Impeach Bush

Colo. GOP Redraws Congressional Map
The Associated Press/Washington Post
Thursday, May 8, 2003; 2:59 AM

DENVER - Republicans redrew Colorado's congressional districts just two years after the once-per-decade redistricting, in a rare move that would solidify the GOP's tenuous hold on a new U.S. House seat and bolster the party's majority in Congress.

The Legislature approved the plan late Wednesday before adjourning for the year. The maps will be sent to GOP Gov. Bill Owens for a promised signature.

The current map was drawn two years ago by a judge after the Republican-dominated House and Democrat-controlled Senate deadlocked. Republicans now hold majorities in both houses of the Legislature.

Reopening the process is unprecedented in Colorado politics, and some Democrats called it illegal.

"What's going on here is a battle for the United States Congress and it has clearly come from the White House," said Senate Minority Leader Joan Fitz-Gerald. "They're trying to use Colorado as a test base to start to take seats away that were competitive. This is a sheer power play on their part."

Republicans said they have the authority because the state Constitution says district lines are to be drawn by the Legislature. Leaving the court-ordered plan in place would amount to a shirking of duty, since the Legislature has never approved a plan, Owens said.

The new maps would shore up Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez, who eked out a 121-vote win to represent the new 7th Congressional District. The GOP plan would give the party a 27,000-vote lead in registration.

The GOP plan also would increase the margin of Republican voters in the 3rd District, a seat seen as vulnerable if Republican Rep. Scott McInnis retires.

Texas is considering similar plans to redraw congressional districts. New Mexico, where Democrats are in control of the Legislature and the governor's office, abandoned plans to redraw the lines after drawing similar criticism.

Republicans hold a 229-205 majority in the U.S. House, with one independent.

The tactic appears to be legal but unprecedented, said Stuart Rothenberg, author of the Rothenberg Political Report in Washington, D.C.

Associated Press Writer Jon Sarche contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Associated Press

I get a kick out of anything that has to do with elections these days. I recently helped do a local election. We had to hand count the votes because it was a recall election and they didn't have the machines to count the ballots that were printed. In Bush versus Gore the US Supreme Court said you can't count votes by hand. Oops, we didn't care. When the numbers didn't come out, we recounted them again. And again and again. The Courts said we can't recount either but we didn't care. Now, in Colo. these guys are saying don't follow what the courts say, follow the law. Geez, isn't that what they tried to do in Florida when Bush went to the USSC and asked them to stop votes from being counted? I think every judge who thinks he knows anything about elections should work an election at least once in his life. The Supremes are clueless about how our system works and we ignore them anyway.


11 Stem Cell Lines not 70
The Associated Press/Washington Post
Thursday, May 8, 2003; 2:47 PM

WASHINGTON - Only 11 human stem cell lines are available for research, far fewer than originally estimated, the director of the National Institutes of Health reports.

The finding led to a call for lifting the restriction that President Bush placed on stem cell research.

NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, writing in Friday's edition of the journal Science, says his agency is giving a high priority to research using stem cells because of the potential for treatment of diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's.

But Zerhouni's review of the status of work supported by the NIH also shows that initial reports of more than 70 stem cell lines eligible for research were optimistic.

Donald Kennedy, editor in chief of the journal, contends in an accompanying editorial that development of new cell lines for research is necessary. "It is plainly not sound policy to retain the current restrictions on work" with human embryonic stem cells, he said.

Stem cells form very early in an embryo's development. They can develop into numerous types of cells to form organs and other parts of the body. Researchers hope to use these cells to repair damaged organs and cure diseases.

But the work is controversial because the cells are taken from days-old embryos, which then die. Opponents say this is unethical.

Sources of cells are excess embryos from fertility clinics. The American Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reported Thursday that there are 396,526 frozen embryos in storage in the United States and that 88 percent are planned for use in helping families have children in the future.

Obtaining stem cells for research has led to studies into the potential of cloning embryos, a process also criticized by opponents.

The president has ordered that that stem cell research can continue but scientists receiving federal funds can use only cell lines that were available on Aug. 9, 2001. The Health and Human Services Department reported at the time that more than 70 cell lines - continuously propagating cell colonies - were available.

But Zerhouni says in his paper that many of those cell lines were in the early stages of development and were not to the point where they could be distributed for use. To overcome this, he reports, the NIH provided grants to bring the cell lines to the point where they can be used.

"As a consequence of this support, the number of cell lines available for widespread distribution has grown from a single cell line in the spring of 2002 to 11 cell lines at present," Zerhouni wrote.

Kennedy contends that new lines are needed for research because all current ones were developed in the presence of mouse cells that provided needed growth factors, and thus may be contaminated with viruses or proteins from those cells.

Human embryonic stem cells can now be grown without the mouse cells, Kennedy says, thanks to new methods developed using private funds or in other countries not subject to the U.S. restrictions.

The low number of cell lines currently available has drawn complaints from scientists that the shortage was hampering research.

"The existing restrictions are keeping advances from being realized," Dr. George Daley of the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee last fall.

Gaining access to those limited cell lines has been difficult, several researchers said. They cited costs, problems negotiating agreements with the cells' owners and restrictions imposed by governments of foreign countries, where many of the cells are located.

Zerhouni reports in his paper that the NIH has negotiated agreements with several sources of stem cells for their use in NIH programs. The deals specify that the cells be made available to other researchers under terms no more stringent that those the agency agreed to.

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© 2003 The Associated Press

Another Bush lie has been exposed. Have you noticed how few reporters are willing to say Bush is a pathological liar? He lied about stem cells, lied about surpluses, budgets, tax cuts and the economy. He lied about getting an up or down vote in the UN to go to war, lied about weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons in Iraq, lied about Iraq having aluminum tubes that could be used for nukes, lied about Iraq importing nuclear material etc. The man is incapable of telling the truth and the press adores him.


Fed Worried About Deflation in March
The Associated Press/Washington Post
Thursday, May 8, 2003; 4:05 PM

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve policy-makers privately expressed concerns about deflation at their meeting in March, seven weeks before they first raised the issue to the public, according to minutes of the meeting released Thursday.

The Fed's worries about deflation - a prolonged bout of falling prices - at its March 18 meeting is noteworthy because at its next meeting, which occurred Tuesday, policy-makers took the unusual step of saying it was concerned about the possibility of the country experiencing deflation.

Given that worry, and against that backdrop of listless economic growth, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and his colleagues signaled Tuesday they stood ready to reduce short-term interest rates to ward off even the threat of deflation.

Economists said that raised the odds for an interest rate cut at the Fed's next meeting June 24-25. The federal funds rate, the Fed's main lever for influencing economic activity, has been at 1.25 percent, a 41-year low, since November.

While economists were surprised by the Fed's public concerns about deflation expressed this week, minutes of the Fed's March 18 meeting showed the matter was on Fed policy-makers' minds even then.

"Members saw further disinflation" in the so-called core prices, which exclude food and energy, "as a distinct possibility over the next several quarters," the Fed document said.

Economists view deflation as a far more serious threat than inflation because interest rate changes have only a limited impact once a deflationary spiral begins. America's last serious deflation occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"The probability of an unwelcome substantial fall in inflation, though minor, exceeds that of a pickup in inflation from its already low level," the Fed said Tuesday. For that reason, the central bank said it believed the "balance of risks" going forward was "weighted toward weakness over the foreseeable future."

Neither the Fed nor economists want to see the United States, struggling for three years to overcome the bursting of the stock market bubble, follow Japan into a falling price spiral. Japan, where real estate prices collapsed in the late 1980s, has been mired in more than a decade of weak growth, compounded now by a prolonged bout of deflation.

Thursday's document also revealed that Greenspan and his Federal Open Market Committee colleagues - the group that sets interest rate policy in the United States - kept close tabs on the economy in a series of conference calls following the outbreak of war in Iraq.

The Fed document said that members conducted conference calls on March 25, April 1, April 8 and April 16. They did so "in order to keep abreast of the latest information and to exchange views regarding the possible implications of current developments for the economic outlook and monetary policy."

No policy decisions were made during that time, the Fed document said.

At the Fed's March 18 meeting, policy-makers said that the uncertainties surrounding the Iraq situation prevented them from assessing risks facing the economy, something they do at each meeting.

"Most members believed that the major uncertainties surrounding the geopolitical situation made it impossible to assign reasonable probabilities to plausible alternative economic outcomes and that any effort to do so would provide a misleading impression," the document said.

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Federal Reserve:

© 2003 The Associated Press

As of now there are no known tools to stop deflation. Once it begins it's almost impossible to stop. In my home state last year we saw how fast deflation destroys an industry. My brother-in-law is a rancher who's been dealing the deflation caused by drought. The price of feed sky-rocketed and the sale price of his animals dropped like a bomb. Then everyone started to sell and as more animals hit the market prices deflated. Soon the market was flooded with even more sellers and few were willing to risk buying. By the end of the fall, a total price collapse had taken place. It'll take years to regain what was lost. Herds have to be rebuilt, it has to rain, the cost of feed has to fall, prices have to rise etc.

When deflation hits many industries at a time, the end result of course is depression. Any lowering of interest rates to stimulate the economy can't work since people aren't willing to buy no matter what the price. The likelihood of deflation IMO, is around 25%. Well worth keeping an eye on.


Bush Admin. Blocking 9/11 Report
The Associated Press
Thursday, May 8, 2003; 3:56 PM

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham accused the Bush administration Thursday of stonewalling on the public release of a congressional report on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"The only reason that delay has occurred is because the administration does not want our report to be available to the American people," said Graham, Florida's senior senator and the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

After months of investigation and a series of congressional hearings last year, the House and Senate Intelligence panels wrapped up their report Dec. 20 and released a summary. The full report is still under review at the FBI and CIA, which are trying to determine whether any disclosure of information might pose a risk to national security and should remain classified.

Graham, who chaired the committee at the time the report was completed, said he thinks the White House is behind the delay.

"They don't want this report to come out," he said. "There has not been in my memory, and I would question whether there has been in modern American history, an administration that was so committed to secrecy as this Bush administration."

The White House had no immediate comment.

Graham said the administration is using "classification to cover up information that is not a legitimate threat to America's security, but rather to avoid the American people's opportunity to know what happened, why and what this administration has done about it."

Rep. Jane Harman of California, senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said she prefers to "think well of everyone involved," and thinks the report is being held up by bureaucratic delays rather than an administration conspiracy.

"I don't know what the reasons for the holdup are, but there are not any reasons that persuade me that we should wait longer," she said. "I'm for immediate release of large portions of the report. The majority clearly does not need to be classified."

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., one of Graham's rivals for the Democratic nomination, also called on the administration to stop blocking the report's release.

"I fear the administration is placing bureaucratic, political, or secrecy interests ahead of the national interest," Lieberman said in a statement.

Graham's comments came at his first Washington appearance since his formal announcement in Florida Tuesday that he would join the presidential race. The news conference was designed to highlight his economic plan, but was overshadowed by his comments on the Sept. 11 report and reporters' questions about whether he had ruled out running for re-election to his Senate seat.

Graham continued to avoid answering that question directly. He said he has encouraged other Democrats interested in pursuing the Senate seat to build their campaign and felt no pressure to state his intentions.

"The only people who seem to feel any pressure are you folks," he told the reporters.

Graham's offered his economic proposal as an alternative to a Republican plan to cut taxes on stock dividends as the Senate Finance Committee debated the legislation Thursday. The centerpiece of his plan would give the average worker a $765 refundable wage tax credit in 2003 and 2004.

"Our plan would put the money in the hands of Americans most likely to spend it," he said.

One of Graham's rivals, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, said the wealthiest Americans who would get the dividend cut don't need a tax break now given the country's situation.

"This is what I call cheap politics and I think the American people are going to see through it ultimately," Kerry said in a conference call with New Hampshire media. "There are a better set of choices to be made for the nation."

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© 2003 The Associated Press

Most Americans know Bush is one of our most corrupt presidents in our history. The Dems shouldn't spend too much time beating a dead horse. Instead Dems need to hit Bush on the deficits and debt. They need to let Americans know there is no such thing as a tax cut when you have deficits. They need to let Americans know borrowing tons of money and giving it away is immoral, unethical and bad economics. Americans understand the rest.


FBI Returns Documents They Stole to AP
The Associated Press
Thursday, May 8, 2003; 6:42 PM

WASHINGTON - The FBI returned an unclassified lab report to The Associated Press on Thursday, seven months after the document was seized from a package mailed from one AP reporter to another. FBI officials said they would develop guidelines to address news media material.

FBI acting general counsel Patrick W. Kelley said an internal disciplinary inquiry was under way but had reached no conclusions.

The lab report dealt with materials seized from an apartment in the Philippines rented by convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef. It had been discussed in open court in two legal cases before it was obtained by the AP.

FBI lab director Dwight Adams said the report contained information that would have been classified if it had been written after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and he asked the AP to use caution in reporting about the terrorist tactics described in it.

Kelley acknowledged that the FBI had mishandled the material but said FBI officials had been told that the Customs Service, which confiscated the package, had followed proper legal protocols.

"We don't take things unless we have a right to do so," he said in a meeting with AP editors and an AP attorney.

"The seizure of this material, clearly labeled from one AP bureau to another, infringes on journalists' fundamental right to engage in newsgathering activity without interference from the government," said AP Senior Vice President Jonathan Wolman.

Wolman said the AP had copies of the FBI document for many months and would follow its policy of not publishing materials that could aid and abet threats against public safety.

The AP urged the FBI to adopt safeguards to ensure that newsgathering material be accorded its proper protection from government intrusion.

FBI spokesman Mike Kortan said the FBI would draw up guidelines to address situations involving the news media, and he said the agency was receptive to a conversation with media executives on issues of mutual interest.

The Customs Service intercepted the AP package last September as it traveled via Federal Express from the AP's office in Manila, Philippines, to Washington. Customs has said it was a routine inspection at a port of entry in Indianapolis, and its agents turned the contents of the package over to local FBI agents upon finding the 8-year-old lab report.

Kelley insisted it was Customs' responsibility to notify FedEx that it had confiscated the package, which was clearly marked from one AP bureau to another. He said, however, "there should have been more internal FBI consultation" once the package arrived at headquarters in Washington. Once there, the lab report was turned over to the FBI lab and an international operations office, where Kelley said "it sat on the shelf" and FBI legal advisers were not consulted. Lab officials noted that a page was missing that included the document's classification status.

"The report is not classified, but it is still law enforcement sensitive," said Kelley.

The FBI subsequently opened a leaks investigation, which is how the AP discovered the FBI had custody of the report.

The FBI had publicly defended its handling of the package, but in an April 3 letter to Grassley, R-Iowa, the bureau said it "takes the potential violation of First and Fourth Amendments very seriously" and had referred the episode to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility. Grassley's committee is investigating the seizure.

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, praised the FBI's latest action. "I appreciate that the FBI has apparently admitted its mistake," he said. "Mistakes can happen, but the most important thing is to own up to them, especially for the federal government. ... The FBI needs to make sure something like this does not happen again."

The package was going from AP reporter Jimmy Gomez to a Washington colleague, John Solomon. They were working on terrorism-related stories and obtained the report from a source who insisted upon anonymity.

The lab report was the second time that Solomon's reporting has been the subject of a government seizure. In May 2001, the Justice Department subpoenaed the reporter's home phone records concerning stories he wrote about an investigation of then-Sen. Robert Torricelli of New Jersey.

"I understand how you might think this is more than a coincidence," Kelley said. "We have no reason to believe it is anything other than a coincidence."

© 2003 The Associated Press

The government committed a crime against the media. Someone has to go to jail or be fired. It''s as simple as that. These docs were kept by the FBI for a very long time even after they knew they screwd up. Someone else has to go to jail or be fired for that one.

The Gestapo called the US government is getting sloppy--they should have destroyed the docs. so no one would be wiser.


Bush Favors Bill on Assault Weapons Ban
Washington Post/The Associated Press
Thursday, May 8, 2003; 7:09 PM

WASHINGTON - President Bush favors a bill introduced Thursday that would permanently ban assault weapons, but he is awaiting an administration study on how effective the current ban has been, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

The outcome of the study will not affect Bush's support for the bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said another Bush spokesman, Scott McClellan.

Nor will the National Rifle Association's opposition to the bill, Fleischer said.

The NRA supported Bush in the 2000 election, pouring more than $1 million into his campaign. Last year, the group's leaders took credit for putting Bush in the White House.

But their opposition to the Feinstein bill pits the group against Bush. Fleischer said Bush didn't care.

"Often, the president will agree, of course, with the National Rifle Association. On this issue, he does not," Fleischer said.

Asked whether Bush believes the 1994 law has been effective, Fleischer said, "There are indeed studies under way that will determine that, and we'll await those studies to make any final conclusions."

McClellan said the study was being conducted by the National Institutes of Justice, an arm of the Department of Justice. It wasn't clear when it will be completed.

Bush backs the bill regardless of the study's findings because he thinks the assault weapons ban is "reasonable," McClellan said.

Fleischer declined to predict whether the Feinstein measure will pass.

But Karl Rove, President Bush's senior political adviser, predicted it will fail, according to a gun-rights activist who saw Rove speak Wednesday in New Hampshire.

The activist, Sam Cohen of Concord, N.H., said in a telephone interview that Rove "said that Bush was sticking to his position, but that Congress would never pass the legislation."

Fleischer was asked about Rove's comments but neither confirmed nor denied them. A Rove spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

The Feinstein bill would also would ban the import of large-capacity ammunition clips. The 1994 law prohibited only the domestic manufacture of large clips.

Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island is the lone Republican sponsor of the bill. "We need the president's help to get the votes," Chafee said.

The Senate sponsors predicted they would get their measure through the Senate, but said the bill faced a tougher road in the House of Representatives.

"The president is going to have to say to some on the extreme, 'You're wrong.' But he's going to have to do more than say it. He's going to have to work for it," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the lead sponsor of the ban when he served in the House in 1994.

Fleischer was noncommittal about how much energy Bush will expend in getting the measure passed. "You'll be able to judge the president's actions by observing them yourselves," he said.

Feinstein addressed gun-control supporters who complained that her bill is too weak and should instead be modeled on California's assault weapons ban. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., are taking that approach in a House bill they authored.

"We'd like it to be better, but we know if we push it too far, we'll have no bill," Feinstein said.

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© 2003 The Associated Press


War and Intelligence
New Yorker
May 13, 2003
Issue of 2003-05-12
Posted 2003-05-07

This week in the magazine and here online (see Fact), Seymour M. Hersh looks at a small circle of analysts and advisers at the Pentagon who came to rival the C.I.A. as the President's primary source of intelligence about Iraq; Hersh reports that questions have been raised about the integrity of the intelligence the group relied on. Here he talks to Amy Tübke-Davidson about his story, and about covering the war.

AMY TÜBKE-DAVIDSON: This week in the magazine, you look at how the case for going to war with Iraq was made. What did you find out?

SEYMOUR M. HERSH: Well, the biggest thing I found out is that what we think of as the intelligence community may not be a community at all. For example, I was just listening to Secretary of State Colin Powell describe how he had briefings from the intelligence community on weapons of mass destruction. It turns out that the intelligence community is really very much dominated by a small group of people in the Pentagon. Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, has more or less muscled his way into day-to-day intelligence operations. I wrote about an ad-hoc analytical group that began working in the Pentagon in the aftermath of September 11th, and which became formally known as the Office of Special Plans last August. The office is the responsibility of William Luti, the Under-Secretary of Defense, and its director is Abram Shulsky. They argued that the C.I.A. and other agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, weren't able to understand the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and the extent to which Iraq was involved in the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. They felt that these agencies didn't get it right because they didn't have the right point of view. The Pentagon group's idea was, essentially: Let's just assume that there is a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and let's assume that they have made weapons of mass destruction, and that they're still actively pursuing nuclear weapons and have generated thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons and not destroyed them. Having made that leap of faith, let's then look at the intelligence the C.I.A. has assembled with fresh eyes and see what we can see. As one person I spoke to told me, they wanted to believe it was there and, by God, they found it.

What's wrong with challenging the C.I.A.? What's wrong with looking for a new perspective or wondering if the C.I.A. has its own institutional biases?

Absolutely nothing, and, of course, one of the complaints that's always been made about the C.I.A. is that it's too set in its ways. You can also argue that the C.I.A. had the Cold War wrong. For example, there were estimates on how much the Soviet Union was producing in terms of military output, and on how much of a commitment it had to military goods, and these estimates turned out to be way overblown. There's nothing perfect about the C.I.A. But these guys in the Pentagon took it a step farther. Their complaint was that the C.I.A. and its analysts were too concerned about analyzing actual facts. What they wanted to do was take it to the next level: let's not just analyze what we actually know; let's make assumptions about what we think, and factor those assumptions in. It really is a very provocative way of thinking. They simply looked at what they wanted; when they saw things that supported the thesis they believed, they accepted them as factual.

The real problem, though, is that when you examine the factual basis for some of the Pentagon's intelligence reviews closely it's not very good. One of their big sources was defector reports, many of which they got through the Iraqi National Congress (I.N.C.), Ahmad Chalabi's coalition of Iraqi dissidents. But these accounts were not always what they seemed. In fact, in my article I quote a former Bush Administration intelligence official who described a case in which a classified report on what a defector had said—about training in biological and chemical weapons with members of Al Qaeda—was distributed with the support of the Pentagon. It was also leaked to newspapers. Later, the C.I.A. found the defector and interviewed him separately, and he told them, "No, that's not what I said." No Al Qaeda, no chemical or biological weapons. Chalabi's group offered them little more than intelligence to please—for example, September 11th took place, and almost immediately defectors appeared who could give a dramatic account of how Iraq was the site of training by Al Qaeda and other terrorists in the high art of hijacking aircraft. Within a month or two of September 11th, the New York Times and the PBS series "Frontline" had defectors giving chapter and verse on how strongly Saddam Hussein was connected not only to Al Qaeda and terrorism training in general but to the World Trade Center attacks. And the people in the Pentagon were susceptible to their own biases. Whatever intelligence they found that supported their preëxisting theories was the intelligence they believed. And all of this has an effect; my article cites a recent poll that showed that seventy-two per cent of the American public believed it was likely that Saddam had something to do with September 11th.

The war is winding down, and Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. Why does it still matter how it started and what arguments were made beforehand?

It matters because the threat from Iraq was the whole basis of selling the war to the American people. There's a striking observation in my article from Bob Kerrey, the former senator from Nebraska, who wants to see a secular, democratic Iraq and was a strong supporter of the war. Kerrey said that it's very possible that they thought if they made a public argument on the basis of Saddam Hussein's being a bad guy the public really wouldn't care enough to endorse a war. But what they could do to mobilize public opinion was suggest that Saddam was involved in generating weapons of mass destruction, whose mere existence could potentially be a threat to us, and allow people to believe that he was involved in 9/11. If it is true that this Administration deliberately, from the very beginning, understood that the best way to mobilize the American people was to present Saddam as a direct national-security threat to us, without having the evidence beforehand that he was, that's, well, frankly, lying. That's the worst kind of deceit a President can practice. We don't elect our President to not tell us the real situation of the world, particularly when he sends kids to kill and be killed.

How much honesty can we usually expect from the government? You covered the Nixon White House; isn't whatever's going on here child's play compared with that?

My view as a journalist is simple: you have to hold public officials to the highest possible standard. What's happened in America is very disturbing. All of us, as parents, don't want our children to lie to us, and, earlier, as children, don't want to be lied to by our parents. We all understand that integrity in a relationship is the core issue. The tragedy in America today is that we don't begin to impose on our national leaders the same standard which we hold so dear in our personal life. In other words, if we were to say, "Well, that's always happened," we'd almost be officially saying that there is a double standard—that what we can't tolerate in our personal life is O.K. in the most important officials we have, those officials with power not only over us but over our young men and women who go to fight, and over the people they kill. If we start saying that anything less than the highest standard is tolerable, we're really destroying democracy. Democracy exists on the basis of truth.

There have been suggestions from Rumsfeld and others that it's wrong, if not unpatriotic, for military people, who have often been sources for you, to go public with complaints, to talk to people like you, when there's a war on. Is that right?

I've been a reporter for forty years, and I can tell you right now that I never report anything that's operationally important. And no journalist I know would tell a secret that would compromise the lives of our troops or the ability of our country to defend itself, so let's get that out of the way. The fact that I can write critically about the war does not suggest that I am in any way less a hundred per cent red-blooded American than Donald Rumsfeld. And I think he'll acknowledge that, too. But we're a democracy and the free press has a role to play, and it so happens that the people who talk to me are often in very sensitive places in the government, and do so because they understand that function. It's not just a place to air grievances; it's a place to suggest—to get a different kind of thinking. And one of the things that's very troubling to me about this Administration, and one of the things that I was writing about in this article, is that this is a group of people who are very much committed to groupthink. They're committed to the notion that they know the truth and anybody who disagrees doesn't. I quote somebody as saying that they see themselves as being on the side of the angels and everybody else as fools. In covering Washington for forty years, I've never seen a group of people who have been so unwilling to hear the other side, who are so quick to see criticism not as loyal opposition but as betrayal.

At the same time, this is an Administration that is really fractured. There are deep fault lines between the State Department and the Pentagon, between the C.I.A. and the Pentagon, and the Pentagon has won most of the fights. They control intelligence. Rumsfeld also has his finger on the personnel changes in the military command; he wants his people everywhere. But there's a lot of differing opinions, a lot of dissension, and a lot of people who don't like what's going on.

But, in addition to winning the bureaucratic battles, they've also won the war, haven't they?

Well, they certainly won the battle for Baghdad. But I think anybody would agree that, having won the battle, we are now left with an amazing and difficult problem that the press is really just beginning to focus on, and that is the extent of despair throughout that country. This was a war won with amazing skill and speed, but all the exhaustive plans that were done for postwar running of the country seem to have disappeared. You could almost argue that the political future of this Administration might not be judged by the skill in the war but by the next year, as we try to repair the damage that has been done to daily life in Iraq.

About the quick victory, some of the generals and planners you quoted in an earlier article felt that we had gone in with too few soldiers. Are people you talk to in the government surprised at how the war has turned out?

Well, look, a lot of people in the military didn't believe that Saddam would melt away, and that just the small number of forces we had could sweep through the country, and Baghdad, so quickly. But the other point that all the planners made from the very beginning was that without adequate forces after victory you cannot prevent the inevitable reactions to a war, which includes looting and everything like that. Those consequences are all anticipated. Every planning document I've ever read on civil war or urban war warns about such things, and I know that there were months and months of meetings in the Joint Chiefs of Staff over how to handle the postwar days. And then there simply weren't enough forces to have them do much of anything other than protect themselves—in the case of Baghdad, the only building I know of that was earmarked for protection was the oil ministry. And so we may really have set ourselves up for a serious problem.

Let's talk about someone who played a big role in this week's story: Ahmad Chalabi. He's now trying to establish himself in a leadership role in Baghdad. You've interviewed him—what kind of figure is he? Do you think he could be the leader Iraq needs?

Oh, no. But I will say this: he's certainly got a presence. He's charming, he's quick, he's very bright, full of fun. He's got a Ph.D. in mathematics. He's been friends for a decade with many people in the Pentagon, including Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He's not afraid to be critical of people in the government. And there are many people in the government who don't like him. He's been in a war with the C.I.A. and the State Department, who frankly just don't find him to be an honorable person. They've heard the stories about his wrongdoing—he has been found guilty in absentia in Jordan of fraud, charges that he denies. The Pentagon—Wolfowitz and others there—sees him as the solution. But it seems unlikely that somebody like Chalabi is going to emerge as anything other than a figurehead for us.

Another very interesting figure in your article is the late political philosopher Leo Strauss. What does Strauss have to do with intelligence?

Normally, you would think not much, beyond the fact that a lot of people in this government are Straussians. They include Abram Shulsky and some of the men with whom he works, like Wolfowitz and Stephen Cambone, who is the Under-Secretary of Intelligence. But Shulsky actually co-wrote an article about Strauss and intelligence that did make the connection. Shulsky's article involves Strauss's theory of esoteric writing, in which he notes that great philosophers, hesitant to tell the whole story of what they believed, used concealed messages in their writing. Only the very wise could understand the real truth. This also brings in Plato's concept of the noble lie. This is, of course, a great simplification. But what's interesting in terms of Iraq is Strauss's complaint that, as Shulsky writes, nobody quite understood the extent of deception that exists in the world, or its role in politics. This includes deception by Saddam Hussein, who deceived us about what his real intentions and goals were. But you can also extrapolate from that. This idea may help to explain how the people in Special Plans rationalized whatever concerns they had about the quality of the day-to-day intelligence about Saddam and weapons of mass destruction.

What did you think of the Pentagon's embedding program? Were you tempted to sign up?

I'm too old. Embedding has some great advantages—it brought the war home—but it also provided the war as seen through a filter—you could almost say it's a little touch of the Stockholm syndrome. One thing that interests me which very few people seem to be talking about is the extent of "collateral damage," in terms of the number of dead. How many civilians were killed in this war? I don't know, but I've heard some very grisly anecdotal accounts from people who were embedded about how many noncombatants were killed by the units they were with, very little of which has gotten into the press. One has to wonder if there ever will be an accounting of the collateral damage that was done, in terms of civilian deaths and injuries. And there are no official estimates from the Administration.

Do you think that the presence of reporters in the field changes the war as well as the reporters? Does an army act differently when reporters are there?

Well, I think in the beginning, of course, the reporters would serve as an enormous restraint on any excesses by soldiers. But one of the horrible things about war is that a lot of people are going to get killed. Two or three days after the start of this war, if you remember, there was a story that people were approaching American troops waving white flags, and they would then attack the American troops. Word of these incidents was communicated immediately to the forces. You know, as wonderful as our troops are, there's nothing quite as dangerous as a nineteen-year-old boy with a weapon who's frightened. So I think that it became very hard for Iraqis to surrender. It's inevitable that there were more than a few incidents. We certainly saw enough stories about that at checkpoints in Baghdad.

And, you know, I'm a cynic about the efficacy of having reporters travelling with military units, in terms of getting the story of a war back to the American people. All sorts of obligations arise when you have a relationship like that with the military. Here's why I'm a cynic. I began to report on My Lai in 1969—and I wasn't in Vietnam at the time—and I initially wrote five stories about the mass murders that took place there. But something interesting happened after the third story, and after Walter Cronkite picked it up, and any reservations that the newspapers had about the truth of what I was reporting disappeared. The third Sunday after I started writing about My Lai, as a freelancer, dozens of newspapers suddenly had their Vietnam correspondents writing devastating stories about other atrocities they had witnessed.

Stories that they'd had in their files.

Yes, stories that they'd had. One of the stories that really grabbed me was about an incident that took place when U.S. troops first landed at Danang, in June or July of 1965. Marines landed there and within two days some of them deliberately shot a group of civilians in an air-raid shelter. And the correspondent with them watched the incident, worried about it, and then he wrote a very graphic account, but not until late 1969, four years later. So I think that eventually some of these embedded reporters will begin talking or writing a little bit about what they actually saw.

So you think that reporters are watching each other and trying to figure out what the parameters are.

I know people who were embedded who have presented somewhat different, or, at least, fuller, pictures of what went on in private conversations than they have in print or in their broadcasts. And, look, our military is great. I've been dealing professionally with military men and sources for forty years. I have many wonderful friends in the military. The military is a vibrant organization full of people with a lot of integrity. There's nothing as honorable as a good military guy. But it's in the nature of war that, at the combat level, all sorts of things can happen. So we'll see. Some of these stories may get written eventually, and that's the press's job.

Copyright © CondéNet 2003. All rights reserved.

The American people were lied to, how it happened, why it happened etc. isn't all that important. Our intelligence network fail us by lying to us about WMD and the news media allowed them to get away with it. In fact, the media pushed the lies around the clock even though they gave us absolutely no proof. Damn the facts, damn the truth. We wanted war damn it.


Mitch Daniels subpoenas from state regulators
By Chris O'Malley and Gargi Chakrabarty
May 6-7, 2003

A "who's who" of the Indianapolis business community is being issued subpoenas from state regulators involving the sale of shares in IPALCO Enterprises around the time the utility company was bought by AES Corp. in 2001.

The Indiana Securities Division on Friday sent the requests for information to about 30 former IPALCO officers and directors, The Indianapolis Star has learned.

They include former IPALCO director Mitch Daniels, a former Eli Lilly and Co. executive who is now President Bush's budget director. Daniels, who sold about $1.45 million in IPALCO stock in January 2001, on Tuesday announced he is resigning the federal post, leading to speculation he will run for governor here.

Other key insiders being issued subpoenas are former IPALCO chairman John Hodowal and former vice chair Ramon Humke. Directors include former Bank One Indiana chairman Joseph D. Barnette Jr. and Anthem Chairman L. Ben Lytle.

About 2,000 IPALCO employees alleged in the suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis that the insiders "dumped" $71 million worth of stock in the Indianapolis electric utility, in part because they saw trouble ahead with AES' stock price, which later tumbled.

Friday's filing in federal court was a revision of the original suit filed in March 2002, after IPALCO employees lost thousands of dollars in company thrift plans after AES' shares nosedived.

AES shares traded at $49.60 when the merger closed in March 2001, plummeting 90 percent in the first 10 months after the merger, and to a low of 92 cents last October. Shares closed Tuesday at $6.17, down 30 cents.

"What is noteworthy about (Friday's) filing is the fact that, until recently, we could only document that the insiders dumped $9 million in shares they personally owned soon after the AES deal was announced," said John Price, an attorney representing the IPALCO workers in the pending lawsuit.

"However, recently unveiled documents confirm that the officers and directors actually dumped the incredible sum of over $71 million."

The filing, for instance, states that insiders dumped more than $34 million worth of IPALCO shares within 30 days of Sept. 7, 2000, the date on which shareholders of record are allowed to vote later on the transaction. This allowed insiders to vote in favor of the acquisition and then quickly dump their shares.

Investors allege the company insiders knew -- or should have known -- that AES shares were volatile and that unloading their own shares was inconsistent with their recommendations that shareholders approve the $3 billion acquisition.

By contrast, IPALCO was considered a "widows and orphans" stock for its slow-but-steady growth.

The state launched an investigation into AES' acquisition of IPALCO about a year ago, after a rash of lawsuits by employees and investors against company insiders.

"We're just looking for the facts," said Indiana Securities Commissioner James Joven, who said he could not elaborate on details of the investigation.

Subpoenas typically request documents and may seek answers to specific questions.

The securities division has appointed as its special counsel the Evansville law firm of Ziemer Stayman Weitzel and Shoulders, which drew up the subpoenas.

"It's about time," said Mark Maddox, a former Indiana securities commissioner who now represents securities fraud victims.

He said former officers and directors either knew AES was a problem and sold their shares "to their own personal enrichment" -- or were not aware. Either scenario raises important questions that merit scrutiny, Maddox said.

"Corporate governance is in the spotlight these days. It's pretty clear that this was an example of bad corporate governance," said Ken Skarbeck, managing partner of Aldebaran Capital Management in Indianapolis.

Only two of the 32 former officers and directors could be reached for comment Tuesday. Former IPALCO director Andre Lacy, the president of Lacy Diversified Industries, said he had not received a subpoena, nor was he aware of the investigation.

Former officer Ralph Canter declined to comment.

A review by The Star last December of stock sales by insiders found that 14 of the 30 key officers and directors sold more than $22 million of their IPALCO shares between October 2000 -- when shareholders voted to tender their shares -- to February 2001, just two weeks before the close of the merger.

Insiders reached last year explained that they sold shares for reasons ranging from job loss after the merger to a way to boost executives' severance pay under a change-in-control agreement dating to 1993.

May 7, 2003

Former IPALCO directors and officers sold shares worth more than $71 million in the months preceding the utility's sale to AES Corp. on March 27, 2001. Some of the sellers and the total value of shares sold:
John R. Hodowal; $18.69 million
Ramon L. Humke; $10.51 million
N. Stuart Grauel; $5.68 million
John R. Brehm; $5.18 million
Bryan G. Tabler; $5.12 million
Ralph E. Canter; $4.87 million
Stephen M. Powell; $4.14 million
Paul S. Mannweiler; $2.17 million
Michael Banta; $1.96 million
Max Califar; $1.50 million
Daniel Short; $1.49 million
Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.; $1.45 million
Otto N. Frenzel; $1.44 million
Michael Holstein; $1.14 million
Sallie W. Rowland; $ 0.97 million
Joseph D. Barnette Jr.; $0.92 million
Rexford Earley; $0.88 million
Stephen Plunkett; $0.78 million
L. Ben Lytle; $0.76 million
Thomas H. Sams; $0.73 million
Michael S. Maurer; $0.46 million
Max Gibson; $0.21 million

Sources: John Price & Associates, SEC filings (Form 144)

Copyright 2003 All rights reserved

In an editorial from this same newspaper, they argued Daniels was disliked by Democrats because Dems are big spenders. The paper failed to accept the fact that Daniels has highly questionable ethics and it's the republican party that gives us record deficits. Republicans like Reagan, Bush and Junior. The big spenders appear to be those in Daniels own party.


US: 'Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction'
Sunday Herald
By Neil Mackay
May 2003

The Bush administration has admitted that Saddam Hussein probably had no weapons of mass destruction.
Senior officials in the Bush administration have admitted that they would be 'amazed' if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were found in Iraq.

According to administration sources, Saddam shut down and destroyed large parts of his WMD programmes before the invasion of Iraq.

Ironically, the claims came as US President George Bush yesterday repeatedly justified the war as necessary to remove Iraq's chemical and biological arms which posed a direct threat to America.

Bush claimed: 'Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We will find them.'

The comments from within the administration will add further weight to attacks on the Blair government by Labour backbenchers that there is no 'smoking gun' and that the war against Iraq -- which centred on claims that Saddam was a risk to Britain, America and the Middle East because of unconventional weapons -- was unjustified.

The senior US official added that America never expected to find a huge arsenal, arguing that the administration was more concerned about the ability of Saddam's scientists -- which he labelled the 'nuclear mujahidin' -- to develop WMDs when the crisis passed.

This represents a clearly dramatic shift in the definition of the Bush doctrine's central tenet -- the pre-emptive strike. Previously, according to Washington, a pre-emptive war could be waged against a hostile country with WMDs in order to protect American security.

Now, however, according to the US official, pre-emptive action is justified against a nation which simply has the ability to develop unconventional weapons.

©2003 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088. all rights reserved. contact website

Some simple logic for those still wondering what to make of that silly war. If Bush had proof of WMD's prior to the war, he'd have given his evidence to the UN inspectors. The inspectors would have found the weapons, Bush would have vindicated, and the weapons would have been destroyed by the UN.

The problem with that though is Bush wouldn't get his war. So, Bush simply lied. The press printed his endless lies and now the war is history...lies and all.

Those who believed Bush (I'm sure not many of you) are now faced with knowing your president lied to your face.


Bludgeon Senator Clinton with a tire iron
Michael Graham
May 07, 2003

MATTHEWS: You've overdone it; you've overdone it. Let's talk about something close to home. Bob Ryan, he's a sports writer for the 'Boston Globe,' 30 year veteran. He apparently referred the other day in talking about the wife of Jason Kidd who plays for the New York Nets, or New Jersey Nets, whatever it is, that he said he said that she deserves to be smacked.
What do you think? I'm looking at the whole thing, 'I got theories with this woman, this Joumana Kidd who wants to be a star, wants face time on camera. The great way to get face time is to bring the cute precocious kid. Oh, great. I'd like to smack her.'
For that he got a suspension without pay for a month. What do you make of that, Katrina?

VANDEN HEUVEL: As a woman I find it offensive, cruel, ignorant about the problems of domestic abuse and violence.

As an editor, it bothers me that a newspaper would suspend a columnist. I might just add, I think it's ironic the editor of the 'Boston Globe' talked about his language being offensive and unacceptable because I would argue that a lot of the political talk shows on cable, including Michael Savage, if they were held to that standard of unacceptable and offensive, would be pronto on a lot of 30-day suspensions.

MATTHEWS: Well, I accept your standards. Michael Graham, what do you think?

GRAHAM: I'm not a woman or an editor. But as a human being, I found the line a joke. It was a joke. It was just an off the cuff comment. Anyone listening to Hillary Rodham in her speech last week about patriotism, that screaming, screeching fingernail, I wanted to bludgeon her with a tire iron. That's what I wanted to do.

MATTHEWS: Counting on Michael Graham, he's in the controversy. Thank you, Katrina Vanden Heuvel. Michael Graham, it was great having you joining us.

And join us tomorrow night at 7.


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Recall how the conservative media got its panties in a wad when the Dixie Chicks said they were ashamed of Bush coming from their home state of Texas? The media was outraged and told you exactly what to think. You were outraged too. Now, we have a conservative saying he wants to bludgeon a former first lady and current senator and the media stays as quiet as possible.

I suppose there are some who think the US media can be trusted to be accurate and fair. Recall the two quotes, one from the Chicks, the other from Graham, then ask yourself which is worse. Finally, ask yourself which one got more air time? Never trust the US media to be fair. Never!