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Impeach Bush

OMB's Mitch Daniels Resigns
IndyStar Editorial
May 8, 2003

Our position is: The venom with which Democrats have attacked Daniels is a sure sign of the budget director's effectiveness.

It's way too early to declare Mitch Daniels the front-runner in the 2004 Indiana governor's race. He hasn't even announced his candidacy yet.

What is clear, considering the venom with which the budget director is being attacked by the other side, is that Democrats see him as the front-runner and are gripped with fright.

Within minutes of Daniels' announcement that he would resign as head of the Office of Management and Budget, Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee declared: "Daniels is the clown that turned our fiscal house upside down." Clever line, but a more accurate version would be: "Daniels is the man who threatened pork barrel projects would end."

From the day Daniels showed up in D.C., he was persona non grata on Capitol Hill. The guy kept calling attention to lawmakers' shameful waste of taxpayer money, offending Republicans with the same blunt talk that angered Democrats. His doggedness sent Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., into fits. When Daniels complained about pork barrel appropriations, Byrd responded with Shakespeare: "Upon what meat doth this our little Caesar feed that he is become so great?"

Expect the "little Caesar" line to show up in negative campaign commercials. As Daniels leaves the Bush administration after two successful years at OMB, it's pretty obvious who's not wishing him well: big spenders who don't like their extravagance called into question.

Copyright 2003 IndyStar.com

Commentary:
Whatever we can say about Daniels, one thing for sure. He mismanaged our nation's finances worst than any OMB director in US history. Under his watch we went from the largest surpluses in US history to the largest deficits in history. By any standard, that is failure.

But even I realize there's only so much a person can do when the man he works for is completely corrupt. Bush promises tax cuts no matter what happens in the economy. When Clinton gave us the super-boom of the 90's, he wanted to give back the surplus. When the economy went into recession he wanted the tax cut to stimulate the economy. No matter what happens, you get a tax cut.

The only problem is, there is no such thing as a tax cut when you have deficits. Bush is simply postponing to another president (and another generation) his tax burden.

One of the primary jobs of the president is to manage our government. Bush has failed miserably and is therefore unfit to serve a second term. As of this writing, Bush has created over $700 billion in unpaid taxes (debt). No amount of flimflam, fuzzy math will undo the damage his policies have created on our budget, economy and future.


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Wave the flag or be silenced
Vancouver Sun
Angus Reid
Saturday, May 03, 2003

Now that the anesthetic of the mind-numbing 24/7 coverage of the Iraq War is starting to wear off, it's becoming increasingly clear that, despite the hoopla over satellite cameras and embedded journalists, the invasion of Iraq saw American broadcasters enter a new and disturbing phase in which the lines between reporting and propaganda are blurred more than ever. This development -- the rise of America's "imperial media" -- has profound consequences for both the U.S. and its neighbours, especially Canada.

This shift, which has been under way since Sept. 11, 2001, moved into high gear during the three-week Gulf War when patriotism reigned across much of the U.S. broadcast media. Heading the cheerleading section was Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, which treated every pronouncement and move by the Bush administration with reverence while sneering at practically every critic whether in the U.S. or foreign lands.

Murdoch, who so successfully transformed his entertainment channels from fiction to "reality TV," has done precisely the opposite with cable TV news -- replacing journalism with showbiz. The Fox formula relied heavily on a sanitized coverage of the war that gave short shrift to protest, avoided treatment of civilian casualties and stressed breathless accounts of U.S. technological superiority.

This might be harmless were it not for the disturbing movement of audiences towards this format. During the first week of the war, Fox easily beat out CNN and became the top-rated station in 36 of the top 40 U.S. time slots. For the first time ever, the three major networks actually lost audiences during a war.

One of Fox's top programs The O'Reilly Factor drew more audience than Good Morning America or The Tonight Show. Bill O'Reilly is typical of America's new right-wing celebrities who wrap themselves in the flag while they harangue and shout down as "unpatriotic" anyone who questions U.S. military policy.

The success of Fox has led to the predictable march of other broadcasters to its formula. The most notable has been NBC/MSNBC, which saw a marked improvement in its ratings as a result of the adoption of a more shrill patriotic style. In what many saw as outright theft of Fox's identity, MSNBC employed its own outrageous prime-time commentators -- Joe Scarborough and Mike Savage who, together, heaped scorn on anyone opposed to the war as anti-American and even traitors.

Now that the war is over the suppression of criticism has moved to a new level.

A week ago, Winnipeg native Ashleigh Banfield, NBC's gutsy correspondent and former MSNBC talk show host, condemned the networks for portraying the war as "glorious and wonderful." Her remarks were made at a speech she gave at Kansas State University on relations between America and the Arab world. Banfield was especially critical of Michael Savage who once called her a "slut" on air because of a feature she produced on the origins of Arab radicalism.

Within hours of her Kansas speech, Banfield was berated by NBC News president Neal Shapiro for her criticism of the networks. NBC/MSNBC issued a joint statement saying they were "deeply disappointed" by her remarks and stressing how "proud" they were of their war coverage.

But across the Atlantic other network executives weren't so sure.

The day before Banfield's speech, Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, the government-owned broadcast outlet of America's most important coalition partner, expressed a similar note of alarm about the U.S. broadcast media's "gung-ho" coverage of the Iraqi conflict.

"Personally, I was shocked, while in the United States, by how unquestioning the broadcast media was during this war" he told an audience at London's Goldsmith College.

In addition to singling out television networks for swapping "impartiality for patriotism," Dyke was also critical of radio, especially the massive Texas-based Clear Channel Communications, which operates more than 1,000 stations across the U.S. and has close ties to the Bush family. In addition to featuring the usual gallery of right-wing hotheads, Clear Channel went one step further by actively organizing pro-war rallies, possibly contravening the rules of the Federal Communications Commission, which is headed by Colin Powell's son.

It's hard not to be disturbed by what's happening in American broadcast media. Though I take some comfort that newspapers like The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have largely avoided the rush to hyper patriotism, the reality in America is that television more than print serves as the lens that shapes opinions.

What does this shift in the tone and content of U.S. broadcast media mean to Canada?

First, it serves as a cautionary tale for those who would rush headlong into losing foreign ownership rules and CRTC regulations covering the broadcast industry in Canada. In late April, the Canadian government released a position paper on the telecommunications industry that called for the end of foreign ownership restrictions. There are many investors and media owners in Canada who would dearly love to see ownership restrictions lifted for broadcasters. There are others who would be happy to see less CRTC involvement in media content.

But at what cost? If it means a transformation in our media along the lines we are witnessing in the U.S. -- no thanks.

But the second and even more important lesson for Canada -- and indeed most other countries -- is that the arrival of hyper patriotism in the American broadcast media signals a dangerous step towards an even more imperial U.S. foreign policy. America's media, perhaps as much as its constitution, serves as a daily check to the unbridled power of the administration. The new post 9/11 world of terrorists -- real or imagined -- lurking in the shadows, weapons of mass destruction carried in vials and nuclear weapons shipped in containers creates a fertile ground for the abuse of American power at home and around the world.

When the media fail to question the strategies and actions of the U.S. government and its military leaders or, even worse, actively stifle critical commentary, they create even greater potential for abuse. And for Canada the combination of a capricious U.S. government actively supported by a fanatical broadcast media spells big trouble ahead.

That's because fanaticism everywhere shares one common trait: a mistrust of all things foreign. Maybe it's just an isolated incident, but I got a shiver down my spine when I read New Jersey columnist Matt Zoller Seitz's recent account of why ABC's Peter Jennings was one of the big losers as a result of the shift in U.S. media during the war. The problem he says is that Jennings' neutral tone and Canadian accent are "out of fashion" in TV news.

areid@angusreid.net

© Copyright  2003 Vancouver Sun

Commentary:
From time to time we see what networks are really made of. MSNBC and NBC have become right-wing hangouts. On May 7, Hardball's MSNBC had a guest who wanted to bludgeon Senator Clinton with a tire iron. MSNBC is rapidly becoming a home for hate-mongers of the highest order. If you have children and want them to be civilized, make sure all NBC programming is made unavailable. It's hard enough raising kids these days without having them learn how to hate from NBC and Fox..

While researching the problems of US network news (anyone hearing what's put out as news has to know there's something very wrong), I looked to the BBC and Canada broadcasting to see what they're saying. I wanted to confirm what I believed to be the insanity going on in corporate American news. You'll be seeing more reports like this so you can keep up on what the rest of the world thinks about our pro-war, corporate-nationalism, flag-waving, talk-news.

Btw, an interesting tid bit. The BBC requires all reporters to be unbiased and neutral (i.e. Peter Jennings). If they fail to be neutral they're kicked off the air, it's that simple.

Some years ago the US had laws requiring fairness (it was called the fairness doctrine). When it was killed, hate speech quickly spread throughout the US media. What we see and hear today on tv and radio is a direct result of the rise of conservatism because fairness is no longer required or desired.


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Broward Commission Florida Votes Against Patriot Act
March For Justice
May 06, 2003

WHAT: (MIAMI, FL, 5/6/2003) Broward County Board of Commissioners today voted unanimously against an act that most seriously threatens civil rights and liberties of all people in America. Broward's resolution affirms all people's rights in accordance with the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Resolution was sponsored by the Broward County Human Rights Board and supported by Broward Bill of Rights Defense Coalition (BBoRDC).

In a statement released by The March For Justice, a BBoRDC member organization, Nidal Sakr stated:

"Today is a great day in the history of our democracy and a victory for the people. The resolution passed unanimously today, was a result of diligent work of Broward's exemplary citizens and organizations and came to signify the working relation between the public and their elected officials.

We call upon all people throughout the country to join the growing list of over 60 municipalities that have passed similar resolutions.

Together, we can all make a difference, and together, WE ALL COUNT."

CONTACT: Randy Fleischer, Chair, Broward Human Rights Board, 954-680-6300
Jennifer Van Bergan, BBoRDC, jvb000@earthlink.net
Nidal Sakr, Chair, The March For Justice, 305-673-4645
Email: info@marchforjustice.com
http://www.marchforjustice.com


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Cadbury Schweppes & The Carlyle Group Buy Dr. Pepper
Take Back the Media
May 3rd, 2003

CADBURY SCHWEPPES AND THE CARLYLE GROUP COMPLETE ACQUISITION OF DR PEPPER BOTTLING COMPANY OF TEXAS

The "refreshing taste of Dr. Pepper" is being brought to you by people who build bombs and bury Tanzanian miners alive with bulldozers. A CALL TO BOYCOTT THE WARMONGERS

Cadbury Schweppes plc and The Carlyle Group of Washington DC today confirmed that they have completed the acquisition of the Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Texas.

The Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Texas will be combined with The American Bottling Company, owned by Cadbury Schweppes and The Carlyle Group, to form the largest independent soft drinks bottler in the US...

... Cadbury Schweppes will hold approximately 40% of Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group, Inc. (DPSUBG), The Carlyle Group 53%, with the remainder held by Jim Turner, Chief Executive Officer and President of DPSUBG, and management. John Brock, Managing Director of Cadbury Schweppes Beverages Stream, is Chairman of DPSUBG...[Click here for MORE]

(Please NOTE: Not ALL Dr Pepper has been taken over. THE DUBLIN, TEXAS CO with the Original Recipe has NOT Merged with The Carlyle Group and should not be Boycotted.)

Copyright 2002-2003, Take Back The Media

Commentary:
The Carlyle Group is a war mongering company that now owns soft drinks. When you see a 7-Up, Schwepps, Dr. Pepper or Cadbury commercial try to remember they're owned by part of the war network that is taking over the US media.

As most of you know by now, Clear Channel owns almost half of all the radio stations in the US. This happened because the telecommunication bill of 1996 was passed with the (false) promise it would increase competition. Needless to say, competition is almost gone in radio and is rapidly being destroyed in all other news formats. Kinda sad to see the US fall like this, but we did it to ourselves.


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Bush to cut housing subsidies
BBC News Online, Washington
By Steve Schifferes
Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK

President Bush is determined to shift responsibility for the needy from the Federal government to individual states - and now has targeted federal housing subsidies for the poor.

While the high-profile battle over the size of the tax cut package for the rich has dominated the headlines, the Bush administration has been quietly moving to reshape the Federal role in assisting the poor.

The US tax office, the IRS, has recently announced that it will demand tougher certification before families qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which boosts the income of low-income working families.

The health care programme for the poor, Medicaid, which is jointly funded by the Federal government and the states, is under severe pressure due to the budget crisis, and many states are proposing sharp cutbacks in the range of coverage and who might be eligible.

And now the Federal government is proposing to return responsibility for helping low-income people with their housing costs to the states.

Rent subsidies

Under the current system, two million families receive rent subsidies to help pay the cost of renting homes in the private sector.

The programme ensures that poor people pay no more than 30% of their income on rent, and 75% of participants must be "extremely poor".

It is not, however, an entitlement, and demand for the programme has been rising as apartment rents have been increasing. Only one in four of those eligible receives assistance.

Local housing authorities administer the programme.

Under the new housing proposal, the federal government would give a fixed sum - a block grant - to each state to use as they saw fit.

The states could then change who was eligible for the programme, for example linking it to recipients of welfare assistance, which was devolved the states in 1996.

Under that programme, known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), help expires after five years, and recipients must take part in jobs or training programmes.

Working poor

Most of the people currently receiving housing benefits are not on welfare, with 35% in work and the rest either disabled or retired.

"The notion that there is a group of people they have to force off assistance is erroneous," said Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition told the Washington Post.

"These are people who have income, but it is insufficient to be able to afford housing in America."

There are also worries that the new block grants will not keep pace with the rise in housing costs.

But some advocates of welfare reform say the same principles should be applied to housing aid.

Howard Husock of the Manhattan Institute says that the current programme "is the last redoubt of non time-limited public assistance".

Religious groups

Under the new plan, it would also be possible for religious groups and other non-profit agencies to administer the housing vouchers.

President Bush has been frustrated in his plans to introduce a faith-based initiative through Congress, and has sought to include religious organisations in social programmes through executive orders instead.

But the housing plan could face significant opposition in Congress.

Newspaper reports suggest that a group of 42 senators, including eight Republicans, were opposed to the plan and prepared to sign a statement saying that it would undermine the rent voucher programme.

With other key battles ahead, including tax cuts and health care reform, the Bush administration is likely to continue its drive to find savings across a wide range of domestic programmes.

The poor, who vote less than other groups, are likely to be a target for many of those savings.

© BBC 2003

Commentary:
Here's the most important line in the article; "Most of the people currently receiving housing benefits are not on welfare, with 35% in work and the rest either disabled or retired."

Note how compassionate Bush is to the super rich. He's borrowing hundreds of billions each year and giving it the rich in tax cuts, but there's not enough money for the working poor. Not very compassionate if you ask me.</.p>

If you're a conservative and you think your party is moral, please stop and think about it. Reagan started this mess, borrowing tons of money, giving it away and them creating massive deficits and debt for the next generation to finance and pay. Conservatism at its core can not be moral. It requires true believers to take a leap of faith and hope their tax cuts will someone magically balance the budget. Reagan couldn't do it, neither could Bush Sr. and now Bush Jr too is giving us record deficits.

There's a reason why conservatives can't be trusted...they believe things that are not true. Their beliefs are so strong no amount of proof will persuade them their policies are destroying the future of our country. Reagan, for example, created more debt than all previous presidents combined. Yet, to the conservatives, Reagan is a hero. Bush's father created the largest deficits in US history only to be outdone by his son. Baby Bush is projected to give us a deficit between $370 and $400 billion this year alone. By any standard you can't fail more than that.


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High Court Set to Rewrite Campaign Law
By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 3, 2003; Page A01

The inevitable appeals of yesterday's federal district court ruling on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law will set the U.S. Supreme Court on the road to its second foray into national politics in as many election cycles.

Although this time the case will not decide the outcome of a presidential election, as happened during the Bush v. Gore clash in 2000, it will do something almost as consequential: write the rules by which a presidential campaign, already in progress, will be conducted.

And unless the justices dramatically alter their schedule to accommodate the campaign finance case in the two months remaining in their current term -- a scenario legal analysts consider unlikely -- the court's ruling on a myriad of often technical constitutional questions having to do with the getting and spending of campaign cash will emerge uncomfortably near the time the first primary voter of 2004 casts a ballot, at the earliest.

For the justices, who split 5 to 4 along liberal-conservative lines in the 2000 presidential election case, and who are similarly divided on many other issues as well, the campaign finance case poses potentially staggering challenges, legal and logistical.

As a legal matter, the case requires the court to interpret the campaign law in light of the 1976 decision known as Buckley v. Valeo. In that case, a challenge to Watergate-inspired reforms, the court weighed the government's interest in preserving the integrity of elections against claims that money is the lifeblood of free political communication.

Broadly speaking, Buckley established the proposition that the First Amendment permits the government to limit campaign contributions but not campaign spending.

Campaign reform advocates blame Buckley for creating a "loophole" through which rich donors poured millions in unregulated "soft money" to the parties, and for the failure to control spending by unions, corporations and interest groups on "issue ads" that target or promote individual candidates.

But many campaign reform opponents are also dissatisfied with the ruling, noting that even Buckley's limited endorsement of campaign finance regulation goes too far.

On the current court, the more liberal members -- Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer -- have shown the most sympathy for campaign finance regulation.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy have shown the most skepticism.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who supported Buckley's contribution limits as an associate justice in 1976, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor have tended to occupy a middle position. In 2000, they voted with the liberals in favor of a Missouri law that set limits on campaign contributions, reaffirming Buckley's holding that preventing the appearance of corruption is a sufficient rationale for regulation.

At the heart of the case headed toward the court now, however, are the questions of soft money and issue ads, neither of which the court has confronted since Buckley.

All told, though, there are more than 20 issues rolled into the mammoth case -- including such provisions of the law as a "millionaire's exemption" to contribution limits and a ban on donations by minors. Any one of these would have made for a significant Supreme Court case on its own. Yet the court must resolve them all at once.

Buckley, which also dealt with a multi-provision statute, was a formidable drafting task for the court. By the time the eight justices were done (Stevens, then a newcomer to the court, did not participate), they had produced a 138-page opinion for the court, plus 83 pages' worth of concurring and dissenting opinions.

The justices of the time dealt with the job by dividing the ruling into chapters, each assigned to a different member of the court. Having heard four hours of oral argument on Nov. 10, 1975, the court managed to get its opinions out the door by Jan. 30, 1976 -- an 81-day turnaround.

"The current court . . . should emulate the seriousness and open-mindedness with which the Buckley court undertook its inquiry," said Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert and professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, in a recent article about the drafting of Buckley.

Like the justices in the Buckley case, the current court is under a congressional mandate to expedite consideration of the case. They are handicapped, however, by the fact that the district court -- which was under the same requirement to speed things up -- produced its phone-book-sized opinion in early May. Karen L. Henderson, a member of the three-judge district court panel, had once seemed to promise a January delivery.

Under the law, the parties to the case -- of whom there are more than 80 -- have 10 days each to notify the district court that they intend to appeal, and another 20 days after that to file briefs with the Supreme Court, according to Kathy Arberg, a spokeswoman for the high court. Those opposing the various appeals would presumably have time to file replies before the justices would formally decide whether to take the case.

But these procedures could be shortened, Arberg noted, if the parties agree on a joint motion to the court that would essentially ask the justices to take up the matter without further ado, and if they propose an accelerated briefing and argument schedule.

The court is scheduled to take its annual summer recess by the end of June.

In theory, it could so expedite the appeal, demanding accelerated briefings from the parties, that an oral argument could be scheduled in June and an opinion issued after that -- possibly even during the summer.

The court has held two such special sittings in recent years -- in May 1996 and June 1997 -- but those cases dealt with single issues, not a complex of issues as in the campaign finance case.

Also, the court is already wrestling with several difficult, high-profile cases, including two that will decide the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions at the University of Michigan's law school and undergraduate program.

More fundamentally, lawyers involved in the case noted, to try to rush the campaign finance case to a conclusion now would create the spectacle of the nation's highest court devoting less time to the matter than the court below it had done.

Instead, the court will probably hear the case next fall and try to issue a ruling as early as possible before the 2004 campaign is in full swing. However, even if the court matches the January 30 delivery date achieved by the Buckley court, it will not be as timely.

In 1976, the New Hampshire primary took place on Feb. 24; in 2004, it is slated for Jan. 27.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
This article is priceless. Conservatives have hated liberal judges because they "make law." But now we have two conservative Bush appointee's undoing huge chunks of law (agreed by both Houses of Congress and signed by Bush). In effect, they're rewriting or making new law. The exact same thing they say liberals judges have been doing.

It's important to note that there's no provision in the Constitution giving the courts the power to overturn law (that is ruling it's unconstitutional). The courts simply created this new power without an amendment or law. (‘contempt of court' is another law created by judges).

My personal feeling is these right wing nuts will rewrite all laws they disagree with. In other words, these two judges have more power than a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate and the President combined. If you think our founding fathers wanted a couple right wing judges to have this much power you're sadly mistaken.


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Hail to the Chicks!
Rolling Stones
ANDY PARAS
May 2, 2003

Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines began the band's U.S. tour with an open invitation to heckle her. "If you're here to boo, we welcome that because we welcome freedom of speech," she said from the stage of Greenville, South Carolina's Bi-Lo Center Thursday night. "So we're going to give you fifteen seconds to get whatever you have out."
Instead, the 15,000-strong crowd erupted in cheers. And from the moment the band launched into "Goodbye Earl" to kick off their twenty-two-song set, fans showed their support by standing up and stomping along.

"They said you might not come but we knew you'd come," Maines said, "because we have the greatest fans in the whole world."

It was the Dixie Chicks' first U.S. concert since Maines told a London audience on March 10th that they were ashamed the president is from their home state of Texas. The comments ignited a firestorm of controversy across the country: The Dixies became a punching bag for conservative pundits, their CDs were crushed beneath a tractor in Louisiana, some radio stations pulled their music from the airwaves and a nationally syndicated radio host organized an "anti-Dixie Chicks" concert to take place at the same time as the Chicks' tour kickoff. Outside the Bi-Lo Center, arena officials had designated an area for protests. Among the approximately twenty who showed was Nancy Capps. "I'm a chick from Dixie and she doesn't speak for me," Capps said of Maines. Capps was joined by her nine-year-old son, Steven, and twelve-year-old daughter, Becky, who both held up signs outside the arena: "They're being raised to be patriots, and they're being raised to understand that the First Amendment does not excuse a person from facing the consequences."

Don Wilson of Taylors, S.C., held up a large poster with an altered photograph showing the Dixie Chicks with their arms around Saddam Hussein while burning the flag. Wilson didn't have tickets to the concert, but showed up to make his opinion known. "They have the world stage to speak," he said. "I have Greenville."

The Chicks didn't shy away from making their own statements last night. As they sang "Truth No. 2," large television screens showed images of civil rights marches and woman's suffrage protests, as well as pictures of Beatles and, of course, Dixies albums being crushed.

Later, when Maines emerged for the encore, she mentioned George W. Bush for the first and only time. "They just told me that the president has announced that the war is over," she said. "It seems a little strange to keep playing songs, but I guess we'll celebrate and keep going."

©1996-2003 Vivendi Universal Net USA Group, Inc. All rights reserved. ©Copyright 2003 RollingStone.com

Commentary:
A small confession. I had no idea who the Chicks were until they said they were ashamed Bush came from Texas. But from what I've heard of them, they're a class act. Bush supporters can't take cretinism but they like to dish it out. This is one of their many weak spots. Bush too thinks he was appointed by god (he has some sort of god complex–that is he thinks he is one). A smart candidate will take advantage of this massive character flaw. Add Bush's god complex with his inability to tell the truth and he's toast.

Back to the Chicks. These ladies say one anti-Bush line and the war networks go into overtime.. The same nuts in the media who called Bill Clinton every name in the book and want to "bludgeon {Senator Clinton) with a tire iron" can't stand it when someone says a single line about their announced one. The Chicks take these nuts head-on and make me proud to be a real American.


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American Navy 'helped Venezuelan coup'
Venezuela's Electronic News
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The UK daily broadsheet, The Guardian's investigative reporter Duncan Campbell ... reporting from Los Angeles ... says that the United States of America had been considering a coup d'etat to overthrow the elected Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez Frias since June 2001, according to former US intelligence officer Wayne Madsen.

Campbell's report, originally published a year ago but given very little play in the opposition-controlled Venezuelan print & broadcast media, also highlights allegations that that the US Navy aided the abortive Venezuelan coup on April 11 with intelligence from its vessels in the Caribbean ... Campbell says "evidence is also emerging of US financial backing for key participants in the coup."

Madsen, an intelligence analyst, told The Guardian that American military attaches had been in touch with members of the Venezuelan military to examine the possibility of a coup. "I first heard of Lieutenant Colonel James Rogers (the assistant military attache based at the US embassy in Caracas) going down there in June 2001 to set the ground ... some of our counter-narcotics agents were also involved."

The US navy was in the area for operations unconnected to the coup d'etat, but that Madsen understood that "they had assisted with signals intelligence as the coup was played out ... the US Navy helped with communications jamming support to the Venezuelan military, focusing on communications to and from the Cuba, Libya, Iran and Iraq diplomatic missions in Caracas ... four countries which had expressed support for Mr. Chavez."

Navy vessels on a training exercise in the area were supposedly put on stand-by in case evacuation of US citizens in Venezuela was required. In Caracas, a congressman has accused the US Ambassador to Venezuela, Charles Shapiro, and two US embassy military attaches of involvement in the coup. Roger Rondon claimed that the military officers, whom he named as (James) Rogers and (Ronald) MacCammon, had been at the Fuerte Tiuna military headquarters with the coup leaders during the night of April 11-12.

Referring to Ambassador Shapiro, Rondon said: "We saw him leaving Miraflores Palace, all smiles and embraces, with the Dictator Pedro Carmona Estanga (who was installed by the military for a day) ... (his) satisfaction was obvious ... Shapiro's participation in the coup d'etat in Venezuela is evident."

The US embassy has dismissed the allegations as "ridiculous" but Shapiro admitted meeting Carmona the day immediately after the coup ... but said he urged him to restore the national assembly, which had been dissolved.  Nevertheless, Carmona himself told The Guardian that no such advice was given ... although he agreed that a meeting took place.

A US embassy spokesman said there were no US military personnel from the embassy at Fuerte Tiuna during the crucial periods April 11-13 ... although two members of the embassy defense attache's office (one of them Lt. Col. Rogers), drove around the base on the afternoon of April 11 to check reports that it was closed.

US Congressman Rondon has also claimed that two foreign gunmen ... one American and the other Salvadorian ... were detained by security police during the anti-Chavez protest on April 11 in which around 19 people were killed, many by unidentified snipers firing from rooftops. "They haven't appeared anywhere ... we presume these two gentlemen were given some kind of safe-conduct and could have left the country."

Members of the military who coordinated the coup have claimed that they did so because they feared that Chavez was intending to attack the civilian protesters who opposed him.  Both sides have blamed the other for the violence surrounding the coup ... Chavez' opponents claim pro-Chavez gunmen shot protesters while his supporters say the shots were fired by agents provocateurs .

In the preceding year, the United States channeled hundreds of thousands of US dollars in grants to US and Venezuelan groups opposed to Chavez ... including the labor group whose protests sparked off the coup d'etat. The funds were provided by the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit agency created and financed by the US Congress. A year ago the US State Department's Human Rights Bureau was reportedly examining whether one or more recipients of the money might have actively plotted against Chavez ... but any reports resulting from their "examination" have been sadly lacking to date.

Commentary:
Have you wonder why South American opposed Bush's War Resolution. I'd put money on it, it was because Bush didn't support democracy when it was threatened. It's clear the US Ambassador met with the military dictator hours have taking power. US Ambassador Shapiro is not fit to represent the leader of the free world. Neither is his boss.


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Tape Shows Exhausted, Confused Saddam
Yahoo News/AP
By CHARLES J. HANLEY
AP Special Correspondent
May 08, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq - In what is purported to be his last known wartime speech — a video never before televised — Saddam Hussein appears exhausted, at times confused and seemingly resigned to defeat, but he tells Iraqis that God, somehow, will help them expel the American-British occupiers.

"The faithful will be victorious over the sinners, regardless of the duration of the struggle and the forms it might take," Saddam says. With patience, the "ordeal" can be overcome, he says, and the invaders driven from Iraq.

The videotape, bearing a presidential stamp, was obtained by Associated Press Television News from a former employee of the Iraqi satellite television channel which, under the regime, was responsible for filming and distributing official presidential video.

The employee said it was made on April 9, the day American troops streamed into central Baghdad and pulled down a towering Saddam statue.

There was no way to authenticate that the tape was made on that day. Nor could it be immediately proven that the speaker on the tape was Saddam — though Iraqis who watched and listened to the leader for decades believed it was him.

An audiotape of the address was obtained and aired April 18 by Abu Dhabi television, which said it also was told the speech was delivered April 9.

At the same time, Abu Dhabi television also broadcast a videotape, also said to have been made on April 9, showing Saddam in the midst of an enthusiastic crowd in the Baghdad district of Azamiyah, a few miles north of the area occupied by U.S. troops that day.

At the time, two senior Bush administration officials cast doubt on the authenticity of the tapes.

Nearing his 66th birthday, in his familiar open-necked olive drab uniform and black beret, Saddam appears deeply fatigued, like someone who had slept little. The bags under his eyes droop more heavily than before. His speech is abnormally slow, and he seldom raises his eyes from the text to look into the camera.

Twice he repeats a sentence of the speech — not for emphasis, but out of apparent confusion. He seems on edge, not surprisingly for someone whose government has been under devastating air and ground attack for three weeks.

As he prepares to begin the speech, in a generic room with a backdrop of pink-and-orange drapes, he says to aides, "The sooner we finish it, the better."

Then, at the end, Saddam adds an uncharacteristically human note of uncertainty. "How was my reading as a whole?" he asks people off camera, and then adds, "It's OK."

Thickly laced with religious references, Saddam's speech did not strike the most defiant tones of his earlier televised addresses in the first days of the war, which began March 20, speeches in which he told his people their military would humble the U.S. superpower.

Instead, the president seemed to accept the prospect of defeat and occupation. But he said, "The duration of invasion or occupation ... will be the exception, a brief period, compared with the period in which people live free in their homeland."

He said this generation of Iraqis was determined to defend the nation "until the end, as desired by God, in this form or some other form."

His references to a changing "form of struggle" seemed to imply the possibility of a long-term resistance movement or guerrilla war.

"The ordeal, regardless of how bad it might become, requires patience to be overcome, so that those behind it are expelled," he said.

If the April 9 dating is correct, it means the Iraqi president survived an attack two days earlier, when U.S. forces bombed the capital's al-Mansour neighborhood after receiving a tip Saddam had entered a building there.

Since then, Saddam and his sons and aides Qusay and Odai have dropped from sight. The opposition Iraqi National Congress contends they are still in Iraq and have been spotted by INC informants.

EDITOR'S NOTE — AP Writer Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.

Commentary:
Here's my take on Saddam. Dan Rather did an interview with Saddam a couple weeks before the war broke out. This tells me one of three things must be true. First, Mr. Rather is very, very good at his job; two, military intelligence and the CIA are not, or possibility number three, we're being lied to.

Rather is good, but not that good. The military can be inept, but it's not that inept (i.e. not able to find Saddam), which leads me to #3. We're being lied to. You figure out the rest.


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U.S. miscalculates in Iraq
Chicago Sun Times
BY ANDREW GREELEY
May 2, 2003

Watching the Shiite Muslims marching through Karbala and Baghdad last week brought back uncomfortable memories. It was Iran in 1979 and 1980; Jimmy Carter was president, and the insufferable Walter Cronkite was counting off the number of days Americans were being held prisoner in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

If one were to believe the Bush administration and the ''defense intellectuals,'' the United States would soon establish a democratic Iraq. But the marching and shouting Shiites wanted America to go home and let them establish their own Iraq: an Islamic state like Iran.

This wasn't the way it was supposed to be at all. The Iraqi people were supposed to be celebrating their liberation--especially the Shiites, who had been oppressed during Saddam Hussein's brutal reign. Now the leaders of the religious majority were demonstrating against us, without any hint of gratitude for their liberation.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told us that there would be no Islamic republic. Iraq would emerge as a democratic society. Yet democracy, if it means anything at all, means majority rule (except in American presidential elections). The Shiites are 60 percent of Iraq. If they get to vote, their mullahs will take over the country. Then they will impose an Islamic republic, and life will become very difficult for the 40 percent of Iraqis who are not Shiites. The choice seems to be either no democracy or another Iran.

An important Iranian cleric issued a ''fatwa''--a mandate for the Shiites to take control of the country and get rid of the Americans.

If any officials in the administration were aware of this development (which should have been a self-evident possibility), they certainly didn't tell the American people. President Bush celebrates victory and doesn't seem to grasp that the majority religion of Iraq is not grateful to us for liberation and wants us to go home so that it can quickly impose an authoritarian rule, which would be only marginally better than that of the Baath Party. Will the American occupation forces and military government have to fight off an Iraqi branch of the Hezbollah, the Iranian-supported terrorist suicide bombers who periodically blow themselves up in Israel?

It begins to look like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's dream of Iraq as a democratic ally in the Middle East was a pipe dream--and a dangerous one at that.

Somewhere in the government, someone must have known that--probably someone in the CIA or the State Department. The strong possibility of such a development ought to have been obvious to anyone who knows anything about Islam. Yet no one seems to have informed the president or the American people. In effect, those who did not warn us, lied to us--just as did the vice president, who assured us that the Iraqis had developed a nuclear bomb (or had almost developed it).

Most of the national media, especially the news networks, seemed serenely unaware of the Shiite problem in southern Iraq. Their talking-head experts informed the country that the Shiites were there, but never suggested that they might almost immediately begin their own theocratic revolution. They were supposed to dance in the streets and throw flowers on the American tanks. Instead, nervous American troops have to gun them down.

The victory celebrations are at best premature. They deceive Americans into believing that most problems in Iraq have been solved. More lies. There are a lot of ayatollahs between Baghdad and the Persian Gulf, and they are very dangerous people. It would appear that once again the U.S. government has made a major mistake because it simply cannot factor the religious dimension into its calculations. The mistake is particularly odd in an administration that seems to believe so strongly in divine guidance. Apparently, there are other leaders in the world who also believe that they have a direct line to God--men who, astonishingly, believe that we are infidels, although in fact we are a nation of pious, God-fearing evangelicals who, like the president, read their Bible every day.

One wonders if the time will come when Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and William Kristol will feel uncomfortably like Baron von Frankenstein.

Copyright 2003, Digital Chicago Inc.

Commentary:
Nothing Bush said about the war was true before war broke out. There's no reason to believe anything he said about the end will be true either. Clearly, the US wants to impose a government of our choosing. For example, we don't want the people to choose their own government if that government is a religious government. The US believes in democracy only when democracy is pro-American which means democracy is only a word we throw around to make ourselves sound good. Don't forget how the US media and Bush welcomed the overthrow of the democratically elected Venezuelan government.


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