Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Impeach Bush


With surplus gone, so are funds to fix Social Security

Israel to kill in U.S., allied nations

Margie Schoedinger Sues Bush

How did Iraq get its weapons? We sold them

Russia Bans California Chicken Because of Virus

GOP Governors Raise Taxes

The president's real goal in Iraq

Rice, Race and Being Used

White House: Warheads are a violation

With surplus gone, so are funds to fix Social Security
YahooNews/USA Today
Mon Jan 20, 7:26

Last week, the General Accounting Office, the auditing arm of Congress, issued a chilling report. Without badly needed reform, Social Security is rapidly headed for financial ruin. By 2017, when baby boomers are well into retirement, the program will start running annual deficits that will eventually bankrupt the system, the GAO warned.

The refusal of the White House and Congress to tackle the looming crisis is bad enough. What's worse is that they are hastening Social Security's collapse by diverting billions of dollars needed to repair it to finance other programs and tax cuts. The Bush administration now admits that the budget deficit this year will top $200 billion, and that's after the government spends $171 billion in Social Security surpluses on programs other than retirement benefits.

As the deficits climb, Washington will be forced to spend a growing share of the budget for payments on expanding national debt instead of using the money to fix Social Security. That is a regrettable reversal from before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Then President Bush (news - web sites) and Congress had pledged to put the portion of Social Security taxes left over after paying benefits into a ''lockbox'' so the funds would be used solely for the retirement program.

Social Security's problems center on the demographic fact that its current payroll taxes won't be sufficient to cover promised benefits for all of the people who will be retiring in coming decades.

Though many lawmakers claim they have 14 years before Social Security starts running in the red, the GAO stresses that the need for action is more pressing than they realize. Boomers start turning 65 in a mere eight years, and pension experts say changes in the program should be phased in over at least a decade to avoid disrupting older workers' retirement plans.

Avoidance just makes the solutions more unpleasant. Acting today to make Social Security solvent in the long term would require a 15% hike in payroll taxes, a 13% cut in benefits or a combination of the two. Putting off changes for a decade would mean a tax hike of 22% or benefit cuts of 16% to plug the funding hole, according to the GAO.

The public appears ready to consider reform options, even if Washington isn't. In November, a number of congressional candidates who favored a major overhaul of Social Security survived opponents' charges that they wanted to destroy the system.

One reform approach, favored by Bush, would let workers divert some of the 12.4% they and their employers pay in Social Security taxes into private accounts in exchange for cuts in guaranteed Social Security benefits. The GAO says such a change could boost retirement benefits for workers and ease Social Security's long-term financing woes. In the short term, however, it would take $1 trillion out of the system, as taxes diverted to the private accounts wouldn't be available to pay benefits for current retirees.

And money that could be used to help finance such a proposal is rapidly disappearing, as Congress, with the administration's blessing, taps an estimated $2.5 trillion in Social Security surpluses over the next decade to pay for other programs.

Soaring spending and tax cuts for other needs complicate efforts to save Social Security. Delay only worsens a crisis of Washington's own making.

Copyright © 2003 USA TODAY,
Copyright © 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Bush promised to never use Social Security surpluses to pay for more spending or his tax cut. Another broken promise. Let's face it, the man is a pathological liar.


top

Israel to kill in U.S., allied nations *
An Impeachable Offense
UPI

By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent
From the Washington Politics & Policy Desk
Published 1/15/2003 7:14 PM

Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has forbidden the practice until now, these sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Israeli statements were confirmed by more than a half dozen former and currently serving U.S. foreign policy and intelligence officials in interviews with United Press International.

But an official at the Israeli Embassy in Washington told UPI: "That is rubbish. It is completely untrue. Israel and the United States have such a close and co-operative intelligence relationship, especially in the field of counter-terrorism, that the assertion is ludicrous."

With the appointment of Meir Dagan, the new director of Israel's Mossad secret intelligence service, Sharon is preparing "a huge budget" increase for the spy agency as part of "a tougher stance in fighting global jihad (or holy war)," one Israeli official said.

Since Sharon became Israeli prime minister, Tel Aviv has mainly limited its practice of targeted killings to the West Bank and Gaza because "no one wanted such operations on their territory," a former Israeli intelligence official said.

Another former Israeli government official said that under Sharon, "diplomatic constraints have prevented the Mossad from carrying out 'preventive operations' (targeted killings) on the soil of friendly countries until now."

He said Sharon is "reversing that policy, even if it risks complications to Israel's bilateral relations."

A former Israeli military intelligence source agreed: "What Sharon wants is a much more extensive and tough approach to global terrorism, and this includes greater operational maneuverability."

Does this mean assassinations on the soil of allies?

"It does," he said.

"Mossad is definitely being beefed up," a U.S. government official said of the Israeli agency's budget increase. He declined to comment on the Tel Aviv's geographic expansion of targeted killings.

An FBI spokesman also declined to comment, saying: "This is a policy matter. We only enforce federal laws."

A congressional staff member with deep knowledge of intelligence matters said, "I don't know on what basis we would be able to protest Israel's actions." He referred to the recent killing of Qaed Salim Sinan al Harethi, a top al Qaida leader, in Yemen by a remotely controlled CIA drone.

"That was done on the soil of a friendly ally," the staffer said.

But the complications posed by Israel's new policy are real.

"Israel does not have a good record at doing this sort of thing," said former CIA counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson.

He cited the 1997 fiasco where two Mossad agents were captured after they tried to assassinate Khaled Mashaal, a Hamas political leader, by injecting him with poison.

According to Johnson, the attempt, made in Amman, Jordan, caused a political crisis in Israeli-Jordan relations. In addition, because the Israeli agents carried Canadian passports, Canada withdrew its ambassador in protest, he said. Jordan is one of two Arab nations to recognize Israel. The other is Egypt.

At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "I have no intention of stopping the activities of this government against terror," according to a CNN report.

Former CIA officials say Israel was forced to free jailed Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and 70 other Jordanian and Palestinian prisoner being held in Israeli jails to secure the release of the two would-be Mossad assassins.

Phil Stoddard, former director of the Middle East Institute, cited a botched plot to kill Ali Hassan Salemeh, the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. The 1974 attempt severely embarrassed Mossad when the Israeli hit team mistakenly assassinated a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway.

Salemeh, later a CIA asset, was killed in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1976 by a car bomb placed by an Israeli assassination team, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

"Israel knew Salemeh was providing us with preventive intelligence on the Palestinians and his being killed pissed off a lot of people," said a former senior CIA official.

But some Israeli operations have been successful.

Gerald Bull, an Ontario-born U.S. citizen and designer of the Iraqi supergun -- a massive artillery system capable of launching satellites into orbit, and of delivering nuclear chemical or biological payloads from Baghdad to Israel -- was killed in Belgium in March 1990. The killing is still unsolved, but former CIA officials said a Mossad hit team is the most likely suspect.

Bull worked on the supergun design -- codenamed Project Babylon -- for 10 years, and helped the Iraqis develop many smaller artillery systems. He was found with five bullets in his head outside his Brussels apartment.

Israeli hit teams, which consist of units or squadrons of the Kidon, a sub-unit for Mossad's highly secret Metsada department, would stage the operations, former Israeli intelligence sources said. Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning "bayonet," one former Israeli intelligence source said.

This Israeli government source explained that in the past Israel has not staged targeted killings in friendly countries because "no one wanted such operations on their territory."

This has become irrelevant, he said.

Dagan, the new hard-driving director of Mossad, will implement the new changes, former Israeli government officials said.

Dagan, nicknamed "the gun," was Sharon's adviser on counter-terrorism during the government of Netanyahu in 1996, former Israeli government officials say. A former military man, Dagan has also undertaken extremely sensitive diplomatic missions for several of Israel's prime ministers, former Israeli government sources said.

Former Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Gal Luft, who served under Dagan, described him as an "extremely creative individual -- creative to the point of recklessness."

A former CIA official who knows Dagan said the new Mossad director knows "his foreign affairs inside and out," and has a "real killer instinct."

Dagan is also "an intelligence natural" who has "a superb analyst not afraid to act on gut instinct," the former CIA official said.

Dagan has already removed Mossad officials whom he regards as "being too conservative or too cautious" and is building up "a constituency of senior people of the same mentality," one former long-time Israeli operative said.

Dagan is also urging that Mossad operatives rely less on secret sources and rely more on open information that is so plentifully provided on the Internet and newspapers.

"It's a cultural thing," one former Israeli intelligence operative explained. "Mossad in the past has put its emphasis on Humint (human intelligence) and secret operations and has neglected the whole field of open media, which has become extremely important."

Copyright © 2001-2003 United Press International

Commentary:
I don't know how you feel about due process (the 14th Amendment) or "innocent until proven guilty" but it's impossible to claim either if you're already dead. Bush killed an American in 2002 with one of his raids. The press all but ignored it. Is it that hard to arrest someone, have a jury trial and then kill the guy if he's guilty?

Does Pat Robertson still own UPI? I think so. It just occurred to me that Robertson may be playing the Jewish card. Who knows.


top

Margie Schoedinger Sues Bush
fortbendstar.com
By LeaAnne Klentzman
Updated: December 30, 2002

A Fort Bend County woman files a lawsuit on former Governor and current sitting President George W. Bush.

Margie Schoedinger of Missouri City, Texas has filed a lawsuit against George W. Bush in Fort Bend County Court. In her suit she is alleging "race based harassment and individual sex crimes committed against her and her husband." The suit lists numerous offenses and asks for actual damages, punitive damages and judgments against George W. Bush.

In her suit, among the many allegations, she has stated, "On or about, October 26, 2000, an attempt was made to abduct Plaintiff (Schoedinger) by three unknown assailants. Because of the actions of these assailants, Sugar Land police officers were dispatched to the scene. In the end, no report was taken. The assailants were treated respectfully and allowed to go free while Plaintiff (Schoedinger) was repeatedly and aggressively questioned. After filing a lawsuit, the Plaintiff’s family and past contacts were questioned and harassed." As a result, Plaintiff dismissed Plaintiff’s lawsuit. Irrespective of Plaintiff dismissing the lawsuit, the harassment continued." Schoedinger, goes on to allege "at some point, she contacted the Houston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, filing a raced based harassment complaint, advising that the Sugar Land Police Department may or may not be harassing Plaintiff on behalf of her neighbors in Sugar Land or possibly on behalf of the First Colony Community Services Association."

Schoedinger further states in her lawsuit, "The (FBI) agent in question advised her that the situation appeared to be highly organized and most likely higher level, such as a racist organization." Furthermore she states, "Throughout this conversation, she learned that there was no time that the Defendant (Bush) ever stopped watching Plaintiff’, nor did he stop having sex with Plaintiff. The sole concern of the Defendant and his representatives was whether Plaintiff could actually recall whether Plaintiff could actually recall, the individual sex crimes committed against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s husband, utilizing drugs.

Section VII of the lawsuit states; "Whether or not Plaintiff’s husband was raped remains in question, as Plaintiff was drugged after she was raped and her husband was drugged before her rape. Plaintiff can only state that these men purported to be FBI agents raping her for the purpose of covering for how many times they had drugged her and allowed the Defendant to rape her in the same manner."

She also alleges that in writing letters directly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Houston Office," instead of assisting Plaintiff with her concerns, the FBI took on the same demeanor as the Sugar Land Police Department. Eventually, Plaintiff learned, via telephone conversations, that both the Sugar Land Police Department, and the Houston Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation were acting at the behest of the Defendant, George W. Bush. As a part of their defense, the Sugar Land Police Department conducted a background investigation into Plaintiff’s past activities. In the end, this investigation yielded the following information: Plaintiff had seven dates, (which became seven lovers), had told no lies, committed no crimes, gotten 2 traffic tickets and dated George W. Bush as a minor."

Sugar Land Police Department Captain Marcaurele said his department has no record of any complaints by Ms. Margie Schoedinger. Several attempts were made to contact Ms Schoedinger, she never returned any calls.

Ms. Schoedinger’s law suit was filed on December 2, 2002 and is currently in the Fort Bend County system in County Civil Court at Law 3. Schoedinger is listed as her own legal representative.

Copyright © 2000 by FortBendstar.com. All rights reserved.
Last Update: December 30, 2002

Commentary:
When Paula Jones had a meritless case the media drove it for years until it went all the way to the US Supreme Court. They ruled a sitting president can be sued. Will they reverse their decision for their buddy GW? Only time will tell.

After Jones sued President Clinton her attorney was allowed to question Monica about Bill which led to Bill being questioned about Monica. I have yet to figure out why a judge would force Monica to give a deposition in a case she knew nothing about. Monica was something like 10 years old when Bill showed his willy to Jones? Anyway, from Jones we got Monica, from Monica we learned about bj's and from bj's we got an impeached president.

Sure, history will laugh, but that's because it's funny. Now it's time for Bush to reveal every detail of his sex life in court and if he makes one mistake or lies about one affair, he has to be impeached too.

Where is the media? Bill was sued because he showed his willy to a woman and it was headline news for years. Bush commits sexual crimes against a woman and the press buries it (remember how this works, guilty until proven innocent). I'm still trying to find that liberal media I hear so much about. You know, the one that's pushing all those "sex stories" instead of real issues.


top

How did Iraq get its weapons? We sold them
Sunday Herald
February 23, 2003
By Neil Mackay and Felicity Arbuthnot

THE US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Reports by the US Senate's committee on banking, housing and urban affairs -- which oversees American exports policy -- reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Snr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.

Classified US Defence Department documents also seen by the Sunday Herald show that Britain sold Iraq the drug pralidoxine, an antidote to nerve gas, in March 1992, after the end of the Gulf war. Pralidoxine can be reverse engineered to create nerve gas.

The Senate committee's reports on 'US Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq', undertaken in 1992 in the wake of the Gulf war, give the date and destination of all US exports. The reports show, for example, that on May 2, 1986, two batches of bacillus anthracis -- the micro-organism that causes anthrax -- were shipped to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education, along with two batches of the bacterium clostridium botulinum, the agent that causes deadly botulism poisoning.

One batch each of salmonella and E coli were shipped to the Iraqi State Company for Drug Industries on August 31, 1987. Other shipments went from the US to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission on July 11, 1988; the Department of Biology at the University of Basrah in November 1989; the Department of Microbiology at Baghdad University in June 1985; the Ministry of Health in April 1985 and Officers' City, a military complex in Baghdad, in March and April 1986.

The shipments to Iraq went on even after Saddam Hussein ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, in which at least 5000 men, women and children died. The atrocity, which shocked the world, took place in March 1988, but a month later the components and materials of weapons of mass destruction were continuing to arrive in Baghdad from the US.

The Senate report also makes clear that: 'The United States provided the government of Iraq with 'dual use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programmes.'

This assistance, according to the report, included 'chemical warfare-agent precursors, chemical warfare-agent production facility plans and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment, biological warfare-related materials, missile fabrication equipment and missile system guidance equipment'.

Donald Riegle, then chairman of the committee, said: 'UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licences issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programmes.'

Riegle added that, between January 1985 and August 1990, the 'executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licences for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record'.

It is thought the information contained in the Senate committee reports is likely to make up much of the 'evidence of proof' that Bush and Blair will reveal in the coming days to justify the US and Britain going to war with Iraq. It is unlikely, however, that the two leaders will admit it was the Western powers that armed Saddam with these weapons of mass destruction.

However, Bush and Blair will also have to prove that Saddam still has chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities. This looks like a difficult case to clinch in view of the fact that Scott Ritter, the UN's former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, says the United Nations destroyed most of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and doubts that Saddam could have rebuilt his stocks by now.

According to Ritter, between 90% and 95% of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were destroyed by the UN. He believes the remainder were probably used or destroyed during 'the ravages of the Gulf War'.

Ritter has described himself as a 'card-carrying Republican' who voted for George W Bush. Nevertheless, he has called the president a 'liar' over his claims that Saddam Hussein is a threat to America.

Ritter has also alleged that the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons emits certain gases, which would have been detected by satellite. 'We have seen none of this,' he insists. 'If Iraq was producing weapons today, we would have definitive proof.'

He also dismisses claims that Iraq may have a nuclear weapons capacity or be on the verge of attaining one, saying that gamma-particle atomic radiation from the radioactive materials in the warheads would also have been detected by western surveillance.

The UN's former co-ordinator in Iraq and former UN under-secretary general, Count Hans von Sponeck, has also told the Sunday Herald that he believes the West is lying about Iraq's weapons programme.

Von Sponeck visited the Al-Dora and Faluja factories near Baghdad in 1999 after they were 'comprehensively trashed' on the orders of UN inspectors, on the grounds that they were suspected of being chemical weapons plants. He returned to the site late in July this year, with a German TV crew, and said both plants were still wrecked.

'We filmed the evidence of the dishonesty of the claims that they were producing chemical and biological weapons,' von Sponeck has told the Sunday Herald. 'They are indeed in the same destroyed state which we witnessed in 1999. There was no trace of any resumed activity at all.'

©2002 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088. all rights reserved.

© 2002 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088. all rights reserved.


top

Russia Bans California Chicken Because of Virus
Pravda
Kira Poznakhirko
2003-01-16

Export of chicken meat, America’s largest export, has fallen under an unexpected threat. For unknown reasons chickens in the American state of California are killed with a lethal virus. Over one million of chickens were killed with the virus over the past three months. In this connection, no chicken leg raised in California will be imported in the Russian Federation within the next six months.

Deputy Chief Veterinary Inspector of the Russian Federation, Alexander Ponomarev told the Russian media that all purchases of chicken meat from California would be banned in the country. If such meat is still delivered to Russia, it will be immediately arrested and liquidated right in the ports where it arrives. Alexander Ponomarev says the virus raging in California’s poultry industry is extremely dangerous. That is why the country must avoid this risk, especially that the sanitary services of Mexico and Canada have already imposed a ban on California’s chicken.

As Russia’s newspaper Meditsinsky Vestnik (Medical Bulletin) reports, chickens in California are affected with Exotic Newcastle virus that is lethal for them. The virus is reported as not dangerous for humans.

The disease has been already discovered in three districts of Southern California. Leadership of the California Poultry Federation is afraid that the virus may affect chicken in the central part of the state as well; that is why they offer to declare the state of emergency in the US poultry industry. At the same time American exporters hope that poultry import will be recommenced rather quickly as soon as the disease if liquidated.

According to the information reported by the American mass media, the outbreak of the poultry disease in California was registered last time in 1974. At that time, over 12 million chickens were slaughtered and about 56 million dollars were spent to contain the easily transmitted disease.

By the way, the chicken epidemic in the USA is very much off the point for the commercial relations between the USA and Russia. Currently, a delegation of the Russian Agriculture Ministry carries out a large-scale examination of all of the 450 American agricultural enterprises, poultry processing plants and refrigerating plants that export chicken meat to Russia. Russian officials and veterinary inspectors will focus special attention on the states of North Caroline, Indiana, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and Massachusetts, that produce the most part of chicken exported to Russia. Chicken from California was regularly supplied to Russia.

The USA had to authorize this large-scale inspection right after Russia’s complete prohibition on import of American chicken legs to the Russian Federation. On September 15, 2002, under the pressure from the Russian side, a joint Russian-American veterinary certificate was adopted; this certificate introduced tougher standards for the quality of chicken meat exported from the USA to Russia. As it turned out, Americans didn’t have much to choose from in that situation. Further prohibition of US poultry import might cause a mass bankruptcy of American agricultural enterprises and also might entail unemployment in at least four American states. Now, they may go bankrupt owing to nature.

While the USA and Russia are still bargaining about chicken meat and steel, the former Soviet republic of Belarus decided the moment to be very appropriate to do get rid of American chicken legs. Belarus Ministry of Agriculture Produce decided to suspend import of American chicken. At that, arguments to the measure resemble the arguments previously stated by the Russian Agriculture Ministry.

An official press-release of Belarus’ Ministry of Agricultural Produce says that chicken meat of American origin disagrees with the Belarus standards of quality of chicken meat. At that, officials say that reliable information concerning pathogenic microbes in American chicken meat was provided by the International Epizootic Bureau.

American supplies make up about 80% of the total chicken meat import in Belarus. It is hoped that when the country faces deficit of chicken meat, it may start importing it from Russia.

Kira Poznakhirko
PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Commentary:
This story is for our friend from Russia.


top

GOP Governors Raise Taxes
Washington Post
By Dale Russakoff and Edward Walsh
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 19, 2003; Page A01

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a proudly conservative Republican, was determined to solve his state's fiscal crisis without raising taxes. Last year, he pulled it off, but the pain was everywhere: large layoffs and tuition increases at state colleges; reduced child-care subsidies for parents among the working poor; an end to dental care for adults on Medicaid.

This year, facing another 10 percent budget gap, Kempthorne said these were his only options left: Close the state parks; end state aid to public health clinics; abolish state support for community colleges and student financial aid; cut public education; slash Medicaid and programs for seniors and veterans.

He couldn't do it.

In a turnabout that echoes nationally as states face their worst fiscal crises since World War II, the governor who cut taxes 48 times in his first term opened his second one by calling for increases in state cigarette and sales taxes.

"I have done something that is absolutely not part of my fiber," Kempthorne said in an interview last week. "But I'm not going to dismantle this state, and I'm not going to jeopardize our bond rating, and I'm not going to reduce my emphasis on education."

While governors in both parties still vow to cut their way into the black, what is now happening in state capitals contrasts sharply with President Bush's call for a new round of federal tax cuts. One reason for this is that most governors and state legislators, unlike the president and members of Congress, cannot avoid the often painful tradeoffs involved in deciding to raise more revenue or cut services to close a budget gap. Most state constitutions mandate balanced budgets and do not allow deficit spending.

So each week brings new cries of "uncle" from once tax-averse governors who say they cannot stomach the cuts required to close budget gaps of 10 percent or more. In many cases, Republican governors, who are among Bush's strongest supporters, have found it impossible to adhere to their party's and their president's tax-cutting ideology.

The most recent defectors included Georgia's Sonny Perdue, the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction. In his first speech to the Georgia General Assembly, he called for higher cigarette and alcohol taxes and a cut in property tax rebates by $155 per homeowner.

"No Republican governor wants to propose even a modest tax increase his first week in office," Perdue said. "But this is the budget I believe the situation demands."

When Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) of Arkansas earlier proposed a sales tax increase to help close that state's budget shortfall, the idea received an icy reception from lawmakers. So when Huckabee went before those lawmakers earlier this month to deliver his State of the State address, he told them, in effect, he didn't care whether they adopted his proposal or came up with their own, but that Arkansas needed to raise more money to balance the budget.

"And if you deem that all new revenue sources, your proposals or mine, are indeed dead on arrival, then you'll be saying that teacher pay increases are dead, scholarships are dead, medicine for the elderly is dead, that long [prison] sentences are dead, and that we'll have to have a massive early release of thousands of inmates from the system," Huckabee said. "To be blunt, our problems aren't that simple, and the answers aren't either."

Last year, Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland (R), who signed a campaign pledge not to raise taxes, won election to a third term. But Connecticut faced a budget deficit of $2 billion next year, and Rowland soon proposed higher income taxes for millionaires and spending cuts to close the gap.

To be sure, it is not just Republican governors who are calling for higher taxes. In California, which is saddled with a deficit of almost $35 billion, Gov. Gray Davis (D) has called for more than $8 billion in income, sales and cigarette tax increases along with $21 billion in spending cuts. In office just a few days, Illinois' new Democratic governor, Rod Blagojevich, has publicly speculated about expanding the state sales tax to apply to services to repair a $5 billion budget hole.

Nor are all governors of either party committed to seeking higher taxes to help overcome their states' fiscal woes. Among those still vowing no new taxes are Republicans Bill Owens of Colorado, George E. Pataki of New York, Jeb Bush of Florida, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Democrats Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan, Gary Locke of Washington and Janet Napolitano of Arizona.

The unusually serious fiscal crisis facing the states stems from several factors. State revenue has been plunging because of a sharp decline in corporate profits and the taxes corporations pay, and the stock market collapse, which swallowed up capital gains tax revenue that flooded into state treasuries in the 1990s. The states are also facing soaring Medicaid and other health care costs while they attempt to cope with outdated tax systems that reach a dwindling portion of the economy.

Moreover, most states enacted permanent tax cuts during the boom years of the 1990s and still managed to build record "rainy day" funds. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the tax cuts account for $40 billion of the current state shortfalls nationally while the rainy day reserves are almost depleted.

Kempthorne and Colorado's Owens, two popular Republican governors of western states, represent two different approaches to this fiscal mess. Like Kempthorne, Owens was a tax cutter in his first term, pushing through $1 billion in permanent reductions in his first two years in office. But Colorado had to scramble to close a $1.2 billion budget deficit last year, using money from a variety of special funds, and now faces a projected deficit of about $900 million in its current budget.

To chip away at the deficit, Owens proposed that a payday for state workers at the end of June be delayed for 24 hours, pushing the payments into the next fiscal year and saving an estimated $134 million this year. That idea met with strong resistance even from GOP lawmakers, who called it "gimmickry."

Owens is betting that Colorado legislators will think better of "gimmicks" once they realize the difficulty of closing the deficit entirely through budget cuts. "The cuts get progressively more painful," he said in an interview. "The first $100 million isn't that hard. The second $100 million starts to get difficult. When you get to $800 million, another $100 million is very, very painful."

Still, Owens vowed in his State of the State speech this month, "So long as I am governor, we will not raise taxes."

But Kempthorne and others have discovered that at some point budget cuts can become as politically perilous as tax increases. Last year, Idaho cut higher education funding by 10 percent, leading to widespread layoffs at state colleges and universities and steep cost increases for students.

In the November election, Kempthorne was reelected easily, but Democrats made record gains in the still heavily Republican legislature. House Minority Leader Wendy Jacquet said every new Democratic lawmaker comes from a college town, where there was a revolt against the cuts.

This is among the reasons Kempthorne expects to have more and more company as his fellow governors face the harsh reality of balancing their budgets.

"We've gone down a lot of roads," Kempthorne said, "and other states will go down them in the next few months, and I think they're going to find that those roads lead nowhere."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Recall how in 1993 President Clinton made a bold move and raised taxes? Every republican in both Houses of Congress voted against him. Bill's plan worked and we had record surpluses. Today, those who lied about tax cuts increasing revenue continue to try to find a way around their lies. States have $40 billion of deficits from tax cuts. The Federal deficit will probably reach an all time record high from Bush's tax cut. Where are the screams for a balanced budget? Oh, we only hear those screams when we have democrat presidents. Let's hope we get one soon, before this nut bankrupts us.


top

The president's real goal in Iraq
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By JAY BOOKMAN
Opinion
September 29, 2002

Editor's Note: I know this is an old article but I just came across it. Please take the time to read all of it.

The official story on Iraq has never made sense. The connection that the Bush administration has tried to draw between Iraq and al-Qaida has always seemed contrived and artificial. In fact, it was hard to believe that smart people in the Bush administration would start a major war based on such flimsy evidence.

The pieces just didn't fit. Something else had to be going on; something was missing.

In recent days, those missing pieces have finally begun to fall into place. As it turns out, this is not really about Iraq. It is not about weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism, or Saddam, or U.N. resolutions.

This war, should it come, is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the "American imperialists" that our enemies always claimed we were.

Once that is understood, other mysteries solve themselves. For example, why does the administration seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once Saddam is toppled?

Because we won't be leaving. Having conquered Iraq, the United States will create permanent military bases in that country from which to dominate the Middle East, including neighboring Iran.

In an interview Friday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brushed aside that suggestion, noting that the United States does not covet other nations' territory. That may be true, but 57 years after World War II ended, we still have major bases in Germany and Japan. We will do the same in Iraq.

And why has the administration dismissed the option of containing and deterring Iraq, as we had the Soviet Union for 45 years? Because even if it worked, containment and deterrence would not allow the expansion of American power. Besides, they are beneath us as an empire. Rome did not stoop to containment; it conquered. And so should we.

Among the architects of this would-be American Empire are a group of brilliant and powerful people who now hold key positions in the Bush administration: They envision the creation and enforcement of what they call a worldwide "Pax Americana," or American peace. But so far, the American people have not appreciated the true extent of that ambition.

Part of it's laid out in the National Security Strategy, a document in which each administration outlines its approach to defending the country. The Bush administration plan, released Sept. 20, marks a significant departure from previous approaches, a change that it attributes largely to the attacks of Sept. 11.

To address the terrorism threat, the president's report lays out a newly aggressive military and foreign policy, embracing pre-emptive attack against perceived enemies. It speaks in blunt terms of what it calls "American internationalism," of ignoring international opinion if that suits U.S. interests. "The best defense is a good offense," the document asserts.

It dismisses deterrence as a Cold War relic and instead talks of "convincing or compelling states to accept their sovereign responsibilities."

In essence, it lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern. And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark expansion of our global military presence.

"The United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia," the document warns, "as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of U.S. troops."

The report's repeated references to terrorism are misleading, however, because the approach of the new National Security Strategy was clearly not inspired by the events of Sept. 11. They can be found in much the same language in a report issued in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, a group of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global empire.

"At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals," the report said. stated two years ago. "The challenge of this coming century is to preserve and enhance this 'American peace.' "

Familiar themes

Overall, that 2000 report reads like a blueprint for current Bush defense policy. Most of what it advocates, the Bush administration has tried to accomplish. For example, the project report urged the repudiation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty and a commitment to a global missile defense system. The administration has taken that course.

It recommended that to project sufficient power worldwide to enforce Pax Americana, the United States would have to increase defense spending from 3 percent of gross domestic product to as much as 3.8 percent. For next year, the Bush administration has requested a defense budget of $379 billion, almost exactly 3.8 percent of GDP.

It advocates the "transformation" of the U.S. military to meet its expanded obligations, including the cancellation of such outmoded defense programs as the Crusader artillery system. That's exactly the message being preached by Rumsfeld and others.

It urges the development of small nuclear warheads "required in targeting the very deep, underground hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries." This year the GOP-led U.S. House gave the Pentagon the green light to develop such a weapon, called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, while the Senate has so far balked.

That close tracking of recommendation with current policy is hardly surprising, given the current positions of the people who contributed to the 2000 report.

Paul Wolfowitz is now deputy defense secretary. John Bolton is undersecretary of state. Stephen Cambone is head of the Pentagon's Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation. Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross are members of the Defense Policy Board, which advises Rumsfeld. I. Lewis Libby is chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense Department.

'Constabulary duties'

Because they were still just private citizens in 2000, the authors of the project report could be more frank and less diplomatic than they were in drafting the National Security Strategy. Back in 2000, they clearly identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as primary short-term targets, well before President Bush tagged them as the Axis of Evil. In their report, they criticize the fact that in war planning against North Korea and Iraq, "past Pentagon wargames have given little or no consideration to the force requirements necessary not only to defeat an attack but to remove these regimes from power."

To preserve the Pax Americana, the report says U.S. forces will be required to perform "constabulary duties" -- the United States acting as policeman of the world -- and says that such actions "demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations."

To meet those responsibilities, and to ensure that no country dares to challenge the United States, the report advocates a much larger military presence spread over more of the globe, in addition to the roughly 130 nations in which U.S. troops are already deployed.

More specifically, they argue that we need permanent military bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in Southeast Asia, where no such bases now exist. That helps to explain another of the mysteries of our post-Sept. 11 reaction, in which the Bush administration rushed to install U.S. troops in Georgia and the Philippines, as well as our eagerness to send military advisers to assist in the civil war in Colombia.

The 2000 report directly acknowledges its debt to a still earlier document, drafted in 1992 by the Defense Department. That document had also envisioned the United States as a colossus astride the world, imposing its will and keeping world peace through military and economic power. When leaked in final draft form, however, the proposal drew so much criticism that it was hastily withdrawn and repudiated by the first President Bush.

Effect on allies

The defense secretary in 1992 was Richard Cheney; the document was drafted by Wolfowitz, who at the time was defense undersecretary for policy.

The potential implications of a Pax Americana are immense.

One is the effect on our allies. Once we assert the unilateral right to act as the world's policeman, our allies will quickly recede into the background. Eventually, we will be forced to spend American wealth and American blood protecting the peace while other nations redirect their wealth to such things as health care for their citizenry.

Donald Kagan, a professor of classical Greek history at Yale and an influential advocate of a more aggressive foreign policy -- he served as co-chairman of the 2000 New Century project -- acknowledges that likelihood.

"If [our allies] want a free ride, and they probably will, we can't stop that," he says. But he also argues that the United States, given its unique position, has no choice but to act anyway.

"You saw the movie 'High Noon'? he asks. "We're Gary Cooper."

Accepting the Cooper role would be an historic change in who we are as a nation, and in how we operate in the international arena. Candidate Bush certainly did not campaign on such a change. It is not something that he or others have dared to discuss honestly with the American people. To the contrary, in his foreign policy debate with Al Gore, Bush pointedly advocated a more humble foreign policy, a position calculated to appeal to voters leery of military intervention.

For the same reason, Kagan and others shy away from terms such as empire, understanding its connotations. But they also argue that it would be naive and dangerous to reject the role that history has thrust upon us. Kagan, for example, willingly embraces the idea that the United States would establish permanent military bases in a post-war Iraq.

"I think that's highly possible," he says. "We will probably need a major concentration of forces in the Middle East over a long period of time. That will come at a price, but think of the price of not having it. When we have economic problems, it's been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies."

Costly global commitment

Rumsfeld and Kagan believe that a successful war against Iraq will produce other benefits, such as serving an object lesson for nations such as Iran and Syria. Rumsfeld, as befits his sensitive position, puts it rather gently. If a regime change were to take place in Iraq, other nations pursuing weapons of mass destruction "would get the message that having them . . . is attracting attention that is not favorable and is not helpful," he says.

Kagan is more blunt.

"People worry a lot about how the Arab street is going to react," he notes. "Well, I see that the Arab street has gotten very, very quiet since we started blowing things up."

The cost of such a global commitment would be enormous. In 2000, we spent $281 billion on our military, which was more than the next 11 nations combined. By 2003, our expenditures will have risen to $378 billion. In other words, the increase in our defense budget from 1999-2003 will be more than the total amount spent annually by China, our next largest competitor.

The lure of empire is ancient and powerful, and over the millennia it has driven men to commit terrible crimes on its behalf. But with the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, a global empire was essentially laid at the feet of the United States. To the chagrin of some, we did not seize it at the time, in large part because the American people have never been comfortable with themselves as a New Rome.

Now, more than a decade later, the events of Sept. 11 have given those advocates of empire a new opportunity to press their case with a new president. So in debating whether to invade Iraq, we are really debating the role that the United States will play in the years and decades to come.

Are peace and security best achieved by seeking strong alliances and international consensus, led by the United States? Or is it necessary to take a more unilateral approach, accepting and enhancing the global dominance that, according to some, history has thrust upon us?

If we do decide to seize empire, we should make that decision knowingly, as a democracy. The price of maintaining an empire is always high. Kagan and others argue that the price of rejecting it would be higher still.

That's what this is about.

© 2003 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Commentary:
How dangerous is this theory. Let's look at one simple fact. Bush issued his "first strike" doctrine on September 20, 2002. A few days later, on October 4, 2002, North Korea said it had nuclear weapons. Doesn't work does it? The crisis in North Korea is our future because of these war-mongers. We might as well get used to it.


top

Rice, Race and Being Used
Washington Post
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 18, 2003; Page A01

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice announced yesterday that she believes race can be used as a factor in college admissions, going beyond President Bush on a central question in his affirmative action policy.

Rice issued a statement saying that she supports the president's decision to challenge race-conscious admissions as administered by the University of Michigan and that race-neutral means are preferable. But she said there are occasions when "it is appropriate to use race as one factor among others in achieving a diverse student body."

Bush stopped short of that view in briefs the administration filed Thursday night asking the Supreme Court to overturn an admissions system at the university that gives preferences to minorities. The administration, which limited its legal briefs to the case before the court and made no broad statements about affirmative action, said Michigan officials "cannot justify the express consideration of race in their admissions policy."

Rice's announcement was an unusual case of a member of Bush's inner circle taking a different public stand on a major issue. In a sign of the sensitivity of the issue and her close relationship with Bush, aides reported that the statement was made with his blessing.

Rice's statement came after an article in The Washington Post yesterday in which several White House aides said she had played a crucial role in Bush's deliberations and helped persuade him to publicly oppose Michigan's program. Officials who described her role to The Post noted that it was unusual for her to become such a major factor in an issue that did not involve foreign policy. Their comments had the effect of associating a respected African American adviser to Bush with a decision that has been criticized by many black leaders. Rice reportedly was angry about the article in part because she believed it had been written only because she is black.

Rice, the first black provost of Stanford University before joining the administration, has become so close to the president and first lady Laura Bush that she is often described as a de facto member of the family, spending many of her weekends with them at Camp David.

In the five-sentence statement she issued yesterday, Rice endorsed the thrust of Bush's decision but suggested he had not taken all her advice.

"I agree with the president's position, which emphasizes the need for diversity and recognizes the continued legacy of racial prejudice, and the need to fight it," she said. "I believe that while race-neutral means are preferable, it is appropriate to use race as one factor among others in achieving a diverse student body."

It is clear that both agree Michigan's program is flawed, but Rice made a broader statement that there are situations when race-conscious admissions programs might be necessary. Bush has avoided going that far. In remarks on the Michigan case Wednesday, Bush did not directly say whether race could be considered in admissions decisions, although he said schools should seek diversity by looking at "a student's potential and life experiences."

Yesterday, administration officials said they saw no contradiction between Rice's position and Bush's because his briefs were silent on the question of whether race could ever be an appropriate factor in admissions.

"Dr. Rice supports the president's actions in the Michigan case," a senior official said.

In an interview yesterday with American Urban Radio Networks, Rice said she agrees with affirmative action "if it does not lead to quotas and if people work hard at it to look at the total individual."

"It is hard to talk about life experiences or the experiences of an individual without recognizing that race is part of that," she said.

Rice told the radio network she has been "a supporter of affirmative action that is not quota-based and does not seek to make race the only factor."

"I certainly hope that we will get to the day where we do not need to take race into account even as one factor," she said. "I believe that one day we will have educational systems that are preparing everybody."

Rice has had praise for some uses of affirmative action over the years. Stanford released minutes from a 1998 faculty senate meeting in which Rice was quoted as saying that she was "a beneficiary of a Stanford strategy that took affirmative action seriously," pointing to her arrival at Stanford in 1981 as a fellow in the arms control and disarmament program.

Stanford said the number of black faculty members had increased from 36 to 44 when she was provost, from 1993 to 1999.

The liberal group People for the American Way, one of Bush's most persistent critics, issued a news release hailing Rice's views as "very good news" and providing a link to her statement on the White House Web site.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said during Bush's campaign that he hoped the University of Michigan would prevail in the case, and copies of his comments are being used by some university officials to build support for their policies. Powell told WJR-AM in Detroit in September 2000 that he thinks affirmative action "is still necessary."

"I will continue to speak out for it," he said, according to a transcript from Video Monitoring Services of America. "There is a case now pending, of course, with the University of Michigan that I hope the university wins."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
This is ripe. Both Rice and Powell are in favor of affirmative action. Yesterday the WH said Rice was in factor of undoing affirmative action (the Bush speech). The legal brief however doesn't suggest that at all. Bush says one thing, does the opposite. The on top of that we have Rice upset that an article was written because she's black. Who gave the press the information. The WH. Who's using that damn race card again. GW BUSH!


top

White House: Warheads are a violation
AP/USA Today
Updated 1/17/2003

empty shellWASHINGTON (AP) — The White House called the discovery of a dozen empty chemical warheads in an Iraqi bunker "troubling and serious" on Friday, though initial evidence suggested at least 11 had never been loaded with killer agents.

U.S. officials said the warheads, discovered Thursday by United Nations inspectors, are a violation of a U.N. mandate that Iraq possess no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or the means to deliver them.

But the find does not show the large-scale covert chemical and biological weapons production effort the United States accuses the government of Saddam Hussein of operating.

"The chemical warheads found by the inspectors were not — not — on the declared list of weapons that Iraq issued just one month ago," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "The fact that Iraq is in possession of undeclared chemical warheads, which the United Nations says are in excellent condition, is troubling and serious."

Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix said he wasn't certain whether Iraq had declared them but said they should be destroyed.

The comments came a day after Secretary of State Colin Powell told foreign journalists "we believe that a persuasive case will be there at the end of the month that Iraq is not cooperating" with U.N. weapons inspectors.

The inspectors are to make a preliminary report to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27, even as the United States builds its forces in the Persian Gulf for a possible war.

The Council "will have to make its own judgment as to what it should or should not do," Powell said. However, he added, according to a transcript distributed Friday by the State Department, "We cannot get ourselves into a situation where the Council just, in the presence of noncooperation, just wants to not do anything and let it continue forever."

[Convert Kilometer to Mile]specs

Iraq said it had declared the warheads in reports to the United Nations though they were not for chemical or biological weapons. Iraqi officials, who maintain the country has no prohibited weapons, said they were surprised at the furor created by the discovery.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "to have the Iraqis act surprised just doesn't wash."

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said evidence suggests at least 11 of the warheads were never loaded with any chemical agent. Whether the 12th — which was taken for tests by U.N. inspectors — had ever contained any chemical agent was unknown.

But their design shows they are chemical warheads and therefore prohibited, officials said.

U.N. inspectors have not said whether their tests determined any agents were ever inside the warheads.

Iraq is allowed to have artillery rockets loaded with conventional explosives, which are a common battlefield weapon. This class of rocket, when loaded with chemical agents, can fly only a few miles.

Before the Gulf War, Iraq had tens of thousands of these rockets, including some loaded with the nerve agent sarin. Some were destroyed during the war, others during the post-war U.N. inspection process. But thousands remain unaccounted for, according to inspectors.

President Bush, while visiting soldiers injured in Afghanistan, declined to take reporters' questions on the warhead discovery.

American allies expressed little alarm at the discovery, and urged patience from Washington.

French President Jacques Chirac, whose country holds veto power at the United Nations, said he supports giving inspectors more time to determine whether Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction. German officials said it was unlikely they would support a war.

ElBaradei said it would be worth taking "a few more months" to search if that would prevent a war.

U.S. officials are looking to the initial report from weapons inspectors, expected Jan. 27, as key to their efforts to convince the rest of the world Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and will not disarm.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Images are from the BBC January 18, 2003
Kilometer-mile script from webaugur.com

Commentary:
If you used the script above you already know the range of these shells is 6.21-12.43 miles. Hardly a threat to the US. Don't forget these are not warheads, they're empty shells. A warhead is packed (nuclear, biological or chemical). Disregard this nonsense.


top