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Impeach Bush

Veterans Say Military Needs Michigan's Enrollment Plan

Fortune 500 Companies Support Michigan Univ. Race Policy

Air Force Cadets Raped

Turkey to US: Give us money

Anti-War Rally Stops Bush/Blair

US press scorns Nato rebellion

GOP Increases Non-Defense Spending 10%

Interest on Debt: $3 trillion over 10 years

Anti-war protests extend to 2nd day


Veterans Say Military Needs Michigan's Enrollment Plan
Washington Post
Associated Press
Tuesday, February 18, 2003; Page A23

Some of the nation's best-known retired military officers and former top Pentagon officials will file a Supreme Court brief supporting race-conscious admissions at the University of Michigan.

Former Army undersecretary Joseph R. Reeder, announcing the legal action, said yesterday that service academies and ROTC programs need affirmative action to maintain a highly diversified officer corps.

"It is absolutely essential to our fighting force," Reeder said. "You can't get there yet without taking race into consideration."

More than two dozen retired officials will support the brief, including Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander in the Persian Gulf War; Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., Gen. Hugh Shelton and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, all former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, former head of the U.S. Central Command. Also joining the brief, Reeder said, are former Defense Secretaries William J. Perry and William S. Cohen.

Today is the deadline for briefs in the Michigan case, which will be argued before the Supreme Court on April 1.

The University of Michigan expects more than 60 briefs will be filed to support its affirmative action admissions policies.

So far, 15 briefs have been filed by opponents of the university's policies, which consider minority status as a factor in deciding which students to accept.

President Bush said Jan. 15 that he supports diversity in higher education, but that Michigan's program "unfairly rewards or penalizes students based solely on their race."

Applicants for Michigan's undergraduate classes are scored by points, with minorities or some poor applicants receiving a boost of 20 points on a scale of 150. At the law school, admissions officers use a looser formula that tries to ensure each class has a "critical mass" of 10 to 12 percent minority enrollment.

The Bush administration says the point system is skewed toward minorities, noting that a perfect SAT score is worth just 12 points, and an outstanding essay gets 3 points.

Reeder, an attorney, said, "Nothing that the president has done or said speaks to the cohesiveness of the fighting force. . . . It is absolutely critical to have African American leadership to work with."

Many companies have broken with Bush on the case, including General Motors Corp., Microsoft Corp., Steelcase Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., Intel Corp. and Banc One Corp..

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:


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Fortune 500 Companies Support Michigan Univ. Race Policy
Reuters
Mon February 17, 2003 08:15 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. said on Monday that it was teaming with General Motors Corp. and dozens of other major U.S. companies to support a University of Michigan minority student admissions policy.

The world's top software maker said more than 30 companies plan to side with the University of

Michigan's affirmative action policy in a friend of the court brief to be filed on Tuesday in two lawsuits before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other Fortune 500 companies signing the brief include 3M, Abbott Laboratories, Bank One, Boeing Co., Coca-Cola, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Sara Lee .

The stance by these large corporate employers puts them at odds with President Bush, whose administration has sounded its opposition to the University of Michigan programs for using race as a key factor in admissions decisions.

The Supreme Court is set to review in coming months cases involving admissions to the University of Michigan's law school and its undergraduate program, taking up a politically charged issue it last addressed 24 years ago in a landmark ruling.

Blacks and other minority groups have strongly defended affirmative action as a way to remedy past discrimination and to achieve student diversity.

Critics retort that the programs amount to an unconstitutional form of "reverse discrimination."

Bush has said the policy amounts to a "quota system that unfairly rewards or penalizes prospective students based solely on their race."

Microsoft, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, said such policies are critical to maintaining racial and ethnic diversity at institutions of higher education.

"By upholding the university's ability to include race and other factors in the admissions process, the courts will preserve Microsoft's ability -- and that of other companies -- to recruit the diverse work force necessary for success in today's global marketplace," Claudette Whiting, Microsoft's senior diversity director, said in a company statement.

In its own friend of the court brief, No. 1 U.S. automaker GM argues that, "In short, universities, not businesses, 'are ideal institutions to foster' the skills and values necessary for participation in a heterogeneous society."

GM headquarters are located in Detroit, Michigan.

Commentary:
The businesses that hire what affirmative action for a reason. What reason could that be? Maybe, just maybe because they want a diverse, educated workforce. But Bush says no, that's unconstitutional. He wants a white educated workforce.


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Air Force Cadet Raped
Washington Post
By ROBERT WELLER
The Associated Press
Monday, February 17, 2003; 4:56 AM

Editor's Note
This story has nothing to do with Bush. It just pisses me off. {Two cadets, one male, one female. Both are drinking. The man rapes the woman but the woman cadet is charged with drinking while the male cadet is allowed to go free. Yeah, that makes sense.)

When five female Air Force Academy cadets reported that they had been raped by classmates, they sought some support from the military. Instead, they were treated as if they were either crazy or promiscuous, says a former Air Force captain and founder of a group that tracks sexual assaults in the military.

The women say they were reprimanded for reporting the attack, and four have left the academy. Now, the military has ordered a review of how the academy handles sexual assault allegations.

"They have attempted to talk about it or find some assistance within the system. Instead they have systematically been told to shut up by other cadets or the system itself," said Dorothy Mackey, a former Air Force captain who says she resigned her commission in 1992 after two other officers harassed her. Her lawsuit against the men was ultimately rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Air Force Academy allegations have led Sens. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., and John Warner, R-Va., to ask the Pentagon for an investigation.

On Friday, the office of Air Force Secretary James Roche announced that a special review panel had been formed to review sexual assault policies in the military branch, "with a particular emphasis on the Air Force Academy."

The academy commandant, Brig. Gen. Taco Gilbert, defended the school's conduct in a written response to questions about one alleged assault in October 2001, in which a cadet said she was raped after a night of drinking and a strip poker game.

After a hearing the academy decided not to press charges against her attacker, and the cadet said Gilbert criticized her conduct.

"I take all reports seriously. I investigate every allegation and take action on every assault," Gilbert said.

He said there was "no justification" for the alleged assault, but added, "when you put yourself in situations with increased risk, you have to take increased precautions to mitigate those risks.

"For example, if I walk down a dark alley with hundred-dollar bills hanging out of my pockets, it doesn't justify my being attacked or robbed, but I certainly increased the risk by doing what I did."

Another woman told KMGH-TV of Denver she left the academy after commanders responded to her rape allegation by charging her with violating rules against drinking, fraternization with upperclassmen and having sex in the dormitories.

An academy amnesty program, set up to encourage the reporting of sexual assaults, promises that in general, an assault victim who violates lesser rules will not be punished.

Rape allegations at the academy in 1993 led then-superintendent Lt. Gen. Brad Hosmer to meet with female cadets and promise action. He created the Academy's Center for Character Development to promote ethical conduct.

A 24-hour rape hot line was set up in 1996. Since then, there have been 99 calls reporting some form of sexual assault, from inappropriate touching to rape. Twenty reports of sexual assaults of cadets on or off campus have been investigated since 1996. Two cadets have been convicted for off-campus sex offenses.

The academy also requires freshmen to take a course called "Street Smarts" to learn how to protect themselves in all kinds of potentially dangerous situations, including personal relationships.

"Are you the one girl going to Denver for an overnight in a hotel with five guys? Probably not a good idea. We talk a lot about those risk situations and about making smart decisions," said Maj. Kelly Phillips-Henry, the psychologist in charge of providing assistance to sexual assault victims at the academy.

© 2003 The Associated Press


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Turkey to US: Give us money
ABCNet/Australia
Posted: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 1:13 AEDT

Turkey has delayed a vote on allowing US soldiers to deploy on its soil, hinting it first wants Washington to put up billions more dollars in aid to offset economic damage in case of war in neighbouring Iraq.

The news came just hours after Ankara secured a victory within NATO, which after a week-long standoff approved US plans to boost Turkey's defences in case of an Iraq war.

The Turkish Parliament had been expected to vote on a government motion to allow US soldiers to deploy in the country in preparation for a possible US military move into northern Iraq.

Without agreement with Washington on "political, economic and military questions" Parliament would not adopt such a motion, said Prime Minister Abdullah Gul.

He did not elaborate, but Turkish and US officials have been engaged in extensive negotiations on US financial assistance to help Turkey deal with the impact of a war.

Newspaper reports suggest Washington has offered $US6 billion in grants and up to $US20 billion in loan guarantees. Turkey might be seeking up to $US50 billion, according to press reports.

"If circumstances do not change, the Prime Minister's office will not send to Parliament such a motion, at least for tomorrow (Tuesday) as was expected," Speaker Bulent Arinc told the Anatolia news agency.

Speaking after talks in Washington, Economy Minister Ali Babacan said he and US officials had failed to agree on the amount of financial aid.

The Turkish press was awash on Monday with reports of tensions between the two NATO allies.

"Parliament vote on hold over deal for US dollars" was the blunt headline in the Radikal newspaper.

Ankara worries a war in Iraq would deal a new blow to its economy, which has just started to recover from a severe recession, hitting the country's vital tourism sector and upsetting fragile macro-economic balances watched by the International Monetary Fund.

Turkey and the US are also at odds over who will command the troops Ankara is planning to send to northern Iraq in the event of a war to prevent an influx of refugees and thwart any independence move by breakaway Iraqi Kurds in the region.

Ankara has said Washington's suggestion to place the Turkish troops under US command is "insulting."

The Turkish legislature is dominated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a movement with Islamic roots and members overwhelmingly against military action aimed at Baghdad.

US technical personnel have already arrived in several Turkish cities.

Commentary:
NATO agrees to help Turkey, but now Turkey wants the US to give them money first. As I see it, Turkey doesn't seem concerned about being invaded by Iraq. Obviously the American news media is lying to us again. What do you think? If you were Turkey and you asked NATO for help, would you demand the US give you money before you accept that help? The dumbing down of American is complete.


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Anti-War Rally Stops Bush/Blair
ABCNews Wire/Reuters
Feb. 16, 2003
— By Nadim Ladki and Saul Hudson

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Britain considered giving diplomacy more time Sunday in the face of resistance at the United Nations to their plans for war to disarm Iraq and vast weekend peace protests around the world.

Among more than six million people who marched in a wave of global protest not seen since the Vietnam War, some of the largest crowds were in countries whose leaders have echoed the hawkish stance taken by President Bush.

There was little sign that the demonstrations, capped by a rally in Sydney Sunday, had swayed pro-war leaders, who say Baghdad is hiding illegal weapons that pose a global threat.

Indeed NATO, its credibility rocked by a bitter internal row over Iraq, appeared close to a compromise that would allow it to prepare measures to protect Turkey in the event of a war.

But diplomatic splits persisted, complicating efforts by Washington and London to win U.N. backing for military action to disarm Iraq and oust President Saddam Hussein, who denies concealing banned weapons from U.N. inspectors.

France, which drew applause at the U.N. Security Council on Friday for its insistence the inspectors should get more time to scour Iraq, repeated that call Sunday, drawing criticism from Washington which said Paris was easing the pressure on Saddam.

Babel, newspaper of Saddam's eldest son Uday, said the United States had suffered a decisive defeat.

"The reports by chief U.N. weapons inspectors to the Security Council and the following worldwide demonstrations have dealt a blow that America will never forget."

But Bush's national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said Washington was still working on winning support at the United Nations for a new resolution on Iraq.

MORE TIME FOR DIPLOMACY

A senior British diplomatic source said the United States was prepared to spend longer trying to bring key U.N. Security Council members round after a showdown Friday at which there appeared to be no majority for military action.

"If that takes another couple of weeks, that time will have to be found," the source said, stressing that there would have to be a defined deadline for the U.N. inspection process to produce results. "It's got to be clearly time-limited."

Many of the protesters who marched in 600 towns and cities worldwide Saturday said they feared war with Baghdad would spark retaliation by followers of bin Laden, blamed for attacks on the United States that killed about 3,000 people in 2001.

Fueling such fears, an Islamist Web Site broadcast an audio tape which it said had been made of bin Laden during last week's Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

"Regarding this Zionist Crusader war on the nation of Islam, it is the duty of Muslims to fight for the sake of God and to incite the faithful to fight the infidels," said the recording, which sounded like previous recordings of the al Qaeda leader.

French President Jacques Chirac told Time magazine that the U.N. weapons inspectors should be given more time and resources to ensure the peaceful disarmament of Iraq.

But he said that if the inspectors found that they could not overcome Iraqi obstruction, "the Security Council would have to discuss this report and decide what to do."

"In that case, France would naturally exclude no option."

In Washington, Rice said calls to give inspectors more time only took pressure off Saddam. "The U.N. Security Council is unfortunately getting a history of being unable to react," she told NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

The British diplomatic source said a French request for another ministerial meeting of the Security Council on March 14 might be acceptable if it resulted in a clear-cut decision. "But not if it's just buying another four weeks."

In Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors took a close look Sunday at Baghdad's Al Samoud short-range missiles, found to exceed the range allowed under U.N. resolutions. The latest of these, in November, promised "serious consequences" if there was a breach.

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said the United States was determined to attack Iraq even though U.N. weapons inspectors had not found any weapons of mass destruction.

"The U.S. administration of evil is still beating the drums of war. It continues to doubt the ability and work of the inspectors," Ramadan said at the opening of a memorial at the al-Amiriyah shelter, where around 400 people died when it was bombed by U.S. planes during the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait.

ARAB LEADERS MEET

Arab leaders, especially those whose countries host U.S. troops, are anxious to limit popular backlash over a war against Iraq they might not be able to prevent.

But as foreign ministers of the 22-member Arab League began emergency talks on Iraq and a forthcoming Arab summit Sunday, analysts and diplomats saw little chance of any major impact on the plans for war.

Deep splits remained at NATO, where France, Belgium and Germany had refused to approve measures to protect Turkey in the event of conflict with Iraq for fear such a decision would constitute a step toward war.

After four weeks of wrangling, however, the alliance looked set Sunday to strike a compromise deal to break the deadlock.

Australia, one of Washington's staunchest allies, has already deployed around 2,000 troops in the Gulf and Prime Minister John Howard said Sunday he was not convinced that large crowds at anti-war rallies meant the public opposed war.

"I am worried about countries like Iraq possessing chemical and biological weapons, not only that they might use them themselves. They might hand them to terrorists and that is the ultimate nightmare," he told Australian Channel Nine television.

The Sydney crowd, including many middle-aged with children and some in wheelchairs, banged drums and chanted Vietnam war-era protest songs, as they brought traffic to a halt.

"We want our prime minister to listen to us. We don't want war with Iraq," said 34-year-old Thomas Aiken, a doctor, as he balanced his young son on his shoulders.

In America, authorities first estimated the crowd in New York at 250,000 people, but police later put the number at 100,000. Nonetheless it was the largest protest against war in Iraq so far in the United States.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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US press scorns Nato rebellion
BBC News
Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 17:12 GMT

Newspapers in the United States have poured scorn on the decision by France, Germany and Belgium to block Nato plans to fortify Turkish defences ahead of a war in Iraq.
The organisation is facing "what may be its greatest crisis in a generation," writes the New York Times.

Bush is also "disappointed" with the French position
The newspaper says Turkey should "get what it needs" but notes the debate has become "a proxy" for the argument over whether Europe should be expected "merely to accede to American leadership".

France is "showing poor judgement," it continues, adding the fault also lies with the Bush administration's "with us or against us approach" which is also being "foolishly" applied to the US's European allies.

The Washington Post is more critical of the decision by France, Germany and Belgium to block the shipping of defensive equipment to Turkey.

The countries "have finally responded to Iraq's flagrant violation of United Nations disarmament orders by mounting an offensive," says an editorial.

'US target'

"Yet the target of their campaign is not Saddam Hussein but the United States - and the proximate casualties look to be not the power structures of a rogue dictator but the international institutions that have anchored European and global security."

The Washington Post thinks the real objective of France, Germany and "tiny" Belgium is to "obstruct council endorsement of the military intervention that the United States is preparing".

One result, said the paper, would be the "enfeebling of both Nato and the United Nations - the very disaster that Germany and France once feared the United States would cause".

On 10 February, the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post that Iraq has provoked "the gravest crisis in the Atlantic since its creation".

'Catastrophe'

"If the United States yields to the threat of a French veto, or if Iraq, encouraged by the action of our allies, evades the shrinking non-military options still available, the result will be a catastrophe for the Atlantic alliance and for the international order," he said.

The San Francisco Chronicle says France, Germany and Belgium have "embarrassed" President Bush.

 France is virtually an enemy of the United States
 

New York Post

"These long-time allies want to make sure the United States makes a sincere effort to exhaust alternatives to war, such as more rigorous inspections, a reasonable posture shared by many Americans," said an editorial.

But under a headline: "The Axis of Appeasement," the Chicago Tribune says "these are busy days for those who do not want to confront Saddam".

"The solidarity has fractured. Hussein has other nations playing his game: delay, deny, delude, divide," it said.

The New York Post blamed the division in Nato on France. "France is virtually an enemy of the United States," it said.

"All of this is the result of French machinations that are cynical even beyond the craven standards of that nation's traditional foreign policy," an editorial said.

"The plan (involving UN peacekeepers and inspectors) is clearly designed to keep Saddam in power," it added.

In a news analysis, the newspaper's correspondent in France said the "arrogant" leaders of France have "clearly forgotten the sacrifices Americans made (in France)".

'Economic interests'

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette saw an economic motive for some European countries' reluctance to throw their weight behind the US

"Some of the opposition clearly reflects European trade and investment relations with that nation (Iraq) that would be disrupted by a war and its political aftermath," it said.

"A related fear is that if America leads the way in the war, American companies will claim most of the spoils of the war in the form of oil concessions."

The newspapers concluded that "if this sounds paranoid" Americans "should recognise that the relationship between economics, politics and military is real".

© MMIII BBC

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GOP Increases Non-Defense Spending 10%
Washington Post
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A05

A year after President Bush pledged a grand reordering of the federal government in the wake of the attacks of 2001, Congress has produced a 2003 budget that largely leaves domestic priorities unchanged, while masking spending hikes that promise to exacerbate budget deficits for years to come.

Congress finally completed work on its 2003 budget last week with the passage of a massive, $398 billion spending bill that funds every aspect of the government outside of the military.

The government this year will make $763 billion in so-called discretionary budget authority, the expenditures that are subject to Congress's annual spending bills, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That is up nearly 10 percent from 2002, when the government's discretionary spending totaled $696 billion.

Congress added about $14 billion of discretionary spending to the president's bottom line, said James W. Dyer, the Republican staff director of the House Appropriations Committee.

But Bush claimed victory. "This budget will provide valuable resources for priorities such as homeland security, military operations and education, while adhering to the spending restraint set forth in my budget," he said in a statement. "I look forward . . . to continuing a course of fiscal discipline."

Except for a dramatic increase in defense spending, however, the budget does not look much different from spending plans approved before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And only through budget gimmickry did Congress even come close to adhering to the president's standards of fiscal discipline.

At best, lawmakers and congressional aides from both parties say, the spending plans for this fiscal year represent a good-faith effort to inch the government toward Bush's vision.

At worst, they amount to a sham that at once shortchanges terrorism defense and masks large increases in other spending that will raise the cost of government for years to come.

The budget "is not only too big. It's bigger than we say it is," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a leading critic of Congress's budgetary system.

Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, called it "the flimflam game of the century."

Last February, Bush unveiled a budget request for fiscal 2003 that made the case that the dramatic new threat posed by international terrorism mandated major changes, including huge spending increases for the military and homeland defense and austerity in virtually every part of the government not mobilizing to fight the war on terror.

A year later and more than four months into this fiscal year -- which began Oct. 1, 2002 -- Congress finally completed work on its 2003 budget last week. Rather than passing its 13 annual spending bills with any semblance of order, Congress was able to forge agreement only on two separate military bills last year. Lawmakers then rolled the remaining 11 bills into one mammoth document that few lawmakers had read before they voted it into law Thursday.

At $763 billion, discretionary spending appears to be largely in line with the president's original request of $755 billion. But that number substantially understates the growth of federal spending, congressional aides said. Highway spending for 2003 was increased by $4 billion over Bush's line in the sand, but that spending comes out of an "off-budget" and invisible trust fund.

Congress also included increases in Medicare payments to hospitals and physicians that could cost as much as $54 billion over the next 10 years. But Medicare payments are considered "mandatory" spending -- not subject to yearly appropriations -- so the increase does not show up in the $763 billion discretionary spending figure. The money is supposed to come out of the $400 billion that Bush has pledged to spend over 10 years to fund a Medicare overhaul and provide a prescription drug benefit for seniors, but no such plan exists.

Also not counted is $2.2 billion in "pre-funding" promised to elementary and secondary education for the 2003-2004 school year. And $3.1 billion in drought relief to farmers is supposedly offset by cuts to a farm conservation fund that is not supposed to materialize for years to come, House Appropriations Committee aides said.

In all, Congress will spend about $10.5 billion more this year than the budget indicates, appropriations staffers said Friday. And the White House is already at work on a request for supplemental military spending expected to exceed $20 billion.

"There was not a real commitment to fiscal discipline here," said Stanley E. Collender, a federal budget expert at Fleishman-Hillard Inc., a public relations firm. "This was, 'Let's do some gimmicks to make it look like the president got what he wanted.' "

Even so, Bush was unable to secure much of the funding he championed after the 2001 attacks. For instance, in his 2003 budget, the president labeled as "Mission One" a $3.5 billion request for "first responders" -- firefighters, police officers and emergency workers -- who would be the first to reach the scene of another attack.

To get that $3.5 billion, Bush had hoped to eliminate other local law enforcement programs, such as the Clinton-era COPS program and the Edward Byrne grants designed to help fight violent and drug-related crime.

But Congress did not eliminate those other programs. Instead, lawmakers added $1.2 billion explicitly for first responders.

"That's a Bush loss and a loss for the nation," Dyer said.

A Customs Service initiative to begin inspecting giant shipping containers for explosives received $12 million of the $57 million that Customs officials said they needed. And an "urgent" request from Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham for $379 million to secure nuclear materials was answered with $125 million.

After facing criticism that he was not asking the public to share the sacrifices needed after Sept. 11, Bush used his State of the Union speech last year to sound a call for all Americans to serve their country through volunteerism. In his budget, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would create a new Citizen Corps with $200 million. The Corporation for National Service would see a 56 percent increase, to $636 million, to fund the president's new USA Freedom Corps. The Peace Corps would get a significant funding boost, to $325 million.

Congress ignored Bush's request for a Citizens Corps. The Corporation for National and Community Service ended up with a funding cut, and the Peace Corps received $297 million.

Bush also sought a $200 million boost to aid for Israel and $15 million in aid for Palestinians living in the West Bank. He got neither.

Congress's failure to fund these initiatives, coupled with its inability to stay within the president's spending limits, has produced carping from all sides. Democrats have charged Bush with shortchanging homeland security while he pursues hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts that they say will largely benefit the wealthy.

Senate Democratic Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) sent a letter to the president on Friday, stating, "At this time of heightened threats and mounting tensions, Democrats believe we must immediately fund a robust homeland security plan for America. It is indefensible that you have not made funding for homeland security your top priority. Instead, you have advised Americans to buy duct tape, plastic sheeting and bottled water."

At the same time House conservatives are lamenting that Bush did not hold firmer to his bottom line on spending.

But most lawmakers were ready to cut both themselves and the president some slack, then roll up their sleeves to start working on the 2004 budget.

"To some degree, we've moved in the right direction," said Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), who led a conservative fight to bottle up the appropriations process until spending could be reined in. "My gut tells me the only conclusion of all this is it's very hard to change Washington."


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Interest on Debt: $3 trillion over 10 years
CNN
By Mark Shields
Creators Syndicate
Monday, February 3, 2003 Posted: 10:47 AM EST (1547 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Creators Syndicate) -- President George W. Bush was, to recall an earlier construction of his from the campaign, "unequivocable" when he said, "We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, other presidents, other generations."

That may all turn out to be true about occupying downtown Baghdad, filling Grandpa's Viagra prescription and even driving a hydrogen-powered car. But on one important "problem" -- that of who will pay for the administration's ambitious agenda -- the burden and the bill, make no mistake, are being passed directly to the next generation.

Here are the stubborn facts: Long gone is the projected 10-year $5.6 trillion budget surplus President Bush inherited just two years ago. Let's not argue about how much of the vanishing surplus is due to Bush's 2001 tax cut, the staggering stock market, September 11, the increases in defense and non-defense spending and a lingering recession. The reality is that Americans will be forced to ante up $200 billion in their tax money just to cover what is owed this fiscal year on interest on the nation's public debt.

To put that number in perspective, if the interest owed on the debt were a separate government department, this year it would be the second biggest -- behind only defense.

Look at the interest cost on the national debt this way. The total of all individual income taxes paid by working families in the following 31 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming -- would not be enough to cover what is owed in this year's interest on the national debt.

Over the next 10 years, the nation's taxpayers will have to pay $3 trillion just in interest costs on the nation's debt. That debt -- because of annual budget deficits in the next couple of years already acknowledged by the Bush administration's official numbers-crunchers and because of the cost of Bush's new $674 billion tax cut and his prescription drug plan -- will grow and add even more to the interest costs. That $200 billion in interest charges to be paid out of taxes collected this year will not put a single book in a schoolchild's hands, not pay a single Marine in the Persian Gulf, not comfort a widow or build a playground.

Quite bluntly, that payment represents a transfer of income from many Americans of modest means -- firefighters, nurses, teachers and machinists -- to a few individual and institutional bondholders of considerable wealth. Because the share of the nation's debt owned by those outside the United States has more than doubled in the last 10 years (to close to half of the total), it also represents a transfer of income from Americans to foreigners.

Wait, say the overnight converts to budget deficits in the Bush camp. As a percentage of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, today's deficits -- while larger in dollar amounts -- will be, because the nation's economy has grown, relatively smaller than those of the Reagan-Bush era.

Relative, schmelative. What about the relative priorities of spending more tax dollars to pay bondholders than the federal government spends in taxes on education from kindergarten through college, on all health research, for veterans, for farmers, for airports, roads and waterways, for national parks and for the entire justice system -- not to mention welfare and foreign aid?

Back in the 1980s, in a sea of red ink from unbalanced federal budgets he never once vetoed, President Ronald Reagan could joke: "I'm not going to worry about the deficit. It's big enough to take care of itself."

Today, America's children do not have a political action committee or influential lobbyists, or even a vote. They are dependent instead upon our integrity and our conscience. Forget class warfare: This is generational warfare by the mature upon the defenseless young whom we profess to love. Let it not be said of us that we were unable to forego just one more tax break for millionaires to give our own kids a fairer and brighter future.

Commentary:
Once again insanity has overtaken the White House as a conservative president attempts to bankrupt the future of America. When the American people figure out deficits are really tax increases, conservatism will cease to exist. The presidencies of Reagan and the two Bush's gave us the largest deficits in US history and therefore massive tax increases. Since the Reagan tax cut the US has created over 5 times more debt than all previous generations combined. Our national debt now stands at $6.3 trillion and Bush thinks we can afford another tax give-away. Shame on him and shame on those who support him.


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Anti-war protests extend to 2nd day
MSNBC
February 16, 2003

Feb. 16 — Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Sunday, beginning a second day of global marches against a possible U.S. war on Iraq. In a massive wave of demonstrations not seen since the Vietnam War, more than six million peace protesters took to the streets in towns and cities from Cape Town to Chicago on Saturday.

POLICE SAID there were at least 200,000 people in the Sydney protest, but admitted the crowd size was all but impossible to estimate because of the sheer mass of chanting, placard-waving people.

Protesters in wheelchairs and youths on skateboards and scooters joined in while others clapped and chanted "No war." Some sipped coffee as they walked, others had poodles tucked under their arms.

One man on stilts had dressed as President Bush. Others carried effigies depicting Bush and Prime Minister John Howard as his puppy, trailing behind him.

Despite the huge turnout in Sydney and elsewhere, Howard said it didn't indicate widespread opposition to his unstinting support of the Washington's tough stance on Iraq.

"I don't know that you can measure public opinion just by the number of people who turn up to demonstrations," Howard said in a television interview broadcast Sunday.

RALLY NEAR THE U.N.

On Saturday, demonstrators packed the streets north of the U.N. headquarters, filling police-barricaded protest zones for more than 20 blocks as civil rights leaders and celebrities energized the banner-waving crowd.

"Just because you have the biggest gun does not mean you must use it," Martin Luther King III told the demonstrators as he stood before an enormous banner reading: "The World Says No To War."

"Peace! Peace! Peace!" Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said as he walked from the United Nations toward the massive rally. "Let America listen to the rest of the world — and the rest of the world is saying, ‘Give the inspectors time."'

Organizers of the rally, who had hoped for 100,000 people, estimated the crowd at anywhere from 375,000 to 500,000. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said about 100,000 people were in the crowd, which stretched 20 blocks deep and spanned three avenues.

Fifty arrests were made and two protesters were hospitalized — one with an epileptic seizure and another who had diabetes, Kelly said. Eight officers also were injured, including a mounted police officer who was pulled off his horse and beaten, Kelly said.

TEAR GAS IN COLORADO

Police in Colorado Springs, Colo., fired tear gas at protesters, sending at least two to a hospital, and made arrests after the demonstrators blocked a major thoroughfare near an Air Force base.

Police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms said police fired tear gas after the protesters failed to heed repeated warnings to disperse.

Anti-war rallies had been planned in about 150 U.S. cities, from Yakima, Wash., to Augusta, Maine, as well as in major cities including Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle.

"We need to leave Iraq alone," said Detroit rally organizer Kris Hamel of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against the War on Iraq.

Rallies including the one in Knoxville, Tenn., drew young and old, in tie-dyes and dreadlocks, in collared shirts and khaki slacks. Protester Rick Held said he was "surprised it's not just the usual suspects" participating. "Bush must really be screwing up to bring out the mainstream."

A demonstration planned in San Francisco was held back a day to make way for the city's traditional Chinese New Year's parade. Some planned to return for the protest on Sunday.

Other demonstrators, including about 1,000 in Manhattan, supported the possibility of U.S. military action.

In Wausau, Wis., some 200 war supporters routinely interrupted speakers with shouts of "George Bush, free Iraq" or "U.S.A., U.S.A."

London saw one of the largest marches for peace on Saturday — at least 1.5 million people, organizers claimed, although initial police estimates were about 750,000. They hoped to heap pressure on Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been Europe's biggest supporter of the tough U.S. policy.

"I feel they should take more time and find an alternative, and not see the only solution to the problem in bombarding the country," said Maria Harvey, 58, a child psychologist, who said she hadn't marched since the protests against the Gulf War in 1991.

HUGE RALLIES IN ROME, BERLIN

There was another huge turnout in Rome, where many in the crowd displayed rainbow "peace" flags. Organizers claimed three million people participated, while a police official put the crowd at around 1 million.

Hundreds of thousands marched through Berlin, backing a strong anti-war stance spearheaded by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Police estimated the crowd at between 300,000 and 500,000.

"We're not taking to the streets to demonstrate against the United States, or for Iraq. We're taking to the streets because we want a peaceful resolution of the Iraq conflict," said Michael Sommer, head of the German Federation of Unions.

In Syria, a nation on the front line if war comes, some 200,000 protesters marched through Damascus.

Officials say two thousand Israelis and Palestinians marched through Tel Aviv. Jewish men in skullcaps and Arab women in headscarves carried signs reading "War is not the answer" and other slogans. During the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel. Marchers say they're motivated by moral and ideological opposition rather than the fear of a repeat of such missile attacks.

In Bulgaria, Hungary, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia and Thailand, demonstrations attracted thousands, while the crowds were in the hundreds or less in Romania, Bosnia, Hong Kong, Indian-controlled Kashmir and Moscow.

Police estimated that 60,000 turned out in Oslo, Norway, 50,000 in bitter cold in Brussels, while about 35,000 gathered peacefully in frigid Stockholm.

Crowds were estimated at 10,000 in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, 5,000 in Capetown and 4,000 in Johannesburg in South Africa, 5,000 in Tokyo, 3,000 in Vienna and 2,000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

BAGHDAD LAUDS PROTESTS

Iraq staged its own demonstrations on Saturday, when tens of thousands of people, many carrying assault rifles and portraits of Saddam, took to the streets of several Iraqi cities to pledge their loyalty to the Iraqi leader.

Sunday, Iraq gloated over the global outpouring of opposition to the U.S. threat, saying the anti-war demonstrations signaled an Iraqi victory and "the defeat and isolation of America."

Iraq's tightly controlled news media gave prominent coverage to the demonstrations. Iraqi television showed footage of millions marching in the world's cities — under the logo "International Day of Confronting the Aggression."

"The world said with one voice: 'No to aggression on Iraq,"' read a headline in the government daily Al-Jumhuriya. "The world rises against American aggression and the arrogance of naked force," read a front page headline in the army daily Al-Qadissiya.

SMALL-SCALE CLASHES IN GREECE

Several thousand protesters in Athens, Greece, unfurled a giant banner across the wall of the ancient Acropolis — "NATO, U.S. and EU equals War" — before heading toward the U.S. Embassy.

Police fired tear gas in clashes with several hundred anarchists wearing hoods and crash helmets, who broke from the otherwise peaceful march to smash store windows and throw a gasoline bomb at a newspaper office.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Miller said the Greek protesters' indignation was misplaced.

"They should be demonstrating outside the Iraqi embassy," he said before the march.

Meanwhile, demonstrators in Asia expressed skepticism that Iraq posed a threat to world security, saying that Bush was seeking to extend American control over oil reserves.

"We must stop the war as it is part of the United States' plot for global domination," protest organizer Nasir Hashim told 1,500 cheering activists outside the U.S. Embassy in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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