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Impeach Bush

How Greenland May Block Missile Defense

Senator Frist's Criminal Enterprise

Stocks Drop 3rd Year--Deepest Decline Since Depression

Majority of Schools Failing--Bush's Unfunded Mandate

Rove Making Policy *

Bush: Attack by Iraq Would Hurt Economy

Bush Relaxes Pollution Rules--Nine States Sue *

It's Time To Do The Math

War and the Draft

How Greenland May Block Missile Defense
Center for Defense Information
December 6, 2002

The surprisingly strong showing of an opposition group in Greenland's parliamentary elections Tuesday may have unexpected consequences for U.S. missile defense plans. The left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party received 25.8 percent of the votes — out of an electorate of 39,000 — placing it second in Greenland's domestic parliament, the Landstinget. The IA now ranks just behind the pro-independence Siumut Party. If the two groups form a coalition government, which is likely, they would control 18 out of the Lanstinget's 31 seats. Greenland, formerly a colony of Denmark, received Home Rule in 1979 but still must yield to Copenhagen in foreign and security matters. Of late, Greenland has been pushing for more power in its external affairs and even for independence, which 80 percent of the population is said to support. Controversy over the U.S. missile defense radar located in Thule may prove to be the island's ticket to complete sovereignty.

The missile defense system being developed to protect the continental United States from ICBM attacks will require the eventual strategic distribution of upgraded early warning radars in order to detect oncoming missile volleys. Several existing radar sites being discussed as possible candidates are Thule, Greenland; Fylingsdale, U.K.; Clear, Alaska; and PAVE PAWS sites in Massachusetts and California. The expected upgrades would be of software and equipment; without this, the missile defense system could not effectively track enemy warheads. It probably would not change the radars' current operating bands, antennae patterns, or output levels. Also under consideration for deployment at the aforementioned sites is the vastly more powerful X-band radar being developed for missile defense programs.

Thule initially was created as a weather station by the United States in 1946, but its tumultuous relationship with the locals did not begin until later. In May 1953, when a population of 87 Inughuit — an ethnic group long revered by the rest of Greenland for surviving in an unforgiving climate and sticking to the old ways of hunting and fishing — was told by Danish authorities that the population had four days to clear out so that the Thule air base could expand its perimeters. For many years, Denmark claimed that the forced resettlement was done in response to Inughuit requests, an allegation that was always denied by community activists. In 1996, a group called the Hingitaq 53 filed suit on behalf of the survivors and their descendants — 610 individual co-sponsors in all — to request the right to return to Thule. If allowed, this suit would have closed the air base completely and given compensation for the loss of hunting and fishing rights. A settlement of 17,000 kroner (roughly $2,288) was offered to each plaintiff in August 1999, with collective damages of 500,000 kroner ($67,294). The Inughuit, who had been looking for damages more in ballpark of 238 million kroner ($32 million), considered the offer insultingly low and rejected it. The case continues in front of the Danish supreme court. In September 2002, the United States agreed to give back by the end of the year Dundas, a town that had been engulfed by Thule. Locals believe this is a good first step but do not want to stop there.

The strife surrounding Thule air base is not simply an issue of land ownership. The local population has long been concerned about deleterious effects from making Thule's early warning radar (in use since 1960) a part of a revitalized missile defense system. In 1987, Thule's radar was replaced with a phased-array radar. This caused an uproar amongst the local population who saw that as a first move toward giving the radar offensive capabilities and lead to a fall of the coalition leading Greenland's Landstinget. More recently, at a hearing on missile defense held by the European Parliament in March 2001, Landstinget member Johan Lund Olsen enumerated the IA's objections to using Thule's radar for missile defense purposes. Worries of it making Greenland a target, sparking an arms race, fattening up weapons manufacturers' coffers, and inundating locals who had already suffered from the base's presence were all given.

Also a concern is environmental contamination of the area surrounding Thule. Says local politician Axel Lund Olsen, "If one day a war begins, people are afraid that if a bomb would hit Thule air base, all of the food we eat from the sea would be destroyed." This fear is not entirely unfounded. In 1968, a U.S. B-52 loaded with four nuclear weapons crashed 12 miles from Thule. Sediment from the ocean floor near where the plane went down showed in a 1991 study very high levels of radioactive plutonium contamination. Nearly three decades after the crash, in 1995, the Danish government admitted some culpability and paid $15.5 million to the 1,700 Danish and Greenlandic locals who had worked at the Thule air base and were exposed to high levels of radiation from the incident.

The controversy surrounding Thule is not the only place the budding U.S. missile defense system is running into problems with the locals. The PAVE PAWS radar in Massachusetts is criticized by some for having a hand in the area's unusually high cancer rates. A coalition of environmental groups brought a lawsuit against the federal government in August 2001 to prompt the assessment of environmental damages missile defense work in Alaska might bear (six months later, the government agreed in principle to do an analysis). And the deployment of a second battery of Israel's Arrow missile defense program, a system developed in cooperation with the United States, was held up for almost two years while officials attempted to convince locals that the Green Pines radar would not have adverse effects on their health.

However, the rise of the IA in Greenland's Landstinget marks a new page in anti-missile defense movement. This ascension, combined with Denmark's awareness that the growing restlessness in Greenland may lead to its independence, means that Copenhagen is going to have to be more sensitive to the island's concerns. This new judiciousness may very well be expressed by hampering American attempts to upgrade Thule's early warning radar. In the end, international considerations may prove to be more of a stumbling block to the Bush administration's missile defense plans than technological limitations.

Commentary:
There's a lot of cool information in this article. I like the idea that Bush needs Greenland for Missile Defense, but there's little commentary in the US about this election. The media continues to keep us in the dark by spouting Bush's propaganda instead of the facts. Also interesting is how anti-America the world is becoming. In election after election the party that wins is anti-American. Something to keep an eye on. Who would have thought South Korea and Greenland would turn Anti-American in our lifetimes?


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Senator Frist's Criminal Enterprise
Consumer Watch Dog. org
Dec 20, 2002

Frist's Ownership of Columbia/HCA Should Prevent Him From Taking Leadership Post

Santa Monica, CA -- Senator Bill Frist's ownership of and entanglement with one of America's biggest corporate criminals, Columbia HCA, should prevent him from leading the US Senate, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said today. HCA, formerly Columbia HCA, has been one the largest corporate payers of federal criminal and civil penalties in American history. Frist's family founded hospital chain Columbia HCA and he owns at least $25 million in stock. His wife owns more than $1 million in stock, according to Senate disclosure statements.

On Wednesday HCA, formerly Columbia/HCA reportedly paid more than $880 million to settle the US government's inquiry into health care fraud. In total, the company will pay more than $1.7 billion in civil and criminal penalties -- the largest amount ever in a health care fraud case. The government's case was that Columbia/HCA hospitals kept two sets of books and fraudulently billed the government.

"The Senate should not replace a racist with a principle backer of one of the largest corporate swindles ever perpetrated against the American public," said Jamie Court, executive director of FTCR. " Senator Frist should step aside because he owned and profited from one of America's worst corporate criminals. In the Senate, he has used this influence to further HCA's cause by stopping a strong patients' bill of rights, gridlocking a mandatory Medicare prescription drug benefit, and promoting caps on damages for victims who sue negligent hospitals like HCA. If Frist was a patriot first, he would have sold his HCA stock a long time ago ."

Commentary:
Some news articles are claiming Frist is a racist because his campaign ads pander to racists. I haven't seen them so I can't comment, but I'm guessing he's like a lot of white male senators from the south. If they're not an out and out racists, they know how to pander to them. Bush too panders to racists as does McCain. Bush did so when he spoke at Bob Jones, and McCain when he hired a known radical racist to help run his campaign.

This article is about Frist the corporate criminal. After so many people lost money in the markets in 2002 because of corporate greed and criminal acts, it's nice to see the republicans put a new face in their leadership---a man who owned and profited as a corporate criminal. And who says crime doesn't pay?


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Stocks Drop 3rd Year--Deepest Decline Since Depression
Chicago Tribune
By Bill Barnhart
January 1, 2003

Stock market investors, amateur and professional alike, finally got their wish Tuesday. The year ended.

Despite a budding economic recovery, 2002 was the worst year on Wall Street since 1974.

It was the deepest of three straight years of stock market declines--the first three-peat loss since the Great Depression years of 1938-1940.

The year's statistics were brutal, reflecting a major loss of paper wealth that many Americans had counted on for retirement income. The U.S. stock market produced $2.8 trillion in losses last year.

And the outlook remained dark, as the world stood on the brink of a war in Iraq.

"The sentiment has not turned yet," said Giri Cherukuri, senior trader for Oakbrook Investments in Lisle.

For the year, the benchmark Standard & Poor's index of major company stocks lost 23 percent, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 31 percent. It was the third consecutive annual loss for both indexes.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1,680 points, or 17 percent, to end the year at 8341.63. The Dow fell 7 percent in 2001 and 6 percent in 2000.

The traditional December stock rally failed to materialize on Wall Street. For the month, the Dow lost 6 percent.

Cherukuri said investors failed to stage the usual year-end pattern of selling losing stocks for tax purposes and hunting for bargains ahead of a normally upbeat January.

After three years of declines, few investors had taxable market gains to offset with losses. As for bargain-hunting, there was no rush to pick up beaten down stocks that showed no signs of going anywhere soon, he said.

General Electric, a widely held company, sank for most of the year, including a 10 percent drop in December. Software developer Microsoft, the biggest gainer among the 30-stock Dow Jones industrial average in 2001, fell 22 percent in 2002.

A more troubling development last year was the continued exodus of active individual investors from the market. Average daily trades recorded by broker Charles Schwab & Co., which specializes in services for individual investors, have plummeted more than 60 percent since the stock market peaked in March 2000.

"If and when we invest, it's not in stocks now. It's in the bank getting interest," said Sheldon Rosen, 74, of Morton Grove. Despite low interest rates on bank deposits, "it's there. That's about all you can say," he said. "The only place I'm actually putting money in the market is where we reinvest dividends," Rosen said.

One of his two investment clubs is in the process of disbanding, he said. The other club is watching consumer-related stocks, which held up better than many sectors last year. Utility stocks, which used to be a safe haven for older, conservative investors, got killed. The Dow Jones utilities average lost 27 percent in 2002.

The flight of individual investors from the stock market has serious consequences, said Alex Jacobson, vice president for business development at the International Securities Exchange, an electronic market for stock options.

Market volatility--the gyrations of stock prices within each day's trading session and over time--increases when individual investors head for the sidelines, he said. The last two years have been the most volatile period in stock market history.

"Individual investors round off a lot of the volatility and provide liquidity that dampens volatility," Jacobson said.

Without active participation by millions of small, active investors, major institutions such as pension funds and mutual funds dominate trading with their legendary herd instincts.

It's like a bowling ball in a canoe. Volatility breeds volatility, a process Jacobson does not see changing in the New Year.

Meanwhile, many investors shifted to Treasury securities, oil and gold. These investments were big winners last year.

As stocks were sinking, Treasury bonds posted double-digit returns, sending interest rates to 40-year lows. The spot price of gold in New York advanced 24 percent in 2002, closing the year at $346.70 per ounce. Mutual funds that focus on gold-mining stocks topped the fund performance charts.

Oil futures jumped 57 percent, with the price of oil for February delivery hitting 31.20 in Tuesday's futures trading.

Stocks ended narrowly mixed in Tuesday's New Year's Eve session. An unexpected slump in consumer sentiment, as measured by the Conference Board, added a final blow to a year of disappointments. Analysts had forecast a good gain in the monthly confidence survey.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 8.78 points, to 8341.63.

Among the 30 Dow stocks, Honeywell International gained $1.53, to $24, after the company boosted its pension fund by $800 million through an injection of cash and company stock.

International Business Machines rose $1.25, to $77.50, after the company inked a seven-year contract with fellow Dow component J.P. Morgan Chase for information technology services.

On the downside, Microsoft lost $1.05, to $51.70. Philip Morris lost 86 cents, to $40.53, despite a favorable ruling in a California smoking injury lawsuit.

Troubled conglomerate Tyco International led the New York Stock Exchange most-active list, climbing $1.73, to $17.08. A review of the company's auditing practices, released Monday, was less troubling than some analysts had feared.

The broader S&P 500 index inched up 0.43, to 879.82; the Nasdaq composite index fell 4.03, to 1335.51; the Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks added 0.86, to 383.09.

In Tuesday's trading, New York Stock Exchange volume reached 1.08 billion shares. The number of winning stocks beat losers by 5-3 among NYSE-listed stocks.

Nasdaq trading volume totaled 1.17 billion shares, as winners topped losers by 10-7. Markets around world join Wall Street in misery.

Commentary:
The era of peace and prosperity died when President Clinton left office. This too will pass, but only after we elect a responsible and sane president. Anyone want President Hillary yet?


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Majority of Schools Failing--Bush's Unfunded Mandate *
An Impeachable Offense
Washington Post
By Michael A. Fletcher/Washington Post Staff Writer
January 2, 2003

NEW ORLEANS -- State education officials are warning that a new federal education law's requirement that each racial and demographic subgroup in a school show annual improvement on standardized tests will result in the majority of the nation's schools being deemed failing.

The likelihood that the law would force them to label the majority of their schools "low performing" is complicating efforts by state educational officials to meet a Jan. 31 deadline for submitting plans for implementing key parts of the federal "No Child Left Behind" law. They say federal regulations outlining how to assess the quality of schools are dangerously arbitrary and inflexible and will result in schools being treated as failures -- even if they are improving by most measures.

"I don't know of any state that isn't facing pretty staggering numbers in terms of schools not meeting" the new law's requirements, said Michael E. Ward, superintendent of schools in North Carolina and president of the Council of Chief State School Officers. "A piece of legislation that we think has very worthy goals risks being undone by its own negative weight."

State officials, most of whom are struggling with deep budget problems, worry that the law will overtax their limited resources by forcing them to channel extra money to schools that may not need it, while causing a public relations nightmare for otherwise improving schools that fall short of the federal government's requirements.

"What happens is you create a situation where there are so many schools failing that there is no support for them," said Paul Houston, executive director of the 14,000-member American Association of School Administrators. "The administration likes to talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations and how this law fights that. But what about the hard bigotry of high expectations without adequate resources?"

Officials have pleaded with the federal government for flexibility, but their requests have been brushed aside by the Education Department, which says the law is written in a way that leaves them no choice. "Only if we hold schools and school districts accountable for the improved achievement of all students will we meet the goal of leaving no child behind," said Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige when he released final regulations for the law in November.

Under the federal law, schools deemed failing for two consecutive years must facilitate student transfers to better schools -- even those filled to capacity -- and use public money to provide private tutors for students. If a school continues to be labeled failing, it must have its principal and teachers replaced or be reopened as a charter school.

President Bush calls the law "the cornerstone" of his administration's domestic policy. Its chief goal is to raise student achievement and close the school performance gap separating white, Asian and middle-class students from under-performing minority and poor students.

The law, which Bush signed last January, requires schools to test students in grades three through eight. Students must make steady progress toward raising achievement levels on the exams, with all students required to reach state-defined proficiency levels in reading and math by 2014.

The problem being cited by many state and local officials is that the law also requires school systems to raise the achievement levels of students in each of five racial and ethnic subgroups, as well as among low-income students, those with limited English skills and disabled students every year. Any deviation from steady improvement in any of the subgroups for two consecutive years results in a school being called low-performing.

Accountability experts say that requirement, coupled with the year-to-year deviations that typically occur in standardized test results, means that schools would often be deemed low-performing for what amounts to statistical -- rather than educational -- reasons.

If two subgroups fail to make sufficient progress in each of two consecutive years -- for example, disabled students one year and low-income students the next -- the Education Department requires that the entire school be labeled low-performing. Also, under the law, two schools with similar test scores can end up with different labels, depending on the patterns of improvement in their scores. If a school, for example, makes dramatic improvement one year, then lags slightly for two more years, it is labeled "low-performing." A school making slow, but steady progress in all subgroups is fine under the law.

"Even in large schools, you are dealing with small numbers of students in some of these subgroups," said Richard K. Hill, executive director of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, a consultant for 10 states developing accountability plans. "There is a strong likelihood that a school's scores will go up and down based solely . . . on the performance of just a small handful of students."

That complaint is being registered by states across the country. North Carolina's highly regarded school accountability system is credited with significantly lifting student achievement while showing promising signs of closing racial and economic achievement gaps -- the goals articulated in No Child Left Behind. But the most optimistic estimate is that 60 percent of the state's public schools will be deemed failing once the federal law is fully implemented.

"North Carolina has made some of the best academic progress in the nation," said Ward, the state's schools superintendent. "It is counterintuitive that in a state that has done this that 60 percent of the schools can't meet the federal standard. But we attribute that to a federal formula that doesn't make a lot of sense."

Kentucky officials also are struggling to develop a plan, despite having a school accountability system hailed by experts as among the nation's best. Now, they must make significant changes to accommodate the federal mandates.

"At best, I think the law is an unwarranted intrusion into state and local control of schools," said Bill Weinberg, who quit the Kentucky Board of Education in November in protest of the federal law. "At worst, it is a cynical attempt by the Bush administration to build in failure and use that as an argument for vouchers."

In Louisiana, education officials are refusing to gut their accountability system -- which has been widely praised for beginning to alter the state's image as an educational backwater -- to satisfy federal demands. In statistical models developed by education officials, as many as 85 percent of Louisiana's public schools would be deemed low-performing under the federal law within three years -- an outcome state officials say does not square with the educational improvement they have witnessed since implementing a state accountability system five years ago.

At New Orleans's Ray Abrams Elementary School, Lauren G. Brown took over as principal two years ago, when its dismal academic performance qualified the school for all the help Louisiana provides under its school accountability program.

New state money allowed Brown to beef up teacher training and bring in a "distinguished educator" to help guide instruction. Three tutors work with students on individual math and reading skills. Students with lagging test scores attend Saturday school. Those who continue to fail go to summer school. And there are transition classes for fourth-graders held back for failing the state test they must pass to go to fifth grade.

The innovations helped Abrams dramatically improve student achievement. And if the scores don't slip this spring, the school will be in line for a $17,000 bonus and the purple-bordered gold flag that Louisiana education officials award to schools exhibiting "exemplary academic growth."

But even while Abrams is on track to be honored for its vast improvement, Louisiana officials worry that the new federal law will pronounce the school a failure. Brown says that would torpedo the growing parent-and-teacher morale at her school. "It would look like we're falling short when we really aren't," she said.

It is a problem that concerns officials across the state. Although Louisiana has the second-highest rate of child poverty and the highest percentage of students enrolled in private school in the nation, its public school test scores have improved sharply in recent years. Not only did 67 percent of the state's elementary schools and 59 percent of its high schools show improvement on state standardized tests administered last spring, but Louisiana also is among those with the nation's best gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a highly regarded national test.

"This law will leave us talking out of both sides of our mouths: saying that schools are doing much better on one hand, but failing on the other," said Leslie Jacobs, a member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and chief architect of the state's accountability system. Louisiana officials have met with officials at the Education Department in a fruitless effort to get more flexibility built into the law's implementation.

Gov. Mike Foster (R) confronted Bush on the subject during a recent trip by the president to Louisiana. Still, the federal government has not budged as the deadline for submitting implementation plans approaches. "We are hoping some other states can show us a way to do this without wrecking our accountability system," Jacobs said.

Foster promises not to submit to the law without a fight. "States still have some rights," he said. "I have a lot of friends in Washington. If they don't give us some flexibility in the law, I'll tell you this: We won't go quietly."

Commentary:
When policy is based on politics instead of reason this is what we get. More big government, more one size fits all conservatism. On top of that Bush is violating the "unfunded mandates" law passed in the 1990's. Breaking this law is listed as an impeachable offense on this site.

Bush's propaganda machine is going to have to work overtime to get him out of this failure. Success is not based on getting something passed by congress. Success is based on whether it works. Bush's plan is proving to be a collossal failure. Nothing new here.


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Rove Making Policy *
An Impeachable Offense
AP/Washington Post
By Sandra Sobieraj/Associated Press Writer
January 1, 2003

WASHINGTON –– When it comes to setting priorities for President Bush's new-year domestic agenda, White House political adviser Karl Rove argues for a politically risky path: revive Bush's plan for riding some Social Security funds on the volatile stock market.

There could hardly be a trickier time for putting the cherished entitlement program within reach of the market. But Rove is proving more of a risk-taker than his reputation has suggested until now.

Painted by critics as the White House's all-powerful, all-politics, win-at-all-costs animal, Rove shows at a closer look more mastery of policy, more willingness to make waves on politically sensitive matters – and less command over Bush's decisions than conventional wisdom holds.

At 52, Rove shows little care about his own personal style (no designer suits, expensive coif or cufflinks for him), but he fiercely guards his professional image. Suggesting a thin skin unusual to hardball politicos, Rove has been known to take a fine-toothed comb to news articles about him and harangue their writers about the smallest critical details.

Saxby Chambliss, hand-picked by Rove for an underdog campaign unseating Georgia's Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, said he was surprised by Rove's counsel to be provocative.

After Chambliss caused a furor with a post-Sept. 11 joke about arresting Muslims who come across the state line, Rove soothed the contrite candidate with this advice: "If you don't have bumps in the road, you're not being aggressive enough."

The president has dubbed Rove, an intimate from Bush's early days in Texas politics, his "political guru." And two Texas authors at work on books about Rove fought over the title "Bush's Brain," with one eventually settling for "Boy Genius" instead.

He is so enamored of policy that his wonkish way with conversation is reminiscent of Bill Clinton. Rove can tick off on his fingers the sponsors of every House and Senate bill to overhaul Social Security, and what percentage of Social Security taxes each would divert to individual retirement accounts.

Rove effectively ordered the idea of Social Security's partial privatization shelved as Republicans campaigned for control of Congress this past year.

Now he wants to dust it off. According to advisers privy to the internal debate, Rove wants to gamble Bush's postelection political capital now, when it is strongest, believing that by the time Bush's 2004 re-election campaign rolls around, the appeal to younger workers will outweigh any "fear mongering" Democrats can do among senior citizens.

Whether he's arguing for calculated caution or a gamble, Rove's fingerprints are everywhere in the West Wing and on the campaign trail.

He's in all domestic policy meetings, he controls which interest groups get invited to White House events, and he dictated not only Bush's aggressive campaign itinerary but also the Republican Party's winning campaign focus on war and homeland security.

On the sidelines of this year's presidential fund raisers, Rove quietly offered private "briefings" to heavy hitters for an extra fee, as in Los Angeles in August.

"He was very glib and very informative. People loved it," said Herrington.

Earlier this month, New York City Republicans forked over a stunning $250,000 to schmooze Rove at a reception benefiting the Louisiana runoff campaign of Senate hopeful Suzanne Haik Terrell.

Rove's Manhattan take – the second act of a $340,000 fund-raising day that began with a $1,000-per-plate luncheon in New Jersey – was better than even Vice President Dick Cheney commanded in the majority of his fund raisers for the 2002 elections.

Terrell's loss to Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu was a rare blemish on Rove's recent winning streak.

With success has come fresh scrutiny – not only by Democrats smarting from defeat, but also from a one-time insider.

John DiIulio, former director of Bush's office of faith-based initiatives, told Esquire magazine that Rove leads a band of "Mayberry Machiavellis" in the White House – policy simpletons who don't know Medicare from Medicaid and don't care about anything but politics. (DiIulio has since said his comments were a mistake.)

"There are always strong political forces within any administration; Rove's is out-sized because there is not a well-developed policy shop," said Democratic strategist Joe Lockhart, a veteran of the Clinton administration. "People want to demonize Rove, but he's only doing his job. The problem is that the president and the policy people aren't."

Rove's policy recommendations may serve political interests – as the chief inside contact for Christian conservative leaders outside, Rove notably sided against both embryonic stem cell research and international family planning funds – but they are indisputably informed recommendations.

His second-floor West Wing office sits at the intersection of partisan politics and White House policy, a straddling illustrated most succinctly in the side-by-side pairing on a book shelf closest to his desk. "The Almanac of American Politics" sits beside Matt Ridley's "Genome," a dense tome on genetic research.

The summer departure of presidential counselor Karen Hughes left White House observers speculating that Rove would exercise unchecked power in the West Wing. But co-workers insist he has no veto power, is just one person on the committees that recommend policy, and operates under Chief of Staff Andrew Card's need-to-know rule like everyone else.

For example, Card and others were at work on Bush's massive government-reorganization plan for several months before Rove was informed.

Commentary:
The puppet-in-chief has a puppeteer--his name is Rove. When a president is not fit to govern either because it bores him or he's unfit, he should be removed from office. Bush is clearly unfit to make the decisions a president is hired to make. Bush gave his presidency to a political advisor and for that he should be impeached.


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Bush: Attack by Iraq Would Hurt Economy
AP/Washington Post
By Lawrence L. Knutson/Associated Press Writer
January 1, 2003

CRAWFORD, Texas –– President Bush is keeping an unwavering aim on Iraq while insisting North Korea's nuclear ambitions can be held in check diplomatically and without resort to military force.

Iraq's Saddam Hussein poses the greater immediate danger because an attack by him, either alone or in concert with terrorist allies, "would cripple our economy," Bush said Tuesday.

After several days of holiday seclusion at his 1,600-acre Texas ranch, Bush emerged to defend his policy of treating Saddam as a looming threat while using long-term international diplomacy to isolate and pressure North Korea's Kim Jong Il.

Since North Korea is actually believed to already possess one or two nuclear weapons and is threatening to produce additional weapons-grade material, Bush is facing increasing criticism that his priorities are reversed.

Fielding questions outside a Crawford cafe, Bush justified his choices by pointing to differences between the two situations.

While North Korea only recently broke its 1994 pledge to abandon its nuclear weapons program, Saddam "has defied the international community" for 11 years, the president said.

Additionally, Bush said Iraq was believed to be "close to having a nuclear weapon" in the 1990s, though he acknowledged the United States does not know whether Saddam currently possesses such technology.

While making a fresh case against Saddam, the president did not mention the nuclear weapons already believed to be in the North Korean arsenal. Nor did he note that North Korean leaders could produce several more nuclear bombs in a matter of months if they carry out their threat to restart their nuclear program.

"This is not a military showdown. This is a diplomatic showdown," Bush said of the North Korean situation.

By contrast, when asked whether the high cost of war with Iraq would cripple the U.S. economy, Bush tersely replied: "An attack from Saddam Hussein or a surrogate of Saddam Hussein would cripple our economy."

Some well-placed observers contend North Korea is the greater threat. Warren Christopher, a secretary of state in the Clinton administration, urged Bush in a New York Times op-ed piece to "step back from his fixation on attacking Iraq" to reassess U.S. priorities.

"I had made the case, and will continue to make the case, that Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is a threat to the security of the American people," Bush said.

He suggested the risks of attack from Saddam outweighed the potential costs of war.

"This economy cannot afford to stand an attack," he said, even as his budget team was predicting war with Iraq would cost at least $50 billion.

It marked the first time Bush has used potential damage to the U.S. economy as justification for military action.

He laid out the new argument against the backdrop of tens of thousands of U.S. troops massing near Iraq's borders. Military officials in Washington on Tuesday said an infantry division from Georgia has been ordered to the Persian Gulf region. All told, between 15,000 and 17,000 soldiers from the division will go, officials said.

Also, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier will stay in the Pacific Ocean and Arabian Gulf indefinitely instead of returning to its home port in Everett, Wash., next month as planned, the Navy said.

Bush suggested military action was not being contemplated against nuclear-armed North Korea.

"All options, of course, are always on the table for any president, but by working with (U.S. allies) we can resolve this," he said.

Bush has pledged to disarm Saddam, with force if necessary, unless Iraq disarms voluntarily.

"Thus far, it appears that, at first look, that Saddam Hussein hasn't heard the message," Bush said.

U.N. weapons inspectors have not reported finding any weapons of mass destruction after several weeks of work, but U.S. officials say Saddam's arsenal is under wraps and hidden from view. They are pushing the United Nations to bolster its inspection methods.

Some U.S. allies say they fear Bush is too eager for war. Sensitive to the criticism, Bush bristled at the suggestion that war was inevitable.

"You said we're headed to war in Iraq. I don't know why you say that," Bush told reporters. "I'm the person who gets to decide, not you. And I hope this can be done peacefully."

Commentary:
At what point do the ramblings of an insane president stop being news? We're to believe our economy would be harmed by an attack from Iraq from weapons that don't exist, but our economy won't be harmed by nuclear weapons that North Korea has. If you're brain dead you might think this logic is ok. If you have a brain you know Bush is a raging lunatic. Disregard the spin.


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Bush Relaxes Pollution Rules--Nine States Sue *
An Impeachable Offense
By Eric Pianin/Washington Post Staff Writer
January 1, 2003

Nine northeastern states ranging from Maine to Maryland filed suit yesterday challenging the Bush administration's decision to relax national industrial pollution restrictions for the first time since enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1970.

The attorneys general of those states say the administration's rule-making far exceeded its legislative authority under the Clean Air Act and would undermine state efforts to adopt stricter protections.

The legal challenge, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, came as the Environmental Protection Agency formally issued final revisions to the so-called New Source Review clean air enforcement rules that would effectively preclude future government legal action in all but the most flagrant cases of pollution.

Under the new rules, refineries, manufacturers and some utilities will be presented with new ground rules for upgrading or expanding their plants -- and likely increasing their emissions -- without the threat of lawsuits and without having to add costly antipollution equipment required by law to control smog, acid rain and soot. Older, coal-fired power plants would have far more leeway to perform "routine maintenance" and improvements without triggering legal actions under a separate proposed rule that officials hope to put into effect by late 2003.

EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said recently that the changes would encourage plant improvements and "actually reduce dangerous emissions." But the coalition of New England and mid-Atlantic state officials -- led by New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer (D) -- said the administration rule-making would neutralize one of the few effective tools for combating industrial pollution and result in dirtier air.

"The Bush administration has taken an action that will bring more acid rain, more smog, more asthma and more respiratory disease to millions of Americans," Spitzer said. "This action by the Bush administration is a betrayal of the right of Americans to breathe clean, healthy air."

Northeastern states are particularly concerned about the rule changes, because they blame much of their air pollution on coal-fired power plants and other industrial sites in the Midwest that spew smog and acid rain-forming pollution into westerly winds. "It seems that the Bush administration's New Year's resolution is to appease the energy industry by sacrificing the lives of people in the Northeast," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D).

Other states that joined in the suit include Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Bush administration officials suggested that the suit filed by the state officials -- the majority of whom are Democrats -- was politically motivated to try to embarrass President Bush. The officials predicted that the new clean air enforcement rules would withstand any legal challenge. The EPA has said that the changes would eliminate "perverse" effects that kept antiquated plants from being modernized because of concerns about triggering legal action under the Clean Air Act.

"There was a need to make changes in the rules to keep up with how business has changed over the past 25 years," said William Harnett, director of the EPA's New Source Review enforcement program. "The rules we just went final on are things consistent with the law passed by Congress . . . and will lead to greater environmental benefit."

Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an alliance of utilities, said the northeastern attorneys general would better serve their states by supporting an updating and clarification of federal clean air enforcement rules, instead of "marching off to the courthouse" to score political points with their constituents. He also suggested that the plaintiffs were engaging in a rivalry with midwestern utilities that produce cheaper energy than plants in the Northeast.

"Nationwide, more governors and attorneys general do support clarification," Segal said. "The northeast attorneys general reflect a minority opinion, unfortunately demonstrating their desire to address economic competitive concerns rather than environmental protection."

Power plant and refinery emissions have been linked to serious illness and premature deaths, and have been a prime target of the government's long-term efforts to clean up the nation's air. The Clean Air Act requires new plants and utilities to install the best available pollution control technology. Aging utilities and refineries are exempt unless they make improvements to extend a plant's life and thereby create a "new source" of emissions.

More than 50 power plants in 12 states -- and scores of refineries across the country -- were sued by federal and state authorities under the New Source Review regulations during the Clinton administration. While vowing to vigorously pursue existing court cases, Whitman has said that "I would hope we would greatly reduce the number of lawsuits" under the new regulations.

Among the new rules challenged by the Northeast states are exemptions of as many as 10 years for operating units at industrial sites that use the best available pollution controls.

The suit also challenge a new emissions test that would allow industries to exempt emission increases attributable to increased demand for their products. The states also oppose a rule allowing a more lenient method for calculating baseline emissions for industrial sites, and another that would exempt from enforcement facilities that increase their emissions but stay within a new, plantwide emissions cap.

The state attorneys general say they are also concerned that at least 12 states -- including New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Massachusetts -- will be bound by the new, relaxed standards unless their state legislatures act to toughen the standards. Those states operate under memoranda of understanding with the federal government to accept rule changes approved by the EPA.

Commentary:
President Clinton did his job and followed our laws, suing 50 utility companies. Bush simply rewrites the laws without the consent of congress in violation of the Constitution.

We have to wonder why we have legislative bodies when Bush thinks he has the sole power to do what he wants.

Typical in stories like this the press falls for the Bush spin. A majority of states are run by democrats, so it's politically motivated. That's the spin. A majority is not all, it's just over 50%. So a certain percent (not listed in this article) are run by republicans and therefore this suit can not be politically motivated. Disregard the spin.


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It's Time To Do The Math
Washington Post
By E.J. Dionne Jr
December 31, 2002

At this time of year, families regularly take stock of their financial situations, and this should be the time for such a reckoning in Washington.

The federal government is in a fiscal mess that will only get worse if political plans now on the table come to fruition. The federal mess is compounded by disasters at the state and local level.

The question for 2003 is who will blow the whistle. Herewith a brief guide to the mess, and the choices.

Taxing, Spending and Guts. President Bush will come up with measures supposedly designed to stimulate the economy. In fact, the stimulus argument is an excuse for furthering his campaign to reduce the share of taxes paid by the most well-off Americans. He's expected to propose making his tax cut permanent and cutting taxes on dividends.

In 2001 a dozen Senate Democrats dug a deep hole for their country and their party by supporting Bush's tax plan on the flimsy argument that the president had "compromised" with them. If Democrats had hung together and hung tougher, they could have pressed for a more affordable tax cut that spread more of its benefits to the middle class and the poor.

Will 2003 be a "here they go again" year? Will Democrats again back a fictional "compromise" that will further deplete the Treasury? You can already see its outlines. Bush may agree to add the Democrats' idea of a payroll tax holiday to his other proposals and pronounce the package "balanced."

If Democrats do this, they will be complicit in creating a fiscal crisis that will explode after Bush leaves office -- at just the time when the baby boomers are retiring and placing heavy demands on government.

The alternative: A bloc of at least 41 senators -- Democrats plus fiscally responsible Republicans such as John McCain, Lincoln Chafee and perhaps George Voinovich, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, among others -- pledges to block further irresponsibility. In the face of charges that they are being "obstructionist," these senators could insist that they are being constructive by demanding a grand fiscal bargain. It would include some short-term stimulus and a freeze on the parts of the Bush tax cut that have not yet taken effect. The freeze would last as long as we considered ourselves on a wartime footing. Will Democrats and moderate Republicans find their voices, or will they fritter away what little power they have?

This is war -- but not really. Politicians might find the courage to get serious about the nation's fiscal condition if they simply noted that the president is willing to do all he can to fight the war on terror -- except for anything that might inconvenience the high-end taxpayers who form his political base.

Here he is, after all, calling for large increases in military spending, preparing for an expensive war in Iraq and saying he will do all he can to defend the homeland -- while also proposing to reduce government revenue.

Politicians such as Sens. John Edwards and Bob Graham and Rep. David Obey are beginning to argue that this doesn't add up, and that the fiscal mess in Washington is impairing the federal government's efforts to protect the homeland. At some point, words and deeds need to come into alignment -- don't they? How can a president who says he loves state and local government insist that states and cities pay the bills for Washington's promises?

Let states and cities eat cake. Governors and mayors, Republicans and Democrats alike, are in deep fiscal holes of their own. Unlike their friends in Washington, the people who run states, counties and localities can't keep piling up deficits.

As Washington sits by, lower levels of government are forced to do all the things the president says he's against: raising taxes, cutting spending on schools, reducing outlays for security, including police and fire departments. States, like individuals and families, are also being clobbered by rising health care costs.

Governors and mayors are beginning to speak up. Watch for incoming governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and Mayor Martin O'Malley of Baltimore to demand fiscal relief under the slogan: "Enough!" Washington could help cover expenses related to the war on terror, institute emergency revenue sharing, or pick up of more of the costs of Medicaid and thereby help more Americans to keep their health insurance.

In 2003 we'll either put the country on a saner fiscal footing, or we'll dig the hole deeper. Guess which one is more likely.

Commentary:
Excellent! Another generation gave us "Profiles in Courage." This generation borrows money and gives it away to the richest of the rich, then goes to war and doesn't ask all Americans to fight it. "Profiles of a Coward" better suits this generation. What sacrifice is this president asking of you? A tax cut, more spending and no draft---wow, tough stuff!.


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War and the Draft
AP/Washington Post
December 31, 2002

NEW YORK –– Rep. Charles Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War, says he plans to introduce legislation to resume the military draft in the event of a war against Iraq.

In an opinion piece published in Tuesday's editions of The New York Times, the Democrat from New York said he would ask Congress next week to support his proposal.

Rangel said the prospect of a draft would make Congress less likely to support a war.

"I believe that if those calling for war knew their children were more likely to be required to serve – and to be placed in harm's way – there would be more caution and a greater willingness to work with the international community in dealing with Iraq," Rangel wrote.

Military service should be a "shared sacrifice" asked of all able young Americans, he said, noting that minorities make up a "disproportionate number" of enlisted members of the military.

"Service in our nation's armed forces is no longer a common experience," said Rangel, who voted against the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq.

Rangel said his legislation would require "alternative national service" for people who are physically unable to serve and for those who refuse to serve for "reasons of conscience."

President Bush has said he doesn't intend to revive the draft, which ended in 1973.

Commentary:
I have a suggestion. Whenever a president asks congress for war, let's call up the draft. Then we can watch how fast support for these silly non-wars goes bye-bye. We'd also get to see just how unpatriotic these congressmen and senators are. Do they really want their kids going to war and dying? Hell no. As long as someone else is fighting it's an easy vote. Force them to vote to send their own kid to war and watch how fast this war ends.


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