that if we went out to commercial printers for bids, we'd get lower prices. But that ignores the fact that the GPO has been going out to bids for a long time, and if instead of one office seeking bids there were hundreds, then commercial printers would have to hire a sales force to look for those contracts, and that would result in higher prices."

James said he has proposed to the OMB that both sides call off the fight.

"I'm not sure that OMB is completely wrong that we could be more efficient," he said. "But instead of blowing up the system we have now, I have proposed that OMB and GPO work together to improve the efficiency of the system we have in place, and especially to focus on the big issue for the future, which is how to publish and retain information electronically."

Both offices, James said, "have spent a lot of time and energy on a 19th century issue when we should be concentrating on a 21st century one."

Commentary:
Bush and his cronies violate the laws of our land once more. Title 44 clearly is the law and Bush is breaking it. Why do we have laws if Bush doesn't have to follow them. Are laws made for only us mortals? Impeach Bush and save the "rule of law."

"Sec. 1101. - Printing and binding for the President
The Public Printer shall execute such printing and binding for the President as he may order and make requisition for."

The word "shall" means must. As in the President shall be Commander in Chief, or the Congress shall coin money. The Printing Office "must" do the printing, and OMB has no business violating the laws of our land.

Note how Mr. Gore recommend changes (that is; using the legislative process to make change) while Bush ignores the core of our Constitution by ignoring the Congress. One is good, the other is not. Figure out which is right.


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Bush and Ashcroft--racists
cnn.com
January 12, 2001

Editor's Note:Bush and Ashcroft spoke at Bob Jones University, which is well known for its racist beliefs. If Bush of Ashcroft aren't racists, they sure know how to let racists to know they're on their side. It's seems hypocritical to criticize Lott for what Bush and Ashcroft have done (ie:pander to racists and anti-Catholics).

A few weeks ago the media was telling us how loyal Bush was. After firing so many people and sticking a knife in Lott's back, they look as stupid as ever.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In remarks at Bob Jones University in 1999, John Ashcroft, now attorney general-designee, told a commencement audience that "America is different. We have no king but Jesus."

"When you have no king but Jesus, you release the eternal, you release the highest and best, you release virtue, you release potential," continued Ashcroft, who was a U.S. Senator from Missouri at the time.

Ashcroft, speaking after receiving an honorary degree, said, "Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal."

Bob Jones University, in Greenville, South Carolina, is a college known for its strict religious academic and social programs. Activists opposed to Ashcroft's nomination are using the former senator's speech there as proof that he would not uphold certain civil rights and abortion laws.

President-elect George W. Bush came under fire when he made an appearance at the school during last year's presidential primary season, and later said he was wrong not to denounce the institution's policies banning inter-racial dating.

The transcript of the speech was released by the Bush-Cheney transition office late Friday. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, had asked the transition team for the transcript in a letter to Vice President-elect Cheney on Thursday.

Documents from Ashcroft's early political career in Missouri, where he served as attorney general and governor, were sent to Leahy's office mid-day Friday.

The transition office also released a partial transcript of a 1998 speech to the Detroit Economic Club in which Ashcroft spoke of his faith in a different way. Ashcroft told that group, "We must embrace the power of faith, but we must never confuse politics and piety. For me, may I say that it is against my religion to impose my religion."


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Most Favor Nuclear Option Against Iraq
.WashingtonPost.com
By Richard Morin
December 18, 2002

Most Americans favor using nuclear weapons against Iraq if Saddam Hussein attacks U.S. military forces with chemical or biological weapons in a war that the public believes is virtually inevitable, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey found that six in 10 Americans favored a nuclear response if Hussein orders use of chemical or biological weapons on U.S. troops. Slightly more than a third -- 37 percent -- were opposed. Nearly nine in 10 Americans said the United States is headed for war with Iraq, which most Americans believe possesses weapons of mass destruction.

"We need to get Saddam Hussein out of power, even if it means using nuclear weapons, particularly if they attack us with dirty weapons," said Rebecca Wingo, 35, a trucking dispatcher who lives in Johnstown, Ohio. "When you're dealing with people like him, the only thing they understand is brute force."

But the new survey also found that 58 percent of those interviewed would like to see President Bush present more evidence explaining why the United States should use military force to topple the Iraqi leader, up from 50 percent in September. And while most Americans view Iraq as a major threat, fewer than half said it poses an immediate danger to this country.

That finding and others suggest that Bush may be moving faster toward war than the public would prefer. At the time Americans are becoming more certain that war will break out, the survey found they also are growing more wary of the president and his motives for pressing to move quickly with military force against Iraq.

More than half -- 54 percent -- feared that Bush will act too quickly to use force, while 40 percent worried that he won't move quickly enough. And an even larger majority -- 58 percent -- opposed taking military action against Iraq without the support of the United Nations.

"Eventually, yes, I believe we will have to use force," said David Sherman, 49, who delivers medical oxygen and lives outside Grand Rapids, Mich. "But . . . I have not seen enough that would make me give my support for sending troops to go in right now."

Nina Russell, 67, of Mettie, W.Va., said, "It's really looking like war, but I'd like to know more facts about what Iraq has and what our friends plan to do. I worry that Bush has made it personal with Saddam Hussein."

For some Americans, skepticism about Bush's motives make it even more important that the United States secure support from its allies.

"He's got that little smirk on his face," said Brian Rust, 51, a Realtor living in Moneta, Va. "After 9/11, he wants to go out after some of those countries that were behind this and behind that. It concerns me a little bit. That's why I think it's important to have support from other countries, to use their airstrips or at least be able to say we have their support."

Overall, six in 10 -- 62 percent -- said they support using U.S. forces to topple Hussein. But when asked specifically if the United States should send American ground troops to invade Iraq, fewer than half -- 45 percent -- said yes while 50 percent disagreed.

Two-thirds of those interviewed said Bush has done enough to win the backing of other countries, up from barely half three months ago. Among those who say Bush as done enough, seven in 10 favored military strikes against Iraq. But among those who say he needs to do more, 54 percent opposed the military option, a finding that underscores the importance for Bush to secure international backing.

Overall, six in 10 -- 62 percent -- said they support using U.S. forces to topple Hussein. But support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq with ground forces stands at only 45 percent with 50 percent opposed.

A total of 1,209 randomly selected adults were interviewed Dec. 12-15 for this survey. The margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll found that homeland security, the war on terrorism and Iraq dominate the public's agenda, and overwhelm such perennial concerns as education, health care and Social Security. Nearly half of the country said homeland security and the campaign against terrorism were issues they wanted Bush and the Congress to give their "highest" priority. Four in 10 rated the economy and Iraq as a priority.

"After September 11, I'm feeling a little less secure," said Shannon Groskreutz, 22, a recent college graduate in Tallahassee. "I know the world is changing, and we need to concentrate right on making our country safer as well as spreading peace before we go on to other issues."

Barely six weeks after Republicans claimed both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections, this mix of defense and security issues has given Bush and the GOP a clear advantage over Democrats. By 2 to 1, the public trusts the Republicans more than Democrats to handle homeland security, terrorism and the situation with Iraq. The two parties are at parity on handling the economy, which barely a third of the public rated as "excellent" or "good."

Democrats hold more modest advantages over the GOP on domestic issues such as health care, education, Social Security and prescription drugs, issues that only a third or fewer Americans now rate as top priorities for Bush and Congress.

The Republican Party, by 44 to 41 percent, continues to be viewed by the public as the party best able to deal with the country's biggest problems.

Bush's overall job approval rating stood at 66 percent. Even larger percentages of Americans said they approved of the way the president is handling the anti-terrorism campaign (79 percent), while two-thirds approved of the way he is dealing with homeland security concerns. Nearly six in 10 -- 58 percent -- approved of the way he is handling the confrontation with Iraq.

Assistant director of polling Claudia Deane contributed to this report.

Commentary:
Let's see if I get this right. Saddam is so bad that Americans think we should use WMD to get rid of his WMD? Why exactly are we better than him again? Is it moral to kill hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions because we don't like Saddam? Seems so. Using that logic isn't it just as moral for him to kill hundreds of thousands or millions of Americans because he doesn't like us? Why are we better than him again? Hating another country is never grounds for war. War should be fought as a last resort...when the threat is obvious and imminent. Americans need to withdraw from the Party Propaganda. Lenin would be proud of us.

In fact, Americans are so ignorant, uninformed, inconsistent and wrong that we can't see that an invasion by the US on Iraq is just as wrong as Iraq invading Kuwait. Both are violations of International Law.

Good grief! The US has collectively gone nuts.


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Ground Forces Chiefs, Pentagon at Odds
WashingtonPost.com
By Thomas E. Ricks
December 18, 2002

With war possible soon in Iraq, the chiefs of the two U.S. ground forces are challenging the belief of some senior Pentagon civilians that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will fall almost immediately upon being attacked and are calling for more attention to planning for worst-case scenarios, Defense Department officials said.

The U.S. war plan for a possible attack on Iraq, which has been almost a year in the making, calls for a fast-moving ground attack without an overwhelming number of reinforcements on hand. Instead, some follow-on troops would be flown into Iraq from outside the region. Among other things, this "rolling start" would seek to achieve tactical surprise by launching an attack before the U.S. military appears ready to do so.

In addition, the plan calls for some armored units, instead of traveling a predetermined distance and pausing to allow slow-moving supply trucks to catch up, to charge across Iraq until they run into armed opposition and then engage in combat, officials said.

Those aspects of the plan, which appear riskier than usual U.S. military practice, worry the chief of the Army, Gen. Eric Shinseki, and the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James L. Jones, defense officials said.

Shinseki and Jones, who as service chiefs are members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have questioned the contention of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and other top officials that Hussein's government is likely to collapse almost as soon as a U.S. attack is launched, the officials said.

The two generals are concerned that the Wolfowitz school may underestimate the risks involved, the officials said. They have argued that planning should prepare thoroughly for worst-case scenarios, most notably one that planners have labeled "Fortress Baghdad," in which Hussein withdraws his most loyal forces into the Iraqi capital and challenges the United States to enter into protracted street fighting, perhaps involving chemical or biological weapons.

In an interview last night, Wolfowitz rejected the view that he has been over optimistic in his views. He said he also believes that, "You've got to be prepared for the worst case." He added: "It would be a terrible mistake for anyone to think they can predict with confidence what the course of a war is going to be." In discussions of the war plan, he said, he has repeatedly emphasized the risk of Hussein "using his most terrible weapons."

The dispute, which is taking place mainly in secret reviews of the war plan, promises to be the last major issue in the Pentagon's consideration of that plan, as more signs point toward forces being ready to launch a wide-ranging, highly synchronized ground and air attack in six to eight weeks. Psychological operations, such as leafleting and broadcasting into Iraq, have been stepped up lately, and there is talk at the Pentagon of large-scale troop movements or mobilizations being announced soon after the holidays.

The debate became more open last week when Jones alluded to it in comments made at a dinner held in his honor by former defense secretary William S. Cohen. Jones is scheduled next month to leave the Marine post to become the commander of U.S. military forces in Europe. At that dinner, Jones indicated that he and other senior officers did not share the "optimism" of others about the ease of fighting in Iraq.

In an interview, Jones said that he did not name who he thought was being overly optimistic. "I did not say, 'folks at the Pentagon,' " he said. "I said I didn't align myself with folks around town who seem to think that this is preordained to be a very easy military operation."

If a victory were swiftly won, he continued: "It is to be celebrated. But military planners should always plan for the worst case." He insisted that in his remarks he had not expressed a conclusion about how quickly Hussein might fall.

He said he believed that he and Shinseki, the Army chief, "are of the same view on this."

If anything, the Army's leadership is even more worried than Jones, said a senior officer who sides with the Wolfowitz view. "The Army really is conservative on this," he said dismissively.

The Army also has qualms about the likely burden of postwar peacekeeping in Iraq -- a mission that is likely to be executed mainly by the Army. "They're concerned they're going to be left holding the bag after everyone else has gone home," said Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who is now director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a small but influential defense think tank.

The chief of the Air Force, Gen. John P. Jumper, is said to side with the Wolfowitz view, believing that the opening round of bombing, combined with an intense propaganda campaign and Special Operations attacks, is likely to topple the government quickly. The fourth service chief, the Navy's Adm. VernClark, sides with Jumper, but not as emphatically, officials said.

The influence of the Joint Chiefs on military policy appears to have diminished under Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, so it is not clear what effect the recent round of questioning will have on the war plan.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Rumsfeld confidant, predicted that it would have little. "If the chiefs wanted to be extremely cautious, extremely conservative and design a risk-avoiding strategy, that would be nothing new," he said in an interview.

Gingrich, who also is a member of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory panel, said he was confident that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast, would not be swayed by suggestions that he include more reinforcements and plan a more cautious attack. Franks, he said, "will probably have a more integrated, more aggressive and more risk-taking plan."

Commentary:
War used to be the failure of diplomacy. Today, war is politics. What is driving the need for war is Bush's need to keep the media and the American people distracted from the complete failure of his policies. Has any other president failed so many times and been praised so often?

The military guys have been at war with the White House from DAY ONE. The political nuts (Rumsfeld etc) are the ones pushing war. War is about reelction, not about national security. Rummy knows Bush can't win reelection with the economy and government finances in shambles as they are. War it must be, damn it. WAR!


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Bush Advised to Declare Iraq in Violation of U.N.
FoxNews.com/AP
December 18, 2002

WASHINGTON — President Bush's national security advisers are recommending that he declare Iraq in violation of a United Nations disarmament order, administration officials say, but they do not consider the indictment an immediate trigger for war.

Instead, advisers expect Bush to chart a slightly more patient course that would push the prospects for military action into the new year.

The president was to hear from his advisers as early as Wednesday on options available to the United States in response to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's contention that he has no weapons of mass destruction.

At issue is a 12,000-page weapons declaration required under the U.S.-backed U.N. disarmament resolution. Administration officials have privately said for days that Bush considers the declaration laughably inadequate.

There has been some discussion inside the administration about immediately declaring Iraq in "material breach" of the resolution, which could provide Bush with what he considers legal justification for going to war.

However, the prospect was not seriously discussed Tuesday in a meeting of Bush's national security team, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday night.

Instead, advisers are ready to recommend that Bush allow the weapons inspectors to go ahead with their work while using the declaration's omissions to increase public pressure on both the United Nations and Iraq, the officials said.

Bush is expected to publicly make his case against the declaration on Friday, assuming he signs off on the recommendations, officials said. But the Friday time frame could change, they cautioned.

The strategy gaining most support on Bush's team is to increase pressure on U.N. weapons inspectors to seek interviews with Iraqi weapons scientists outside of Iraq, a prerogative given to the international body under the resolution.

Bush believes Saddam will resist such demands, giving the United States a case for "material breach" that U.S. allies and the American public may find more justified than hastier action, the officials said.

On the other hand, if Iraq surprises Bush and turns over the scientists, U.S. officials believe the witnesses would provide evidence that could be used against Saddam, officials said.

The strategy under consideration would, as a matter of course, mean military force could not be contemplated for several weeks.

The White House has said repeatedly it has evidence of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs, but it has yet to make any public.

The officials said Bush's team has several significant problems with the Iraqi document, including its failure to explain what happened to Saddam's chemical and biological weapons program after 1998.

The administration also takes issue with Saddam's denial of any nuclear weapons programs inside Iraq, the officials said.

Bush has said repeatedly he is willing to use force against Saddam, if necessary, and without the United Nations, if necessary. Many U.S. allies, and critics of Bush in the United States, say they fear he is looking for any excuse to wage war.

Commentary:
Once again we ask for the facts. Where is the evidence? We won't ever get it. The press will run with this story for days, weeks or months and it will have nothing of substance to tell us (but that won't stop them, it never does). This is the curse of the modern media. Propaganda doesn't require information, proof, or evidence. Bush says it, therefore it must be true. Great headline--worthless story. What a sad time we live in.


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