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Impeach Bush


There is NO Bush Medicare Plan

Bush Violates Constitution *

Creationists' evolving argument

Teamsters' Hoffa Outraged at DeLay Letter

Acting Secretary of Navy Stepping Down

Bush's Credibility Gap on the Economy

Mandela rips Bush for policy on Iraq

White House Seeks 9.3 Percent Funding Increase

Bush Budget Uses Fuzzy Math

There is NO Bush Medicare Plan
Washington Post
By JANELLE CARTER
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 9, 2003; 1:19 PM

Joseph Williams is skeptical about enrolling in another Medicare HMO, even if it means the government would start picking up a good part of his prescription drug costs.

At 72, Williams returned to Medicare's traditional fee-for-service program last month after bouncing around among five different health maintenance organizations in recent years.

His experience is an example why even President Bush's allies in Congress have shown no enthusiasm for his proposal to condition prescription drug benefits on older people joining HMOs or other private insurance plans.

"If they'd only treat you like people and not a number in a computer...," Williams said from his home in Massapequa, N.Y.. "The doctors were good. It's the plans. They don't know what they're doing."

In his State of the Union address last month, Bush broached the idea of giving Medicare recipients an option for getting government help with their pharmacy bills, saying "seniors should have the choice of a health care plan that provides prescription drugs."

Immediately afterward, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he refuses to "draw lines on drug coverage." Sen. Olympia Snow, R-Maine, accused Bush of "hampering" efforts by her and other lawmakers to get those benefits for all older people. Senior House Republicans expressed only befuddlement.

Since then, administration officials have been loath to provide any details.

Lawmakers in both parties remain anxious to pass a Medicare prescription drug benefit, particularly before next year's elections. Last year, the House passed a $350 billion, 10-year plan that, like Bush's, relied heavily on private insurers - a concept that Democrats vehemently oppose. It died in the Senate.

"Its exactly the opposite of what seniors want and need," Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said recently.

Older people initially signed up for Medicare's HMO program when it began in 1999 because many of the plans offered enhanced benefits like drug, dental and hearing coverage not provided by traditional Medicare.

But in the time since, many managed care plans have fled areas and abandoned beneficiaries, complaining they are not getting enough money amid rising health care costs. Just this year, 33 health plans withdrew from the program or reduced their service, dropping coverage for nearly 200,000 people.

Between 1999 and 2001, nearly half the HMOs participating in the program withdrew or scaled back their services, affecting some 1.6 million Medicare recipients, according to a study last year by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

About 5 million of Medicare's 40 million beneficiaries are still enrolled in the HMO program.

Karen Ignani, president of the American Association of Health Plans, said the private plans were having difficulties because the "funding formula hasn't kept pace with the increase of health care costs."

"Plans have been forced out because Congress hasn't done it's part to fix the formula glitch," Ignani said. "Only in Washington do entities get underfunded and then get blamed."

Williams said returning to traditional Medicare has brought him and his wife, Mary, a sense of stability after facing rising premiums and reduced services while enrolled in different HMO plans. One plan gave him only a $500 allowance for drug costs. In another, his premiums rose from zero to $71 each for himself and his wife in a matter of months.

While He left his most recent plan after it took more than two years to clear up billing problems following heart surgery, he admitted that a strong prescription drug benefit could lure him into back in private insurance plan.

"I take about four different prescriptions. That would be an incentive to get me back," he said, adding, however, "They are very poorly run. I'd have to think about that."

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
Here's the line that proves there is no Bush plan; "Since then, administration officials have been loath to provide any details."

How can there be a Bush plan if there are no details of how it'll work? A plan means there's a plan--a way for it to work. Since there are no details there is no plan. The press would be well advised to tell us the truth and stop talking about the Bush Medicare Plan.



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Bush Asks Court to Violate Constitution *
An Impeachable Act
Washington Post
By LARRY MARGASAK
The Associated Press
Saturday, February 8, 2003; 1:44 PM

A federal judge is considering a government request to halt proceedings against Sept. 11 conspiracy defendant Zacarias Moussaoui until an appellate court has ruled on national security issues.

A crucial question is whether to allow the defense to receive statements by a suspected al-Qaida mastermind now in captivity, a government official who insisted on anonymity said Friday. The Bush administration's reluctance to allow the statements in a public trial could trigger a decision to move the case to a secret, military tribunal.

The captive is Ramzi Binalshibh, who the indictment alleges was in contact with Moussaoui and was a key figure in the Hamburg, Germany, cell that planned the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

"Under the current circumstances of this case, it would be impracticable to continue this litigation until the issues presented to the 4th Circuit are resolved," said the motion by U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty in Alexandria. He referred to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

Jury selection is set to begin May 27, and the trial is scheduled for June 30.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, who is hearing the Moussaoui case, issued a secret order in the Binalshibh matter last week. Moussaoui, who is representing himself, reportedly wants to question Binalshibh, and a defendant normally has the right to question witnesses who potentially could help the defense.

The implications of the appeal could range far beyond the Moussaoui case. If Binalshibh's testimony is admitted, this could set a precedent that could bring statements from other captured individuals into court in public trials.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has said he prefers to keep the case in the criminal justice system.

Brinkema, who did not immediately rule on the request to halt the proceedings, allowed the motion to be filed publicly because it did not reveal the issues involved. For several months, she has handled virtually all matters in the case in closed session.

If the government can't keep Binalshibh's statements from the public, "I think this trial will be stopped dead in its tracks, and the Bush administration will move to put it before a military tribunal," said Robert Precht, who was the lawyer for a defendant in the first World Trade Center bombing case in the 1990s.

Precht, now an assistant dean at the University of Michigan's law school, said the eventual ruling on statements by an enemy combatant "is a test case for the government and the defense in terms of bringing these cases before civilian trials."

"If the government concludes it would jeopardize intelligence sources by going forward, and puts the case before a military tribunal, it may well be the death knell for other terrorism cases" in civilian courts, he said.

Moussaoui is the only person charged in the United States as a conspirator with the Sept. 11, 2001, attackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and crashed another in a Pennsylvania meadow. The Justice Department is seeking the death penalty for Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent.

Moussaoui has acknowledged membership in al-Qaida but has denied participation in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Appellate courts normally would not rule on procedural, pretrial rulings. However, the government raised this appeal on national security grounds, under a law that governs use of classified information in a criminal trial.

That law, the Classified Information Procedures Act, allows adverse pretrial rulings to be appealed and states that a trial shall not start until the appeals are resolved.

On the Net: Moussaoui case: http://notablecases.vaed.uscourts.gov/1:01-cr-00455/Index.html

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
The problem of course is that NO law can be written that undoes the Constitution. Any such law, by it very nature is unconstitutional. The only way to change the Constitution is with amendments, not laws. Bush is asking the Courts for permission to violate the constitutional rights of a defendant. The courts these days, especially conservative judges don't care about the constitution and probably never have. That's a given.



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Creationists' evolving argument
Boston Globe
By Ellen Goodman
February 6, 2003

MICHAEL DINI doesn't exactly fit the profile of an antireligious bigot. For one thing, the Texas Tech biology professor spent 14 years in a Roman Catholic order of teaching brothers.

If he's bigoted against anything, it's probably against the current wave of grade inflation or perhaps "recommendation inflation." In any case, Dini's Web page lays out strict criteria for any student who wants his recommendation to graduate school in science.

First of all, he says, you have to earn an A in his class. Second, he adds, "I should know you fairly well." And third, you need to "truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to the question: "How do you think the human species originated?"

It was the need to affirm evolution that startled Micah Spradling out of his seat. The young student wasn't in Dini's class long enough to (1) get an A or (2) get to know the professor. But Spradling dropped out anyway. He did some time at Lubbock Christian University, got a medical school recommendation there, and then returned to Texas Tech with some lawyers added to his curriculum vitae.

With the aid, comfort, legal advice, and bankroll of the Liberty Legal Institute of Texas, Spradling is accusing Dini of discriminating against him on the basis of religion. And John Ashcroft's Department of Justice has begun an investigation.

This is the sort of frivolous lawsuit you thought conservatives opposed, but never mind. It's turning the argument over creation and evolution upside down and inside out.

Remember when the fight against Darwin in the classroom reappeared in the 1980s? Creationists insisted they weren't trying to get their religion into the curriculum. Creationism wasn't faith, they said, it was fact. Now they're arguing that creationism is part of Spradling's religion. I guess even creationists can evolve.

As for lawyers, watching the Liberty Legal Institute ostensibly fight prejudice is enough to make anyone dizzy. This is the group that, among many other things, fought to uphold antisodomy laws that make homosexual acts illegal in Texas. They also argued that removing a Ten Commandments monument from the state house grounds would be "censorship" of religious history.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but conservative lawyers are now agile and nervy enough to hijack liberal arguments for their own causes. Kelly Shackleford, the chief counsel, actually compared Dini's attitude toward a creationist with that of a racist. What if Dini refused to write letters of recommendation to African-Americans? Shackleford asked. "I can't imagine the university would say, well, that's a personal decision of one of our professors and we're not going to interfere. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or religion is prohibited."

Needless - or maybe not needless - to say, Dini's refusal to recommend a creationist for a graduate degree in medicine or science is not like refusing to recommend an African-American. It's like refusing to recognize someone who doesn't believe in gravity for a PhD program in physics. But creationists who believe that the origin of species is an open-and-shut book - and the book is the Bible - now accuse evolutionists of being narrow-minded.

A headline in the local paper described Dini as "Rigid on evolution." One of Spradling's supporters said that a professor who dines out on academic freedom ought to grant that freedom to his students.

Lest you think this is an arcane argument in one Texas university, it's parallel to what's going on in public high schools. After losing their bid to rid the classroom of Darwin, creationists went back to court coyly suggesting equal time for "equal" points of view. Now they are pressing for laws like those in Mississippi, Alabama, and Oklahoma that require a printed disclaimer in the textbooks that teach evolution.

There is nothing that says you can't believe in God and evolution. Scientists do it all the time. Including, I am told, professor Dini. Most Americans believe, in a phrase, that "God created evolution."

But as Dini asks rhetorically on his now infamous Web page, "How can someone who does not accept the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a field that is so heavily based on biology?" Is a scientist expected to entertain all points of view on whether, say, the Earth travels around the sun or risk being called a bigot?

Dini may have been brave or naive to put his principles down on pixels. Writing recommendations is the most arbitrary and individualistic of extracurricular activities performed by a professor.

If he is convicted of "discriminating" against religion, surely every student can demand that a professor equate beliefs and facts. Next stop, astrology for astronomers? Feng Shui for physicists? Anyone want a recommendation? How about a lawyer instead?

Ellen Goodman's e-mail address is ellengoodman@globe.com.

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 2/6/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


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Teamsters' Hoffa Outraged at DeLay Letter
Washington Post
By LEIGH STROPE
The Associated Press
Friday, February 7, 2003; 7:49 PM

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, in a scathing note to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, expressed outrage at a fund-raising letter bearing the Texas Republican's signature on behalf of an anti-union group, saying it threatened "our developing relationship."

"This anti-union screed not only insults the 1.4 million members of this union, it offends me personally," Hoffa's letter said.

The fund-raising mailer sent last month for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation accused "big labor bosses" of exploiting the war on terrorism and the Iraq conflict to expand their power.

"It is truly sickening that, at a time when we desperately need everyone in America to pull together, the big labor bosses are willing to harm freedom-loving workers, the war effort and the economy to acquire more power," said the letter, which bore DeLay's signature.

The Teamsters union is one of just a few that regularly cross the political aisle to work with and support Republicans. President Bush has aggressively tried to boost union support of the GOP, particularly with Hoffa. Hoffa got VIP seating for Bush's State of the Union speech last year, and worked closely with DeLay and his staff to pass Bush's failed energy bill last year.

But Hoffa's letter, sent to reporters Friday, could indicate cracks in the relationship with Bush's party.

Hoffa told DeLay that by straying from ideological disagreements and "attacking us personally, your letter creates a significant impediment for our developing relationship." Hoffa also asked for an apology, though the letter did not mention Hoffa or the Teamsters.

DeLay spokesman Stuart Roy said the letter was authorized without the congressman's approval.

DeLay "doesn't believe the words that were ascribed to him ... and disavow the contents of the letter," Roy said. "He didn't approve of the letter or the use of his name, nor would he have since he does not believe the message of this overheated fund-raising hyperbole." DeLay also plans to call Hoffa.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, based in Springfield, Va., opposes mandatory union dues and provides free legal representation for members with allegations of union abuse. President Stefan Gleason would not say how many DeLay letters were sent or how much they raised.

The letter cited examples of unions' drive for power, including:

-Efforts to win collective bargaining rights for firefighters in 2001 "as the World Trade Center and Pentagon still smoldered."

-Launching "a wave of crippling strikes," including by government workers, during that time.

-Exploiting national security concerns with labor disputes with defense contractor Boeing Co. and with shipping companies. The latter dispute led to a West Coast port shutdown.

The letter asked for urgent contributions "for the sake of our men and women overseas whose lives will depend on an uninterrupted flow of arms and equipment and for the sake of our security, prosperity and freedom."

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
One of two things are going on here, either the "National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation" sent out a letter with Delay's approval and signature or they didn't. If they did, they have NO integrity and should be disregarded from this day forward. If on the otherhand, Delay approved the letter (with his signature on it), then Delay should be disregarded from this day forward. Actions have consequences.

You can't figure out which is telling the truth? Simple, Delay and his allies are incapable of truth, therefore disregard both.


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Acting Secretary of Navy Stepping Down
Washington Post
The Associated Press
Friday February 7, 2003; 8:18 PM

Acting Secretary of the Navy Susan Morrisey Livingstone is stepping down from the Navy's top administrative post, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced Friday.

Hansford T. Johnson, assistant secretary of the Navy for installations and environment, is to replace Livingstone, while tending to his normal responsibilities.

Livingstone, who has served as under secretary of the Navy since July 2001, was appointed as acting secretary when Gordon England left the position Jan. 24 for the Homeland Security Department.

Livingstone had previously asked not to be considered to succeed England, but will continue in the post until Johnson takes over the reins.

Rumsfeld said Livingstone "served the department with great distinction."

© 2003 The Associated Press


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Bush's Credibility Gap on the Economy
Washington Post
By David S. Broder
Sunday, February 9, 2003; Page B07

When Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle reached back a generation and revived the term "credibility gap" for a rhetorical attack on the policies of President Bush, it was not a casual or accidental choice of words.

Daschle, who was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, is just old enough to remember how that phrase haunted Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats at the time. It was invented by Murrey Marder, then a diplomatic correspondent for The Post, to describe the gulf between the Johnson administration's upbeat appraisals of the war in Vietnam and the much bleaker (and more realistic) picture being drawn by reporters and other independent observers on the scene.

Johnson, who had been elected in a landslide in 1964, saw public confidence in his veracity -- and, therefore, his leadership -- erode to the point that he decided not to seek reelection in 1968.

So Daschle knew exactly what he was doing when he told a National Press Club audience the day before Bush's State of the Union address: "History is full of politicians whose rhetoric is out of step with reality, who promise something and then fail to deliver. But the Bush administration offers a credibility gap with a new twist. This is a White House that promises one thing knowing full well it is delivering another."

Are the Democrats out of line in reviving these historically freighted words and applying them to another president? They cannot base that claim on Bush's record in international affairs. He has been steadfast in pursuing the war on terrorism -- even if he exaggerates when he says, "We have the terrorists on the run." And with last week's compelling presentation by Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations, Bush has gained support at home and abroad for his showdown with Saddam Hussein.

It is in the domestic arena that his critics find it hard to square Bush's words with his actions. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, sharing the Press Club platform with Daschle on Jan. 27, said that when Bush freezes funds Congress appropriated for homeland defense "but says there is enough money in the wartime budget to create a huge tax cut that benefits the wealthiest in our country, the credibility gap widens."

The budget that Bush delivered last week provides the strongest evidence to support the Democratic charge. The same president who promised in the State of the Union address that "we will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents and to other generations" is burdening the future irresponsibly with debts he will not pay.

The budget message disclosed that in the next two years alone, this administration will pass on to the next generation an unpaid bill of at least $611 billion in fresh budget deficits. The five-year total, by the White House's own estimate, will be more than double that record amount.

Meanwhile, the president omits any provision for financing a possible war with Iraq. And he refuses to face up to the costs of retirement and health care benefits for the baby boom generation, which will drain Social Security and Medicare coffers in coming years.

When John Snow, the new Treasury secretary, came before the Senate Finance Committee last week, he parroted the administration line that -- measured as a percentage of the gross domestic product -- the deficits are "within acceptable range" and smaller than some in the past. But Democratic Sen. John Breaux and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, leaders of the centrist bloc on the committee, expressed their incredulity that such mathematical rationalizations would be used to cloud the reality of the rapidly approaching fiscal crisis.

Instead of facing up to that challenge, Bush has continued the parade of tax cuts targeted to top-bracket Americans. Not content with the dividend tax exclusion that he made the centerpiece of his "economic recovery" plan, Bush had the Treasury float a proposal for a new array of tax-sheltered savings accounts that would remove billions of dollars of investment income annually from the reach of the Internal Revenue Service. Were it to become law, the burden of financing government would fall even more heavily on those who depend on wages for their living.

But this last proposal was too much even for some Republicans. The first Ways and Means Committee member approached by the White House to sponsor the scheme flatly refused, and a senior House GOP member with close White House ties told me the package was "a mistake" and would soon be abandoned. But not before it becomes one more entry in the Democrats' "credibility gap" exhibition.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Recall how Reagan's budget's were "Dead On Arrival." This is what happens when a president isn't in touch with reality--no one believes him anymore.


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Mandela rips Bush for policy on Iraq
SF Chronicle
Saturday, February 1, 2003
Rachel L. Swarns, New York Times

Cape Town, South Africa -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela assailed President Bush this week for pushing the United States to the brink of war with Iraq, calling him "a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly."

Mandela, South Africa's first black president, has publicly and repeatedly opposed the prospect of an American-led war against Iraq. He has spent his recent years in retirement trying to bring an end to bloody conflicts in Burundi and the Middle East.

Speaking to the International Women's Forum in Johannesburg on Thursday, Mandela accused Bush of warmongering with the goal of controlling Iraq's oil. He also accused the American president of disregarding the United Nations because its secretary-general, Kofi Annan, is black.

"It is a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing in Iraq," said Mandela, 84. "What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."

"Why does the United States behave so arrogantly?" Mandela asked. "Their friend Israel has got weapons of mass destruction, but because it's their ally,

they won't ask the U.N. to get rid of it. They just want the oil."

Mandela, who in 1994 shared the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to bring an end to apartheid, South Africa's policy of racial separation, said that Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain were undermining the United Nations by threatening to attack without its consensus.

"Is this because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man?" he asked. "They never did that when secretary-generals were white."

South African President Thabo Mbeki and his deputies have also repeatedly questioned American policy in Iraq and the Middle East. Officials here say they believe the Bush administration is unfairly focusing on Iraq, choosing to ignore the wrongdoing and powerful weapons of its allies in Israel, Pakistan and elsewhere.

"It is critically important that the matter of Iraq is resolved peacefully through the United Nations and its Security Council," Mbeki said at a November meeting of Asian leaders in Cambodia. "We trust that sense will prevail so that no country or combination of countries take it upon themselves to embark on unilateral action against Iraq, which should itself cooperate fully with the Security Council to resolve all outstanding matters."

On Friday, the governing African National Congress reiterated its strong opposition to war and called on its supporters to participate in anti-war marches scheduled in February.

"A people who pose no threat to the world or the security of the United States should not be subjected to the kind of suffering an attack would bring, " the party said in its weekly newsletter.

On Thursday, Mandela took the criticism to a new level. During his speech, he also criticized the United States for complaining about Iraq's human rights record. Asserting that the American conscience was far from clean, Mandela pointed to the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

"Because they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from that, who are they now to pretend that they are the policeman of the world?" Mandela asked. "If there is a country which has committed unspeakable atrocities, it is the United States of America."

Two of South Africa's smaller predominantly black parties, the United Democratic Movement and the Pan Africanist Congress, cheered Mandela's remarks on Friday. The Inkatha Freedom Party, which is the second-largest black party, expressed reservations, along with the predominantly white Democratic Party.

Tony Leon, the leader of the Democratic Party, urged Mandela to "think again" about his position.

"It is not simply a question of America's bellicosity," Leon said. "It is a question of Iraq's decadelong defiance of United Nations resolutions, which has in large part created this crisis."

Commentary:
Bush's next mission should be getting the Nobel Committee to create a new category, the Noble Prize for War. Bush would win it hands down. Have you ever seen a president so bent on war? What can we expect from a president who bankrupts our future with massive new taxes?.


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White House Seeks 9.3 Percent Funding Increase
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 7, 2003; Page A25

While demanding that the federal government restrain its spending to a 4.1 percent increase in 2004, the Bush White House has assigned itself a more lenient standard: It has proposed a 9.3 percent increase in funding for the ongoing operations of the White House.

Democrats say the administration is guilty of a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mentality.

The White House says various hidden security costs account for the increase.

For the Executive Office of the President, the broad category including most White House operations, the administration has requested $341.2 million for fiscal 2004. That compares with a request of $312.2 million for fiscal 2003 -- excluding $16.8 million for the White House Office of Homeland Security that was switched to the Department of Homeland Security budget for 2004.

Amy Call, a spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the increase for the White House would only be 3.8 percent if one does not subtract the costs that have moved elsewhere.

Even without the $16.8 billion from 2003 that the White House is shifting elsewhere in fiscal 2004, Call said various "security related" factors have increased costs for 2004.

"I wouldn't want to say it's the bulk, but it certainly is a contributing factor," she said.

President Bush has proposed holding discretionary spending (excluding programs such as Social Security and Medicare) to $782.2 billion, a 4.1 percent increase.

"I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by 4 percent next year -- about as much as the average family's income is expected to grow," the president said in his State of the Union address last month. "And that is a good benchmark for us. Federal spending should not rise any faster than the paychecks of American families."

Democrats charged that the administration is being hypocritical in requesting a larger increase than it would allow for the government overall.

"George Bush's credibility problem is once again rearing its ugly head," said David Sirota, spokesman for the Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee. "He's preaching the virtues of frugality while trying to pocket a huge raise for his own office."

Among the various White House departments, the Office of Administration -- which includes information technology, procurement and other support functions -- would receive a 10.1 percent increase. The Office of Management and Budget would get a 9.3 percent boost, while funding for the U.S. Trade Representative would rise 14.5 percent.

The only unit scheduled for a cut in funding is the White House Office of Policy Development.

The Bush administration's budget would hold the category covering the expenses and salaries of the president's top aides to a 3.7 percent increase.

The increase in funds for the president's executive residence would be limited to 2.5 percent, while the vice president's office and residence would be held to a 1.4 percent boost.

On the other hand, funding for repair and restoration of the White House would more than triple, to $4.2 million, while the National Security Council is scheduled for an 11.6 percent increase.

One of the largest increases, 30.1 percent, is for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which had to relocate its offices after part of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building was closed for security reasons.

As part of its budget request, the administration is seeking a consolidation of various categories within the White House. The administration would group into one the president's compensation, the White House Office (staff salaries and expenses, including those of the Office of Homeland Security), the executive residence, White House restoration, policy development, the NSC, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Office of Administration.

Bush would also allow various departments to transfer 10 percent of their funds to other departments.

"This initiative provides enhanced flexibility in allocating resources and staff in support of the president and vice president, and permits more rapid response to changing needs and priorities," the budget request says.

The original fiscal 2003 request for the Executive Office of the President was for $329 million. That included $24.8 million for the Office of Homeland Security, and all but $8 million of that was shifted to the new Department of Homeland Security for 2004.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
We're at war, we have to sacrifice, but the White House gets to spend like there's no tomorrow. Wanna bet Bush wants to give his cronies a lot of bonuses? Rule of thumb applies again; "Watch what Bush does, not what he says."


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Bush Budget Uses Fuzzy Math
Washington Post
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 7, 2003; Page A04

Several new programs that President Bush proposed in the buildup to his fiscal 2004 budget have turned out to be somewhat smaller than they first appeared.

On topics including AIDS funding, mentoring and homeland security, Democrats have accused the president of misleading the public. But Bush aides say the president's budget proposals, released Monday, back up his promises.

Yesterday, Bush burnished his green credentials by promoting an initiative to produce hydrogen-powered cars. "I'm asking Congress to spend $1.2 billion on a new national commitment to take hydrogen fuel cell cars from the laboratory to the showroom," Bush, echoing his State of the Union address, said after examining fuel cell technologies at the National Building Museum.

But a fact sheet distributed yesterday by the White House stated that $720 million of the $1.2 billion is in "new funding." The rest -- 40 percent -- is what the government is already spending on fuel cell development.

Democratic lawmakers accused the president of repackaging programs to conceal his preference for expanded energy drilling. Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate, called the counting of existing funds "a shell game," adding: "Rumors of this administration's commitment to hydrogen fuel cells are greatly exaggerated."

Amy Call, spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, defended the administration's consistency. "The president has made clear his priorities, outlined them, and his budget reflects them very clearly," she said.

In his address, Bush proposed spending $15 billion to combat AIDS overseas over five years. He said $10 billion of that would be in new funds.

But his 2004 budget plan called for spending $1 billion -- of which $450 million would be new funding, OMB said. The increase was partially offset by a reduced commitment to another foreign aid program. The budget proposal fell about $400 million short of the $1.7 billion that Bush had pledged for his Millennium Challenge Fund.

Call said that the $1.7 billion "was an illustrative number" and that there is "not a tradeoff" between the two foreign-aid programs.

Is his televised address, the president said his budget "will propose almost $6 billion" to build up antidotes to bioterrorism agents. But overall spending for the National Institutes of Health, which handles much of the government's bioterrorism research and which Bush visited Monday to highlight his budget, would receive no increase in funding in 2004 when adjusted for inflation.

In December, Bush said the AmeriCorps national service program was "expanding mightily," and his address to Congress urged passage of his Citizen Service Act. But Bush's budget proposes $962 million for all national service programs in 2004, a reduction from the administration's request of $1.03 billion in 2003.

A spokeswoman for Bush's service initiative, Lindsey Kozberg, said that the 2004 request represents an increase from what was spent in 2003 and that the program would reach its goals of increased membership with less money than it anticipated.

Two weeks ago, Tom Ridge, homeland security secretary, said, "There was a 1,000 percent increase in first-responder money, up to $3.5 billion." Earlier, Bush said his $3.5 billion first-responder request -- for police, firefighters and so on -- compared with "about $250 million" before Sept. 11, 2001.

The 2004 request for first responders is indeed $3.5 billion, the same as it was in 2003. But Democrats say that 2000 spending for relevant law enforcement assistance was $4.05 billion -- Bush's 2004 proposal is for $2.32 billion -- and that does not include grants for firefighting.

Bush also proposed "a $450 million initiative" to bring mentors to disadvantaged children and children of prisoners. Though he did not state it in his speech, the administration said that pledge is over three years. In 2004, Bush proposes spending $50 million for prisoners' children, up from a request of $25 million in 2003. Democrats say Bush's 2004 budget would cut spending on other mentoring-related programs by $64 million.

On the five-year hydrogen fuel cell initiative, Bush proposes spending $182 million of the $1.2 billion total in 2004. Environmental groups, though backing such technologies, called the plan misleading.

"It doesn't guarantee that a single fuel-cell car goes on the market; it uses polluting forms of energy to produce hydrogen, and it helps avoid implementing fuel efficiency measures available now that really could reduce our oil dependence," Daniel Becker of the Sierra Club said.

Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary, said such reactions were "unfortunate." Such groups, he said, "launch attacks instead of being gratified to receive a $1.2 billion initiative, with $750 million of new money, during a time of very tight budgets."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Nothing new here. Bush is and always has been a pathological liar. Rule of thumb; "Never trust what he says, watch what he does."


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