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TODAY'S NEWS AND OPINION

BUSH'S NEW RETIREMENT PLAN IS ANOTHER SCHEME TO GIVE WELL-OFF MORE TAX CUTS The retirement accounts will up the contribution cap to $7,500, delete the $90,000 participation ceiling, and provide tax-free retirement cash to those who can best afford it. Most likely, the additional tax cuts given to those on the wealthy upper end will be paid for by the poor through cuts in social programs such as health, child care, welfare, and education. 01.31.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH WANTS HIS ECONOMIC ADVISER TO BECOME CONGRESS COUNTERPART, GAINING WHITE HOUSE MOUTHPIECE "THERE ARE TWO REASONS to be nervous about the selection of White House economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin to head the Congressional Budget Office. The first involves his current job as the top economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Some of Mr. Holtz-Eakin's predecessors have had partisan positions before joining the nonpartisan budget office. His immediate predecessor, Dan Crippen, was a Republican lobbyist and before that a GOP aide in the Senate and the Reagan White House -- yet he served ably and without partisan favor, as the job requires. But Mr. Holtz-Eakin would be the first head of the CBO -- which was set up to serve as an independent congressional counterweight to the administration's budgetary analysis -- to migrate directly from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has termed it "inappropriate for a political appointee currently serving with the administration" to be named to the CBO post. " 01.31.03
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BUSH IS ALL TALK, NO ACTION WHEN IT COMES TO THE ENVIRONMENT "Bush used artful misdirection in his State of the Union address to get around the question of environmental protection. Everyone expects a certain amount of hokum in a State of the Union address. But for artful misdirection it's hard to top the three paragraphs in which President Bush promised to protect the environment while promoting energy independence. Set aside for the moment the meagerness of his menu, as well as the plain fact that he has spent the last two years rolling back laws and regulations that have long guarded the nation's air, water and public lands. The real tipoff to his intentions lies in the three proposals themselves. Whatever their long-term promise, none would do much good in the short term and some would actually do harm. " 01.31.03
nyt ed | related stories

BISHOP IN BUSH'S CHURCH TELLS HIM HE WOULD BE ACTING AGAINST CHRIST, GOD'S LAW IF HE GOES TO WAR "The National Council of Churches will begin airing a television commercial today in which a bishop of the United Methodist Church, President Bush's denomination, says going to war against Iraq "violates God's law and the teachings of Jesus Christ."...The choice of a Methodist bishop as a spokesman is intended to emphasize the opposition to war from America's mainstream churches and to convey that the peace movement is middle-of-the-road and patriotic." 01.31.03
wp | related stories

WOULD JESUS BE A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN? NO WAY ! "Jesus revealed his anti-business agenda as soon as he threw the money-changers out of the temple. To the orthodox for whom taxation is government organized theft, Jesus' clear advocacy of paying taxes by "rendering unto Caesar" is a complete abomination. Scholars are still divided over whether the raising of Lazarus was to escape the death tax or an intent to pay it twice. In addition to depriving the mortuary services industry of business, Jesus had a bad habit of healing the blind, lame and sick without prior approval from health maintenance organizations. He also offered these treatments without regard to ability to pay, an early attempt at universal health care. The Right is thankful that this has as much chance today as it did 2,000 years ago - barring another miracle. " 01.31.03
williams | related stories

HEY, GUYS, GO FIND A CHURCH "Leave aside for the moment the oddity that once they finish praying the legislators' chief business these days is to propagate gambling as widely as possible. The more immediate point is that the problem here is not Jesus. It should surprise nobody that a minister might invoke Jesus's name, given that Jesus plays a central role in Christianity's conception of God. The problem, rather, is official prayer, and the implausible notion that it can ever be truly ecumenical..... Rather than asking Christians to stop offering prayers to Jesus, senators should simply ask them to do so in church." 01.31.03
wp ed | related stories

AT THIS LATE DATE BUSH STILL ISN'T TELLING US WHAT WAR HE WANTS TO FIGHT "Bush still has a problem that goes beyond style: We don't know if this war is primarily about (1) taking weapons of mass destruction out of Saddam's Hussein's hands, or (2) removing Hussein from power, or (3) bringing democracy to Iraq and revolutionizing the politics of the Middle East....if our real goal is to transform Iraq and the Middle East, this war is far bigger than the administration is suggesting. It will require a very long commitment of American troops and a lot of help from our allies.If, as appears to be the case, the administration is split over whether this war is to be transformative or a one-shot blow against Hussein, the president had better decide which way he wants to go before the war starts. And he needs to make his choices public. Our allies need to know. So do the American people." 01.31.03
dionne | related stories

MANUFACTURING ASSENT: BUSH MET WITH ANCHORS, JOURNALISTS ON DAY OF SPEECH TO GET EVERYONE ON SAME PAGE "On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Junior himself was meeting with two (unnamed) newspaper columnists and then lunching with "11 anchors of network evening news and Sunday shows."Gee, do ya think he handed out souvenir SOTU '03 sweatshirts, too? Not that these highly paid meatheads can be so easily co-opted by rubber chicken served on Lincoln china but, come on. How else to explain most of the subsequent coverage? " 01.31.03
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"FLAT-OUT CENSORSHIP OF PROTEST ON CNN" BY COMCAST "There are outrages, and then there are outrages. Check out the ads that Comcast cable refused at the last minute, to let the nation's largest peace group run on CNN in Washington D.C. before and after the President's State of the Union speech. Comcast said the ads made "unsubstantiated claims" about the war (though much the same could be said of the President). Yet these ads are absolutely innocuous; they are merely a series of Americans voicing concerns that aren't even remotely radical. We're talking about sound-bites along the lines of "I need to see more proof," or "we have other priorities," or "this war will not make us safe." " 01.31.03
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Bush Warns Iraq It Has Only Weeks to Yield Weapons "Buoyed by fresh backing for its hard-line position from eight European leaders, President Bush all but set a timetable for war. " 01.31.03
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"SHOCK AND AWE" AUTHOR LIKENS PENTAGON BATTLE PLAN TO HIROSHIMA NUCLEAR BOMBING "We want them to quit. We want them not to fight," says Harlan Ullman, one of the authors of the Shock and Awe concept which relies on large numbers of precision guided weapons. "So that you have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes," says Ullman. " 01.31.03
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"MANDELA: US WANTS HOLOCAUST" "Former South African president Nelson Mandela has slammed the U.S. stance on Iraq, saying that "one power with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." Speaking at the International Women's Forum, Mandela said "if there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America." Mandela said U.S. President George W. Bush covets the oil in Iraq "because Iraq produces 64 percent of the oil in the world. What Bush wants is to get hold of that oil." " 01.31.03
cnn | related stories

AMERICAN GENERAL SCHWARZKOPF, IN CHARGE OF FIRST GULF WAR, SAYS BUSH HAS NOT MADE A CASE FOR SECOND GULF WAR "Former US Gulf War commander Norman Schwarzkopf has said a new war with Iraq has not yet been justified. General Schwarzkopf, who became known as "Stormin' Norman" during the 1991 Gulf War, called for United Nations weapons inspectors to be given more time to assess whether Iraq had any illegal weapons. "I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive," he said in an interview with the Washington Post. Interviewed at his home in Tampa, Florida, the 68-year-old retired general said he would like "better information" before he supported an invasion of Iraq. " 01.31.03
bbc | related stories

...AND A SECOND RETIRED U.S. GENERAL IS AGAINST THE BUSH WAR "As the countdown continues toward war against Iraq, it's worth listening one last time to the arguments against that conflict, as laid out this week by one of America's most distinguished retired generals, Wesley K. Clark." 01.31.03
wp | related stories

BUSH MILITARY WINDOW CLOSES IN LATE MARCH, BUT DIPLOMATIC WINDOW MAY NEED MORE TIME, PARTICULARLY FOR POSTWAR EXIT STRATEGY "The politics of the American military will continue to affect the choice of policy in a war in Iraq and afterwards. In the war itself, it will essentially be a military decision whether to permit armed Iraqi auxiliaries to play the sort of symbolic role in combat which could bring them political credit afterwards. It will be a military decision, almost certainly, whether to permit armed auxiliaries, including especially the forces of the two big Kurdish political parties, to operate freely after the war. It will be a military decision as to how to deal with the Iraqi units, Revolutionary Guards and others, that may be left intact by a campaign - and perhaps not only intact, but holding chemical or biological weapons - and what there might be for surrender. All these decisions would affect the political possibilities, as would the most substantial decision of all: to what extent and for what length of time American troops would be occupiers. The American military is likely to resist an extended occupation role. The political conditions the Americans, and especially the American military, would prefer in a post-Saddam Iraq - plenty of others to share the burdens and costs - would be far more attainable if a war was widely supported because all had been convinced it was necessary. Yet the military timetable makes that harder - and harder still to go for the slender but real possibility that Iraqi disarmament, and even regime change, could be achieved by the threat of force alone. " 01.31.03
wollacott | related stories

CHENEY WILL COME OUT OF RETIREMENT FROM PUBLIC TO SELL BUSH'S IRAQ ATTACK "The vice president has largely disappeared from public view since his high-profile campaign appearances last fall. But he is hardly invisible to the president, the man Mr. Cheney's aides call his only constituent. At the start of the third year of the Bush administration, White House officials and outside advisers say Mr. Cheney is ever more powerful. In the last three months, he has immersed himself in three critical areas: national security, the economy and domestic defense....And today, Mr. Cheney opened a public relations offensive to sell the nation on action against Saddam Hussein. In a speech here before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Cheney echoed the themes Mr. Bush laid out on Tuesday night, and closed with a sober warning: "We will not permit a brutal dictator with ties to terror and a record of reckless aggression to dominate the Middle East and to threaten the United States." " 01.31.03
nyt | related stories

CHENEY TALKS IRAQ WAR BEFORE CONSERVATIVE GROUP WHILE BANNERS SOLD IN LOBBY TALK MUSLIMS, JANET RENO "One of the various exhibition booths hawking paraphernalia had some virulently anti-Muslim vinyl bumper stickers, for $3.95, including one that said: "No Muslims -- No Terrorism." The booth operators removed the anti-Muslim stickers from the rack before Cheney spoke -- though they left up some more tasteful items, such as the stamps that said: "WANTED! Crimes against children," and had a picture of former attorney general Janet Reno, "A.K.A. 'The Butcher of Waco.' " And they left others supporting the Confederate flag and such. But the offending stickers were not really taken off sale. When a Washington Post reporter asked about the anti-Muslim bumper stickers, a booth attendant smiled and reached behind a sheet, saying conference organizers had ordered her to take them off display." 01.31.03
kamen | related stories

BLAIR ACCUSED OF ORCHESTRATING EIGHT-COUNTRY PETITION TO COVER HIS ACTIONS UNDER FIRE AT HOME "Not content with throwing the whole Muslim world into a state of resentful apprehension and casting the United Nations into a lather of dispute, Washington's determination to wage war in Iraq is now threatening to break Europe asunder... The letter signed by seven right-of-centre governments and Tony Blair was probably got up more by Blair and his friend, the departing Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, than the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, for the simple reason that it is Blair who needs the cloak of international support at this time more than the US President. You have to be pretty desperate to resort to orchestrated declarations of support." 01.31.03
hamilton | related stories

Who Stands With U.S.? Europe Is of Two Minds "European leaders have taken widely differing stands. At one extreme there are Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany, who rejects war, and President Jacques Chirac of France, who leaves that option open but only as a last resort. At the other extreme is Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who sees grounds for war already present. But what really splits Europe between signers and nonsigners of the letter is not so much Iraq, as what attitude to take toward the United States. "The real bond between the United States and Europe is the values we share," wrote the eight signers - from Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic. "Our strength lies in unity." A ninth country, Slovakia, signed the letter later. 01.31.03
tagliabue | related stories

WHY TODAY'S EUROPEANS OBJECT TO AMERICA'S WORLD VIEW "There is no escaping the fact that Europe needs to spend more money on arms if it wants a serious role in foreign policy. But its ideas deserve a close hearing in world affairs, as for example in the war on terror. Americans, after all, have become good at fighting terrorists but not at fighting terrorism. As one German political scientist put it: "You think we are naïve for resisting the use of force. We think you are naïve for failing to understand how to dry up the sources of terror." Americans and Europeans may have switched places in recent decades as their power relation has shifted, but in this debate it's an open question as to which are the realists. " 01.31.03
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EUROPEAN PUBLIC OPINI0N AGAINST WAR "But unless that happens, or the inspectors are seriously obstructed, the balance of opinion in Europe – however divided – will remain against war. The argument made by the US administration and the eight "new" Europeans that Saddam's deception and denial justifies war carries little weight. A mere headcount of centre-right politicians in suits (even with the addition of the saint of Czech liberation, Vaclav Havel) cannot alter that reality." 01.31.03
ind ed | related stories

ITALY WILL BE UNDER MORE CITIZEN PRESSURE NOW THAT IT HAS DECLARED ITSELF FOR WAR ""Ever since White House spokesman Ari Fleischer mentioned Italy among the European countries it expected to support a war on Iraq, Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has walked a transatlantic tightrope... This call for Italy, along with Spain and eastern European countries, to play the hawk alongside Britain and the United States, has left the Italian prime minister facing a clamour for peace from determined doves on the opposition left and the risk of further dividing European Union opinion on the war." " 01.31.03
arie | related stories

FLOGGING THE FRENCH "The macho notion that we'll do what we choose and if the world doesn't like it, it can go [insert expletive here] is both ludicrous and dangerous. " 01.31.03
kristof | related stories

FORMER CIA SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST ON IRAQ CALLS BUSH ON HIS ALLEGATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION "Until Washington gives us proof of Saddam Hussein's supposed atrocities, we shouldn't be picking on Iraq on human rights grounds....I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair. " 01.31.03
pelleteire | related stories

ALUMINUM TUBES OF MASS DESTRUCTION (REVISITED) "This morning we discussed Bush's allegations that the aluminum tubes that Iraq wanted could be used for use in nuclear centrifuges. We provided an up-to-date analysis and concluded that they could not, based on the evidence presented to date. This afternoon, Ari continued the discussion at his press conference . We've placed our response to his points in brackets. " 01.31.03
politex | related stories

"BUSH'S AFGHAN MASSACRE" "Did American soldiers commit war crimes during the invasion of Afghanistan? According to eyewitnesses, U.S. Special Forces supervised--some say orchestrated--the systematic murder of more than 3,000 captured Taliban soldiers in November 2001. That charge is the centerpiece of a documentary film, "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death," expected to be released in the United States within the next few weeks. "There has been a cover-up by the Pentagon," says Scottish director Jamie Doran, a former producer for the BBC. "They're hiding behind a wall of secrecy, hoping this story will go away--but it won't." Indeed, "Massacre" has already been shown on German television and to several European parliaments. The United Nations has promised an investigation. But thanks to a virtual media blackout, few Americans are aware that, on the eve of another war, their nation's reputation as a bastion of human rights is rapidly dissipating. American Involvement in Genocide? " 01.31.03
rall | related stories

RIDGE HOMELAND SECURITY SAYS IRAQI SPIES IN U.S. TO "SNOOP AND STIR UP ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATIONS." THAT'S IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH. "ESPIONAGE" IS BURIED NEAR THE END OF THE STORY. "Iraq sent spies from Canada to New York and Washington this month to snoop and stir up anti-war demonstrations, according to a government report obtained by the Daily News...The threats, disclosed to U.S. spy agencies yesterday, are detailed in a secret report prepared by an intelligence unit in the Homeland Security Department." 01.31.03
dn | related stories

HAS HOMELAND SECURITY ALREADY LOST ITS FOCUS? "On a day the new Homeland Security Department wanted to trumpet streamlined and tightened border inspections for travelers entering the United States, the agency had to explain why undercover investigators had been able to cross into the country using counterfeit identification papers and bogus names....The investigator, Robert Cramer, said, "Immigration and Naturalization Service and U.S. Customs Service officials never questioned the authenticity of the counterfeit documents, and our agents encountered no difficulty entering the country using them.'` The chairman of the committee [hearing the testimony], Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said the results of the investigation were shocking. "Bouncers at college bars could spot the kind of fake ID's that were used by investigators," Mr. Grassley said. " 01.31.03
nyt | related stories

IRAQ TURNS TABLES, FOCUSES UN ARMS SPOTLIGHT ON ISRAEL "Iraq accused Israel Thursday of harboring biological, chemical and nuclear weapons -- turning the spotlight on the Jewish state at the main U.N. arms control body. Iraqi Ambassador Samir Al-Nima and Israel's Yaakov Levy also traded insults over their countries' leaders during speeches to the Geneva-based U.N. Conference on Disarmament. Syria and Algeria joined in the heated debate at the 66-member forum, while the U.S. delegation kept quiet during attacks on Israel, its close ally. " 01.31.03
reuters | related stories

REPUB SEN. HAGLE HAS FINANCIAL, ADMINISTRATIVE TIES TO VOTING MACHINE COMPANY THAT COUNTED HIS VOTES "An official at Nebraska’s Election Administration estimated that ES&S machines tallied 85 percent of the votes cast in Hagel’s 2002 and 1996 election races....McCarthy said Hagel’s $1-5 million investment made him a “minor shareholder.” Hagel’s ties to ES&S go beyond his financial stake. He served as its chairman when it was named AIS from the early ‘90s until March of 1995. He also was an investor in AIS Investors Inc. until the beginning of 1995, McCarthy said. Hagel also served as president of McCarthy & Co, the financial advisory group, from July of 1992 until the beginning of 1996. Campaign finance reports show that McCarthy has served as treasurer for Hagel for Nebraska and later Hagel for Senate from 1999 until as recently as December of 2002.Hagel’s unrecorded stake in the voting systems company poses an apparent conflict of interest on election reform issues. " 01.30.03
hill | related stories

BUSH'S VISION OF OUR FUTURE STATE IS GRIM "To save the economy, think supply-side. End the taxation of dividends, ramp up high technology, and prime the pump with military spending. Imagine all the money to be made by defense contactors who get to replace as many as 800 Cruise missiles that the Pentagon hopes to launch in the early days of Bush's Slaughterhouse 6 campaign against civilians in Iraq Shrink the government. Convert Medicare to a private, national medical insurance program that would be run by the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Though vague, Bush's thinking seems to borrow from existing programs, like the federal employees health insurance plan. This offers its members a chance to shop around, to choose the insurance they desire and periodically change it. It does nothing to cut costs or hold back the soaring prices of prescription drugs. Privatize Social Security, at least partially, to allow younger workers to hold their own investment accounts. This removes the protection of government-managed benefits and places control in the hands of stockbrokers. Why this scheme would be popular in today's grim bear market, and amidst corruption in the financial industry, is hard to imagine. Love the church. Social welfare programs are to be cut back to free up money to protect the country, with the money now construed as-and delivered by-charity. The idea of the scandal-ridden Catholic church and smaller fundamentalist protestant churches using government welfare funds to push their own political agendas is unconscionable. Strike first. Go it alone on foreign policy. Bush firmly embraced the Cheney doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, in Iraq and elsewhere. It puts coalition-building in the distant background and openly shuns the United Nations, which conservatives have tried to get rid of ever since it was founded in 1945. In addition to Iraq, which is due to be attacked within the next few weeks, America's targets include North Korea and Iran. Make way for Star Wars. Mentioned in passing last night, the Star Wars missile-defense program is the costly centerpiece of U.S. defense policy against intractable states such as North Korea. The argument doubtless will be made that Star Wars can protect allies like Japan. Keep up environmental appearances: Bush called for more domestic drilling, cutting back on industrial pollution control, and a seemingly slick program to support the new hydrogen car. Daniel Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program, had this to say about the present plan for government funding of the supposedly magic hydrogen fuel-cell car: The program "funnels millions to Detroit without requiring that they produce a single fuel-cell vehicle for the public to purchase.... The biggest single step we can take to curb global warming and cut our dependence on oil is to make our cars and light trucks go farther on a gallon of gas." 01.30.03
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SLEAZY SALESMAN BUSH PRACTICES BAIT AND SWITCH "Behind the veil of President Bush's rhetoric is a Darwinian political philosophy that, if clearly understood, would repel the majority of Americans.... The president spoke passionately about bringing "food and medicines and supplies and freedom" to the Iraqi people. But he is leading a hard-right administration here at home that is seriously eroding the economic security, the access to health care, the civil rights and civil liberties and the environmental protections of the American people." 01.30.03
herbert | related stories

BUSH "LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS IS REMARKABLY SHORT" "Halfway through George W. Bush's presidential term, it's become fashionable to declare him a surprise and a success. He's been widely praised for his reaction to devastating terrorist attacks, and for his ability to sort through conflicting visions within his cabinet. Those who wrote him off as a feckless lightweight up until Sept. 10, 2001, appear mistaken. At this point, the prospects for re-election in 2004 look good. The problem with these apple-cheeked assessments comes when you look at what Mr. Bush has actually done -- as opposed to what he's talked about doing, threatened to do or stopped others from doing. His list of achievements is remarkably short and, taken together, make a tepid package. " 01.30.03
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BUSH PLAN TO PUSH SENIORS INTO PRVATIZED MEDICARE UNDER FIRE "With President Bush on the road promoting his $400 billion plan to revamp Medicare, members of Congress from both parties expressed doubts about its feasibility today, forcing administration officials to reconsider important elements of the package. " 01.30.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH WANTS CONGRESS TO GIVE HIM A BLANK CHECK ON MEDICARE "Bush's plan calls for Medicare participants to choose between traditional Medicare and private insurance that would include drug coverage. But it is not clear what Medicare participants would pay for prescription drugs. Drugs are the fastest-growing component of health care costs and the main concern for many elderly and disabled people. Medicare recipients currently pay for most prescription drugs themselves unless they qualify for Medicaid or have insurance that supplements their Medicare coverage. It is also unclear what the private health plans would cover, how costs would be divided between patients and government subsidies and how often participants could switch from one type of plan to another. Many health care experts are also questioning whether the proposed changes would slow the climb of health costs, and if not, what the probable consequences would be for elderly participants, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. " 01.30.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH IN SPEECH SAYS SCREW YOU TO THE STATES "The federal government should be helping the states in their time of need. Mr. Bush, whose top priority is obviously the war on terrorism, should be showering the states and cities with money for police, firefighters and health services. But he prefers to simply take the credit and use his financial resources elsewhere, like cutting federal taxes....[Bush is] floating down the pressure to mortgage the future to get past the crisis of today. " 01.30.03
nyt ed | related stories

BUSH SPEECH FAILS TO PROVE HIS CASE "For all his determination Bush has reason to tread cautiously and to build his coalition with care. Most Americans, about seven in 10, put more trust in the U.N. to decide this issue, than they do in their own government. The international community, if anything, is even more skeptical. And the U.N. wants more time for its weapons inspectors to probe Saddam's potential nuclear, chemical and biological materials. That could take weeks, months, even a year. The inspectors should get that chance. For despite his denunciation of Saddam as a contemptuous dictator, outlaw and deceiver, and the small mountain of "evidence" he alluded to last night, Bush has made but an infirm case for rushing into a war that could isolate America, distract from the war on terror, inflame the Middle East, bring more suffering on the Iraqi people and encourage anti-American extremists. And while U.S. officials promise constantly to provide damning evidence on Saddam, they haven't yet. " 01.30.03
ts ed | related stories

DEM RESPONSE TO BUSH SPEECH TEPID, REMOVED "When Congressional Democrats asked Governor Gary Locke of Washington state to deliver the party's response to President Bush's State of the Union address, they ceded what could have been be their highest profile media moment of the year to someone who does not sit in the House or Senate. It was a mistake... Locke is an able if not particularly exciting administrator, and he had some good things to say about the way that states -- and the people who live in them -- could be harmed by administration proposals to roll back environmental protections, skew tax cuts to benefit the richest Americans and privatize Medicare. But he danced around foreign policy questions, and he never landed a serious blow on Bush's domestic agenda. " 01.30.03
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BUSH SPEECH "LESS THAN HONEST" "The compassionate warrior. That's the image Bush offered in his second State of the Union address, as he deftly blended his 2000 campaign schtick (and all of its policy disingenuousness) with his post-9/11 position as the nation's protector. He talked softly about helping drug addicts, at-risk children, and AIDS sufferers at home and in Africa. And he waved one damn big stick at Saddam Hussein, practically promising war. He was, to be polite, less than honest on several fronts. " 01.30.03
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"LAST NIGHT BUSH LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE" "On Chris Mathews this evening, the editor of the Nation magazine said "Bush lied to the American people" last night when he said Iraq's shipment of aluminum tubes is evidence of Saddam's ongoing weapons of mass destruction program. She noted that last week Pentagon official and Bush Administration Neocon War Hawk Paul Wolfowitz said, when asked about previous Bush Administration statements that pointed to the aluminum tubes as evidence, "We made a mistake." Here's what Bush said last night: "Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. " " 01.30.03
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AFTER BUSH'S "DUBIOUS CLAIMS" POWELL "HAD BETTER" FURNISH CONVINCING PROOF "Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency...said he has not yet come up with proof Iraq has a nuclear weapons program.... It goes to the heart of what is still lacking -- dramatic evidence Iraq is violating the U.N. resolution. Bush promised that Colin Powell would lay out some of that evidence before the United Nations on Feb. 5. He'd better, for Bush not only failed to do so on Tuesday but also made some dubious claims about Iraq's links with al Qaeda and cited an intelligence report about Iraq's purported nuclear program that is considered highly questionable. The world needs to see some proof. " 01.30.03
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BUSH'S SADDAM/AL QUIDA LINK BASED ON "QUASI-THEOLOGICAL THINKING ".(A)n al-Qaida-Saddam alliance defies common sense. Osama bin Laden is an Islamist zealot who despises secular fascists such as Saddam. I heard from Bin Laden himself that he is no fan of Saddam. When I met with the Saudi exile in Afghanistan five years ago he volunteered that he thought the Iraqi dictator was a "bad Muslim". For Bin Laden, that's as bad as it gets... Why then has the Bush administration consistently tried to make a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida? The answer lies in the administration's quasi-theological conviction that such a connection must exist. " 01.30.03
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"DR. SCHWEITZER REACHES FOR HIS RIFLE" "As a report on world affairs, the Bush review was unsatisfactory. He made no mention whatever of bin Laden -- giving a push to Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan's name-changing quip, "Osama bin Forgotten." Bush mentioned Afghanistan several times, but in the past tense, as if it were a closed and happy chapter, even though guerrillas and U.S. forces were fighting at that same hour in southeastern Afghanistan. He gave Israel, which has just bestowed another blank check on bellicose Ariel Sharon, one sentence, although a word from us could stanch the bloodshed and slow the flow of Arab enmity that an invasion of Iraq would undoubtedly engender...The president is hellbent on war. He's already started the euphemisms of war. "Don't say the invasion of Iraq," he chides -- it's the "liberation." He seems to have thought of everything except the Pentagon's favorite euphemism, "collateral damage." That means civilian casualties, children with big dark eyes who will die for reasons not entirely clear to everybody. " 01.30.03
mc grory | related stories

LIKE SON, LIKE FATHER "The father, no less than the son, had taken the measure of Saddam Hussein. "Most Americans know instinctively why we are in the gulf," the elder Bush said. "They know we had to stop Saddam now, not later. They know that this brutal dictator will do anything, will use any weapon, will commit any outrage, no matter how many innocents suffer. They know we must make sure that control of the world's oil resources does not fall into his hands, only to finance further aggression." One more caution flag is raised by rereading that 1991 address. "We will succeed in the gulf," the first George Bush said. "And when we do, the world community will have sent an enduring warning to any dictator or despot . . . who contemplates outlaw aggression." The "enduring warning" did not endure. Twelve years later we are back in the gulf, facing imminent war. And with far fewer allies this time. " 01.30.03
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ARABS SEE "MISGUIDED" U.S. AS MAJOR SOURCE OF INSTABILITY IN ME "The historical bond between the United States and the moderate Arab states and mainstream Arabs in general contributed to the stability of the Middle East. For half a century, the bond worked well - to thwart Communist expansion in the cold war, to contain the waves of Iranian Islamic revolution and to end in 1991 Saddam Hussein's radical and regional ambitions. Now, it seems for the Arabs, the major force for instability in the region is the United States itself, which is moving militarily to Iraq, ignoring the Arab-Israeli peace process, giving Ariel Sharon a free hand in Israel, and insinuating a radical program for change in the region without building strategic understanding for it. " 01.30.03
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FIRST BUSH VISIT TO EUROPE SET THE STAGE FOR PRESENT STANDOFF "The flow of events just in this one week suggests how rapidly history is swinging on its hinges: Hans Blix's report to the U.N. Security Council and Bush's address to Congress both seemed to move war closer. Israelis went to the polls to reelect a government that possesses no olive branches for Palestinians, and provokes total condemnation in Europe and total support from Bush. Leaden clouds of war and conflict blanket the global horizon. "Old Rumsfeld told the truth," the Paris daily Le Monde editorialized this week. "At least a part of the truth. . . . The problem is that the French and German conception of Europe is becoming a minority view inside the European Union" as it expands eastward. The new members "do not have the ambition to build a Europe that would have a single unified political identity" as do Paris and Berlin. Rumsfeld should have also admitted "America's inability to tolerate an independent ally in Europe," the newspaper added reproachfully. " 01.30.03
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BLAIR UNDER FIRE AS BUSH PUPPY "Watching George Bush's speech, you sense that, for him, attacking Iraq is not such a great gamble. He has the greatest military power the world has ever seen, and a nation still traumatised by the attacks of September 11 behind him. Now even Wall Street is urging him on... For Tony Blair it's very different. Britain has not yet been attacked in the same way; indeed many people here believe attacking Iraq makes terrorism at home more likely, not less. The anti-war chorus is growing ever louder, both outside and inside the Commons, where the prime minister's insistence yesterday that British troops would only be committed to war by "our government, our House of Commons, our country" was met with roars of disbelief. " 01.30.03
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WORLD HAS HISTORY OF SELECTIVE MILITARY INTERVENTIONS TO PROMOTE SELF-INTEREST "The danger of military interventions in the name of human rights is that they are inevitably selective and used to promote the interests of those intervening - just as when they were made in the name of "civilisation" and Christianity. If war goes ahead, the prospect for Iraq must be of a kind of return to the semi-colonial era before 1958, when the country was the pivot of western power in the region, Britain maintained military bases and an "adviser" in every ministry and landowning families like Ahmad Chalabi of the INC's were a law unto themselves. There were also 10,000 political prisoners, parties were banned, the press censored and torture commonplace. As President Bush would say, it looks like the re-run of a bad movie. " 01.30.03
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HAS BUSH WORLD RULES OPENED A PANDORA'S BOX? "Under the banner of fighting terrorism, thousands of Afghans were killed last year. Russians are using the same banner to kill Chechens. The same goes for the Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and even President Robert Mugabe uses it in Zimbabwe. What if other countries followed the U.S. in launching pre-emptive attacks on other countries? Could India attack Pakistan? China attack Taiwan? Most worrisome are the messages perceived by the international community. If you are in doubt, attack. And if you are not militarily strong, you might be invaded. Could this lead to a new arms race " 01.30.03
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SOMEDAY TERRORISTS WILL PUNISH NEW YORK FOR BUSH IRAQ ATTACK "Neither [Bush], nor anybody else, mentions the obvious fact that an attack on Iraq will cause a response someday. Maybe a month, a year, five years. They will come. And the only place they will attack is New York. That came to mind naturally yesterday during a walk along the fence of the old World Trade Center site. No suicide bomber wants to go Waco, Texas. Nobody tries poison gas on Denver. They can't wait to hit New York again. And if there is one sure thing, this Bush and his southern Republicans will simply shuck off the news of anything happening to New York. " 01.30.03
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BRIT PUNDIT PLAYS HITLER CARD AGAINST BUSH "Unelected in 2000, the Washington regime of George W Bush is now totalitarian, captured by a clique whose fanaticism and ambitions of "endless war" and "full spectrum dominance" are a matter of record. All the world knows their names: Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Perle, and Powell, the false liberal. Bush's State of the Union speech last night was reminiscent of that other great moment in 1938 when Hitler called his generals together and told them: "I must have war." He then had it. To call Blair a mere "poodle" is to allow him distance from the killing of innocent Iraqi men, women and children for which he will share responsibility. He is the embodiment of the most dangerous appeasement humanity has known since the 1930s. The current American elite is the Third Reich of our times." 01.30.03
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IS LIMBAUGH GETTING THE BUM'S RUSH? "Though still in its infancy, a letter-writing campaign aimed at advertisers on "The Rush Limbaugh Show," has already claimed a few choice scalps -- and hopes to soon have other marketers saying "ditto." Kicked off last week on the website of a group called Take Back The Media, the effort is generating a growing buzz among online progressives...along with hundreds of angry e-mails to companies that sponsor what it calls Limbaugh's "hateful chortling and guffawing." " 01.30.03
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TEXAS CHAMPION OF UNDERDOG, DEAD AT 82 "A tireless champion of underdogs everywhere, Maverick wrote a column for the San Antonio Express-News more than 20 years. Throughout his life, Maverick let his conscience be his guide, no matter how unpopular it might make him. News of his death hit Texans of all stripes hard. " 01.30.03
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BUSH SAYS SADDAM MISSED "FINAL CHANCE" "President Bush took the nation to the edge of war with Iraq last night, declaring in his annual State of the Union message that Saddam Hussein had missed his "final chance" by showing contempt for U.N. weapons inspections. " 01.29.03
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BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS NOT RULED OUT USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AGAINST IRAQ "Nuclear Response to Chemical or Bio-Attacks Has Pitfalls. As they prepare for the possibility that Iraq would unleash chemical or biological weapons against invading U.S. forces, Bush administration officials have remained deliberately vague about how the United States would respond. Officials have refused to rule anything out, including the use of nuclear weapons to counter or forestall the release of chemical or biological agents. " 01.29.03
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BUSH IRAQ SPEECH, GEARED TO CITIZENS ON FENCE, PROVIDED NO NEW INFO, USED SPECIFICS "PREVIOUSLY CHALLENGED" "The president appeared to have his eye more on the American people than on Republican and Democratic lawmakers or world leaders who demanded more evidence that Hussein is hiding weapons of mass destruction. Rather than offer new information to satisfy such critics, Bush used the speech to lay out in simple terms the urgency of confronting Hussein, and at times repeated assertions that have been previously challenged by other countries and experts. " 01.29.03
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BUSH SAYS POWELL UN SPEECH NEXT WEDNESDAY WILL PROVIDE SPECIFICS TO BACK BUSH'S ALLEGATIONS " President Bush said last night that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell will brief members of the U.N. Security Council next week on evidence showing that Iraq possesses, and is still engaged in producing, weapons of mass destruction, signaling the start of an intensive campaign to win over international and domestic opinion." 01.29.03
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BUSH DESIRE FOR SOCIAL PROGRAMS, TAX CUTS, AND WAR DOES NOT COMPUTE "[Bush] devoted half of his address to a rehash of proposals for energy policy, faith-based social programs, hydrogen-powered automobiles and, of course, tax cuts, coupled with a vague sketch of a new plan for including prescription drug coverage in a reformed Medicare. Then he reprised the administration's case against Saddam Hussein but did not expand on it, instead saying that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell would brief the United Nations Security Council next week on Iraq's weapons programs and connections with terrorist groups. Along the way, he blithely ignored a connection that ought to be obvious: that there is, or should be, a tradeoff between the huge continuing costs of the war on terrorism and the ability of the government to offer both expensive new social programs and tax cuts for the wealthy. " 01.29.03
wp ed | related stories

BUSH PUSHES CONSERVATIVE SOCIAL AGENDA "In Touting Economic Plan, Bush Recycles Proposals Previously Rejected. President Bush last night pressed his conservative social agenda, calling for more federal funding of charitable work by religious groups, greater reliance on private health plans to treat the elderly and new restrictions on abortions and medical research involving human embryos. " 01.29.03
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BUSH VOWS HE'LL DISARM IRAQ, SAVE U.S. ECONOMY "The White House had signaled for days that this would not be Mr. Bush's final word on Iraq, and the president stopped short of declaring war. But he left little doubt that he intended to disarm Mr. Hussein by force, with whatever allies he could assemble, if the Iraqi leader did not give up his weapons voluntarily. " 01.29.03
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BUSH OFFERS NO SPECIFICS FOR ALLEGATIONS OF IRAQ-TERRORISTS LINK. SAYS POWELL WILL DO SO LATER. DOES NOT MENTION "AXIS OF EVIL" "Critics argued that the concept grouped together nations who were not allies and actually had little in common and that United States policies toward those nations would necessarily have to differ. By grouping them together, they said, Mr. Bush had inadvertently invited criticism that his foreign policy was inconsistent. If the United States believes that rogue states are such a danger, why was it moving against Iraq and not Iran, which has stronger ties with terrorist groups and is also trying to develop nuclear weapons, critics asked. And why is Washington so patient with North Korea, which has a track record of selling missiles? " 01.29.03
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KENNEDY SAYS BUSH DID NOT MAKE CONVINCING CASE FOR WAR. CALLS FOR VOTE. "Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts...said he would introduce a resolution seeking a second set of Congressional votes and "convincing evidence" of an imminent threat from Iraq before American troops were committed. Senator Kennedy said he believed that Al Qaeda and North Korea's nuclear capability required more immediate attention than Iraq. "President Bush cannot expect the international community to salute America and march with us into war," he said, 'when the administration has made no convincing case for war.'" 01.29.03
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PROTESTORS TELL BUSH "WE'RE NO BUYING IT" "Several hundred protesters voiced their opposition to the president's State of the Union address last night in a boisterous evening of demonstrations that began with a concert at the Capitol and ended with an unpermitted march through downtown Washington. " 01.29.03
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EVIDENCE FOR BUSH IRAQ ATTACK FOUND...IN U.S. "At a moment when Americans were hungry for reassurance that the monomaniacal focus on Iraq makes sense when the economy is sputtering, Mr. Bush offered a rousing closing argument for war, but no convincing bill of particulars. Republican senators tried to back up the president. While admitting that there was no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction yet, John Warner told reporters that an attack was justified "if you put together all the bits and pieces that are out there right now." Americans will never understand the Bush rationale for war if they simply look at the bits and pieces of physical evidence. They will understand the Bush rationale for war only if they look at the metaphysical evidence, the perfect storm of imperial schemes and ideological stratagems driving the desire to topple Saddam. " 01.29.03
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WALL STREET SAYS BUSH SPEECH PROVIDED NO BOOST TO ECONOMY "Beset by an ailing economy made more fragile by the prospect of pending war, leaders from corporate America and Wall Street said last night that they took heart in the president's sober assessment of the financial times, but several said his speech lacked a silver bullet that would spur investment and noted that recovery would not happen without a clear resolution in the Middle East....In a philosophy that reminded some industry leaders of former President Ronald Reagan's economic programs, Mr. Bush asserted that lower taxes would spur economic growth, lead to more jobs and, in turn, fill tax coffers.But several industry leaders questioned whether the stimulus package would be sufficient in the short term to spur consumer spending and confidence " 01.29.03
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BUSH GIVES STATES NOTHING, WEALTHY TOO MUCH "But the Bush plan has one huge omission: temporary aid to state governments. Most are hurt by a falloff in anticipated taxes and, required to balance their budgets, are considering tax increases, spending cuts and layoffs. Too much of this would obviously hurt the economy. Some Democrats have proposed as much as $75 billion in one-time grants to states in 2003. That's too large. But a smaller program -- say $40 billion this year and $20 billion next year -- would relieve pressures on the states. There's a compromise to be had. Bush ditches the dividend plan and accepts state aid. His critics endorse accelerated tax cuts. The big danger now is that a weaker economy will worsen unemployment, stocks and future budget deficits. To be effective, tax cuts have to be enacted quickly so withholding tables can be changed. This is no time to get bogged down in a theoretical and partisan debate over dividend taxation. " 01.29.03
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FOR THOSE WHO SAY THE BUSH WAR IS A COVER-UP FOR HIS FAILING ECONOMY "It's looking more and more like if we do go to war, the economic hangover will be severe. That's exactly what happened to Daddy Bush, isn't it? As a nation, we seem to be slow learners. " 01.29.03
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BUSH'S CHALLENGE: PREPARING FOR WAR WHILE COVERING DOMESTIC FLANK "With his sweeping, if unproven, charge that Saddam Hussein "aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda," President Bush tonight delivered his strongest effort yet to convince doubting allies and anxious Americans that war with Iraq may be unavoidable, and the best way to protect the home front from "a day of horror like none we have ever known." At the same time, by outlining an ambitious effort to reshape health care and build "an economy that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks a job," Mr. Bush sought to protect himself from the charges of political indifference that destroyed his father's presidency after the success of the Persian Gulf war in 1991. He spoke feelingly of the need for more drug treatment programs, mentors for children of prison inmates and new efforts to combat AIDS in Africa. " 01.29.03
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BUSH AND AIDS: HYPOCRISY IN ACTION "According to Nicholas Kristof in a reccent NYT column , "Over the last few years conservative groups in President Bush's support base have declared war on condoms, in a campaign that is downright weird — but that, if successful, could lead to millions of deaths from AIDS around the world." If true, the most moving part of the Bush speech turns out to be just one more example of the growing realization on the part of the pundits, if not the citizens, that there's a big gap between what Bush says and what he does. This tactic, apparently, accounts for his positive poll rating despite a policy that harms many of the very people who support him. " 01.29.03
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BUSH REELECTION CYCLE BEGINS WITH WAR PLAN PRIMARY " Mr. Bush's personal popularity hinges on his obvious sincerity and determination to show leadership in fearsome times. He has lost none of the daring and conviction that got him where he is today - a man who enjoys political power matched by few presidents in American history. But as he heads into his own re-election cycle with a war plan at the top of his agenda, the state of the union that the president leads is clearly laced with anxiety and doubt. " 01.29.03
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BUSH ECONOMY IS MOVING RIGHT INTO THE DADDY TRAP "Unlike his father, who was embarrassed and weakened in 1992 by Pat Buchanan's successful appeals to discontented Republican and independent voters, this President Bush faces no opposition in the primary. But New Hampshire's economic nervousness is a signal to him of a problem he has to solve, not just here but across the country. In a mid-January Washington Post-ABC News poll, 53 percent of those interviewed disapproved of Bush's handling of the economy and only 43 percent approved. That is his worst rating in 21 repetitions of that question, dating back to March 2001. And it is the first time in all those surveys that negative judgments predominated. Other parts of that poll suggest that the campaigning Democrats have fertile ground on which to work. More of those polled oppose than support Bush's proposed elimination of taxes on corporate dividends, and by large margins they say they would prefer to see the sums Bush would use for tax cuts go into domestic programs or be used to reduce the budget deficit. By more than 2 to 1, they say that Bush's tax package favors the rich over the middle class or all people equally. All those negative judgments might change if there were to be a strong recovery. But at least in New Hampshire, that does not appear to be in prospect. "The New Hampshire outlook is better than Massachusetts or other surrounding states," said Brett St. Clair, spokesman for the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, "but we expect very slow growth in the next couple years. There is no magic bullet." " 01.29.03
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IS SADDAM IN EXILE AN OPTION? "Dear Mr. President, I and my colleagues from the Arab world and Turkey share your view that Saddam Hussein is lying, has not complied with the U.N. and must go. But is an American invasion the only way to remove him? Would you consider a deal for his exile? I ask because we have been getting mixed signals. Your defense secretary seemed to endorse the idea, but others suggest to us that we shouldn't even bother. I admit, we and the Turks have not exactly been profiles in courage. The meeting that our foreign ministers held in Istanbul last week was a p.r. event staged by the Turks to show their public that they were looking for some alternative to war. But to tell you the truth, in all our discussions no one even brought up a deal for getting Saddam out. " 01.29.03
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BUSH SAYS HE DOESN'T WANT TO BURDEN FUTURE GENERATIONS, THEN PROPOSES 10 YEAR MEDICARE PRIVATIZATION PLAN "President Bush vowed tonight that he would not burden future generations with the nation's pressing domestic problems: growing budget deficits, a lagging economy and a crisis in health care.He offered few new specifics on how he would solve those problems, and Democrats asserted that some of his proposals could actually worsen them. " 01.29.03
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LIKE BUSH, RUMSFELD DIVIDES, NOT UNIFIES "I don't want to exaggerate the depth of the differences or overplay the unity of the "New Europe." British opinion polls are indeed running soundly against the war in Iraq. Much of the Italian and Spanish media are profoundly anti-American. For that matter, support for American policy in Iraq might be found in France and Germany if the Bush administration, Rumsfeld included, cared enough to promote it. Nevertheless, differences remain -- so when foreign reactions to the president's State of the Union speech are quoted today, do find out which countries are speaking in the name of "Europe" before drawing conclusions. " 01.29.03
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ARIEL SHARON'S PARADOXICAL VICTORY "The strong Likud showing was something of a paradox, considering that opinion polls show that a consistent majority of Israelis favor exactly what Mr. Sharon has not done so far — remove most Jewish settlements from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, establish a clear and defensible national border and help set up a Palestinian state next door. The outcome suggests that in this time of insecurity, Israelis feel safer under Mr. Sharon's hard-line leadership and see no Palestinian partner with whom to negotiate. " 01.29.03
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ISRAEL RESULTS IN AND PEACE LOST "Israel cannot survive a prolonged occupation. Only partition can save the Jewish state. " 01.29.03
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IT'S A MYTH THAT THE ONLY WAY TO COMPLY WITH TITLE IX IS TO CUT MEN'S TEAMS "Title IX gives schools three ways to show compliance, including a history of responsiveness. Because of a 1996 executive-branch interpretation and a series of court cases, schools have decided that the safest way to comply and avoid lawsuits is to stick to the numbers and make participation by both sexes in sports proportionate to enrollment. Ironically, one of the commission's recommendations for fixing this problem -- giving some leeway with the quota, so a school with 50 percent female enrollment could have 43 percent participation -- seems to codify a quota where there isn't one. Perhaps the best idea is the simplest: Leave the law as it is but clarify to universities that they have several ways to comply -- and that cutting men's teams is not the favored one. " 01.29.03
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BUSH ADMIN USING CRITERIA ON IRAQ IT REFUSED TO USE ON ENRON "The United Nations resolution did not put the burden of proof on the United States or the U.N. to prove that Iraq has these weapons," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said last week. "The U.N. resolution put the burden directly on Iraq to prove that it is disarming and that it does not have these weapons." In other words, Iraq must prove a negative, and is refusing to do so. Almost a year to the day before Rumsfeld's remark, Fleischer was asked why the administration would not release details about meetings with energy companies such as Enron Corp. to prove that nothing untoward occurred. Fleischer replied: "You're asking us to prove a negative, and that's a road that we're not traveling.' " 01.28.03
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BUSH WAR SPIN AND PROPAGANDA "We are deluged with more threats from Washington about "states that sponsor terror". Western journalists play a leading role in this propaganda. Take Eric Schmitt in TheNew York Times a week ago. He wrote a story about America's decision to "confront countries that sponsor terrorism". And his sources? "Senior defence officials", "administration officials", "some American intelligence officials", "the officials", "officials", "military officials", "terrorist experts" and "defence officials". Why not just let the Pentagon write its own reports in TheNew York Times? ... But that is what is changing. More and more Americans - aware that their President declined to serve his country in Vietnam - realise that their newspapers are lying to them and acting as a conduit for the US government alone. More and more Britons are tired of being told to go to war by their newspapers and television stations and politicians. Indeed, I'd guess that far more Britons are represented today by the policies of President Chirac of France than Prime Minister Blair of Britain." 01.28.03
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BLIX SAYS IRAQ NOT COOPERATIVE BUT NO SMOKING GUN FOUND "Iraq appears not to have come to genuine acceptance — not even today — of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and live in peace," Mr. Blix said, summing up a grim 15-page catalog of Iraq's chemical and biological arms programs that provided an exhaustive account of ways in which Saddam Hussein has failed to prove that he has eliminated illegal weapons. " 01.28.03
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BLIX, AEA DIRECTOR UNDERSCORE VALUE OF CONTINUING INSPECTIONS "Although he did not ask to be given more time, Blix underscored the value of continuing inspections.In a more positive overall assessment, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the IAEA should be able "within the next few months to provide credible assurance that Iraq has no nuclear weapons program." Those few months, he said, "would be a valuable investment in peace, because they could help us avoid a war." 01.28.03
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MIXED INSPECTION REPORTS TELL FRANCE, RUSSIA, CHINA MORE INSPECTIONS NEEDED "French, Russian, Chinese and other diplomats asserted that the report, far from showing Iraqi duplicity as U.S. officials insisted, demonstrated that no clear-cut case for action exists. "The job has not been completed . . . and more time is needed," said China's deputy U.N. ambassador, Zhang Yishan. " 01.28.03
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BUSH CHIEF PLAYS THE "HOLOCAUST" CARD "Over the weekend, his chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., a Massachusetts Republican who is usually as understated as Mr. Blix, said it was up to the United States to "protect us and the world from a Holocaust" should Mr. Hussein begin thinking about using weapons of mass destruction. Today the White House pushed that argument further, sending Secretary of State Colin L. Powell out to reiterate — without providing much new evidence — that there are links between Mr. Hussein and the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. Implicit in that argument is that even if Mr. Hussein does not lash out at America directly, he could pass his weapons to terrorists who will. Experts say the risk is there. But last week, officials in several European countries argued that terrorists would be far more likely to obtain a nuclear weapon in Pakistan or North Korea — a threat Mr. Bush says far less about — than in Baghdad. " 01.28.03
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BUSH CLAIMS HE HAS EVIDENCE OF IRAQI CONCEALMENT, BUT WILL NOT RELEASE IT NOW "The Bush administration has assembled what it believes to be significant intelligence showing that Iraq has been actively moving and concealing banned weapons systems and related equipment from United Nations inspectors, according to informed sources. After a lengthy debate over what and how much of the intelligence to disclose, President Bush and his national security advisers have decided to declassify some of the information and make it public, perhaps as early as next week, in an effort to garner more domestic and international support for confronting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with military force, officials said." 01.28.03
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BUSH ADMIN USES UNNAMED SOURCES FOR PROPAGANDA, SPIN "Bush aides such as Fleischer routinely condemn the practice of quoting White House officials on a "background," or unnamed, basis. Fleischer has said he tells Bush's top aides they are free to speak to the media as long as they use their names, and he often challenges background attributions in news briefings to discredit reports on sensitive subjects. But in the use of unnamed sources, the White House is on record for having it both ways -- not unlike previous White Houses. More often than not, the anonymous "senior administration officials" in stories are the same spokesmen and spin doctors -- Fleischer among them -- who normally speak on the record. They routinely speak unnamed, or "on background," with the full knowledge and blessing of the White House. 01.28.03
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BUSH US STANDING SLIPPING ON DAY OF SPEECH "George W Bush is in trouble. This is not wishful thinking by Europeans who cannot abide a man they see as a trigger-happy, unilateralist half-wit. It is an assessment of the 43rd President's standing at home, on the day he delivers what is surely one of the most important State of the Union messages in modern times." 01.28.03
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NATION ASKS, "WHERE'S THE MEAT?" BUSH PLANS TO IGNORE QUESTION "Administration officials have been playing down expectations that Mr. Bush will use the State of the Union address to unveil the "smoking gun" evidence against Iraq that a substantial element of public opinion seems to be demanding as justification for military action. But without something concrete on the table Tuesday night to prove his case that American lives need to be put at risk before the inspections effort comes to a more conclusive end, Democrats said, Mr. Bush risks going to war with the nation split - and allies bitter. " 01.26-27.03
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DEMS ASSAIL BUSH ON WAR, HIS CREDIBILITY " Democratic congressional leaders yesterday ripped into President Bush on the eve of his State of the Union address, assailing his administration's credibility and contending that Bush has not yet made the case for war against Iraq. " 01.28.03
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WHITE HOUSE SPIN HAS BUSH SPEECH FOCUSED ON ECONOMY, DOMESTIC ISSUES, WITH SOMETHING ON IRAQ "Also listening [to the run-through] was Karen P. Hughes, one of Mr. Bush's closest confidantes, who left the White House staff in July for Austin, Tex., but who returns regularly to supervise major speeches and advise the president at big moments. Ms. Hughes has had a hand in revising the speech, White House officials said. The address, to start at 9:01 p.m., is expected to run a little less than an hour. Despite the focus on how Mr. Bush will use the speech to make his case against Saddam Hussein, administration officials said today that most of the address would not be about Iraq, but about the economy and other domestic concerns. " 01.28.03
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WHEN IS BUSH GOING TO DO WHAT HE PROMISED IN LAST YEAR'S STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH? "Polls suggest that the public is particularly disenchanted with Mr. Bush's economic policy. Most voters no longer believe that his tax cuts are effective at creating jobs, and many also believe that his policies favor the wealthy and large corporations, rather than people like themselves. (Class warfare!) Still, polls can shift - as they did, suddenly, after Sept. 11. Can tonight's speech do the trick? We can be sure that some pundits will acclaim the speech as bold and brilliant; they would do that if he read from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." Whether their praise, and the theatrics of the occasion, will turn things around is anyone's guess. A lot depends on whether Mr. Bush is held accountable for the promises he made in his last State of the Union address. For there was more to that speech than the axis of evil (a phrase, by the way, that has vanished from Mr. Bush's vocabulary, along with the name of that guy he promised to bring in dead or alive). He assured those who worried about red ink that "our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-lived." He offered comfort for those who remembered his father's "jobless recovery," which felt like a continuing recession: "When America works, America prospers, so my economic security plan can be summed up in one word: jobs." Fast-forward a year. We now know that the "small" budget deficit will rise above $300 billion, and stay there. Even the administration's own, ever-optimistic budget officials now concede that we face deficits as far as the eye can see. Meanwhile, payrolls continue to decline; since the working-age population keeps rising, it's becoming ever harder for ordinary Americans to get jobs, or keep them. And there's a good chance things will get a lot worse: with markets sliding, consumers wilting, businesses fearful about the effects of war and oil prices rising, the pieces are in place for a full-blown double-dip recession. And the second dip would take us much further down than the first. " 01.28.03
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INVADING IRAQ NOT A NEW IDEA FOR BUSH CLIQUE
"The neo-conservative ideas about Iraq began to come together around the time that PNAC was formed, in spring 1997. Although the group's overriding goal was expanding the U.S. military and American influence around the globe, the group placed a strong early emphasis on Iraq. In addition to Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, early backers of the group included Jeb Bush, the president's brother; Richard Armitage, now deputy secretary of state; Robert Zoellick, now U.S. trade commissioner; I. Lewis Libby, now Cheney's top aide; and Zalmay Khalilzad, now America's special envoy to Afghanistan. A frustrated [U. of Penn. poli sci prof] sees the war plan as the triumph of a simple ideology over the messy realities of global politics. "This is not a war on fanatics," he said. "This is a war of fanatics - our fanatics." 01.28.03
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BUSH ACTING UNDER THE SWAY OF NEOCONSERVATIVE HAWKS "In any event, the president’s recently displayed impatience and undisguised hostility ill suit a leader who, thanks to congressional abdication, holds the power of war and peace in his own hands. War is too serious a matter to be decided by someone who lacks the keen intelligence and mature judgment to understand the situation fully and to weigh the pros and cons of alternative policies wisely. George Bush is doing nothing to reassure the public that he has what it takes to be a responsible foreign policy maker... Worse, he appears to be acting under the greatest sway of advisers-Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, and their ilk-who have long been obsessed with attacking Iraq no matter what Saddam might do to placate them and who manifest a megalomania for remaking the Middle East in their preferred image." 01.28.03
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BUSH SHOULD WORK WITH UN, NOT HIS NEOCONSERVATIVE EMPIRE BUILDERS "The question for President Bush is how to get the debate back on track -- so that the issue is Hussein's arrogance rather than that of the United States. To put it bluntly, the challenge is how to remove Hussein from power without shooting ourselves in the foot. To succeed, the Bush administration needs to get back to basics. It embraced a U.N. strategy last October -- wisely, in my view, for that strategy produced a 15 to 0 vote in the Security Council that found Hussein in violation of previous U.N. disarmament resolutions and demanded that he comply. The chief U.N. inspector, Hans Blix, reported yesterday that "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it." He also cited possible chemical and biological weapons risks. Having embraced the U.N. approach, the United States should stick with it a while longer. Granting Blix and his inspectors another month is harmless -- it amounts to giving Hussein more rope with which to hang himself. And it would allow the Bush administration more time to sell its Iraq policy to a skeptical world. Even at home, the administration has not yet made a persuasive case for war. A strategy of getting back to basics on Iraq means shelving, for the moment, some of the more grandiose visions of postwar Iraqi democracy that idealistic pundits (including me) have been preaching. Democracy in the Arab world is a great idea, but it should happen on its own timetable, rather than at the point of an American gun. And we should dispense with ideas about "shock therapy" for the Arabs. That's a matter for psychoanalysis, not foreign policy. "Democracy should be pursued in the Arab world not because America wants it but because it's the right thing to do," argued Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher here Sunday. What's enfeebling U.S. Iraq policy now is that it's carrying too much baggage. For neoconservatives, it's a test of America's willingness to act unilaterally to achieve its global goals -- and thereby create the structure of what amounts to American empire. " 01.28.03
ignatius | related stories

MUST BUSH NOW GO TO WAR TO SAVE FACE? "Driven by a combination of anger, oil, domestic electoral calculation, and the awesome re-energisation of what Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, the Americans have got themselves over-exposed on Iraq. By overcommitting militarily so hastily, Bush is now a step away from having to go to war largely to save his own face. War with Iraq is not even in America's interests, never mind Britain's." 01.28.03
kettle | related stories

WEF: WHY THE EUROPEANS SEE BUSH AS A BAD GUY "Much of the criticism is maddening, but, to a degree, the Bush administration brought it on itself by initially acting unilaterally. It too casually denounced the Kyoto environmental protocol and the International Criminal Court. When certain allies volunteered to do some of the fighting in Afghanistan, they were rebuffed. We'll handle this ourselves, the Bush administration said -- and it did. Little wonder, then, that Bush earned a reputation for unilateralism. In all likelihood, a war against Iraq was going to draw opposition. In the first place, the United States is not going to war in self-defense. Iraq doesn't really threaten America or, for that matter, Europe. Second, Europeans find Bush jarring. He speaks too bluntly. He seems to exude smugness. He is no one's idea of eloquent, and some of his key aides -- Donald Rumsfeld, for instance -- are wont to say things that make for terrific sound bites but amount to awful diplomacy. Consigning Germany and France to something called the "old Europe" was a blunt brushoff. He might as well have dressed them in "Student Prince" costumes. Then, too, Bush has a hard case to make. He is out to prove that Iraq cannot account for the weapons of mass destruction it once had. The evidence that Iraq is cheating is that it has provided no evidence that it is not. This is something like proving a negative -- a bit harder than merely producing satellite shots of missile installations or secret weapons facilities. " 01.28.03
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WITH IRAQ, BEWARE OF SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECIES "The threat posed by Iraq is contained for now. Any attempt at external aggression would be instantly overwhelmed. Inside the country, the inspection teams preclude any significant advance in weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. The only other source of threat is the extremely unlikely possibility that Saddam Hussein would give some of what he regards as his crown jewels to terrorists. That would be to put his life in the hands of those he cannot control. The only condition under which he would be remotely tempted to do so would be if he believed he was about to be wiped out -- in a war. Weigh that risk against the near certainty that a war will be seen in the region as an American war that will draw thousands of new recruits into the ranks of terrorist America-haters. The U.S. homeland is unready for that threat. The only possible conclusion is that while the status quo is safe for the American people, a war will put us at great risk. " 01.28.03
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WHY AN IRAQ ATTACK IS A BAD IDEA "The starting point to justify an invasion, it seems to me, has to be an affirmative answer to the question: Will we be safer if we invade? The real answer is that we don't know. But it's quite plausible that an invasion will increase the danger to us, not lessen it. As a C.I.A. assessment said last October: "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks [in the U.S.]. Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." It added that Saddam might order attacks with weapons of mass destruction as "his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him." Frankly, it seems a bad idea to sacrifice our troops' lives — along with billions of dollars — in a way that may add to our vulnerability. " 01.28.03
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ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT GAINING IN POWER "Mr Bush and Mr Blair might have a tougher fight than they anticipated. Not from Saddam Hussein perhaps - although it is still not obvious that they can capture and hold Iraq's cities without major losses - but from an anti-war movement that is beginning to look like nothing the world has seen before." 01.28.03
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BUSH DESIRE TO USE FED FUNDS TO BUILD CHURCHES WAY OUT OF LINE "The Bush administration's plan to allow federal money to be used to erect buildings in which religious services occur defies constitutional precedents. " 01.28.03
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SCALIA PRINCIPLE IS "DANGEROUS" AS HE ATTEMPTS TO TWIST THE CONSTITUTION TO HIS OWN ENDS "SPEAKING RECENTLY in Fredericksburg, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made a remarkable claim about the First Amendment's religion clauses. The "true tradition of religious freedom in America," he said, was "a tradition of neutrality amongst religious faiths. The government will not favor Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews. . . . But the tradition was never that the government had to be neutral between religiousness and nonreligiousness. That principle, however, has since been adopted by the Supreme Court" over the past few decades. The justice attacked the Supreme Court's case law that has sought to separate church from state more rigorously than the founders did as an example of what he derisively termed the "living Constitution" -- "the new view . . . which says [the document] . . . means what we think it ought to mean." Justice Scalia speaks passionately on this subject. But his history is mischievous, and the principle he derives from it is dangerous. " 01.28.03
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BUSH MEDICARE PLAN IS OUT TO SCREW THE PEOPLE WHO NEED IT MOST, THE ELDERLY "Advocates of a [Bush] approach lay heavy stress on the magic words "choice" and "competition." Here's the problem: The current Medicare system is popular and, yes, costly, because it guarantees patients the most important choices of all -- which doctor to see and what care to get. Yes, the system has bureaucratic problems that lead some very good physicians to drop out, and there are serious arguments over the system's reimbursement rates. But the dirty little secret behind the newfangled managed-care plans is that they are all designed to control spending. That means limiting the choices Medicare recipients now have. The first step in this debate should be to make that clear and to avoid deceptive labels such as "modernization."... Inequalities in basic health coverage are morally objectionable because they literally affect the right to life. So it does bother me that while my family might have decent prescription drug coverage, my elderly neighbor does not. And you don't need to be an insurance company statistician to know that people tend to get sicker more often as they age. Insurers can make money covering the elderly by trying to "select out" those least likely to get sick, but it's hard to turn a profit on very elderly people with high medical expenses. Medicare was created precisely because we decided that the government should step in where private insurers, for their own very good business reasons, would not dare tread -- or would have to charge so much that they would exclude most of the elderly from meaningful health coverage. There is thus no way to get the government out of the health care business, especially where the elderly are concerned, and any plan to promote "market competition" within -- or as an alternative to -- Medicare will still rely on heavy government subsidies. " 01.28.03
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"BITTERLY DIVIDED" ISRAELIS ""The war within: Israelis are not only in conflict with the Palestinians. They are also bitterly divided among themselves over race, religion and politics. " 01.28.03
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SHARON EXPECTED TO WIN ELECTION "In this election race there is no king in Israel. There are gray politicians the public regards with suspicion, indifference and disgust - worse, these politicians seem have no relevance to the people's lives." 01.28.03
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ILLEGAL SHARON DONATIONS FROM U.S.? "U.S. organizations that donated money to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's election campaign for leadership of the Likud in 1999 allegedly contravened American tax laws, saying they were financing academic studies and cultural exchanges, which are exempt from tax under U.S. law." 01.28.03
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BLAME IT ON MIDLAND "Everything that has happened to Bush, the Republican party, America and - if Bush has his way - the world order, has its genesis here. As Bush himself says: 'To understand my wife Laura and me, you must understand Midland. All that we are, all the things we believe in, come from that one place.' " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH IS "THE MAN FROM MIDLAND." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? "By the early 50's Midland had become the corporate center for the West Texas oil boom. The two main industries in the town were creating oil companies and building tall buildings to house the companies. Junior's father was involved in the former, Laura Bush's in the latter. The bosses lived in Midland, the grunts in Odessa. Midland was a town of around 20,00 people. "One out of every forty-five people in the town in the late seventies had reached millionaire status." Odessa, on the other hand, was murder capitol of the nation one year, 'with 29.8 homicides per 100,000 residents, gunn[ing] its way past Miami to take dubious honors as the most perilous city in the nation.' " 01.26-27.03
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THE BUSH MAN IN FLORIDA "The Miami area is the most extreme example of the economic inequality that is becoming more and more evident throughout the U.S. If the gap between the folks at the top and those at the bottom continues to grow it will at some point undermine the social cohesion of the nation. Anyone who thinks it's a good idea for the pampered elite of Fisher Island to stockpile more and more in the way of luxuries and privilege while increasing numbers of Miamians are going to bed hungry should think again. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH IS A RADICAL EXTREMIST BEYOND REAGAN "What Bush is striving for, on the evidence of the choices he has made so far, is bold in its ambition: markets unleashed, resources exploited. A progressive tax system leveled, a country unashamed of wealth. Government entitlements gradually replaced by thrift, self-reliance and private good will. The safety net strung closer to the ground. Government itself infused with, in some cases supplanted by, the efficiency and accountability of a well-run corporation. A court system dedicated to protecting property and private enterprise and enforcing individual responsibility. A global common market that hums to the tune of American productivity. In the world, America rampant -- unfettered by international law, unflinching when challenged, unmatchable in its might, more interested in being respected than in being loved. " 01.26-27.03
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POOR DEM KIDS GO TO WAR WHILE RICH REPUB CHILDREN STAY HOME "In calling for a new look at resurrecting the draft, Rep. Charles Rangel raises a very good point. Our all-volunteer force, for all its many virtues, is not representative of American society. The privileged are largely absent from it. Thus the burdens of defense and the perils of combat do not fall even close to fairly across all of our society. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH WANTS SPEECH TO TURN SPLIT NATION INTO JINGOISTS "For the first time since terrorists turned him into a war president 16 months ago, George W. Bush on Tuesday night will address a nation that has serious questions about his leadership....Less than three months after spearheading a historic midterm election victory for the Republicans, Bush looks embattled rather than triumphant. On the two biggest issues of any presidency -- national security and the economy -- the public has far more doubts about him today than it did just a few months ago. " 01.26-27.03
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NATION ASKS, "WHERE'S THE MEAT?" BUSH PLANS TO IGNORE QUESTION "Administration officials have been playing down expectations that Mr. Bush will use the State of the Union address to unveil the "smoking gun" evidence against Iraq that a substantial element of public opinion seems to be demanding as justification for military action. But without something concrete on the table Tuesday night to prove his case that American lives need to be put at risk before the inspections effort comes to a more conclusive end, Democrats said, Mr. Bush risks going to war with the nation split - and allies bitter. " 01.26-27.03
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BLACK CHURCHES TURN BACKS ON BUSH "President Bush got a stiff reprimand from a group he had courted in his effort to make his brand of "compassionate conservatism" appeal to minorities. The Church of God in Christ, a large African American denomination that Bush counted as an ally in his "faith-based" initiative, issued a pair of statements on Friday excoriating his policies on affirmative action and Iraq. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH'S BIG EDUCATION IDEA COUNTS ON SEGREGATED SCHOOLS "When Trent Lott resigned as the Senate Republican leader last month after praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential campaign, it may have appeared that the nation was finally putting racial segregation behind it. But segregation is, in fact, alive and well. A new Harvard study shows that public schools are highly segregated, and becoming more so. And the Bush administration's best idea for promoting diversity in colleges is one that relies on the perpetuation of segregation at the high school level. With the Lott firestorm over, the nation should now turn to the problem of racial segregation, and resegregation, in public education. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH HONORS CONFEDERACY WHILE SPEAKING OUT AGAINST AFFIRMATIVE ACTION "In my last column, I cited a Time article reporting that the president had "quietly reinstated" a custom of sending a wreath to the Confederate Memorial. Time has since corrected the story, saying he didn't revive the custom, but simply continued it. I would still ask: Why keep a tradition of honoring the Confederacy while you're going to court to stop a tradition of helping black students at the University of Michigan? " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH ENGINEERED CRISIS TO GET HEGEMONY OVER MIDDLE EAST "Last week the US-based Middle East Institute published a report by Edward Walker, a former assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, who has also served as US ambassador in Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Following a visit to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, he found that popular opinion in the region was "more antagonistic toward the United States than at any time in recent memory". "The perception is that we are driven by the six Cs - cowboys; colonialism; conspiracy; Coca-Cola; cowardice; and clientitis," he wrote. "The 'client' is Israel. The 'cowardice' is the perception that we are the schoolyard bully. Coca-Cola is the symbol of an alien consumer society; 'conspiracy' is based on unrealistic expectations of US capabilities; 'colonialism' is premised on a US drive to control oil; and 'cowboys' is drawn from a Hollywood style perception that the administration shoots from the hip. "The reality is that when Arabs think of the United States they think of Israel - and when Americans think of the Arabs they think terrorism. According to the leadership in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, these perceptions will be magnified tenfold if the United States invades Iraq." " 01.26-27.03
WHITAKER | related stories

POWELL SAYS SADDAM IS GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT. SAY BUSH WILL GO TO WAR ALONE "Mr. Powell's speech is part of a campaign by the White House, culminating in President Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday, to rally public opinion at home and abroad. While the secretary did not produce new evidence of Iraq's weapons, he insisted the burden of proof was on Mr. Hussein, not the inspectors, to give an accounting of its munitions. There was little indication that the secretary changed the minds of people at the World Economic Forum, which assembles a rarified fraternity of heads of states, chief executives and other notables. The audience applauded the loudest for those who rose to condemn American policy. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH RULES OPEN DOOR TO BAD GUYS USING SAME RULES "But the doctrine has many critics, Republicans as well as Democrats. However the Iraq issue is resolved, they say the administration's very public declarations that it has the right to initiate military action has exacerbated the strains between the United States and its allies, particularly because it comes amid unease over the unilateralist streak in administration policy and the United States role as the world's sole military superpower. "It is not clear to me what advantage there is in declaring it publicly," said Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser who served the first President Bush, said of the pre-emption policy. "It has been common knowledge that under some circumstances the U.S. would pre-empt. As a declaratory policy in tends to leave the door open to others who want to claim the same right. By making it public we also tend to add to the world's perception that we are arrogant and unilateral." Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said the doctrine might "stimulate excessive anxieties" about American policy. "The image you get of America in the polls abroad is an America that is admired for what it is domestically but increasingly viewed with apprehension for how it conducts itself internationally," Mr. Brzezinski added. "I don't think that is good. I am a great supporter of American power. We are the essential element of global stability. But our power is not so enormous that we can afford progressively to lose the element of legitimacy of that power." " 01.26-27.03
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BRITS AGAINST BLAIR BACKING OF BUSH "Opinion surveys show a majority of the British public questioning his aggressive posture against Baghdad and faulting him for being too subservient to the United States. Britons also increasingly accuse him of becoming distracted from the problems that vex them in their daily lives, like poor transportation, inattentive health services and rising street crime. " 01.26-27.03
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BLAIR AND BUSH WILL PLAY POKER THIS WEEK "When Tony Blair sits down with George Bush, they will be engaged in a supremely high stakes game of poker. A refusal by the British to participate in military action would cause precisely the sensational rupture between London and Washington which Mr Blair has been so desperate to avoid. Bush knows this. Blair knows that Bush knows this. Going to war without her best ally would leave the White House horribly isolated, not just in the gaze of the world, but also in the eyes of American domestic opinion. Ask how Americans feel about going to war without the British and a big majority tell the pollsters that they are against it. Blair knows this. Bush knows that Blair knows this. Tony Blair is often mocked when he speaks as if he has the whole world in his hands. This week, he just might. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH ACTIONS THREATEN TO SPLIT EUROPEAN ALLIANCE "'If eventually the Americans intervene without any sort of international mandate, we will have a split on a trans-Atlantic basis, and within Europe," Mr. Parmentier said. "The Brits will follow, [the French and Germans will not,] the Spaniards and Italians will not participate but will give a polite go-ahead, and that will make it quite difficult to continue to pretend that we have a united front with the Americans, but also within Europe.' " 01.26-27.03
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CAN BUSH WITHSTAND A EUROPEAN PUNCH IN THE POCKET BOOK? "If America and Britain spurn a second UN Resolution and go to war with the active opposition of key members of the Security Council like France and Russia, be sure the flow of dollars into the US will slow down dramatically, and be sure there will be a stampede of foreigners trying to sell. Shares on Wall Street that Bush is so anxious to prop up are still massively overvalued. Against this background, there could be a devastating sell-off, with all the depressing knock-on consequences for American consumer confidence and business investment. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH BEGINS WAR COUNTDOWN, COURTS DISASTER "We urge the administration to brake the momentum toward war. Saddam Hussein is obviously a brutal dictator who deserves toppling. No one who knows his history can doubt that he is secretly trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. But this war should be waged only with broad international support. To go it alone, or nearly alone, is to court disaster both domestically and internationally. " 01.26-27.03
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WHY BUSH MUST NOT INVADE IRAQ WITHOUT UN BACKING "[Bush] must level with the American people that we may indeed be buying the Arab Yugoslavia, which will take a great deal of time and effort to heal into a self-sustaining, progressive, accountable Arab government. And, therefore, any nation-building in Iraq will be a multiyear marathon, not a multiweek sprint. Because it will be a marathon, we must undertake this war with the maximum amount of international legitimacy and U.N. backing we can possibly muster. Otherwise we will not have an American public willing to run this marathon, and we will not have allies ready to help us once we're inside (look at all the local police and administrators Europeans now contribute in Bosnia and Kosovo). We'll also become a huge target if we're the sole occupiers of Iraq. In short, we can oust Saddam Hussein all by ourselves. But we cannot successfully rebuild Iraq all by ourselves. And the real prize here is a new Iraq that would be a progressive model for the whole region. That, for me, is the only morally and strategically justifiable reason to support this war. The Bush team dare not invade Iraq simply to install a more friendly dictator to pump us oil. And it dare not simply disarm Iraq and then walk away from the nation-building task. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH SENATE ENVIRONMENTAL VOTES RANGED FROM DEPRESSING TO OUTRAGEOUS "Most astounding of all the riders, however, is one that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with a terrible scheme, long promoted by Senator Trent Lott, in central Mississippi....Senator John McCain, a new and important recruit to the environmental cause, tried valiantly to block the project. But he was deserted en masse by liberals like Edward Kennedy, Jon Corzine and even Lincoln Chafee, the Republicans' most reliable environmentalist. Perhaps they were protecting their own payoffs hidden elsewhere in this huge bill. " 01.26-27.03
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"0NE MISUNDERSTANDING...YOU MIGHT FIND YOURSELF DESPATCHED WITHOUT CEREMONY TO GUANTANAMO BAY... It is becoming possible to imagine a world full of ingenious machines that will be able to find out at an instant exactly who you are, whatever your disguise, and then tell the authorities everything they want to know about you. This could be the enduring legacy of September 11. It is not a cheering prospect, and it is one that will probably be of greater benefit in the long run to brutal dictatorships than to democracies trying to protect themselves against terrorism. " 01.26-27.03
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BUSH WANTS TO BE A "GO FOR BROKE" PREZ, BUT HE'S BREAKING US "Now let's be clear: Conservatives are ecstatic over Bush's boldness. They praise him for betting the farm on the midterm elections and winning. They are pleasantly astonished at the ambition of Bush's tax proposals. They cheer his unapologetic swagger, embodied in down-home declarations such as last week's scoffing at the idea of giving U.N. weapons inspectors more time in Iraq: "This looks like a rerun of a bad movie and I'm not interested in watching it." And the more the wimpy Europeans complain -- especially those irritatingly unreliable French -- the more certain Bush's supporters are that he's on the right track. There is only one problem with all this: It's not working " 01.25-26.03
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BUSH ESTIMATES OF ECONOMIC DISASTER "OPTIMISTIC" "New government data show that the federal government's budget shortfall has grown sharply in the last few months, even before Congress takes up President Bush's plan to cut taxes by $670 billion over 10 years. The new shortfall has already complicated the calculations behind Mr. Bush's budget proposal for 2004, which he is to announce on Feb. 3. With revenues sinking and outlays for the military and for domestic security rising, White House officials are searching for every possible way to trim social programs and muster support for their tax cuts....Administration officials have already conceded that the budget deficit for this year will be from $200 billion to $300 billion, not including the costs of a possible war with Iraq. But other analysts think even that prediction may be too cautious. "The U.S. budget outlook continues to deteriorate," wrote William C. Dudley, an economist at Goldman Sachs, after analyzing the government's latest revenue data. "Our estimate of $300 billion for fiscal 2003 looks somewhat optimistic." " 01.25-26.03
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BUSH WILL GO TO WAR, NOW "I suspect that the new official refrain — "Time is running out" — means the chief inspector, Hans Blix, should not count on the several more months he wants to do his job. The internal debate now is not war versus peace, or this year versus next year, but February versus March. " 01.25-26.03
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BUSH PLANS TO DISCUSS DOMESTIC TERRORISM AS PART OF NOTHING NEW "GET SADDAM" SPEECH PACKAGE "Bush has been under pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to do a better job of outlining the case against Iraq. Various polls have shown that the public remains skittish about the prospect of war with Iraq, and the administration faces skepticism among some European allies about a possible military strike against Baghdad....The official did not rule out the possibility that the president would offer new evidence to prove his argument that the Iraqi regime is a threat to the world, but the official said the speech is not designed "to lay out a whole new different case in the middle of this." " 01.25-26.03
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HILL PRESSURES BUSH ON IRAQ. DEMS, KEY REPUBS URGE TONED-DOWN TALK, CONSENSUE "As he prepares to make his case against Iraq to the American people, President Bush is coming under increasing pressure from top congressional Democrats and a few key Republicans to tone down his rhetoric, build greater international support and allow U.N. weapons inspectors more time to work before trying to topple Saddam Hussein. With polls showing the American public wary of war, Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said yesterday on CNN that it would be a "terrible tragedy" if Bush launches a preemptive military strike against Iraq without first winning stronger international backing. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, will follow Daschle's remarks with a speech Tuesday urging Bush to allow inspectors additional time to search Iraq for weapons of mass destruction before launching an attack, Democratic officials said. While most Senate Republicans are voicing their concerns about Bush's posturing in private, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a respected voice on military matters, warned in a speech at the University of Notre Dame yesterday of "a widening gap between America and the world" over Iraq. " 01.25-26.03
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U.S. TROOPS MAY NOT BE READY FOR IRAQ STRIKE UNTIL MARCH "Despite a wave of deployment orders issued by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld over the past five weeks, the Pentagon has only begun sending major combat elements to the Persian Gulf and cannot assemble the force required for an invasion of Iraq until late February or early March, defense officials and analysts said yesterday. " 01.25-26.03
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U.S. WEIGHS TACTICAL NUCLEAR STRIKE ON IRAQ," ANALYST SAYS "As the Pentagon continues a highly visible buildup of troops and weapons in the Persian Gulf, it is also quietly preparing for the possible use of nuclear weapons in a war against Iraq, according to a report by a defense analyst. " 01.25-26.03
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US LAWYERS WARN BUSH ON WAR CRIMES "A group of U.S. law professors opposed to a possible war on Iraq warned U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday that he and senior government officials could be prosecuted for war crimes if military tactics violated international humanitarian law. "Our primary concern ... is the large number of civilian casualties that may result should U.S. and coalition forces fail to comply with international humanitarian law in using force against Iraq," the group, led by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, said in a letter to Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The group cited the particular need for U.S. and coalition forces to abide by humanitarian law requiring warring parties to distinguish between military and civilian areas, use only the level of force that is militarily necessary and to use weaponry that is proportionate to what is being targeted. The letter, which had more than 100 signatories, said the rules had been broken in other recent wars. It said air strikes on populated cities, carpet bombing and the use of fuel-air explosives were examples of inappropriate military action taken during the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 Kosovo campaign and the 2001 Afghan conflict that led to civilian casualties and might be used again in Iraq. " 01.25-26.03
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COUNTRIES ON RECORD BEHIND BUSH WAR A PATHETIC FEW "The United States would carry much of the burden of any war against Iraq, but diplomatically it is more important for the administration to claim a broad coalition if it fails to win United Nations backing for a military strike. For the moment, many countries publicly have said they will provide help only if the U.N. Security Council approves it. Britain, Australia and the Czech Republic have sent troops to the region, while Kuwait and three other Persian Gulf states have either welcomed U.S. forces or supported military action. " 01.25-26.03
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BUSH-LEANING MAINSTREAM MEDIA MOCKS PEACE MOVEMENT "Reasonable people can conclude that a preemptive war is necessary to prevent a larger confrontation later, or that it will leave decades of backlash more harmful than anything it helps to avoid. They can work to influence policy in one direction or the other through a variety of means. But an essay that suggests that engaging on the issue is cliche, that caring is goofy and that the knowing response to the most profound issues of our time is to passively watch while occasionally lobbing wisecracks as the history of the world is unfolding for our entertainment, is astoundingly corrosive. " 01.25-26.03
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DON'T PESTER EUROPE ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD "We have already caused great resentment among our European allies by rejecting the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and the International Criminal Court, both of which were championed by the European Union. Given that we will want European support for whatever actions we eventually decide to take in the Persian Gulf or in North Korea, is this really the time to mount what is bound to be a bitter, high-profile case in order to sell genetically modified potatoes? It is, indeed, appalling that some countries would rather starve than accept donations of genetically modified corn. But trying to force genetically modified food down European throats is the surest way to guarantee that they swallow neither the potatoes nor a lot of other more important American proposals " 01.25-26.03
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WHY SOME CALL BUSH "BULLY" "North Korea also possesses an unknown number of intercontinental ballistic missiles. We know this with certainty because Kim s military tested one by shooting it over northern Japan in August 1998. Apparently they re working on a new version of the same weapon, except with a longer range that can reach Alaska. The other day, they announced that they plan to resume testing their missiles unless Washington changes its ways. Yet the Bush administration s demeanor in the face of these provocations is bland, mild, almost pacifist. The first instinct at the White House was to conceal what Pyongyang had been doing. Then, after a few tough-talking tantrums and denunciations, Washington reverted to expressing "disappointment," dispatching emissaries, hinting at negotiations and, most recently, promising aid and perhaps diplomatic recognition. Toward the Iraqis, who have no strategic weapons, the Bush administration s response has been increasingly implacable and ominous. Every move by Baghdad is denounced as too little, too late, too clever and too uncooperative, as the U.S. deploys tens of thousands of troops, thousands of tons of weaponry and hundreds of aircraft in the Gulf region. Having displayed their disdain for international arms-control efforts, the Bush hawks are now proving to any and every despot that the United States only respects and placates power and that power grows out of an atomic warhead. " 01.25-26.03
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AN OVERTURNED ROE V. WADE COULD MEAN DEATH OF THE GOP "The contemporary Republican Party is a coalition. It contains religious and social conservatives who are strongly opposed to abortion, and economic conservatives, libertarians and suburbanites who may be quite moderate on abortion rights or even strongly pro-choice. Today, the abortion struggle largely revolves around issues like late-term abortions, parental consent requirements and restrictions on public financing. Moderate voters can accept many if not most of these regulations because the basic right to abortion is still protected. But if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the political agenda would shift.... The party would soon find itself losing ground in many key states, seriously hampering its chances at winning the presidency for a generation. " 01.25-26.03
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NO AMERICAN COMPANY THAT OFFENDS AMERICAN VALUES SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DO SO IN SECRET "Dangerous pollutants are just one aspect of corporate behavior that can be hidden abroad. Companies should have to make public information about overseas activities that would be prohibited or subject to disclosure laws at home. A new report by a coalition of environmental, labor and human rights groups, including the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the Sierra Club, Oxfam and Amnesty International, argues for an international right to know. The groups are not " 01.25-26.03
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HOW CAN WE HAVE ETHICS LAWS WHEN CONGRESS, ADMINISTRATION IS NOT BEING ETHICAL? "nancy Victory's lobbyist friends representing wireless phone companies threw her a party in 2001 when she was named the Bush administration's top telecommunications policy maker at the Commerce Department. The Associated Press reported this week that it took place only 10 days before Ms. Victory urged the Federal Communications Commission to repeal restrictions on how much airwave spectrum wireless companies could control in a single market....The indifference of the Commerce Department's ethics office was appalling. It told Ms. Victory the party was fine as long as the lobbyists were using their own money — a less-than-comforting test that wasn't even met. " 01.25-26.03
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CURBING PENTAGON SNOOPERS UP TO THE HOUSE "Total Information Awareness is the brainchild of John Poindexter, the same man who, as Ronald Reagan's national security adviser, oversaw the illegal Iran-contra operation. Mr. Poindexter's conviction for lying to Congress in that affair was overturned because his testimony had been covered by a grant of immunity. Mr. Poindexter has told interviewers that he has no wish to trample on civil liberties. Nevertheless, part of his stated ambition is to harness the vast networking powers of the computer to mine huge amounts of information about people — their backgrounds, their associations, their patterns of work and travel — and thus assist investigative agencies in anticipating potential terrorist activities. Many of the transactions of everyday life — credit card purchases, telephone records and the like — would be grist for the electronic mill. Mr. Poindexter's history offers little encouragement that he would operate the awareness program within appropriate legal and constitutional restraints. " 01.25-26.03
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BUSH PROPOSAL TO GET GOVERNMENT TO PAY FOR BUILDING CHURCHES "STRAYING FROM FAITH" "THIS TIME President Bush has proposed a "faith-based initiative" that makes even his allies uncomfortable. The target is the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which on the surface seems like Mr. Bush's ideal example of an agency that discriminates against religious service providers. HUD is the only agency whose rules say explicitly that religious groups may not apply for grants. And these are exactly the kinds of grants a typical urban church might need for low-income housing, homeless shelters, counseling services. "Even the playing field" is what administration officials say over and over. But the president has gone about this particular overhaul rather crudely." 01.25-26.03
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WITH HISTORY OF QUESTIONABLE PRACTICES, FBI WANTS TO MONITOR CAMPUSES "Federal authorities have begun enlisting campus police officers in the domestic war on terror, renewing fears among some faculty and student groups of overzealous FBI spying at colleges and universities that led to scandals in decades past....But the effort has touched a nerve among some faculty and student groups, as well as Muslim activists, who fear that the government is inching toward the kind of controversial spying tactics it used in the 1950s and 1960s. With few restrictions, the FBI at the time aggressively monitored, and often harassed, political groups, student activists and dissidents.Faculty leaders and administrators argue that U.S. colleges and universities are unique places devoted to the exchange of ideas, and that even the hint of surveillance by government authorities taints that environment. " 01.25-26.03
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CLINTON-BUSH WHITE HOUSE CYBER ADVISER LEAVING. WARNED OF INTERNET "PEARL HARBOR" "Richard A. Clarke, a blunt-spoken White House adviser who raised warnings about Islamic terrorism and biological weapons years before they became nightmare headlines, will resign from government soon, people familiar with his plans said.... Clarke, currently the nation's top cyber-security adviser, is best known for his success in identifying emerging issues and outlasting his critics. He has focused most recently on preventing disruptions to important computer networks from Internet attacks. But he has tempered warnings about a "digital Pearl Harbor" after some industry experts mocked them as overblown. " 01.25-26.03
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VIRUS-LIKE INFECTION SLOWS INTERNET TRAFFIC. CIVIL LIBERTIES QUESTIONS RAISED BY INDUSTRY SPOKESMEN "Traffic on the many parts of the Internet slowed dramatically for hours early Saturday, the apparent effects of a fast-spreading, virus-like infection that overwhelmed the world's digital pipelines and interfered with Web browsing and delivery of e-mail. Sites monitoring the health of the Internet reported significant slowdowns globally. Initial reports suggested that, outside the United States, the problems were most severe in technology-dependent areas of Asia. Users and news media reported outages or slowdowns in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Cambodia. Experts said the electronic attack bore remarkable similarities to the "Code Red" virus during the summer of 2001 which also ground traffic to a halt on much of the Internet. " 01.25-26.03
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MONTY PYTHON TAKES CUE FROM BUSH ""Let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully thought-out policy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about international peace and security. The one certain way to stop Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US or the UK is to bomb a few Muslim countries that have never threatened us." " 01.25-26.03
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BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT: BUSH PLANS TO LEAVE WOMEN BEHIND BY ELIMINATING THEIR EQUAL RIGHTS TO ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS "Colleges and universities would be allowed to limit the number of scholarships awarded to female athletes without regard to enrollment under the most controversial recommendation being considered by a national commission studying reform of Title IX, the landmark law that bans sex discrimination in collegiate sports....The proposals, obtained by The Washington Post, are the first indication of the Bush administration's plans for changing Title IX, which is widely credited with increasing female participation in collegiate sports over the past three decades. " 01.24.03
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ANOTHER NEW POLL SHOWS BUSH SLIDE IN AMERICAN EYES "In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, a rising number of Americans expressed discontent with the president's economic and foreign policies. " 01.24.03
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BUSH HAS ALWAYS ASKED FOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR HIMSELF "It seems unfair to jump up and down about the injustice of preferences for blacks while acquiescing in preferential admissions for jocks, rich kids and certain Texans" like Bush. 01.24.03
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WHEN BUSH WENT TO YALE OVER 14% WERE ADMITTED WITH FAMILY PULL AND HE WAS ONE "Senator Bob Dole, no less, in 1990 called legacy preference an "unfair advantage" for children of "wealthy contributors." One thinks of a lot of advantages children of wealthy parents have. He asked the [Bush administration's] Office of Civil Rights whether such a practice was illegal under the l964 Civil Rights Act; legacy preferences are not, he was informed, illegal. " 01.24.03
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BUSH'S APPEAL TO THE CONSTITUTION NOT CONSISTENT "Bush complains that the University of Michigan's mild attempts at affirmative action are "divisive, unfair and impossible to square with the Constitution." An interesting claim. Would that be the same Constitution that originally condoned legal slavery and voting rights only for landed men? The same Constitution that was interpreted by the "impartial courts" for almost a century after the Civil War as countenancing segregation? " 01.24.03
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EVEN REPUB SENATE THROWS UP OVER BUSH-POINDEXTER-ASHCROFT BIG BROTHER PLAN "The Senate voted today to bar deployment of a Pentagon project to search for terrorists by scanning information in Internet mail and in the commercial databases of health, financial and travel companies here and abroad. The curbs on the project, called the Total Information Awareness Program, were adopted without debate and by unanimous consent....As soon as the existence of the project was disclosed last November, it drew intense criticism from civil libertarians on the left and the right, ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Free Congress Foundation and the Eagle Forum." 01.24.03
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Bush should start respecting the right to counsel guaranteed by the Constitution. "A federal judge in New York attacked the Bush administration recently for defying his order to allow Jose Padilla, who is accused of being part of a plot to set off a "dirty bomb," to meet with a lawyer. In case after case, the administration has taken the position that if it accuses someone of being a terrorist, he can be prevented from communicating with a lawyer. The right to counsel is a cornerstone of the American legal system, and the administration must realize that it has not been repealed by the war on terrorism. " 01.24.03
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BUSH TALKS HOMELAND SECURITY BUT PUTS FUNDING PRIORITY ON TAX CUTS TO RICH "The Department of Homeland Security that formally opens its doors today inherits responsibility for a federal government effort that has made little progress in addressing some of the most urgent security vulnerabilities facing American society, terrorism and defense specialists said....The debate over homeland security spending is being played out on Capitol Hill, with Democrats and a few Republicans pressing for more funds and the Bush administration holding the line on spending. But even if the advocates of greater spending prevailed, the anti-terrorism effort would still be billions of dollars short each year of the amount many security experts say is needed to harden the United States against attacks. " 01.24.03
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BUSH WANTS TO DESTROY MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT "The Bush administration is finalizing a proposal that would fundamentally redefine Medicare, creating a prescription drug benefit and offering it to patients who are willing to join a new version of the program that relies on managed care, sources said yesterday. " 01.24.03
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CLINTON SAYS BUSH TAX PLAN PRIORITIES DAMAGING NATION'S HEALTH CARE "Former president Bill Clinton yesterday assailed his successor's domestic priorities, saying the Bush administration's eagerness for tax cuts is rendering the government unable to address fundamental shortcomings in the nation's health care system, including the 41 million people who are uninsured. " 01.24.03
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WHILE THE RICH MAKE WAR, THE POOR FIGHT IT. CLASS WARFARE OR FACT? "The storm was set off by Rangel's Dec. 31 article in the New York Times calling for a "return to the tradition of the citizen soldier" through a revival of the draft. "I believe that if we are going to send our children to war, the governing principle must be that of shared sacrifice," Rangel wrote.Rangel cited the finding of columnist Mark Shields that among the 535 members of Congress who debated the resolution authorizing war against Iraq, only one -- Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota -- has a son in the military's enlisted ranks.For his provocation, Rangel was widely denounced, accused of playing "the race card" because he had the nerve to point out the racial and ethnic composition of our armed forces. "A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military," Rangel wrote, "while the most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent." Naturally, Rangel was also subjected to the moment's most fashionable charge, that he was a class warrior." 01.24.03
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PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT THE BUSH WAR "How the American and continental media are reporting public opinion on an Iraq war and Donald Rumsfeld's reference to 'Old Europe' " 01.24.03
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IT IS ABOUT OIL, SAYS BUSH "The Bush administration says that restoring Iraq's oil production is paramount to the United States' long-term interests in the country and the Middle East. " 01.24.03
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NORMAN MAILER EXPLAINS BUSH IMPERIALISM "[Norman Mailer] has been refining his hypothesis of American empire, namely that by the end of the cold war certain forces in the United States felt that America should be the dominant military power in the universe. Because of its oil and its location, Iraq is the linchpin in that plan. In this simple thought, he comes close to the views of his old rival and sparring partner Gore Vidal. "It doesn't matter what they're up to in Iraq," he said. "It doesn't matter if they have nuclear bombs or not or whether they're ready to do chemical warfare. They're not a danger, but they are absolutely a position in the world we need militarily. Dominate Iraq, dominate the Near East, and then get China in a position to make China the Greece to our Rome." "Sept. 11 was the `open sesame' to the path to world empire," he said. "It doesn't matter for Bush if things turn out well or badly in Iraq. If they turn out well, they can start to think of the next step. If they turn out badly, that's still good for him because of American patriotism. Who's going to be against George W. Bush when he's mourning the deaths of our boys? Either way he won't have to face the increasing problems here with the American economy and the scandals, with the breakdown in belief in two huge systems: corporate leadership and the priesthood." " 01.24.03
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The message from the Bush camp: 'It's war within weeks' "Washington now concentrating on timing... State of union address to 'turn up the heat'...Blair faces nightmare scenario over war decision." " 01.24.03
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BUSH WILL GO TO WAR NOW OR NO ONE WILL EVER BELIEVE HIM AGAIN "The president cannot logically turn back. He says repeatedly... that inspectors can only verify a voluntary disarmament. They are utterly powerless to force disarmament on a regime that lies, cheats and hides. And having said, again...that the possession of weapons of mass destruction by Hussein is an intolerable threat to the security of the United States, there is no logical way to rationalize walking away from Iraq -- even if the president wanted to....Nor can the president turn back politically. He began the march on Iraq with his State of the Union address a year ago. He identified the axis of evil as the single greatest threat to America and the world. To now admit that he can and will do nothing to meet that very threat would not just leave him without a foreign policy, it would destroy his credibility as a leader." 01.24.03
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DOGS BARK BUT PUNDIT'S CARAVAN MOVES ON "'The caravan passes, and the dogs bark.' This old Central Asian saying was a favourite of Josef Stalin, from whom I now borrow it. The meaning: get on with things and ignore the inevitable baying of critics. But this once I will reply to critics, both in this paper, and in the U.S., who have repeatedly cited statements I made in columns - some over a decade old - in an effort to attack my credibility. " 01.24.03
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BUSH, RICE, CHENEY CALLED INTO QUESTION RE "ALUMINUM TUBES" COMMENTS "Bush cited...aluminum tubes in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly and in documents presented to U.N. leaders. Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice both repeated the claim, with Rice describing the tubes as "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs." It was by far the most prominent, detailed assertion by the White House of recent Iraqi efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. But according to government officials and weapons experts, the claim now appears to be seriously in doubt. " 01.24.03
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BUSH'S CREDIBILITY APPEARS SHOT IN ENGLAND ""A Labour MP, described by Andrew Rawnsley, chief political commentator for The Observer, as "impeccably loyal and Atlanticist," admits, "I've no hang-ups about joining the United States in military action. It's following that cowboy which I find so hard to stomach." Rawnsley also quotes a former Conservative cabinet minister who says he regards George Bush as "a child running around with a grenade with the pin pulled out." Right now, the lack of confidence Bush inspires in our allies is the world's single best hope for peace." " 01.24.03
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IT'S ABOUT BUSH, SAY EUROPEANS " To European ears, the president's language is far too blunt, and he has been far too quick to cast the debate about how to separate Saddam Hussen from his weapons of mass destruction in black-and-white certainties, officials in Paris and Berlin say. They add that his confrontational approach, his impatience with the inspections and even his habit of finger pointing as he speaks undermine the possibility of common strategy against Saddam Hussein. "Much of it is the way he talks, this provocative manner, the jabbing of his finger at you," said Hans-Ulrich Klose, the vice chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the German Parliament. 'It's Texas, a culture that is unfamiliar to Germans. And it's the religious tenor of his arguments.' " 01.24.03
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Refusal by French and Germans to Back U.S. on Iraq Has Undercut Powell's Position, say administration officials. "One of Mr. Powell's associates said the secretary was irritated at the French, and another that he was "incandescent" with rage at the French and German envoys who, American officials say, surprised him with their opposition to administration policies. No less suddenly, Mr. Powell is described by associates as having less leverage to stop military action in an administration dominated by hawks - and less inclination to try. "Frankly, this episode strengthens the hands of those who have been saying since last year that we don't need to go to the United Nations at all," an administration official said...."The Europeans have this idea that they can empower Powell," said an administration official. 'They haven't empowered him. They have undercut him.' " 01.24.03
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HUMAN RIGHTS ABOUSE BY LONG-TIME ALLY CITED "Amnesty International said that the torture methods used in the Philippines in recent years are similar to those used in the '70s and '80s, when the Marcos dictatorship was at its height. These techniques, Amnesty International said, include electric shock, the use of plastic bags to suffocate a suspect, burning with cigarettes, beating with fists, metal pipes or gun barrels and placing chili peppers on the detainees' eyes or genitals. The group said these "horrific techniques are used to extract information and force confessions. Those most at risk of torture are alleged members of armed opposition groups and their suspected sympathizers, ordinary criminal suspects and members of poor or marginalized communities, including women and children, who are suspected of committing criminal acts." " 01.24.03
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WHY ARE REV. LIEBERMAN AND FIGHTIN' JOHNNY MAC SO "ANNOYING"? "By any objective standards, Lieberman and McCain are among the very best of our national politicians. They are smarter, more interesting and probably more honest than most of their colleagues. On the issues they choose to spotlight, they're usually right, often first, and occasionally even courageous. It's not surprising that Lieberman is now a front-runner for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination while Al Gore, who put Lieberman on the map, is gone. Nor is it surprising that dreamers of both parties imagine McCain at the head of their ticket, rescuing the country from a second George W. Bush turn. Yet there is a mystery to solve about both these virtuous politicians: Why, despite their virtues, are they so annoying? " 01.24.03
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BUSH KNEW LAST JUNE THAT PAKISTAN WAS HELPING NORTH KOREA BUILD A NUKE, BUT HE CONTINUED FOCUS ON IRAQ "Last June, four months before the current crisis over North Korea became public, the Central Intelligence Agency delivered a comprehensive analysis of North Korea's nuclear ambitions to President Bush and his top advisers. The document, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, was classified as Top Secret S.C.I. (for "sensitive compartmented information"), and its distribution within the government was tightly restricted. The C.I.A. report made the case that North Korea had been violating international law-and agreements with South Korea and the United States-by secretly obtaining the means to produce weapons-grade uranium.The document's most politically sensitive information, however, was about Pakistan. Since 1997, the C.I.A. said, Pakistan had been sharing sophisticated technology, warhead-design information, and weapons-testing data with the Pyongyang regime. Pakistan, one of the Bush Administration's important allies in the war against terrorism, was helping North Korea build the bomb. " 01.23.03
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NORTH KOREA ASSURES FEW WITH ITS WEASEL WORDS ABOUT NUKE CONTROL "North Korea said today that it had no intention of producing nuclear weapons, making the pledge to South Korea in high-level talks here in which both sides appeared to be playing to different audiences. The North Korean statement, which was heavily qualified, seemed intended to make the country's position sound more reasonable amid a festering nuclear proliferation crisis, and to appeal to an increasingly sympathetic South Korean audience. " 01.23.03
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JAPAN RELUCTANT TO GET INVOLVED OVER NORTH KOREAN THREAT "North Korea is developing nuclear weapons so close to us, but Japan hasn't responded much," said Yuriko Koike, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the lower house of parliament, known as the Diet. North Korea "turned on an alarm clock, but the Japanese people don't wake up." Instead, the public here remains obsessed with the issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea 25 years ago. During a dramatic trip to Pyongyang in September, Koizumi won the acknowledgment that five Japanese had been abducted. But it slowly emerged that he struck the deal even after the Americans told him of North Korea's secret nuclear program. To avoid complicating the abduction issue, critics say, Koizumi failed to press North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on the point. It is "totally irresponsible," said Shingo Nishimura, an opposition member of parliament and a prominent hawk. "He is treating it as though it is someone else's problem " 01.23.03
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REV. BUSH APPROVES USING FED MONEY (HENHOUSE) TO BUILD CHURCHES (FOX) "The Bush administration plans to allow religious groups for the first time to use federal housing money to help build centers where religious worship is held, as long as part of the building is also used for social services. The policy shift, which was made in a rule that the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed this month, significantly expands the administration's contentious religion-based initiative...."This is probably the most clearly unconstitutional aspect of the White House's faith-based initiative that we've seen up to this point," said Christopher Anders, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What this does is take federal money that is serving the neediest of the needy in our society and diverts it to the bricks-and-mortar construction of churches and sanctuaries and other places of worship." " 01.23.03
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BUSH CHOICE FOR AIDS PANEL (HENHOUSE), A MARKETING CONSULTANT (FOX), WANTS TO USE CHRIST TO MAKE GAYS STRAIGHT "In his speeches and writings on his Web site and elsewhere, Thacker has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle" rather than a lifestyle and asserted that "Christ can rescue the homosexual." After word of his selection spread among gays in recent days, some material disappeared from the Web site. Earlier versions located by The Washington Post that referred to the "gay plague," for instance, were changed as of yesterday to "plague." " 01.23.03
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PRO-GUN (FOX) ASHCROFT GETS GUN CONTROL (HENHOUSE) ATF UNDER HIS WING "After more than two centuries of history with the Treasury Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on Friday will report to a new boss: the Justice Department....The change is also attracting scrutiny from gun control groups, which fear the agency's mission to regulate gun purchases will be compromised by Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, a strong gun-rights advocate and lifetime member of the National Rifle Association...."You couldn't find a scarier time to put the ATF in the Department of Justice, when you have the most pro-gun attorney general in history," said Matthew Nosanchuk, litigation director for the Violence Policy Center, which favors stricter regulation of firearms. 'It's like the fox guarding the henhouse.'" 01.23.03
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TELECOMMUNICATIONS (FOX) LAWYER BECAME BUSH'S TELECOMMUNICATIONS (HENHOUSE) LAWYER AND PARTIES/VOTES WITH TELECOMMUNICATIONS LOBBYISTS "In the best traditions of the revolving door -- left her law firm, where she represented telecommunications companies, to join the Commerce Department, where she helps set the Bush administration's telecommunications policy. To celebrate Ms. Victory's appointment, three telecommunications lobbyist friends helped throw a, pardon the pun, victory party at her Great Falls home in October. Ten days later, Ms. Victory weighed in with the Federal Communications Commission on the side of the lobbyists in an arcane but high-stakes dispute over wireless spectrum. " 01.23.03
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BUSH LOBBYIST NOW IS LOBBYIST FOR CITIGROUP "Assume the position. It just got a little easier for special interests to screw the public -- courtesy of the public's own representatives in Washington, who saw fit to kick-start the 108th Congress by gutting a pair of pesky ethics rules designed to reduce the amount of influence-peddling on Capitol Hill....The latest public servant to privatize himself is Nick Calio. For the last two years, as head of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, Calio has been responsible for promoting the president's agenda in Congress. He also acted as the administration's version of Monty Hall, doling out presidential perks to members of Congress -- including flights on Air Force One and invites to state dinners (especially coveted in this administration, since the buttoned-down Bushies have given exactly two). Earlier this month Calio left the White House to become chief lobbyist for Citigroup. The hire couldn't have come at a better time for the embattled banking behemoth, which has been under fire from state and federal regulators -- and has just agreed to pay $300 million in fines to settle claims that its stock analysts intentionally misled investors. Citigroup needed someone to call off the watchdogs and school them in a little obedience to their natural masters -- and who better than the president's personal lobbyist? " 01.23.03
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REPUB SENATE BACKS BUSH ATTACK ON CLEAN AIR RULES "Voting along regional as much as party lines, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected an effort today to delay the White House's new pollution rules. Many Democrats say the new rules will roll back clean air standards and endanger human health. The rules, completed last month, would permit aging coal-fired factories and power plants to modernize without installing costly antipollution devices. The rules affect a section of the Clean Air Act, the antipollution statute adopted more than 30 years ago. Advocates for the environment say the changes will create soot and smog, hurting people with asthma and respiratory ailments. The attorneys general of nine states in the Northeast have challenged the rules in court. Industry representatives say the rules will improve air quality by encouraging plants to upgrade voluntarily. " 01.23.03
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EVEN GOP SENATE THROWS UP OVER BUSH ATTEMPT TO CUT OFF POOR FROM EMERGENCY CARE "The Bush administration said today that it was rescinding a new policy that allowed managed care organizations to limit and restrict coverage of emergency services for poor people on Medicaid. The reversal came five days after existence of the policy was publicly disclosed. On Tuesday, senior administration officials were still defending the policy in meetings with senators of both parties. But Senate aides said it was clear that the Senate would pass legislation to block the policy if the administration did not retract it. " 01.23.03
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BUSH ADMIN SUCCEEDING IN DOWNSIZING CORPORATE REFORM "is distressing to find that business lobbyists have succeeded in getting the Securities and Exchange Commission to back down from some of the more aggressive reforms it was considering....The Bush administration and William Donaldson, its nominee to replace Mr. Pitt, will have to reclaim some of the ground that the commission has ceded to lobbyists. A good place to start would be to appoint a strong chairman to the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. With the power to set auditing standards and to discipline the industry, the board can reverse the business lobbyists' recent gains. " 01.23.03
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BUSH HAS NOT LEARNED THE ENRON LESSON "YOU MIGHT have thought, after the damaging accounting scandals of last year, that the nation's chief regulators would insulate themselves a bit more from the lobbying of the accounting industry. But yesterday, as the Securities and Exchange Commission scrambled to write new rules implementing the law passed by Congress last year to crack down on corporate accounting scandals, industry fingerprints were once again evident....The SEC, facing intense opposition from the powerful and vociferous accounting industry -- and with the discredited and supposedly departed Harvey Pitt still in charge -- also backed away from several measures that would have done more to break the insidious relationship between auditors and the companies that pay them. It appears the lessons of Enron haven't sunk in everywhere " 01.23.03
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DANGER OF TERRORIST SMALLPOX ATTACK WILL GREATLY INCREASE IF BUSH GOES TO WAR WITH IRAQ "Nobody knows whether any terrorist group possesses a smallpox weapon, but if there is any danger it is most likely to erupt when the United States is threatening to invade Iraq. " 01.23.03
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TEDDY SAYS BUSH PUSHING WRONG WAR AT WRONG TIME "I continue to be convinced that this is the wrong war at the wrong time. The threat from Iraq is not imminent and will distract America from two more immediate threats: the clear and present danger of terrorism and the North Korea crisis. The far more likely reality is that an assault against Iraq - especially without broad international support - will not advance the defeat of al-Qa'ida, but undermine it. It will antagonise critical allies and crack the global coalition that came together after 11 September. It will feed a rising tide of anti-Americanism overseas and swell the ranks of al-Qa'ida recruits and sympathisers. " 01.23.03
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BUSH ADMIN DENIES CHENEY MEETING WITH OIL EXECS THREE MONTHS AGO "The relationship between the oil industry and the US administration, from the president, George Bush, downwards, is the closest in American history... The Wall Street Journal last week quoted oil industry officials saying that the Bush administration is eager to rehabilitate the Iraqi oil industry... According to the officials, Mr Cheney's staff held a meeting in October with Exxon Mobil Corporation, ChevronTexaco Corporation, ConcocoPhilips, Halliburton, but both the US administration and the companies deny it." 01.23.03
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OIL PEOPLE KNOW THE BUSH WAR IS ABOUT OIL "It is not just wild-eyed western peaceniks that believe oil is at the centre - or close to the centre - of the pending conflict. It is quite a commonly held view even in the conservative business world but few are willing to express such things publicly... Fadel Gheit, a former Mobil chemical engineer and now an investment specialist with New York brokerage firm Fahnestock & Co, told 50 of the largest pension funds and financial investors in America before Christmas that the expected war was "all about oil" and that the global fight against terrorism was just "camouflage" to mask the real purpose. " 01.23.03
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FRANCE PULLS THE RUG "Now, with the UN inspectors about to present their first full report and an impatient George Bush near fit-to-be-tied, as Texas hog farmers say, France has changed tack again. In a dramatic diplomatic ambush, Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin declared this week that France would not back a second UN resolution authorising war at this time and, if necessary, would use its veto. With Colin Powell and Jack Straw left looking like men clinging to each other atop a shaky flagpole, Mr De Villepin then grandly announced that France would rally all of Europe against these rash and foolhardy Anglo-Saxons." 01.23.03
guardian ed | related stories

TIME IS RUNNING OUT ON BUSH'S ATTEMPT TO GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ "Public opinion in Europe and Asia's key countries has mounted against the military option -- even though Iraq has offered no convincing proof that it has given up its weapons of mass destruction, as required by the U.N. resolution. To regain the initiative, Bush and Powell must now cut through the diplomatic complexities created by their own Security Council victory and by the passage of time. " 01.23.03
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BRIT MILITARY HEAVYWEIGHTS QUESTION BUSH'S WAR ""The US is blocking funds to secure Russian stores while it spends billions sending tens of thousands of troops to the Gulf, with British support, to topple a dictator who presents no existing threat to American or British security... Sir Michael Quinlan, former permanent secretary at the MoD and high priest of traditional deterrence theory, has described a war against Iraq as "an unnecessary and precarious gamble". General Sir Michael Rose, former head of the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia, raises the question: "How will a war against Iraq impact on the global war currently being waged against terrorism?" Douglas Hogg, lawyer and former Conservative foreign minister, says there is no moral case for war since there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein presents a grave and imminent threat to Britain or the US." " 01.23.03
norton-taylor | related stories

A PREEMPTIVE DEMONSTRATION ABOUT A PREEMPTIVE WAR "Whatever presidents think of peace marches, to those who march they are a source of peace and of the most important information they could have -- that they are not alone. " 01.23.03
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LOOK FOR WORLDWIDE PROTEST AGAINST BUSH WAR FEB. 15 ""Bush and Blair agreed to take the war to the UN and to send in weapons inspectors because of pressure from the genuine obstacle to their warmongering: a worldwide mass movement. But since then international opposition has continued to grow, as countless people dispute whether any good can come from ever-increasing US domination of the planet... The question now is how much of that opposition becomes active opposition. The Pentagon can probably ignore passive opposition - Donald Rumsfeld is hardly likely to call off his plans because millions of people are watching the news going "Tut, isn't it dreadful." But he will be concerned on 15 February, when globally co-ordinated demonstrations will result in the greatest ever number of demonstrators around the planet on one day in all history. Which means as a day out it offers the unique opportunity of preserving your sanity and saving the planet in one short walk." " 01.23.03
steel | related stories

UN RULES HAVE LIBYA WITH POOR RECORD OVERSEEING HUMAN RIGHTS "The selection of Libya as chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights straddles the line between farce and tragedy. " 01.23.03
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NEW POLL SHOWS MORE WAR DOUBT AS SUPPORT FOR BUSH ECONOMY HITS NINE YEAR LOW "Bush's approval rating continues to slide. His marks on the economy are also down. Seven in 10 Americans would give U.N. weapons inspectors months more to pursue their arms search in Iraq, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that found growing doubts about an attack on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. In addition to the public's skepticism about military action against Iraq, the poll found that a majority of Americans disapproved of President Bush's handling of the economy for the first time in his presidency. The number of Americans who regard the economy as healthy has not been lower in the past nine years, and fewer than half supported the tax cut plan Bush has proposed as a remedy." 01.22.03
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PAST POLLS INDICATE ANTI-WAR POSITION BEGAN WITH ELDERLY, WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH WAR. ONLY 15% IN CANADA BACK BUSH UNILATERAL ACTION "A survey of 5,000 Americans by Pew Research in Washington has found that while 60 per cent of Americans of all ages support a war against Iraq, only 41 per cent of those aged 75 or more do so. A survey by the Los Angeles Times similarly found that while 58 per cent of Americans favour the war, support among those aged 75 or more drops to 35 per cent. Those Americans who know most about war and about the meaning of moral clarity in conflict, are the most skeptical about the morality of the war their country is about to engage in. For President George W. Bush, this finding ought to be deeply disturbing. Far more disturbing than the fact that opposition to the war should now be mounting right across Europe, including in Britain, his closest ally. Similar sentiments are found in Canada (only 15 per cent now support unilateral U.S. action), and in the Middle East itself, such as in Turkey, another close ally, where public opinion is forcing the government to scale back to a minimum the facilities it can provide to U.S. forces. The particular point of concern for Bush ought to be that the boast that he's been waging war against terrorism with a particular "moral clarity" is now being challenged. " 01.22.03
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BUSH FIDDLES WITH IRAQ WHILE WALL STREET BURNS "The S.E.C. staff plans to recommend that the agency soften rules that would impose new obligations on lawyers and accountants " 01.22.03
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BANKS ENCOURAGE OVERDRAFTS, GET JUICE FROM POOR AS FED RESERVE WATCHES "At least 1,000 banks are encouraging customers with low balances to overdraw their checking accounts, allowing the banks to skirt credit laws and collect billions of dollars in new fees. The banks' programs cover checks that would otherwise bounce and even allow people to overdraw their accounts with A.T.M. and debit cards. The fees are paid disproportionately by low- and moderate-income people, according to industry consultants who help banks create and market the programs. One consultant advises banks to maximize the fees by opening branches "in supermarkets, particularly supermarkets with a middle to down market and a family target market."...Overdraft protection programs "target people that least can afford it," Mr. Gregg said. Banks that use them 'have got you against a wall, and you just throw up your hands.'" 01.22.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH TREASURY NOMINEE, MEMBER OF AGUSTA UNTIL LAST MONTH, HAUNTED BY PAST PROBLEMS WITH LAW "John W. Snow, President Bush's nominee for Treasury secretary, was charged with driving under the influence in 1982 and settled a child-support case in 1991, the White House disclosed last night. " 01.22.03
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Lobbyists Paid for Bush Official's Party "Just days before going to bat for the wireless industry, the Bush administration's top policy export on telecommunications, Nancy Victory, allowed wireless phone company lobbyists to help pay for a private reception at her home. " 01.22.03
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ATLANTIC MONTHLY SPECIAL SPELLS OUT HOW BUSH IS WAGING CLASS WARFARE "The main focus of several essays is the growing inequality of wealth and income in the United States and the policies that might address it. The foundation for this analysis is a useful chart, credited to Maya MacGuineas, on the "real" federal budget. In addition to $1.3 trillion for entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, and $730 billion for defense and discretionary domestic programs, her budget includes $800 billion in tax expenditures, the revenue the government relinquishes to subsidize private individuals and business. The biggest of these tax expenditures are the exclusions for pension contributions and employer-sponsored savings plans and for employer-financed health insurance, deductions for home mortgage interest payments and state-local tax payments, and reduced capital gains rates.More than half these tax expenditures go to households with incomes of more than $100,000 a year and only 15 percent to those with incomes less than $50,000. This tilt, combined with the Bush tax reductions for top-bracket earners and the unyielding Social Security levies from the first dollars of wages, helps explain why the gap between the rich and the rest of Americans continues to increase.The message of these essays is that this gap not only threatens the growth of a healthy middle class but also contributes to the worrisome loss of social trust among Americans. Republicans continually decry "class warfare" rhetoric from their opponents, but the Atlantic Monthly essays show how current and proposed tax policies are sharpening class lines. " 01.22.03
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THE CLASS PRESIDENT "The Bushes see the world through the prism of class, while denying that class matters. " 01.22.03
dowd | related stories

BUSH CAN'T SEE THE POOR FROM HIS BALCONY "Bush may not be waging a class war, but his tax breaks and welfare reform are breathtakingly provocative. " 01.22.03
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REPUB SENATOR SAYS BUSH/ASHCROFT BIG BROTHER ATTACK IS WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT "A senior Republican senator yesterday expressed concern that a Pentagon surveillance program could be used on U.S. citizens and may "have a chilling effect on civil liberties." In a letter to Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) alleged that the Justice Department and FBI are more extensively exploring the use of the Total Information Awareness program than they have previously acknowledged. " 01.22.03
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CITIZEN PROTECTIONS CONTINUE TO DIMINISH AS FED JUDGE TREATS POSSIBLE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AS THOUGH IT WERE TERRORISM "In the closely watched case, the Recording Industry Association of America argued that it had the right to invoke a legal shortcut compelling Internet service providers to turn over subscriber information without requiring a copyright holder to file a lawsuit...."The court's decision has troubling ramifications for consumers, service providers and the growth of the Internet," said Sara Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon. 'It opens the door for anyone who makes a mere allegation of copyright infringement to gain complete access to private subscriber information without the due process protections afforded by the courts.'" 01.22.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH MOVING TOWARD BIG MISTAKE IN IRAQ "To abandon inspections and go to war without the support of other Security Council members would be a mistake. " 01.22.03
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SINCE WAR IS BAD FOR THE ECONOMY, CAN WE AFFORD IT? "War is widely thought to be linked to economic good times. The second world war is often said to have brought the world out of depression, and war has since enhanced its reputation as a spur to economic growth. Some even suggest that capitalism needs wars, that without them, recession would always lurk on the horizon... Today, we know that this is nonsense. The 1990s boom showed that peace is economically far better than war. The Gulf war of 1991 demonstrated that wars can actually be bad for an economy. That conflict contributed mightily to the onset of the recession of 1991 (which was probably the key factor in denying the first President Bush re-election in 1992). " 01.22.03
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AT UN GERMANY WILL OPPOSE BUSH'S IRAQ ATTACK "Ending weeks of hedging, the German chancellor said he will refuse to authorize military action against Iraq in the Security Council. " 01.22.03
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GERMANS FIND BUSH MORE FRIGHTENING THAN SADDAM "Mr Blair's international consensus-building has been equally unsuccessful if last weekend's worldwide, well-supported anti-war demonstrations are any guide. For every person protesting on the streets of Tokyo, Islamabad, Cairo, Damascus, Moscow, London, Washington and elsewhere, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others who share their worries. The momentum of these demonstrations is certain to build in the coming weeks. Consensus is also proving elusive among Britain's traditional allies. The widely distrusted George Bush is a particular handicap in Europe; a majority of Germans, for example, finds him more frightening than Saddam. " 01.22.03
guardian ed | related stories

WAR OPPOSITION GROWS IN ENGLAND, EUROPE "What should opponents of the war, and doubters, do now? They might be tempted to give up, as if the argument has already been lost. That would be premature. Even if Washington (and perhaps London) has made up its mind - George Bush was drumming his fingers on the desk yesterday, saying "time is running out" - the rest of the world has not. France, from its current perch in the chair at the UN security council, is promising to lead the coalition of the unwilling. "We are mobilised, we believe war can be avoided," said French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin yesterday, launching his bid to become the George Galloway of international diplomacy. Public opinion has hardly been lost either: on the contrary, as the Guardian's own poll laid bare yesterday, outright opposition to war all but commands a majority in Britain. " 01.22.03
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WHAT IF BUSH GIVES A WAR PARTY AND NO ONE COMES? "The increasingly bellicose White House rhetoric puts the Bush administration sharply at odds with many of its European allies, particularly France, which has threatened to veto a second U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing a war with Iraq over its weapons of mass destruction. Even Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, Bush's most loyal supporter, has called for U.N. weapons inspectors to be given the "time and space" to complete their work. " 01.22.03
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USING REPORTERS AS PROPAGANDA TOOLS "Over the past four weeks, the massed ranks of American television networks have been pouring into Kuwait to cosy up to the US military, to seek those coveted "pool" positions, to try on their army or marine costumes and make sure that – if or when the day comes – they will have the kind of coverage that every reporter and every general wants: a few facts, good pictures and nothing dirty to make the viewers throw up on the breakfast table. I remember how, back in 1991, only those Iraqi soldiers obliging enough to die in romantic poses – arm thrown back to conceal the decomposing features or face down and anonymous in the sand – made it on to live-time. Those soldiers turned into a crematorium nightmare or whose corpses were being torn to pieces by wild dogs – I actually saw an ITV crew film this horrific scene – were not honoured on screen. ITV's film, of course, couldn't be shown – lest it persuade the entire world that no one should go to war, ever, again. " 01.22.03
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BUSH HAS ALREADY OVERTURNED ROE VS. WADE "There was a moment last month when the Bush administration overturned Roe v. Wade. You may not have noticed, because it happened in Bangkok -- out of sight, out of media mind. " 01.22.03
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Conservative Positions by Bush Could Cost Votes From Center "As he prepares for the second half of his term - he was sworn in two years ago today - Mr. Bush hardly lets a day go by without pleasing his supporters on the Republican right. He has maintained a hard line against Iraq even as much of the rest of the world urges him to slow down. He has proposed a new round of tax cuts that pleasantly surprised even ardent supply-siders. He has denounced quotas in affirmative action programs. On Wednesday, the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, he plans to make a supportive statement to demonstrators rallying against abortion. " 01.21.03
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Bush Invokes Faith's, Not Government's, Power to Cure Society's Ills "President Bush visited a predominantly black church in suburban Maryland today to commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 's birthday, saying there is "still prejudice holding people back" and invoking the power of faith to address society's shortcomings....Neither Mr. Bush nor his hosts at the church mentioned the president's decision last week to file briefs with the Supreme Court in opposition to the University of Michigan's race-conscious admissions policies. " 01.21.03
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President Bush Honors Kenneth Lay in Church/Bank Service "It is fitting that we honor the life of a great American in a church/bank who derived his inspiration from the church and put his profit in a bank. It is fitting that we honor this great American in a church/bank because, out of the church/bank comes the notion of equality and justice and profit that has made our country grreat. (Applause.) And even though progress has been made, Pastor-President -- even though progress has been made, there is more to do. There are still people in our society who have not bought into our free-capitalistic-spiritual vision. There is still prejudice holding people back. There is still a school system that doesn't elevate every child so they can learn through an intersection of church, state, and sound banking principles. (Applause.) There is still a need for us to hear the words of Kenneth Lay, to make sure the hope of America extends its reach into every neighborhood across this land " 01.21.03
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BUSH LIVES IN WHAT MAY BE THE MOST RACIALLY SEGREGATED CITY IN THE WORLD AND DOES LITTLE ABOUT IT ""It is commonplace in the media to use the names of capital cities as shorthand for the opinions of a country: "Washington thinks this"; "London agrees"; "Paris doesn't". And so on. It is an odd formulation in any case, especially when you're talking about Washington. What is Washington? Even the leading citizens have some trouble grasping that... It is possible to read books with Washington in the title that make you imagine the entire city is given over to cocktail parties with senators dropping confidentialities under the chandeliers. Indeed, it is possible to live here for years and believe that... For this could be the most racially segregated city in the world. It is certainly the most segregated I have seen since Johannesburg circa 1976." " 01.21.03
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Bush Record on Environment Called Dismal "The Bush administration undermined America's landmark environmental laws on almost a daily basis in 2002, two new reports suggest. The reports document more than 100 anti-environmental actions by the administration last year, and point to ongoing efforts to undermine existing protections and delay proposed new rules that could help the environment. " 01.21.03
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BUSH OIL 101 Bush is caught between Iraq and a hard place. Given the sources of the world's oil supply, it would be in his best interest to stress oil conservation. But given the sources of Bush's money supply, it would be in his best interest to stress oil consumption. His solution is to talk conservation but act consumption. In other words, it's Bush business as usual. --Politex 01.21.03
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BUSH TAX CUT CONTAINS SUV LOOPHOLE "Bush's economic stimulus plan could triple the size of a little-known tax loophole that some small business owners are using to finance purchases of large SUVs. One of Bush's proposed tax cuts would raise from $25,000 to $75,000 the amount small business owners -- including doctors, lawyers and financial advisers -- can write off when buying an SUV for business purposes. Since the SUV loophole was first reported by The Detroit News last month, several consumer groups and lawmakers have raised concerns about the fairness of the provision. The debate signals more trouble for a popular vehicle segment crucial to Detroit automakers, whose profits have been sustained largely because of the SUV boom over the last decade. " 01.21.03
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Tax cut critics pointing to Bush In Texas "As President Bush tries to sell Congress on a second round of tax cuts in three years, critics in Austin say the nation should take a closer look at what happened in Texas after then-Gov. Bush spearheaded two rounds of state tax cuts in three years. The state faces a $9.9 billion budget shortfall and the prospect of massive spending cuts over the next two years. Most state officials [(all of the major offices, including all of the cabinet positions, are held by Republicans)] blame the problem on a weak economy, a convoluted state tax system and a Legislature that spent all of the surplus revenue it collected over the past decade.But some around the Capitol say about one-fourth -- or somewhere around $2.5 billion -- of that gap is the direct result of the tax cuts passed in 1997 and 1999. " 01.21.03
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Bush's Attack on Older Workers "Bush may or may not go to war against Iraq, but we do know that he has already declared war against the economic well-being of the middle class and working families of this country. While he cuts back on Medicare and the needs of veterans, he wants even more tax breaks for the very richest people in this country. While he pushes efforts to privatize Social Security, there is no attempt to raise the minimum wage above its paltry $5.15 an hour. While he expands disastrous trade policies that have already cost us millions of decent-paying manufacturing jobs, he is proposing to slash the pay and benefits of federal employees through a massive and dangerous outsourcing scheme. While our health care system disintegrates and prescription drug costs soar, his administration proposes legislation written by and for the pharmaceutical industry.And now, in the midst of all this, there is a new economic assault being waged by the Bush administration against older American workers. " 01.21.03
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BUSH'S GOP LIES ABOUT CLASS WARFARE "A liberal and a conservative were sitting in a bar. Then Bill Gates walked in. "Hey, we're rich!" shouted the conservative. "The average person in this bar is now worth more than a billion!" "That's silly," replied the liberal. "Bill Gates raises the average, but that doesn't make you or me any richer." "Hah!" said the conservative, "I see you're still practicing the discredited politics of class warfare." Am I caricaturing the debate? Alas, not at all. Whenever anyone points out the systematic tilt of the Bush administration toward the rich, the administration and its defenders immediately raise the cry of "class warfare." Yet when you look at the arguments the administration actually makes on behalf of its policy, they are as silly as that of the conservative in the bar. The difference is that the administration knows exactly what it's doing. " 01.21.03
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Bush's Real Class War "Seeking to discredit his opponents as closet Reds from the start, Bush warned that the opposition would wage distasteful “class warfare” against his new tax cut plan for the rich. His statements deflected attention from the real class war being waged by the tag team of big business and hard-right conservatives. Despite their minor policy differences, they have been united for decades on a campaign to shift income from poor and working people to the wealthy, under such guises as “competitiveness” or devolution of the federal government. " 01.21.03
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HAVE A MUTUAL FUND? HOW DID YOUR INVESTOR VOTE IT? "Mutual funds do not -- in fact, will not -- tell their investors how they vote on any particular question. This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission -- acting in the wake of the corporate scandals of the last year -- is expected to vote on whether to require fund managers to reveal how they vote their investors' shares. In a signal of its importance, the proposal has drawn more than 7,000 comments, most positive -- and has managed to unite arch rivals Fidelity and Vanguard, the two behemoths of the mutual fund industry, in fierce opposition. Although the industry's arguments are not frivolous, we believe that the rule represents a valuable step toward restoring investor confidence and should be approved. " 01.21.03
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BUSH IS "Tunneling Toward Disaster" IN N. KOREA "Unless President Bush more clearly changes course to negotiate, it'll be difficult to get North Korea to give up its nuclear projects. " 01.21.03
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Is the U.S. suffocating reform in Iran? ""The contentious relationship between the United States and Iran remains one of the longest-running soap operas of modern politics. The story swings from hatred to friendship, with broken promises, treacherous betrayals, blackmail, public antagonism and covert rapprochement... In a new plot twist, some Iranian opposition leaders claim that Washington has cut a deal with Iran’s conservatives that would effectively trade democracy in Iran for regime change in Iraq." " 01.21.03
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BRITS INDICATE IRAQ ATTACK IS A GO ""The government yesterday committed a huge military force to a possible war against Iraq in the clearest signal yet that it believes the US is preparing to call time on the UN weapons inspectors' mission and launch an invasion of the country... In what he described as "no ordinary measure", Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, announced to MPs that a force of 26,000 soldiers, a quarter of the size of the British army, will be deployed in the Gulf in the coming weeks." " 01.21.03
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BRIT VOTERS JOIN U.S. CITIZENS IN OPPOSING WAR ""Support among British voters for military action against Iraq has slumped six points in the last month to its lowest level since pollsters ICM began regularly tracking opinion on the question for the Guardian last summer... This month's Guardian/ICM survey shows that outright opposition to the war has risen to 47%, the highest level on any poll since last August." " 01.21.03
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CLOONEY JOINS GERE IN DISSING BUSH "George Clooney says President Bush would fit in just fine with New Jersey's favorite crime family. "The government itself is running exactly like the Sopranos," he tells Charlie Rose tonight in a full-bore assault on Dubya's foreign policy. The "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" director says Bush has cut deals with France and Russia so the UN Security Council won't complain when "we go into a war [with Iraq] and kill a lot of innocent people." " 01.21.03
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France Warns U.S. It Will Not Back Early War on Iraq "China and Germany also expressed stark differences with Washington over the pace and effectiveness of the inspections. " 01.21.03
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"Compel Israel to reverse its settlements policy " "The past 26 months have been brutally violent and financially wrenching for the state of Israel. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has requested some $12 billion in new military and economic assistance from the United States to help Israel grapple with its national trauma. Yet he is unwilling to consider stopping the flow of money being lavished on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, a policy that squanders Israeli resources, weakens its military posture and threatens Israel's future as a Jewish, democratic state. " 01.21.03
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IS SHARON IN ISRAEL'S BEST INTEREST? ""The amazing thing is this utter dependence on Sharon, despite the horrific mess he has dragged us into. Sharon is a symbol of paralysis and stagnation, yet people hang on to him as if he were the father and protector of this country, especially now, when the prospect of war in Iraq is giving us goose-bumps. Sharongate and the corruption in the Likud primaries have been swept aside. .. But when the elections are over, and suspects start being marched off to police stations, and the economy and security situation get worse, public opinion may change." " 01.21.03
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FREE MICKEY MOUSE "THE SUPREME COURT last week upheld the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, the most recent in a long series of congressional handouts to some very generous campaign contributors: copyright holders. The Constitution gives Congress the power "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Over the years, Congress has taken no end of liberties with the phrase "limited times." While copyrights at first protected works for no more than 28 years, they now extend 70 years beyond the life of the author -- and 95 years for corporate copyright holders. Far from promoting creativity, this has turned whole categories of American national culture into heritable assets owned by people who had nothing to do with their creation. It has inhibited free expression, notably the borrowing and parody of ideas and stories. So Mickey Mouse remains the property of Disney, and the estate of "Gone With the Wind" author Margaret Mitchell can hold up publication of a parody of the work more than 50 years after the author's death. " 01.21.03
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FORGOTTEN ABOUT FALLOUT SHELTERS? NOT SO FAST "One of the [new FEMA] handbook's main suggestions...is for people to create disaster supply kits for the home, workplace and vehicle. The kits should includes supplies of water, food, first-aid equipment, clothes, bedding, emergency materials, kitchen and sanitation items, household documents and contact numbers. The guide also explains how to build a temporary fallout shelter that could house you for a few days to as long as a month in the event of a radiological attack. " 01.21.03
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KING OR LOTT? "If many black Americans are living a version of King's dream, they live it with the perpetual consciousness that that dream still has sharp boundaries, places and situations where it does not yet apply. And, as Trent Lott has notably demonstrated, some white Americans still cling to a version of history that denies even the fundamental premise of King's greatest hopes for his people...It's hardly surprising that that revolution, unlike the original American Revolution, is still incomplete. Throwing off the shackles of another nation is easy compared with throwing off the shackles we forged for ourselves. " 01.20.03
nyt ed | related stories

BLACK CLERGY GREEDY, THEY IGNORE NEEDY "Today, Dr. King's letter to Birmingham's white clergy needs to be addressed to the leaders of those religious groups that collectively form the black church. A distracted clergy watches idly as the black community is engaged in new fights just as vital as the one against segregation of 40 years ago. The spread of AIDS, the high number of broken families, the crisis in public education, jails disproportionately filled with black men, and the high rate of children living in poverty constitute today's challenge in the life of the black church. But the leadership of many black churches is focused primarily on economic development, ranging from real estate ventures to establishing black megachurches and TV ministries. In too many black churches, the social and cultural issues are either at the edges or have fallen off the screen altogether.In some black churches, Dr. King's desire to create a crisis, build tension and command public attention for advancing social change is a forgotten lesson. In the case of AIDS, many black churches are still paralyzed by a refusal to accept homosexuality as part of the life of some in their congregations. That mindset has remained in place even as AIDS has become an affliction of heterosexuals. In many black churches the presence of drug addicts is still treated as a point of shame; it is seen as something to be covered up rather than a critical issue for the well-being of the black community." 01.20.03
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"Bush approval rating in free fall" "Anxiety about the economy and a threatened war in Iraq lie behind President Bush's 29 percent plunge in job approval in 16 months, observers say....Bruce Buchanan, a presidential scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, says Americans are taking a second look at controversies over Bush's domestic proposals, now that fears of terrorist attacks have diminished....Only 46 percent want force if inspectors find Iraq hiding "the ability to easily make weapons." Iraq's failure to prove the absence of weapons of mass destruction — the cornerstone of Bush's demands — warranted the use of force for only 29 percent of those asked. Antiwar sentiments have started to surface, as well. The Pew survey found 53 percent of respondents believed Bush had not clearly explained the rationale for using U.S. military forces to oust Saddam — up from 37 percent who expressed that sentiment in September....Only 36 percent of [Gallup] respondents said they would "definitely vote" for Bush in 2004. " 01.20.03
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WHY IS CHENEY'S INCOMPETENCE NOT BEING DISCUSSED? "Week after week, one need only read the front page of The Washington Post to find...Cheney lapses. Indeed, just a few days after Cheney hand-picked Snow, Newsweek magazine featured a glowing profile of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that began with an anecdote detailing her deft efforts to clean up another Cheney mess. In a July speech, the vice president had argued that weapons inspections in Iraq were useless and shouldn't even be tried. That speech nearly upended the administration's careful late-summer repositioning in favor of a new United Nations-backed inspections program. As the article explained, Rice--the relatively junior member of the president's inner circle of foreign policy advisers--had to take the vice president aside and walk him through how to repair the damage he'd done, with a new statement implicitly retracting his earlier gaffe. Such mistakes--on energy policy, homeland security, corporate reform--abound. Indeed, on almost any issue, it's usually a sure bet that if Cheney has lined up on one side, the opposite course will turn out to be the wiser. Yet somehow, in Washington's collective mind, Cheney's numerous stumbles and missteps have not displaced the reputation he enjoys as a sober, reliable, skilled inside player. Even the Newsweek article, so eager to convey Rice's competence, seemed never to explicitly note the obvious subtext: Cheney's evident incompetence. If there were any justice or logic in this administration as to who should or shouldn't keep their job, there'd be another high-ranking official in line for one of those awkward conversations: Dick Cheney. " 01.20.03
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BUSH HAWKS DO NOT REPRESENT THE WILL OF THE COUNTRY "The problem today is caused by a Bush foreign policy radically different from anything this nation has known in years. To find a government so willing to spend American blood and treasure alone to fight a dubious war with such unpredictable consequences, one must go back to Johnson and Vietnam....The essential cause of the Atlantic dispute is that the Bush administration is primarily inspired by people whose views on Iraq and the Middle East region do not reflect those expressed in polls by a majority of Americans. That majority believes in international institutions and in the rule of law. " 01.20.03
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PROTESTERS ARE TIP OF THE ANTI-BUSH ICEBERG "A large segment of the American public appears to be unconvinced that the Iraqi threat warrants the use of military force at this juncture....Mr. Bush and his war cabinet would be wise to see the demonstrators as a clear sign that noticeable numbers of Americans no longer feel obliged to salute the administration's plans because of the shock of Sept. 11 and that many harbor serious doubts about his march toward war. The protesters are raising some nuanced questions in the name of patriotism about the premises, cost and aftermath of the war the president is contemplating. Millions of Americans who did not march share the concerns and have yet to hear Mr. Bush make a persuasive case that combat operations are the only way to respond to Saddam Hussein... . These protests are the tip of a far broader sense of concern and lack of confidence in the path to war that seems to lie ahead. " 01.20.03
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SPEAKER SELECTION AT D.C. PROTEST QUESTIONED "On C-Span, two “cultural” workers, Pam Parker and Lucy Murphy, sing. This is strange; with 12 percent of the American public Black, with the audience overwhelmingly white, why the preponderance of Black and Muslim speakers? This is not a Black issue, but an issue for all Americans. Isn’t the point to reach out to mainstream America? Maybe my channel surfing is giving me an inaccurate picture of the speakers....On C-Span, Nadia Marsh of “Doctors and Nurses Against the War” is introduced as “an activist for Muslims and Americans.” Each speaker is given something like 2 minutes, if that. Next is Ghazi Khankan from the Council on American-Islam Relations, he says something in Muslim, then throws out an anti-Israel stab. The moderator, in Muslim garb, wraps things up, thanking two more Muslims standing behind him. The demonstration is moving from the Mall to the Washington Navy Yard. C-Span, free of commentary, allows the message to come directly from the rally, from the speakers’ platform actually. This was a demonstration against a war in Iraq, yet the speakers also made it into a demonstration in support of Muslims. A stupid political tactic. Thankfully, the networks did not focus on the speakers, and when they did it was Hollywood celebrities. The polls show support for a war against Iraq is soft and is diminishing, so this is an issue that has the potential to cross political lines. Yet, the narrowness and stupidity of organizers is limiting the appeal of the issue. All of us need to be against racism and prejudice, yet to ram down the throats of Americans the need to bend over backwards, to give a tiny minority of Americans center stage, to embrace a religious community, is utterly absurd.... It is now time for the movement to wise up, to present its message in a way that will expand its numbers and the media coverage. It needs to get serious about drawing in the powerful American middle class, it needs to get serious about seeking good media coverage. " 01.20.03
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BUSH HITS A TRIFECTA OF BAD NEWS "We're two weeks into January and already George W. Bush is hitting the wall. The president's military commanders have been widely quoted as being against the war he'd so love to wage in Iraq. UN arms inspectors say it could take a year to finish their work, and then only if Saddam Hussein cooperates. The UN Security Council won't give in until the results are in. Even Bush's one staunch ally, British prime minister Tony Blair, is dragging his feet, asking that the inspectors be given more time. Now come reports of a revolt within the Senate Republican establishment. Led by John Warner of Virginia, senators at last week's GOP retreat lashed out over Bush's "arrogance." It's payback time for an administration that has at best ignored lawmakers and at worst deliberately kept them in the dark....Bush's troubles within his own party are playing out as the economy remains in the doldrums, with no sign of relief in sight save Bush's nutty dividend taxation plan-another sticking point for GOP senators-and a wacko new policy aimed at replacing unemployment insurance. " 01.20.03
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BUSH IS TAKING A CHAINSAW TO OUR GOVERNMENTAL PROTECTIONS "The eight most frightening words coming out of our nation's capitol these days are: "The Bush administration has announced revised standards for..." It doesn't matter "for what" - you just know that it's going to be awful news, because the Bushites are zealously taking their ideological, pro-corporate chainsaws to every rule on the books that protects us regular Joes and Janes from the overbearing greed of corporate power. Whether it's a rule to protect our health, our jobs, the purity of our air and water, our pensions, our privacy, our natural resources, our citizenship rights - you name it, Bush & Co. are ripping up the current legal standards so it will be easier for corporations to get their way. " 01.20.03
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CONTRACT ON AMERICA NO LONGER NEEDED, GOP KILLS ETHICS "Expectations for the Congressional leadership have reached such a dismal level that they can now get away with almost anything, while the Washington press corps yawns. So House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his genial instrument, Speaker Dennis Hastert, are free to repeal inconvenient reforms, junk previous commitments and consolidate their power without worrying that anyone will hold them accountable. That old Contract with America-the document signed in September 1994 by nearly every House Republican, including the present leadership-has been relegated to the dustbin of history, along with its author, Newt Gingrich. The "contract" turns out to have been the same kind of reliable guarantee that comes with a TV mail-order potato-peeler or an Internet investment scam." 01.20.03
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MEDIA TURNING INTO PROPAGANDA ARM OF THE BUSH OLIGARCHY "You won't find television magazine programs fearlessly exposing the broadcast lobby's pressure on Congress and the courts to allow station owners to gobble up more stations and cross-own local newspapers, thereby to determine what information residents of a local market receive. Nor will you find many newspaper chains assigning reporters to reveal the effect of media giantism on local coverage or cover the way publishers induce coverage-hungry politicians to loosen antitrust restraints.... Stop to examine the highly hyped [internet] "competition" that consolidating media profess to fear: the leading 20 Internet sites and biggest cable channels are already owned by the expansive likes of G.E.-NBC, Disney, Fox, Gannett, AOL Time Warner, Hearst, Microsoft, Cox, Dow Jones, The Washington Post and The New York Times....While political paranoids accuse each other of vast conspiracies, the truth is that media mergers have narrowed the range of information and entertainment available to people of all ideologies. Does this make me (gasp!) pro-regulation? Michael Powell, appointed by Bush to be F.C.C. chairman, likes to say "the market is my religion."...One of the Democrats on the F.C.C., Michael Copps, is concerned that "we're relying on institutions to cover this debate which have interests in the outcome of the debate." That inherent conflict of interest is why I have long been banging my spoon against the highchair." 01.20.03
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BIG BROTHER POINDEXTER HAS ALREADY BEEN CONVICTED FOR HIS INFO GATHERING ACTIVITIES "As the national security adviser, he clashed with civil libertarians over a variety of initiatives, including a 1984 national security directive that gave agencies broad authority to control "sensitive but unclassified information" in addition to the classified variety. And he is battling civil liberties groups again over the Total Information Awareness concept....What makes the admiral's critics wary, however, is that his skill at technology and his misuse of it partly led to his undoing during the 1980's. Admiral Poindexter's legal troubles later stemmed in part from the 6,000 messages he destroyed with Colonel North. He was convicted on five felony counts, including lying to Congress, destroying documents and obstructing Congress in its investigation, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. "Clearly Poindexter consciously manipulated the system to act in a way to hide information," Mr. Wallace said. 'When faced with a system of checks and balances, he decided to act illegally. What does this say about the person who we are putting in charge of designing the most comprehensive surveillance system on U.S. citizens ever?'" 01.20.03
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BUSH PLANS TO BRIBE MIDDLE CLASS INVESTOR WITH THE PRICE OF A HAPPY MEAL FOR TWO "As a member in good standing of this "new investor class," the White House says I am supposed to make out big under its new tax-cut plan. So I hauled out last year's tax form to figure how much this investor would save from the centerpiece of the president's proposal, elimination of the tax on dividends. There was $57.09 in taxable dividend income. I figured the tax savings at about $11. This certainly buys an early bird special at the diner. Of course, President George W. Bush could dine in a bit more style. He'd save about $17,000 in taxes on the $43,805 in dividends he received in 2001, according to an analysis of Bush's tax returns by Bloomberg News. Vice President Dick Cheney would save $107,000 in federal taxes on his dividend income of $278,103. This doesn't look much like a tax cut for the "new investor class." It's more a windfall for the old investor class.New investors - that great mass of middle-class America that has traded in savings account passbooks for mutual fund statements - mostly own stock only in tax-free retirement accounts. Dividends in those funds aren't taxed but are rolled into the balance. They're taxed when money is withdrawn after retirement and will still be, even under the Bush plan.That hasn't stopped the White House and its allies from pitching the dividend cut as a way to help the "new investor class" in general and the elderly in particular. The president's political gurus are certain the "new investor class" not only exists, but will align itself with Republicans as it grows ever more fond of investing.The theory might one day prove true. But only if the "new investor class" never realizes that all this investing hasn't really improved its class. " 01.20.03
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BUSH PRACTICES BAD ECONOMICS, WORSE MORALITY "Any tax cut without an equivalent spending cut is a con job. Whatever money the tax cut provides will have to be paid back with interest. The government doesn't grow money on trees. What it spends it has to get by taxing us or by borrowing from that great fraud, the Federal Reserve System. President George W. Bush, the alleged conservative, has gone from a government surplus to a government deficit and intends to go right on creating an ever-larger annual deficit while at the same time making no effort whatsoever to reduce the national debt. In the long run, this is economically injurious. Apparently, he intends to go down the same path as Lyndon Johnson and have his guns as well as his butter - and put it all on the cuff for future generations to pay. Bad economics. Worse morality." 01.20.03
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BUSH BEGINS PHONY VOLUNTEER PLAN TO CURB GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS "Many scientists, environmental groups and political foes of Mr. Bush have said his target is so modest that no matter what industries do to achieve it, it will not help stem climate change. Most other industrialized countries have chosen to pursue binding reductions in emissions through the Kyoto Protocol, the climate treaty Mr. Bush rejected shortly after taking office....Many experts and lobbyists for different factions said, the administration could end up satisfying no one and doing little to solve the problem. Many people involved in the White House effort, including government officials and executives from industries, say it is unlikely to lead to improvements much beyond those already taking place as the economy shifts from old-style manufacturing and businesses grow less wasteful.And the effort, aimed mainly at manufacturing, encompasses only a small portion of America's greenhouse-gas emissions.For example, while the auto industry is agreeing [,perhaps under union pressure,] to curb gases from its assembly lines, it has not been asked — nor has it promised — to reduce gases from the tailpipes of the cars and trucks it builds. " 01.20.03
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BLIX INDICATES IRAQ HELD BACK UN REQUESTED DOCUMENTATION "On Thursday, inspectors visiting an army munitions depot southwest of Baghdad discovered a cache of a dozen empty chemical warheads of the same specification that were not listed in a December weapons declaration Iraq pledged was complete and accurate.Blix said Iraqi officials insisted the 16 empty warheads were "isolated, overlooked items," but that they said they would scour the country for other such devices, which Iraq is prohibited from possessing under various U.N. Security Council resolutions mandating the nation's disarmament....Although Iraq has insisted that it has turned over all relevant documents, the discovery last week of about 3,000 pages of material related to uranium enrichment in the home of a physicist has added to concerns that Iraq may be holding back information." 01.20.03
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DOUBTFUL THAT UN WILL CROSS BUSH ON IRAQ ATTACK ""Hopes of salvation or absolution are woefully misplaced from almost every point of view. Those opposed to war have little reason to believe that the security council, having voted unanimously for 1441, will thwart the US now. Although the council's composition has changed since then, political considerations, rather than considerations of justice, remain uppermost for the four other permanent members... None can ultimately afford to alienate the Bush administration on so definitive an issue." " 01.20.03
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BUSH Officials Support Exile for Hussein "Three top Bush administration officials said today they would welcome exile for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and one, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, signaled the United States might allow Hussein to escape war crimes prosecution if he voluntarily steps down. The remarks came as the administration increasingly faces resistance from other members of the U.N. Security Council for a quick decision on military action. Previously, officials " 01.20.03
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DOUBLE BIND WITH IRAQ, N. KOREA SHOWS BUSH POLICY FAILURE "The Bush administration says it won't settle for remission, and it wants the Russians and Chinese to muscle the North Koreans for a real cure. That's the right goal, but it will require some strange and difficult diplomacy. For when we rely on others to employ leverage that we lack, we end up having to put pressure on them rather than on our adversaries. One reason we failed to keep Hussein in his box in the past was that we weren't prepared to tell the Russians and others that by failing to support us they put their relations with us at risk. With so little other leverage available to us with North Korea, this may be what it takes to make multilateral diplomacy work. Are we ready? " 01.20.03
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SHARON IMPLIES UNDER-THE-TABLE DEAL WITH BUSH "Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said today that Europe was too biased against Israel to be a Middle East mediator. A top aide said the prime minister did not consider a U.S.-backed plan for Palestinian statehood to be realistic. Sharon has repeatedly promised to seek peace and make "painful concessions" if reelected on Jan. 28, but opponents said his latest positions show he has no vision for ending the 28 months of deadly violence. The emerging plan, known as the "road map," was formulated in recent weeks by the so-called Quartet of mediators -- the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. It does not explicitly call for a change in the Palestinian leadership, as President Bush did in a speech last June in which he outlined a vision for a Palestinian state by 2005. However, the United States has not distanced itself from the road map, and it is to be formally adopted next month. At a news conference, Sharon did not directly address the road map, saying only that he sees "eye to eye" with the United States." 01.20.03
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SHARON COMMENTS UNWISE ""Sharon had comments published yesterday in Newsweek: "The Quartet is nothing! Don't take it seriously! I don't think the United States takes it seriously." This was disrespectful, conceited, and politically stupid. A leader seeking a solution does not call "nothing" a forum that includes the foreign ministers of the United States and Russia, the leaders of the European Union, and the secretary general of the United Nations, when they have joined forces to find a way to settle the Middle East conflict. It is not diplomatically polite, let alone politically wise, to turn one's back on such a group." " 01.20.03
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SHARON, US APPEAR TO DISAGREE ON ROADMAP "In yesterday's comments, Mr Sharon overstated the extent to which the US and Israel are in agreement on the "road map" that envisages a Palestinian state within three years. He laid out conditions - "an end to terror and violence", dismantling "terrorist" groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and "complete cessation of incitement" - that he said the Americans had agreed were to be met before further steps could be taken towards the creation of a Palestinian state. But the latest road map produced by the US does not require conditionality. Instead, Israel and the Palestinians would move in parallel, each implementing reforms. American and European diplomats say Mr Sharon's position would hold the whole process hostage to the killing of a single Israeli by any Palestinian group that opposed a settlement. Mr Sharon's domestic critics say that is exactly what he wants. " 01.20.03
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World Protests The Bush War On Iraq "In the biggest day of protest the world has yet seen against a war in Iraq, from Washington to Tokyo, Liverpool to Damascus, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across four continents took to the streets yesterday... The US was the scene of the biggest anti-war demonstration of George Bush's presidency, with tens of thousands of people braving freezing weather to join protests in Washington, San Francisco and other cities, despite the near-unanimous support for war on Capitol Hill and in the US media."01.19.03
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world... wp... d.c.... sf... canada... england... voices... nyt... c-span... npr

BUSH'S MESSIANIC MILITARISM ""When George W. Bush ran for President in 2000, he said the United States must be "humble" in the world. Now he has cast humility aside and replaced it with hubris. Supremely confident in his gut instincts, wrapped up in a fundamentalist belief system, endowed with the most powerful military of all time, and unchecked by Congress, Bush feels he can "rid the world of evil"--at the barrel of a gun... A picture emerges from the President's public statements--and even from such adulatory accounts as Bob Woodward's Bush at War and David Frum's The Right Man--of a President on a divine mission... Call it messianic militarism." " 01.19.03
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BUSH'S ONE TRACK MIND ""Many people still hope against hope that Bush will pull back at the last minute. Don't bet on it. I'd love to be wrong about this, but Bush is the kind of guy who, once he sets his course, almost never deviates from it. And he's been loud and clear about his course so far... Anton Checkhov once remarked, "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off."And if you dispatch 250,000 troops to the Persian Gulf, you expect to order them into battle soon." " 01.19.03
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BLAIR'S WAR ""There is a carefully choreographed route to war: a significant discovery from the weapons inspectors and a second UN resolution. What happens then is much less clear. If there is a short and successful war, presumably the US, with Britain in tow, will turn to North Korea. That is the logic of linking rogue states to the war on terrorism: those states have to be dealt with. In which case Iraq will not be the end of the matter by any means. If there are many civilian casualties in the war the Prime Minister will be in deep trouble, even if he gets the backing of the UN resolution. If there is a terrorist attack in Britain while the war is taking place, there will be a similar backlash on the basis that the Government's priorities were wrong... We have re-entered the world of "what if?" again. But in my view, the political dangers for the Labour leader are greater once the war has started, rather than in what happens in the weeks leading up to it. Even with UN backing, this will be seen by much of Britain, and indeed much of his party, as Mr Blair's war." " 01.19.03
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Fearful Saudi Leaders Seek a Way to Budge Saddam Hussein . "As part of a war-avoidance strategy, Saudi Arabia is advocating Saddam Hussein's removal if he continues to refuse exile. " 01.19.03
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UN SKEPTICAL ABOUT BUSH WAR "As the Bush administration heads toward a crucial United Nations Security Council meeting at the end of this month, a strong council majority appears less willing than ever to agree that early military action against Iraq is justified. " 01.19.03
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Reservists Are Getting More Than They Bargained For "Nearly 60,000 of the nation's reservists are now on active duty, but if President Bush orders an attack against Iraq, the Pentagon plans to activate as many as 265,000 of America's so-called weekend warriors. " 01.19.03
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BUSH SET TO FURTHER DIVIDE THE NATION WITH SELECTION OF ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE TO SUPREME COURT "White House aides have developed a strategy for filling a future vacancy on the Supreme Court that calls for nominating an ideological conservative even if it increases the chance that the person would not be confirmed, administration officials said. " 01.19.03
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BUSH POLICIES BEGIN TO DISGUST SOME MEMBERS OF HIS OWN PARTY "As President's Approval Ratings Drop, Some Republicans Worry About Divisive Politics. President Bush has launched the new year with a flurry of conservative proposals, thrilling his most loyal backers but chipping away at his support from independent voters and moderate Republican lawmakers. " 01.19.03
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BUSH SOLUTION TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS DISHONEST "The [Texas] top-10 plan works only because, and as long as, schools and communities remain racially segregated. And it is obviously impractical for smaller schools and private universities. So what do you gain from the pretense? Bush wants credit for accepting racial diversity as a goal. But he would deny most schools any honest means to achieve that goal. " 01.19.03
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WHY BUSH SUBSTITUTION FOR AA MUDDIES THE WATERS OF DEBATE "Critics and supporters of affirmative action say percentage plans may be subject to constitutional attack because they are based on the racial segregation of high schools. " 01.19.03
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BUSH, LIEBERMAN, EDWARDS, GRAHAM, AND GEPHARDT HAVE FAITH IN OUR UNJUST SYSTEM OF EXECUTIONS "The Republican Party has long favored execution and can point to national opinion polls showing three-quarters of Americans supporting capital punishment. "We understand that a lot of Democrats are fearful of being `Dukakised' on this issue," said Dianna Wentz, executive director of the Moratorium Campaign, a group founded in Louisiana by Sister Helen Prejean to support the kinds of moratoriums on execution that now exist in Illinois and Maryland. 'In this country, it's still politically dangerous to say you're opposed to the death penalty. But our point is that it's not political suicide to come out in favor of a moratorium.' " 01.19.03
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"TAX CUT" BUSH FORCING GOP GOVERNORS TO RAISE STATE TAXES "Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a proudly conservative Republican, was determined to solve his state's fiscal crisis without raising taxes. Last year, he pulled it off, but the pain was everywhere: large layoffs and tuition increases at state colleges; reduced child-care subsidies for parents among the working poor; an end to dental care for adults on Medicaid....This year, facing another 10 percent budget gap, Kempthorne said these were his only options left: Close the state parks; end state aid to public health clinics; abolish state support for community colleges and student financial aid; cut public education; slash Medicaid and programs for seniors and veterans.He couldn't do it. In a turnabout that echoes nationally as states face their worst fiscal crises since World War II, the governor who cut taxes 48 times in his first term opened his second one by calling for increases in state cigarette and sales taxes." 01.19.03
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BUSH CONGRESSIONAL CHAIRS ON ENVIRONMENT HAVE PREVIOUSLY WORKED TO REMOVE ALL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS "Neither Mr. Inhofe nor Mr. Pombo has a particularly good record of cooperation with environmentalists or with government agencies whose views differ from theirs -- to put it mildly. Mr. Inhofe once referred to the Environmental Protection Agency as a "Gestapo bureaucracy." Mr. Pombo was once head of a task force whose main aim was to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act. Both belong to a subset of congressional environmental skeptics who seem to enjoy taunting their environmentalist opponents and who seem to deny that there is any legitimate reason to enforce environmental protection at all. " 01.19.03
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BUSH POLICIES ARE DESTROYING OUR WATERWAYS, MARINE LIFE "It has already confirmed what most of us thought: America's coastal waters and fishing grounds are in trouble, and they are greatly in need of far more attention at the federal level than they are getting. The crisis has many dimensions. Runaway residential development destroys coastal wetlands and estuaries. Increased runoff from farms and cities pollutes streams, rivers and eventually the sea. Commercially valuable fish species — cod, haddock, flounder and salmon off the Atlantic coast, salmon in the Pacific — continue to decline. Invasive species pose a growing threat. If government helped create the problem, government can also turn things around. Most of the problems can be solved, given enough political will and sufficient resources. " 01.19.03
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ARIANNA INTERVIEW "You're thought of as a conservative, and you serve on the board of the Points of Light Foundation, so what do you say to your conservative friends who drive S.U.V.'s? " 01.19.03
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BUSH WELCOMES MEDICARE PROPOSAL TO SCREW ELDERLY, DISABLED "An influential federal advisory panel will soon recommend that Congress freeze payments to nursing homes and home care agencies and reduce the cost-of-living allowance that hospitals are scheduled to receive next year. Republicans in Congress and Bush administration officials welcomed the proposals, saying they would save money for taxpayers and the Medicare trust fund. But health care providers expressed alarm, saying the proposals could reduce access to care for millions of the elderly and disabled. " 01.19.03
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BUSH NORTH KOREA FAILURE IS EXTENSIVE "The Bush administration's radically different responses to weapons threats from Iraq and North Korea have confused the American people. Worse, they risk sending other rogue states the perverse message that the way to receive lenient treatment from Washington is to develop nuclear weapons.... What is needed is not just crisis management but a more comprehensive approach to the spread of nuclear weapons. Failure to address this problem more intelligently could mean waking up 10 years from now to discover a half-dozen or more new states with nuclear weapons, including some in the world's most volatile and economically sensitive regions. Thus far the Bush administration has seemed more interested in weakening than reinforcing the two main international agreements intended to rein in nuclear weapons building: the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Neither is perfect. But they are useful tools that could be made more effective through strong American support. " 01.19.03
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WHY AMERICAN TOOPS SHOULD NOT LEAVE SOUTH KOREA "A united Korea would also produce a potentially dangerous military and industrial rival for Japan, very likely nuclear armed and closely allied to China. Only intense U.S. pressure in the 1960s stopped South Korea from going nuclear. U.S. troops help keep Korea divided, which Japan greatly desires. South Korea and Japan are the forward bases from which the U.S. controls the Pacific Ocean and projects its power onto the Asian mainland. In Europe, Britain and Germany play a similar role as stepping stones of American strategic domination. Withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea could undermine the strategic architecture of North Asia, producing unpredictable consequences no one in the region cares to chance. Better, all have concluded, the status quo (what the U.S. calls "stability") than the unknown. All, that is, except for "Dear Leader" Kim in North Korea. " 01.19.03
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BUSH MUST CONFRONT THE NORTH KOREAN THREAT NOW "Now President Bush faces a situation similar to the one President Clinton confronted in 1994. However he chooses to proceed, he should bear in mind three central principles derived from our experience....The first is that North Korea must not be allowed to produce a series of nuclear bombs....The second tenet is that United States strategy toward North Korea can succeed only with the support of our allies in the region, South Korea and Japan....Finally, any strategy must recognize the urgency of the situation. " 01.19.03
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THE INCREASING NUKE DANGER "The initial complacency that came with the end of the Cold War has been shaken by the notion that even minuscule arsenals of nuclear power may pose a very serious threat. " 01.19.03
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Bombing Error in Afghanistan Puts a Spotlight on Pilots' Pills. "The military's practice of using drugs to keep its forces awake has emerged as an issue in the trial of two U.S. pilots. " 01.19.03
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NATO TO BUSH: WE'LL HELP AS PEACEKEEPERS IF YOU HELP, TOO "The musing about peacekeeping in Iraq comes on the heels of a move to have European troops take over full military responsibility for Bosnia next year to allow the last U.S. soldiers to exit. And it follows exploratory talks here about NATO's commanding the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan beginning this summer. NATO already informally provides key logistical and command help for the existing multinational force that works alongside American expeditionary forces there....European complaints about being left with messy peacekeeping duties while the Americans did high-altitude, no-casualty war-fighting have become muted: U.S. ground troops fought from the outset in Afghanistan, and they did not bug out for home the instant large combat operations halted. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave European officials the impression of favoring quick withdrawal in early post-9/11 conversations. But as he did in the Balkans, Rumsfeld has let U.S. troops in Afghanistan become involved in reconstruction and civil affairs tasks -- in the dreaded "nation-building" exercises the Bush administration once denounced." 01.19.03
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TERRORISM COMES FROM BELOW "The impulse to perpetrate terrorism comes from below, from the embittered Palestinian who is thirsting for revenge and has become alienated from his leadership, which he perceives as a little more than a gang of corrupt individuals. He has only contempt for the national dialogue being conducted in Cairo and for the conference on reforms held in London, and is scornful of the diplomatic efforts aiming to restore quiet. Because the impulse emanates from below and not from the leadership, the crisis this time is one of the most intractable in the annals of the conflict. " 01.19.03
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ISRAELIS CAN'T FIND THEIR NEEDED LEADER "Israelis want a leader who can build a border with the Palestinians and remove the borders among the Jews. Unfortunately, the Messiah is not on the ballot. " 01.19.03
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WILL MARGARET CARLSON GIVE ADVICE TO THE REPUBS? "I have some ideas for how Democrats can help their party be taken seriously again. Why should Democrats listen to advice from someone who represents the right on a television talk show? Partly because there are lessons worth learning from the many years Republicans spent as the minority party and partly because, why not? Nothing else seems to be working. " 01.19.03
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HOWARD DEAN IS THE JOHN DOE CANDIDATE "Democrats are, in the words of New Yorker editor David Remnick, "cowed, confused, incoherent," but not Dean. He speaks out boldly against the war in Iraq -- his senatorial rivals all voted for it, a fact that Dean stresses....The country needs health insurance, says the doctor, yet Congress is arguing about the wrong thing, the patients' bill of rights, which would not make the slightest difference because "it would not bring health insurance to a single American." Using no notes, Dean strode smartly through the issues. On education, he derides Bush's education bill as "no school left standing" because it is all mandate and no money. On the war, the president "has not made the case for a clear and present danger in Iraq" and should be telling us instead his postwar notions of occupation in Afghanistan and the nation-building he once rejected. "We need an energy policy," he told the attentive crowd. 'We need to discuss this stuff.'" 01.19.03
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SEQUEL TO "THE CANDIDATE" Since the original, "We saw Bush supporters try to win the racist vote in South Carolina by spreading word that John McCain had a black child. (He has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh.) We saw Karl Rove urge Republican candidates to run on the war on terrorism to distract voters worried about the economy."...Mr. Redford called the trend in cheesy reality shows "frightening," but said his experience campaigning for Democrats in the midterm elections had been just as scary. "The Democrats did not know how to fight fire with fire," he said. 'They wimped out. They got frightened. They folded.' " 01.19.03
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BUSH FRIDAY SNEAK ATTACK "As much as 9 million acres of wilderness on Alaska's North Slope would be open to oil exploration and production in a move aimed at boosting sagging production in that region and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, the Bush administration said yesterday....The administration's decision to consider another major avenue to oil production in Alaska comes a day after the government released a new survey that concluded that a large majority of oil and natural gas reserves on Western federal land can be tapped with minimal leasing restrictions. " 01.18.03
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BUSH LIES THROUGH IMPLICATION "The White House has the bait-and-switch routine down to a science. As The Associated Press reported on Wednesday, Ari Fleischer just happened to announce that Mr. Bush would increase aid to Africa just before declaring the president's intention to intervene in the Michigan case - much as he had announced at the height of the Lott embarrassment that the president was looking forward to a trip to Africa. (That safari was quietly "rescheduled" to no fixed date when Mr. Lott stepped down three days later.)...The Bush rhetorical technique - of implying one thing while doing quite another - was first honed to perfection in the speech handing down the great stem-cell "compromise" of summer 2001....Mr. Bush rolls out an economic plan that he says will help address joblessness, now at an eight-year high and growing, when in fact it's mainly a payday for those who collect dividend checks. Promising to speed the cleanup of corporate corruption, he accepts the resignation of Harvey Pitt, but two months-plus later Mr. Pitt is still on the job, working his will as the S.E.C. does some of its most crucial "reform" rule-making. Mr. Bush thumps as a hallmark of his education vision the No Child Left Behind Act, but his tight budget will leave states struggling to fulfill its alleged goals. Even Marvin Olasky, the Bush sycophant who wrote the book that inspired compassionate conservatism, said last month that while he awards the president an "A" for "setting the message" he gives him an "F" for his legislative follow-through. Affirmative action, judicial nominations, Enron and the rest are passionate issues for some, but war is a wake-up call for all. As the president keeps stamping his foot about Saddam Hussein, there is a dawning sensation that America is being held hostage by the administration idée fixe that is Iraq." 01.18.03
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BUSH LIES ABOUT WHAT U. OF MICH. IS DOING "The Bush administration sacrificed truth for political gain this week when it filed legal briefs urging the Supreme Court to overturn the University of Michigan's use of racial "quotas" in admissions. Michigan's admissions system does not use racial quotas. But the administration has clearly decided the best way to appease its right-wing supporters without alienating the rest of the country is to disguise its anti-affirmative-action agenda as an anti-quota crusade. The administration should start leveling with the American people about race, and it should stop trying to turn back the clock. " 01.18.03
nyt ed | related stories

BUSH PLAN ENCOURAGES SEGREGATION "Race-neutral alternatives such as Texas's have serious disadvantages. They may compromise academic standards more than traditional racial preferences, for example. And they are not a viable model for smaller private schools, in any event. They also depend on the continued de facto segregation of neighborhoods and schools, a reality whose permanence society should neither embrace nor rely upon." 01.18.03
wp ed | related stories

DEMS WANT TO INTEGRATE VOTING DISTRICTS, GOP SAYS NO "The question in the case is whether the Voting Rights Act effectively freezes in place the districts sometimes referred to as "max-black," insulating them from any change that results in their becoming more integrated. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which covers states in the South, as well as parts of some other states, bars any electoral change without the approval of the attorney general or a federal court. To receive pre-clearance, as the approval process is known, the jurisdiction has to show that the change will not result in a "retrogression" in the position of racial minorities. " 01.18.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH FIGHTS TO RESTRICT MEDICAID EMERGENCY CARE VISITS "Consumer advocates yesterday vowed to challenge in court a new rule by the Bush administration that will allow states to restrict how often most Medicaid patients may visit hospital emergency rooms, and Democrats prepared to try to reverse the change in Congress. " 01.18.03
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BYRD SAYS BUSH FOSTERS BULLY IMAGE "Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va) criticized President Bush yesterday for giving the United States the image "of a belligerent bully," and said Bush's contrasting handling of threats posed by North Korea and Iraq revealed major flaws in his foreign policy. " 01.18.03
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PALAST INTERVIEW "Just after the no-fly restriction was lifted, a private Saudi Arabian jet airlifted the Bin Laden family members out of the country before the FBI could talk to them. Everyone thinks there's just one black sheep in that family, but the FBI agents were telling us at BBC they think there's a couple of gray sheep, and they had some questions for the family members. There were a lot of people dead under the rubble at that moment when those people left.... Bill Clinton had already put a go-slow on investigations of Saudi Arabian financing of terror networks. Clinton had always taken the position that we can't annoy our dear friends, the Saudis, even if our dear friends happen to be funding terrorists like the al Qaeda network; however, he never actually stood in the way of investigating them, whereas George W., according to FBI and intelligence agents, said, 'You can't go there. You may not look. You may not investigate the American Bin Ladens.'" 01.18.03
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GERMAS WERE TRACKING SEPT. 11 CONSPIRATORS AS EARLY AS '98 "Three years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Germany's domestic intelligence service was tracking prominent members of the Hamburg terrorist cell that planned and executed the aircraft hijackings, according to newly obtained documents.The documents, including intelligence reports, surveillance logs and transcripts of intercepted telephone calls, appear to contradict public claims by the German authorities that they knew little about the members of the Hamburg cell before the attacks. " 01.18.03
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SUPREME COURT PROTECTS MICKY MOUSE AT OUR EXPENSE "Only 2 percent of the work copyrighted between 1923 and 1942 continues to be commercially exploited (for example, the early Mickey Mouse movies, whose eminent entry into the public domain prompted Congress to act in the first place).But to protect that tiny proportion, the remaining copyrighted works will stay locked up for another generation....Patent holders have to pay a fee every few years to maintain their patents. The same principle could be applied to copyright. Imagine requiring copyright holders to pay a tax 50 years after a work was published. The tax should be very small, maybe $50 a work. And when the tax was paid, the government would record that fact, including the name of the copyright holder paying the tax. That way artists and others who want to use a work would continue to have an easy way to identify the current copyright owner. But if a copyright owner fails to pay the tax for three years in a row, then the work will enter the public domain. Anyone would then be free to build upon and cultivate that part of our culture as he sees fit. None of the supporters of the copyright extension act should have any complaint about such a provision." 01.18.03
lessig | related stories

BUSH MALPRACTICE POSITION BASED ON MYTH "Evidence undercuts politicians' belief that frivolous suits are behind rising premiums....The best statistics available show that claims and lawsuits against doctors have risen only slightly in the past few years at rates that do not approach the increases in insurance premiums....But consumer advocates and trial lawyers argue that the cure is wrong because the cause of the crisis has been misdiagnosed. Times are hard, and premiums are going up for all types of insurance, they point out. If insurers lose money on malpractice coverage, it is more likely because of flawed business practices, such as lowballing rates so they could raise cash to invest in euphoric markets. As a result, doctors benefited from rates lower than they should have been and are now paying more."Before we start eliminating legal rights, we should make the insurance companies justify their rates," said Dan Lambe, executive director of Texas Watch, a nonprofit consumer group. "When the insurance companies were making money hand over fist, the tort system was the same as it is today." Lambe and others argue that a bad economy is being used to justify something doctors and insurers have long coveted: a legal shield protecting them from large damages when a doctor or hospital makes a horrific mistake. Medical mistakes do happen.In a landmark 1999 study, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that preventable medical errors kill between 44,000 and 98,000 nationwide each year. Even at the low end, errors kill more people than AIDS or breast cancer." 01.17.03
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BUSH BLAMES THE VICTIMS "With doctors across the country protesting the cost of malpractice insurance, President Bush is making a renewed push for strict limits on the jury awards he blames for skyrocketing premiums....But many experts cite other factors, including poor investment returns and the insurers' own business practices, for making significant contributions to the premium increases. Even representatives of the insurance industry blame factors in addition to jury verdicts." 01.17.03
nyt | related stories

MALPRACTICE INSURANCE REFORM TOO NARROW "Bush called for a cap on medical malpractice awards yesterday as a way to control soaring premiums for medical liability insurance that have sparked protests from doctors in several states. But the president's plan seemed far too narrow to solve a multifaceted crisis, and the limit he suggested - $250,000 for pain and suffering - is too low. While changing some parts of the nation's tort system may be a good idea, it has to be part of larger, more fundamental reforms that will benefit - and be fair to - both doctors and patients....The fix favored by insurance companies and the medical profession is to limit the size of malpractice awards and make it harder to sue....We're dubious that simply placing a cap on jury awards can solve such a complex problem. Tort reform is actually a sideline issue, but the health care industry is not going to address more critical problems as long as doctors and hospitals have the occasional outrageous malpractice award to complain about....In their haste to rescue doctors and spite the Democratic-leaning trial lawyers, legislators need to make sure that any limits they set do not beleaguer a patient who has suffered truly grievous harm from negligent care. " 01.17.03
nyt ed | related stories

"U.S. HAS GONE MAD" "How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history. But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. But the American public is not merely being misled. It is being browbeaten and kept in a state of ignorance and fear. The carefully orchestrated neurosis should carry Bush and his fellow conspirators nicely into the next election. Those who are not with Mr Bush are against him. Worse, they are with the enemy. Which is odd, because I’m dead against Bush, but I would love to see Saddam’s downfall - just not on Bush’s terms and not by his methods. And not under the banner of such outrageous hypocrisy. The religious cant that will send American troops into battle is perhaps the most sickening aspect of this surreal war-to-be. Bush has an arm-lock on God. And God has very particular political opinions. God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America’s Middle Eastern policy, and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist. " 01.17.03
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ANTI-WAR PROTESTS "Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to participate in anti-war protests during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday week to commemorate Dr. King's legacy of organizing against war and militarism, racism, poverty and injustice. Activities include: " 01.17.03
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US EVOLVING INTO BIG BROTHER SOCIETY "Warning that a technology explosion is transforming the United States into "a surveillance society" where every detail of Americans' daily lives can be tracked, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report Wednesday urging national debate on new laws to reclaim citizens' right to privacy. "Many people still do not grasp that Big Brother surveillance is no longer the stuff of books and movies," co-author Barry Steinhardt said at a San Francisco news conference releasing the report. Spurred on by a billion-dollar information industry and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, converging commercial and governmental data-gathering programs are boring into our everyday lives, the report warns.One sweeping example is the Defense Department's "Total Information Awareness" project, which seeks to hunt terrorists by harnessing separate databases for information about people's housemates, work, medical, financial, travel and motor vehicle -- even library -- records. But gadgetry cited in the report, titled "Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The Growth of an American Surveillance Society," also includes: " 01.17.03
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ECONOMIC PICTURE EVEN WORSE THAN BUSH'S BLEAK PREDICTIONS "WHITE HOUSE budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. the other day became the first administration official to say out loud just how bleak the budget picture is. The deficits for the next two years, he said, would probably be in the range of 2 percent to 3 percent of the economy -- about $200 billion to $300 billion, or around the size of the record $290 billion shortfall in 1992 under the first President Bush. That sum doesn't include the projected cost of a war with Iraq -- $50 billion by conservative estimates -- or the impact of the audacious tax cut the president has just proposed, which Mr. Daniels said would add "scores of billions" to the deficit this year and about $100 billion in 2004. Nor, Mr. Daniels said, could the public expect anything close to balance anytime soon; deficits, he said, are in the picture "for the foreseeable future." Some private forecasters think things are even worse. The investment bank Goldman Sachs estimates the deficit could reach $300 billion this year and rise to $375 billion in 2004. " 01.17.03
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BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH IS "NUTS" "The administration is disguising its intentions by combining these large tax cuts for the wealthy with more modest breaks for people in the middle class, all the while running up the deficit. It is trying to push off the table the obvious option -- to give a break to the middle class without handing out huge sums to a very small number of very wealthy Americans. It will and should be repeated over and over that under Bush's program, Vice President Cheney would get a tax cut of $327,000, according to calculations by Bloomberg News based on Cheney's 2001 tax return. In a time of war, is it really urgent to plunge the country ever deeper into debt to give Cheney and comparably placed taxpayers that much relief? The administration is placing the burden of helping the wealthy now on our children and grandchildren. This is not only unjust, it's nuts." 01.17.03
dionne | related stories

BUSH SCREWS THE POOR "The Bush administration has ruled that managed care organizations can limit and restrict coverage of emergency services for poor people on Medicaid....States say they are facing the worst fiscal crisis in more than 50 years and are desperately looking for ways to control health costs....Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, a principal author of the 1997 law, said the new policy "would undermine access to essential emergency services for low-income Americans," including children, the elderly and the disabled. Mr. Graham said he did not understand how the administration could, by a letter, make such profound changes in a policy established by statute." 01.17.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH WORKS TO LEAVE POOR CHILDREN BEHIND "The Bush administration announced yesterday that it will soon implement an unprecedented annual assessment of the 908,000 4-year-olds in Head Start programs nationwide, an effort that officials said will determine how much the children are learning in the government-funded preschool program for the poor....The results of the assessments -- scheduled to be administered for the first time this fall -- would help determine where to target resources, they said....Some experts and leaders of local Head Start programs criticized the government's National Reporting on Child Outcomes plan, saying it amounts to a high-stakes test for preschoolers that will yield little useful information because children are too young to be evaluated with a standardized exam....The national reporting system is the latest effort in a major early-childhood initiative announced last spring by President Bush, who wants to shift Head Start's focus from nurturing children's social and emotional development to emphasizing early literacy. Bush views the program as a follow-up to his K-12 education program, which emphasizes standardized tests." 01.17.03
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BUSH KILLS DOMESTIC PROGRAMS FOR TAX CUTS TO RICH "The pain of Congress's budget inaction last year is about to strike home as the start of a long national hangover. The divided houses had opted for gridlock over compromise as revenues dwindled and the election loomed. Now the new G.O.P. majorities are belatedly rushing through a bill that slashes vital domestic spending.The unwieldy $386 billion measure is impressive only as another sign of President Bush's rising power on Capitol Hill. With future deficits already massing into the hundreds of billions of dollars, the bill presents the shape of things to come: money for defense, combating global terrorism and more high-end tax cuts at the expense of domestic programs." 01.17.03
nyt ed | related stories

BUSH DIVIDEND MESS "Stock dividends play a much smaller role in the economy than they used to. Ending the alleged "double tax" is a hardy perennial of conservatives, but it was on no one's urgent wish list except that of Glenn Hubbard, the chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, for whom it's been a hobbyhorse for years. Now a chorus of Republican politicians and other conservative voices declare daily that taxing a stock dividend check just like a teacher's salary check is a monstrous injustice and a huge peril to our prosperity. They're saying it because Bush is saying it-but why is he saying it? Bush, in a funny way, seems to be a man of ideas. He doesn't have a lot of them himself, but hand him one and he'll run with it, undeterred by opposition, or by subsequent evidence and logic. He has the unreflective person's immunity from irony, that great killer of intellectual passion. Ask him to reconcile his line on Iraq with his line on North Korea and he just gets irritated. Tell him he can't be for tax simplification and offer a Rube Goldberg contraption like this at the same time and he'll say, 'Oh, yeah-just watch me.'" 01.17.03
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BUSH LIED ABOUT DEFICIT SPENDING "As a drunk is to alcohol, the Bush administration is to budget deficits. During the 2000 campaign George W. Bush often pledged to maintain fiscal responsibility. Right up to the passage of the 2001 tax cut his people said they could cut taxes, pay for new programs like prescription drug coverage, and still pay off most of the federal government's debt. As soon as the bill passed, those rosy budget projections fell apart. Then came Sept. 11. "Lucky me, I hit the trifecta," declared Mr. Bush, claiming - falsely - to have said during the campaign that his budget promises didn't apply in the event of recession, war or national emergency. But until this week officials insisted the deficit was temporary. Now the budget director, Mitch Daniels, has admitted the obvious: The federal government faces the prospect of large deficits as far as the eye can see." 01.17.03
krugman | related stories

BUSH AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AT YALE "When he was 18, he got into Yale University, which had and still has a policy of granting very special preferences to children of graduates, like him. Is that preference okay, to give him a leg up, but other preferences are not? " 01.17.03
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TWO-FACED BUSH "By denouncing the University of Michigan's race-conscious admission policies in a late-afternoon live television appearance on Wednesday, President Bush was able to dominate an entire 24-hour news cycle with an image of strong opposition to affirmative action....So by the time his solicitor general, Theodore B. Olson, actually submitted the administration's briefs late tonight as the clock approached a midnight filing deadline at the court, the briefs were a fading second-day story and there was hardly anyone still on duty — certainly not the television news anchors — to notice that the reality of its legal argument diverged substantially from the rhetoric of the president's prime-time statement.... [It]did not even ask the justices to overturn the Bakke decision, the 1978 landmark ruling that by allowing race to be used as a "plus factor" ushered in a generation of affirmative action in public and private college admissions.It was as if the administration had filed a brief denouncing abortion without asking the court to overturn Roe v. Wade. " 01.17.03
nyt | related stories

TEXAS MINORITY ENROLLMENT DOWN "Minority enrollment at the University of Texas flagship Austin campus is still lower than it was years ago, before a court barred the consideration of race in admissions. " 01.17.03
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BUSH RACE-NEUTRAL PLAN HAS NOT WORKED "Some selective state universities have achieved a significant level of racial diversity using the race-neutral admissions programs advocated by President Bush, but those approaches have proven far less effective at integrating graduate schools, experts said. The race-neutral plans also probably would fall short of maintaining current levels of diversity at the nation's private colleges and universities, almost all of which could be affected if the Supreme Court adopts Bush's posture on affirmative action when it rules in two closely watched cases later this year, they said." 01.17.03
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BUSH POSTPONES FISHING RESTRICTIONS TO 2014 "Federal regulators will postpone regulations designed to allow some decimated fish populations to replenish. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Tuesday it would extend the deadline for rebuilding stocks of cod and other groundfish species to 2014, rather than the 2009 deadline established earlier. Environmental groups who have pushed for stricter catch limits chastised the National Marine Fisheries Service for bending to political pressure from fishermen. "This is a major problem. They're flying in the face of the law and breaking their own promises," said Eric Bilsky, a lawyer with the conservation group Oceana." 01.17.03
ap | related stories

FED OFFICIAL QUESTIONS SUV SAFETY "This week the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Jeffrey W. Runge, did something to steer the debate onto a useful course. Dr. Runge is a physician with long experience in emergency rooms, where he has seen firsthand the carnage wrought by cars and trucks. In a speech to an automotive group in Detroit and an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he sharply criticized SUVs on safety grounds. Avoiding religion and the higher morality of fuel economy, he stuck to his job as chief of the agency responsible for promoting highway safety, and simply cited some numbers. He pointed out that SUVs, because of their high center of gravity, are about three times as likely as automobiles to roll over. And while rollovers account for only 3 percent of highway crashes, they are responsible for about a third of the deaths of vehicle occupants. Dr. Runge also cited an "astounding" 22 percent increase in deaths in single-vehicle rollovers in 2001. " 01.17.03
wp ed | related stories

DEATH PENALTY IRRESPONSIBILITY "What happened in Illinois is a cautionary lesson. Inaction by legislatures forces more and more of the responsibility for creating remedies into the hands of government executives or the courts. The solutions they arrive at are often unpopular, and the principles that guide them prove subject to constant change because of the irreconcilable tension between individualized decision-making and the constitutional demand that we impose this ultimate sanction on a consistent and reasoned basis. At the end of the day, perhaps the best argument against capital punishment may be that it is an issue beyond the limited capacity of government to get things right." 01.17.03
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ROH INTERVIEW ""Many Koreans believe that once the U.S. adopts a policy of dialogue," Mr. Roh added, "that will solve the problem."This seems hopelessly naïve. Trusting Kim Jong Il, or thinking that the crisis can be solved with trust, is ludicrous. So at first I thought I might offer Mr. Roh a good deal on the Brooklyn Bridge, but I gradually realized that he himself probably didn't believe a word of this nonsense about trust. Mr. Roh was simply trying to send a conciliatory message to Pyongyang, forming his own Axis of Engagement to soothe Mr. Kim and start a dialogue himself. It's not a bad instinct. Somebody has to talk to the Great Leader, after all. With Washington and Beijing both abdicating their responsibility and the situation deteriorating, Mr. Roh might as well use a few diplomatic lies to see if he can coax Mr. Kim into a North-South dialogue.The test will be whether Mr. Roh can simultaneously soothe relations with America. Korean attitudes toward the U.S. are complex; what they feel is not so much anti-Americanism as a deep nationalist yearning for greater respect from the world's only superpower." 01.17.03
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IRAQI WARHEAD FIND "United Nations weapons inspectors discovered 11 empty chemical warheads today at an ammunition storage depot in southern Iraq, while another team entered the homes of two Iraqi scientists unannounced, carting away documents.... The inspectors stumbled on the warheads in a bunker at the Ukhaider Ammunition Storage Area...Hiro Ueki, the spokesman for the inspectors...said the warheads were in "excellent condition" but added that they were "similar to ones imported by Iraq during the late 1980's." He noted, however, that they had been found in bunkers that were not constructed until the late 1990's.... A report issued in 1998 shows that an earlier team of inspectors made a similar discovery at the Ukhaider facility, coming upon 12 155-millimeter shells, filled with mustard gas, by a roadside near the depot." 01.17.03
nyt | related stories

BUSH CRIES WOLFOWITZ "Iraq is a roll of the dice. It's a war of choice -- not one that would be imposed on the United States. You can argue that war against Iraq might be self-defense down the road, but so far there's little evidence of that "smoking gun." So it's not surprising that as the date for an invasion approaches, America's allies are becoming a little wobbly....The hardest nut for me to crack -- the risk that a war fought to preempt weapons of mass destruction could trigger the use of those very weapons. The CIA director, George Tenet, has warned of this danger. President Bush and his advisers shouldn't feel embarrassed if they want to think this conundrum through very carefully before taking final action. " 01.17.03
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NO COMPUTER EVIDENCE "Intelligence officials are concerned that a recent rise in electronic attacks against government and military computer networks in the United States may be the work of pro-Iraqi hackers and could signal a "potential crisis" in national security, according to a classified F.B.I. assessment....Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said, "We are concerned about groups sympathetic to Iraq" hacking into government computer systems. But he added that there was no evidence that Mr. Hussein's regime had done so. " 01.17.03
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CASE AGAINST SHARON ""Belgium is to make changes to its internationally contentious global war crimes legislation which risk resurrecting a politically sensitive case against the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon... Belgium gave itself the right in 1993 to try cases of war crimes committed by anyone, anywhere at any time. It has since had to deal with a series of often embarrassing lawsuits against high-profile leaders such as Mr Sharon." " 01.17.03
guardian | related stories

SHARON CLONES "Unless Labor lucks out and there is a miracle that at least pares down the gap, the majority of Israelis, now more right-wing and more extreme, will end up following Sharon, who has led them and will continue to lead them to wrack and ruin, with their eyes glued shut. What a pity that things have to get worse before they get better." 01.17.03
ha'aretz | related stories

ANTI-FAITH-BASED ISRAELI GADFLY "Tommy Lapid, bare-knuckled commentator and crusader against state-subsidized Judaism, has emerged, grinning, as the biggest surprise of this most surprising campaign season — the man who would be kingmaker in Israel. Opinion polls consistently indicate that Mr. Lapid's minor party, dedicated to cutting the government benefits of religious Jews, is poised to become the third-largest faction in the next Parliament, which could make his a pivotal voice in determining the next governing coalition. " 01.17.03
nyt | related stories

MEDIA CONTROL "America stands on the cusp of a sweeping set of shifts in federal media ownership rules that could dramatically alter the nature of what we see, hear and read, warns Federal Commications Commission member Jonathan S. Adelstein. Dialogue and debate about these proposed changes must be ramped up quickly if the public interest is to be protected... But first, how about a harmonica solo? " 01.16.03
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ARI LIES "How does he do it? Every day Ari Fleischer takes the stand--so to speak--but, luckily for him, it's not under oath. That is, he provides a briefing in the White House press room and emits--oh, how to say it politely?--the most creative statements in defense of his boss's policies. A plainspoken fella--someone like our tax-cutter-in-chief--might feel compelled to brand a deceptive answer a "lie." But in the case of Fleischer v. Truth , I'm going to let you be the jury. " 01.16.03
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DISTRUST OF BUSH "Don't be fooled: this opposition to war is more than just anti-Americanism. It's not the United States that so much of the Labour Party distrusts. It's George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. " 01.16.03
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BRITISH PROTEST "As things stand, there must be every expectation that Tony Blair is prepared to drag this country into a profoundly dangerous US imperial adventure in the teeth of mass public opposition without even the veneer of prior parliamentary endorsement. One result is that sections of what is already Britain's largest-ever anti-war movement will turn to civil disobedience. Last week, in the first such incident since Britain's war of intervention against the Soviet Union more than 80 years ago, two traindrivers based at Motherwell in Scotland refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition destined for British forces in the Gulf in protest against the threat of war against Iraq. More than a dozen workers at the depot have now supported the action. If this war goes ahead, many others are likely to follow their lead. In such circumstances, direct action will not simply be justified, it will be a democratic necessity. " 01.16.03
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NEW WORLD ORDER "What we are seeing is the emergence of a genuinely new new world order, one far more Darwinian than the first, second and third world. The new divisions are between fortress continents and locked-out continents. For locked-out continents, even their cheap labour isn't needed, and their countries are left to beg outside the gates for a half-decent price for wheat and bananas... Inside the fortress continents, a new social hierarchy has been engineered to reconcile the seemingly contradictory political priorities of the post-September 11 era. How do you have airtight borders and still access cheap labour? How do you expand for trade, and still pander to the anti-immigrant vote? How do you stay open to business and closed to people? Easy. First you expand the perimeter. Then you lock down. " 01.16.03
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BUSH PETTY POLITICS "For the first time since his phenomenal rise in the polls after 9/11, Bush's numbers have declined. Doubts have set in. The cocky, swaggering, Old West lingo was just right when the country was shaken to the roots by the slaughter at the twin towers. But in the North Korean non-crisis, attitude was not enough. Bush -- who apparently thought Kim Jong Il would be respectful of his November victory at the polls -- spun around in complete circles, vowing never to talk, never to negotiate, never to do what Clinton did. Then he had to get his information from the Democratic governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, Clinton's U.N. ambassador, who was sought out by two North Korean diplomats....The public, or at least those polled by Gallup, didn't think much of his economic medicine -- his "jobs and growth" plan to fatten fat cats. Democrats are calling it the "Leave No Millionaires Behind" program. To demonstrate again its opinion of the worthlessness of Democratic senators, the White House canceled a promised North Korea briefing by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz -- it said it was short of briefers. Democratic leader Tom Daschle then announced that Bill Richardson would brief the Democrats. The White House said Armitage would be available after all. This all seems rather small in light of what is happening in Ethiopia, and what could happen in Iraq or in North Korea if Kim Jong Il opens his Wal-Mart for weapons of mass destruction. " 01.16.03
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BUSH AMATEUR HOUR "It is Casey Stengel time for the Bush administration. The longtime Yankee manager, having crossed the river to run the hapless New York Mets, looked over his field one dismal day and wondered, "Can't anybody here play this game?" The same can be asked about the Bush administration and its approach to North Korea....The Bush administration... is reeling. Its rhetoric and pronouncements are at odds with reality. It has been self-indulgent in its moralizing -- all that tripe about evil -- too pushy in its foreign policy and too eager to personalize matters of international relations. The administration's problem with North Korea is symptomatic of a larger one: It talks before it thinks. Certainly, the Clinton administration's agreement with North Korea could have been improved. But Bush has not done that. He has left it a shambles -- with nothing to take its place. The problem... is not with the players -- it's with the manager." 01.16.03
cohen | related stories

BUSH COOKS BOOKS "The new Republican Senate and House majorities have moved quickly to install a White House political appointee in the sensitive and traditionally nonpartisan job of boss at the Congressional Budget Office. Douglas Holtz-Eakin has impeccable credentials as an economist. However, since the Bush administration began, he has served as top adviser to R. Glenn Hubbard, who chairs the President's Council of Economic Advisors. This is the first time partisan hotheads in either party have ever made an openly political appointment to this important office, which oversees the forecasts and projections on which budget decisions are made. All by itself, this appointment ought to be a signal to Wall Street, especially the interest rate-influencing bond market, to lose confidence in all ''official'' numbers coming out of this town. And it gets worse. For weeks, Hubbard (assisted by Holtz-Eakin) has been making the breathtakingly radical assertion that deficits can soar without causing economic harm over time or even raising interest rates. This contention flies in the face of mainstream economists' views and of Republican and Democratic administrations over the last generation from Ronald Reagan through Bill Clinton. It also flies in the face of the evidence from the economy over these 20-plus years....Bush, however, is going ahead with this absurd policy that is likely to harm the economy over time more than it helps it, if it does so at all, for his reelection campaign. " 01.16.03
oliphant | related stories

BUSH DEFICIT "President Bush's budget chief said Wednesday that the White House envisions federal deficits in the $200 billion to $300 billion range over the next two years, a dramatic worsening of the government's fiscal picture since last summer. Budget director Mitchell Daniels also refused to say when federal surpluses would return, commenting only, ‘‘Stand by." Daniels provided no precise figures, saying only he expected shortfalls over the next two years to be in the range of 2 percent to 3 percent of the size of the economy. The nation's economy -- the total value of the goods and services produced annually -- is estimated at about $10.5 trillion. " 01.16.03
ap | related stories

BUSH DEFICIT "The White House said today that the federal deficit was likely to exceed $200 billion this fiscal year and probably hit $300 billion next year. The ballooning deficits - the largest ever in dollar terms but smaller relative to the economy than deficits in the [Reagan-Bush] 1980's and early 1990's - could put President Bush's tax plan in peril....The forecasts are in line with those of many private economists, but this was the first time the administration had acknowledged the magnitude of the expected deficits." 01.16.03
nyt | related stories

CLASS WARFARE "NOW THAT President Bush has a fight on his hands over his proposed tax and budget program, the usual suspects are insisting that anyone who challenges these plans is promoting class warfare. Defenders of progressive taxation stand accused of resenting the rich, who presumably achieved their wealth through good, old-fashioned hard work....You needn't resent wealthy people to believe that those revenues are needed for everything from health coverage to schools. Now, Bush is proposing to do it all over again - a tax cut of nearly $700 billion, tilted toward the very wealthiest, at a time when state and local governments are having to shorten school years, reduce spending for police, and raise their own taxes in a recession....It's a sweet trade. The most affluent of Americans get tax cuts averaging several thousand dollars, while ordinary working Americans will likely more in sales and property taxes levied by states. Am I lapsing into hate-the-rich rhetoric? I don't think so. I'm posing choices." 01.16.03
kuttner | related stories

STATES IN CRISIS "There were reports early this month that President Bush would include a small package of aid to distressed state and local governments in his most recent tax-cut package. That did not happen. As it stands, the president's tax-cut proposal would result in reduced revenues for most states, thus worsening the crisis.... The crisis is enormous and growing. "I don't think we even have a handle on how big the problem is because people have been pushing this under the rug," said [a New York financier]. "People have not been candid about how serious it is. And people aren't being candid about how to deal with it."...The cornerstone of Mr. Bush's tax-cut plan - the elimination of taxes on corporate dividends paid to shareholders."As a priority, it makes no sense to me," he said. At best, the dividend-tax cut is aimed at giving a modest boost to the stock market. But, said Mr. Rohatyn, "The stock market is down because the economy is down. So if you want to get the stock market up, get the economy up." What would make more sense, he said, would be "some kind of tax-cut program for people who are having a difficult time now and who need some direct assistance." A temporary payroll-tax cut could be helpful, he said." 01.16.03
herbert | related stories

WALL STREET CRIMINALS "Eliot Spitzer caved to Wall Street criminals. Maybe he decided that taking on the most powerful people in the country might not be the best strategy for a man considering a run for governor. " 01.16.03
arianna | related stories

LYNCHING? "By renominating Pickering, the Republicans have proven that out of a nation of 150 million white adults, they still find it hard to find white guys who synchronize their watches to the year 2003. The Republican senators who cry that Pickering's leniency [toward a cross burner] is being unfairly used against him were the same senators who let John Ashcroft hang Ronnie White's nomination for a federal judgeship from the Senate's rafters in 1999. Ashcroft, now our attorney general despite his honorary degree from racist and homophobic Bob Jones University and his hero worship of Confederate leaders, grossly distorted and misstated the record of White, an African-American, as ''pro-criminal'' when White had actually upheld the death penalty on the Missouri Supreme Court about as much or even more than his colleagues. Even though Ashcroft all but lied, Hatch found White ''very troubling'' and voted against him. Frist also voted against White. But for Pickering, who defanged existing hate laws for a cross-burner, Frist says he is ''eminently qualified.'' Frist is even starting to blame the Democrats for using race against Pickering. The use of race by the Republicans cannot be more ironic. It shows how brazen the Republicans are when they invoke such horrible images of Pickering's treatment [as a lynching] when Pickering himself was soft on [cross burning,] the very act that throughout our nation's history foreshadowed the lynching of hundreds, if not thousands, of African-Americans. " 01.16.03
jackson | related stories

CONSERVATIVES AND EXECUTIONS "THE PEOPLE most qualified to explain the farcical fiasco that the death penalty has become in the United States are strangely silent. That would be conservatives. Perhaps ideology has got their tongues. Think about it. For 25 years this mess of a system has ''run '' on whim, cheating, elaborate procedure, delay, and more whim. There's no coherent explanation available of why a given person is charged with a capital crime, why he is convicted of it as opposed to a lesser offense, why he is or isn't sentenced to die, and why he ends up being part of the tiny percentage who actually are executed....Where you are charged, your race, and the victim's race are the critical variables. Specifically, if you happen to be charged in the suburbs of Baltimore County, your chances of a death sentence are several times higher than in any other part of the state. More ominously, blacks convicted of killing whites are four times more like to get death than blacks who kill blacks and two times more likely to get death than whites who kill whites." 01.16.03
oliphant | related stories

EXECUTIONS "Why take chances, when you can eliminate criminals you're pretty darn sure are guilty? " 01.16.03
fiore | related stories

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH "HRW warns that when the Bush administration divorces human rights advocacy from its security policy, as in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, both objectives are undermined. Support for repression encourages terror. It's an argument with tremendous salience for anyone who wants to defeat al-Qaida. Unfortunately, even journalists who pay attention to HRW's work don't always understand it well enough. " 01.16.03
conason | related stories

ARCTIC DRILLING "Senate Republicans intend to push anew to open an Arctic wildlife refuge to oil drilling, this time using a legislative procedure that would prevent Democrats from blocking their move with fewer than 50 votes. The plan has been discussed in detail by two key Senate committee chairmen -- Sens. Pete Domenici of New Mexico and Don Nickles of Oklahoma -- both of whom would play a central role in the maneuver, Senate sources said. Attempts to lift the ban on oil development in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were thwarted last year when Democrats vowed a filibuster against the measure, meaning 60 votes would be needed to get the legislation through. " 01.16.03
ap | related stories

CIVIL RIGHTS "If the Supreme Court holds that the Family and Medical Leave Act does not apply to state employers, it will radically diminish the power of Congress. " 01.16.03
nyt ed | related stories

KILLING PUBLIC DOMAIN "Artists naturally deserve to hold a property interest in their work, and so do the corporate owners of copyright. But the public has an equally strong interest in seeing copyright lapse after a time, returning works to the public domain — the great democratic seedbed of artistic creation — where they can be used without paying royalties.In effect, the Supreme Court's decision makes it likely that we are seeing the beginning of the end of public domain and the birth of copyright perpetuity. Public domain has been a grand experiment, one that should not be allowed to die. The ability to draw freely on the entire creative output of humanity is one of the reasons we live in a time of such fruitful creative ferment. " 01.16.03
nyt ed | related stories

WAR ODDS "The defense establishment is not particularly troubled by reports of a possible postponement of an American assault on Iraq. The current assessment in the defense establishment says chances are high that there will be an American assault, and according to one high-level source, the surprise would be if there is not a war... According to this assessment, the Americans now have a window of opportunity of two to three months before they move. Postponement until the summer, when the U.S. begins approaching an election year, does not seem a reasonable alternative. President George W. Bush has based his image on being a determined leader. But if he retreats from the preparations he has been making for the past year, and decides to avoid war, he could lose his political advantage. Bush's remarks on Tuesday about "time running out" for Iraq was interpreted in Israel as proof of the Israeli assessment about the president's determination. " 01.16.03
ha'aretz | related stories

IRAQ WAR "The Bush administration is seeking to derail plans by the chief U.N. weapons inspector to issue another report on Iraqi disarmament to the Security Council in late March, fearing it could delay the U.S. timeline for forcing an early confrontation over Iraq's banned weapons programs. In a move that diplomats predicted would touch off a potentially divisive battle in the Security Council, the administration plans to press the 15-nation body Thursday to suspend plans for the March 27 report by Swedish diplomat Hans Blix in which he was expected to present a list of disarmament obligations that Iraq must meet before U.N. sanctions can be suspended. Blix told the council Tuesday that the March meeting is required under a 1999 resolution that created his inspection agency. But his plans have complicated the administration's diplomatic strategy in which it is pointing to the end of this month as the start of an endgame in the six-week-old U.N. weapons inspections program in Iraq. The administration would like a decision on whether to go to war shortly after a scheduled Jan. 27 presentation by Blix to the council. " 01.16.03
wp | related stories

BLIX INSPECTIONS "THE SECURITY COUNCIL'S Resolution 1441 on Iraq, passed unanimously two months ago, was unambiguous in its purpose: to "afford Iraq . . . a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" and to "set up an enhanced inspection regime" to verify whether a voluntary disarmament takes place. Iraq has so far refused to comply: In fact, it has already violated the resolution by submitting a declaration to the council denying that it has any weapons to dismantle. Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix, a Swedish diplomat, can see that his mission is failing. But rather than report that to the Security Council, as required by 1441, he is attempting to redefine both his mission and the resolution. In a series of interviews in recent days, " 01.16.03
wp ed | related stories

CHIRAC INTERVIEW "The accelerating and deliberately menacing U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf has made time itself a bargaining chip. Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix swings frenetically from trying to slow the United States down with one set of interviews to warning the Iraqis to speed up in the next set. This tactical use of time as a lever could easily backfire with Bush and precipitate the very actions that Blix, Kofi Annan, Chirac and others want to put off.But Chirac's broad concerns should be taken into account in an American war strategy that must center on keeping Iraqi suffering and destruction to an absolute minimum as it unfolds before a watching world. "In the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims, rightly or wrongly, the difference in behavior of the West toward Israel and toward Iraq is totally incomprehensible. That contrast is creating an anti-Westernism that includes but goes well beyond the Arab and Muslim world and which is much more serious than is generally recognized," Chirac said, adding: "It is totally incoherent to fight against terrorism and, at the same time, think serenely about a war that will raise new storms of anti-Western sentiment in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America. This is a ticking time bomb that will explode." 01.16.03
hoagland | related stories

ISRAELI SPYS "Israel to kill on U.S., allies'' soil.... Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International." 01.16.03
upi | related stories

LIEBERMAN "Democratic presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman sought to reassure American Jewish leaders yesterday that comments he made during a recent Middle East visit did not represent any slackening in his support for a strong pro-Israel policy by the United States." 01.16.03
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LIEBERMAN ""If there was one thing that rational political observers agreed upon after last November's Democratic debacle, it was that Democrats need to do a much better job of distinguishing themselves from the Republicans... That recognition should dim the prospects of Joe Lieberman as a serious presidential prospect in 2004. After all, as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has noted, Lieberman is famous for taking conservative stands that 'rankle (the) liberal Democrats who comprise the core of the party.' " " 01.16.03
nichols | related stories

BUSH RATINGS Only 33% of the respondents in a recent USA Today/CNN poll said they would vote for Bush in the 2004 presidential elections. 01.15.03
cnn | related stories

Bush Ratings "George W. Bush designed his entire political career and presidency to make sure he would never face this moment. The moment where he would pick up USA Today one morning midway through his term and read that his stratospheric approval numbers were dropping because more and more people think he is out of touch with average Americans....The states are struggling with giant deficits, tax increases and cutbacks in programs so severe that some are releasing prisoners. So what good will it do to put Mr. Bush's little tax break in one pocket while taking money from the other pocket to pay higher state taxes Despite their desire to support their president, many Americans are uncomfortable with the ideological rigidity of the administration — the headlong tax cuts unashamedly benefiting the wealthy; the selection of judges who want to reverse two decades of social policy; the moves to impose new restrictions on abortion, and the deletion of information on a Centers for Disease Control Web site about lifesaving condoms, which are viewed by the religious right as morally wrong. "
DOWD | related stories

WAR HAWKS "Headlines tell us that United Nations arms inspectors have failed to find a "smoking gun" in their ongoing, unimpeded search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Yet the Bush administration, like a peeved child, has treated what should be good news as nothing more than rain on its war parade. President Bush wants his war, and the inveterate hawks in his administration simply spin the glaring lack of evidence into further proof of Saddam Hussein's dangerous chicanery."
SCHEER | related stories

Bush Hawks "One almost gets the feeling that the Bushies, particularly that group of neo-conservative ideologues clustered around the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, are motivated by adolescent frustrations to turn the tables of the bullies that once tormented them. But I don't have to resort to pop psychology to make the point that the Bush Doctrine of foreign policy has adopted selling wolf tickets as its primary purpose. Like bullies in the 'hood, the U.S. has gained "respect" by demonstrating it will use overwhelming force to defeat even the weakest opponents; check Grenada, Panama, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. In that respect, the Bush Doctrine is not such a radical departure from standard U.S. procedure, even considering the trauma of the Sept. 11 attacks."
Muwakkil | related stories

WAR RISK "Americans wonder whether the nation can take the risk of a war against Iraq even as the economy is slumping. "
WP | related stories

WAR PREDICTED "Only three people really matter as to the outcome: the Iraqi dictator, the American president and the British prime minister. The first Gulf War occurred because all three were resolute. The dictator, having stolen Kuwait, refused to give it back. The president and the prime minister refused to accept that this crime should be allowed to stand -- because they understood that such a colossal failure to uphold the law would be to make the world hugely more dangerous. The whole thing was deeply personal, a matter of what was bred in the bones of these three...It is still the time of jaw-jaw, but the underlying reality points to war-war.. "
KELLY | related stories

WAR PROFITS "Why is our nation preparing to use the most powerful military machine in history to wage an assault against the people of Iraq, to destroy their houses and buildings, to wipe out their water and electric systems and to block their access to food and medical supplies? There is no answer which can separate itself from oil economics, profit requirements of arms trade, or distorted notions of empire-building." 01.15.03
kucinich | related stories

North Korea "When this crisis began to heat up, just before the New Year, Bush officials refused to negotiate because, as they put it, they did not want to "reward" a country for "bad behavior." Now, it seems, they are beginning to realize that North Korea's jam is our jam, too; that we have at least as much interest in getting out of it as they do. From what the North Koreans have been saying, it won't take much on our part to get us both out: a non-aggression pact and some energy aid-in short, the restoration of the '94 Clinton accord. Maybe, just maybe, Bush will overcome his allergy to anything touched by Clinton and give this deal a try. "
KAPLAN | related stories

Human Rights "US Anti-Terror Fight Undermines Human Rights: Human Rights Watch"
Agence France Presse | related stories

RACE "Bush plans to declare his opposition to University of Michigan admissions policies that give preference to black and Hispanic students, injecting the White House into the Supreme Court's most far-reaching affirmative action case in a generation, administration officials said yesterday....The aides said Bush plans to point to an "affirmative access" program he championed as governor of Texas. It guaranteed state-college admission to the top 10 percent of each high school graduating class, regardless of race."
WP | related stories

RACE "There are dismaying reports that Mr. Bush has asked the Justice Department to draft a brief opposing [Michigan] university's affirmative action programs, which, like others used by admissions offices across the country, were crafted to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling in the 1978 Bakke case. The exact basis of the administration's opposition is unclear. But it would not be surprising if its brief were to argue that diversity can be achieved without explicitly taking race into account.If it does, it may cite a program in Mr. Bush's home state that requires the University of Texas to accept the top 10 percent of students from each graduating high school class.....A president who wants his administration to stand for racial inclusion will not go down this path."
NYT ED | related stories

WELFARE "President Bush prodded lawmakers yesterday to embrace changes to the nation's welfare laws that the White House was unable to push through a polarized Congress last year: stricter work requirements without changes to child care subsidies for welfare mothers who must get a job....Yesterday, the House's leading Democrat on the issue, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), accused the White House of moving backward, and noted that the principles the president once again laid out would provide $1 billion a year less in child care subsidies than last year's House legislation."
WP | related stories

GLOBAL WARMING "Given the Bush administration's inert approach to global warming, the best hope for getting a start on the problem this year lies with the Senate. "
NYT ED | related stories

Abortion Rights "I left Naral because I was dissatisfied with its approach. I know there are others who are also frustrated. With the likelihood of vacancies on the Supreme Court, it is imperative for those committed to Roe v. Wade to work toward preserving it in its broadest terms. This will not be achieved by the abortion-rights movement's current strategy or word-play gimmicks by groups like Naral. The time is for moving to the left, not to the right. "
LOONAN | related stories

CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS "WITH WAR LOOMING in Iraq, North Korea developing nuclear weapons and the deficit soaring, House Republican leaders got down to pressing business on the opening day of Congress last week: ensuring their access to free food and all-expenses-paid trips. Over the objections of their own ethics committee chairman, the leadership significantly weakened the "gift ban" that Republicans had adopted with much self-congratulatory fanfare after winning control of the House eight years ago. "
WP ED | related stories

DEMS "Change of direction will take bold leadership to articulate a new vision. Unfortunately, this requires either a leader or a vision or both. And as you can see from the potential list of usual suspects being floated by the Dems that they are not out of the woods yet. "
DURST | related stories

TERMITES "As if any new spigots of pap were needed in the pre-presidential race, two more have opened up with Joe Lieberman gushing on the right and Al Sharpton gurgling on the "left." These two look like opposites, but only to the untrained eye. While both would resent the comparison, the paragons of public piety resemble each other in at least one crucial respect: Neither the New York preacher nor the Connecticut senator is a loyal Democrat. Each has sought publicity by undermining the party whose nomination they now seek. "
CONASON | related stories

LIEBERMAN "Joe Lieberman's conservative comfort zone. Democratic senator opens presidential bid by slamming Hollywood, not Bush. "
BERKOWITZ | related stories

CONSPIRACIES "Top Ten Conspiracy Theories of 2002 "
Ward | related stories

IDIOT WATCH "Whee, here we go, the Ledge is back in session! And many a village is missing its idiot. The 78th biennial disaster is upon us, and what glorious fodder to feast upon. Our peerless leaders are faced with a $9.9 billion deficit, almost twice as high as previously estimated, and billions in mandatory increased spending, so the new Republican majority is busily planning to solve this crisis by: (A) outlawing same-sex marriage, (B) giving more legal protection to fetuses and (C) knocking gay Texans out from under coverage by the Hate Crimes Act. This is tremendously useful of them. "
IVINS | related stories

"The problem for Lieberman now is that while Democrats have internalized many of the New Democratic lessons -- especially on the need to appeal to the moderate social values of middle-class voters -- they are in a fiery mood where Bush is concerned. The loss of the 2002 election is widely viewed among Democrats as the price of capitulating to Bush. While Democratic support for Bush in the first months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, reflected an authentic national mood, many Democrats now believe their party stayed timid even as Bush became steadily more partisan. The current anti-Bush anger is especially pronounced among the fierce partisans most likely to cast ballots in the Democratic primaries. Having run on a promise to heal Washington's partisan wounds, Bush has become a deeply polarizing figure, winning near-universal support within his own party while sowing deep resentment in the opposition....What is known is the new Democratic militancy, and Gephardt, Edwards and Kerry have been unabashed in their Bush-bashing. Not so Lieberman, who -- while criticizing Bush on taxes, the environment and budget issues -- also worked frequently and unapologetically with the administration."
DIONNE | related stories

Politics Drives Policy. DiIulio Was Right About The White House. "I talk to several sources in the West Wing, and one of them agrees to meet me at a neutral site. I tell him we’ll try to make this quick, and I describe DiIulio’s rendering of the White House, its conduct and character, and Rove’s enveloping role. Does this resemble reality, or is DiIulio mistaken or misguided? He nods. "All of that is realistic, basically correct. It’s really been even worse since after 9/11. There has been no domestic policy, really. Not even a pretense of it."
SUSKIND | related stories

"By punishing lawmakers who dare to show a little backbone, the Republican majority is doing itself a disservice. If the public has made anything clear in recent years, it is the desire to have representatives in Washington who do what they believe is right, not what party leaders and their lobbyist-driven money machine dictate."
NYT ED | related stories

Ashcroft Intrudes. "Ashcroft Backs Funding Religious Social Services. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft endorsed giving religious organizations government money for social services yesterday, stepping into a debate critics say is unsuitable for the nation's top law enforcement official. "
WP | related stories

Kids And Homeland Protection Cuts Proposed To Get Bush More Tax Cuts For The Rich. "Stevens Seeks Fund Cuts In Education, Security. Goal Is to Meet Bush Budget Targets. Incoming Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is proposing to pare back numerous homeland security accounts and some parts of President Bush's signature education reform plan to meet White House budget targets for this fiscal year, according to congressional sources. "
WP | related stories

"My colleagues on the editorial page dubbed the Bush administration's proposal to eliminate taxes on corporate dividends "The Charles Schwab Tax Cut." Indeed, the idea seems to have originated in remarks Mr. Schwab made last summer in Waco. But a closer look suggests that it should actually be called the "Tax Complication Act of 2003": it will do little if anything to create jobs in the economy as a whole, but will be a bonanza for tax lawyers and accountants.In fact, even some of the lobbyists you would have expected to cheer the plan now believe that it is so complex as to be unworkable."
KRUGMAN | related stories

Bush Tax Cuts Push States To The Wall. "Governors, as well as hard-pressed local officials, rightly complain about the cost of unfunded mandates from Washington and about declining federal aid. The states are also on the hook for runaway Medicaid costs and for more than a few boondoggles conceived during the boom years of the late 1990s. But a deeper, structural deficit is also at work -- driven by demography and changes in the world economy -- that will continue eroding the finances of state and local governments even if boom times return. Unless this deficit is closed, state and local governments will wither, and more governmental power will likely wind up concentrated in Washington.The largest single cause of the structural deficit is the shift toward a service economy. As recently as 1979, services accounted for 47 percent of personal consumption. Now health care costs, legal fees, education and other services account for roughly 60 percent of what we collectively spend on ourselves. And because the fast-growing service sector is largely exempt from sales taxes, this shift in consumption patterns makes the financing of state and local governments ever more difficult, even as the demand for the services provided by such governments goes up every year with growing populations and economies....Corporate taxes account for a diminishing share of all taxes paid at the state and local levels and are in danger of becoming unworkable. Eventually, even revenue from personal income taxes will come under threat if an increasingly networked economy allows more workers to move wherever the climate and tax structure suit them."
LONGMAN | related stories

Listen To Tom DeLay To Learn What Class Warfare Is All About
LETTERS | related stories

"The North Korean regime reacted typically to the 1990's famine, which killed some two million North Koreans, by putting propaganda into overdrive. A campaign urged the health benefits of dieting, and the national slogan became "Let's Eat Just Two Meals a Day!" There was even a television documentary focusing on a man who ate too much rice — and then supposedly exploded. So how can we undermine North Korean propaganda and totalitarianism? By imposing sanctions and increasing its isolation? Or by engaging it and tying it to the global economy?"
KRISTOF | related stories

"The Bush administration brought a change in relationship with both Koreas.Rejection of the "sunshine policy," which had earned the Nobel Peace Prize for South Korean President Kim Dae Jung; announcements that North Korea, like Iraq and Iran, was part of an "axis of evil"; public statements that the new "Great Leader" was loathed as a "pygmy" who deliberately starved his own people, that America was prepared to fight two wars at the same time, and that our missile defense system was a shield against North Korea -- all this helped cause many in that country to assume that they were next on America's hit list after Iraq....The announced nuclear policies of North Korea and the American rejection of direct talks are both contrary to regional and global interests. Unfortunately, both sides must save face, even as the situation deteriorates dangerously.To resolve this impasse, some forum -- perhaps convened by Russia or China -- must be found within which these troubling differences can be resolved. The principles of the Agreed Framework of 1994 can be reconfirmed, combined with North Korea's full and verifiable compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a firm U.S. declaration of nonaggression against North Korea, so long as all agreements are honored. "
CARTER | related stories

"Iraq Hunt To Extend To March, Blix Says. Arms Search Timetable Complicates U.S. Plans Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said yesterday that he is significantly expanding his inspection force in Iraq and plans to be working there at least until he presents a major report to the U.N. Security Council in March."
WP | related stories

"- Despite the new year's flow of thousands of American troops to the Gulf, political and logistical pressure could delay any invasion of Iraq for months, U.S. officials and defense experts said on Monday. "
REUTERS | related stories

"While U.S. troops were honing their combat skills in Kuwait today, in North Carolina, Marines were shipping out, and in Texas, more reservists received their orders. These snapshots of a military buildup may be just the start of what could end up involving more than 350,000 troops for a war and subsequent occupation of Iraq, ABCNEWS has learned. That is a far higher number than envisioned during preliminary planning."
ABC | related stories

"Europe will not willingly pay for the reconstruction of Iraq if the US does not obtain United Nations authority for war, Chris Patten, the EU external relations commissioner, has warned... Signalling a slightly more confident tone over a crisis which has deeply divided the union, Mr Patten said it would be hard to persuade Europeans to pick up the tab if President George Bush acted unilaterally to disarm Saddam Hussein."
BLACK | related stories

"Mr Blair has bought himself time. He accomplished the delicate task of sounding warlike in defence of British security and warlike towards Iraq, while actually keeping war at bay and voicing his strong preference for working through the UN. That will go some way towards placating his party. But he studiedly avoided answering Ms Short's question, and his overall message to the country is little clearer than it was last week... He has bought himself time on the home front, but not much of it."
IND ED | related stories

"Blair is not wrong about terrorism and not wrong about Iraq. He is not a poodle either. But he is wrong - dangerously wrong - about the US under this administration. He fails to see from the inside what is more obvious from the outside. Charles Kennedy was right to warn last week that the British national interest may require Blair to say no over a US attack on Iraq without UN authorisation. But Kennedy is too cautious. The whole of the US's Iraq policy is conceived in a more aggressive framework. It is Blair's unwillingness to see or say this which means he still has not won the argument at home."
KETTLE | related stories

"Israel's most recent excuse for why it cannot negotiate peace with the Palestinians is that the Palestinians have been unable to develop a fully democratic society while living under Israeli occupation. This excuse is better known as "reform." And yet, when Palestinians are invited to go to London to further the reform process, the government of Israel prevents us from doing so. "
RABBO | related stories

"It is difficult to know where this Israeli policy is heading. And perhaps it does not have any clear objective apart from imposing additional punishment, after the previous punishments were to no avail. What is quite clear is that the Palestinian Authority, which is in control primarily of the population concentrations in the cities, is, as a result, losing its character as a governing and political entity. The Palestinians are once again becoming dependent, every step of the way, on Israeli licenses and permits"
HA'ARETZ | related stories

"The first members of the American liaison team responsible for coordinating with the Israel Defense Forces in the event of a U.S. war against Iraq arrived in Israel this weekend and moved into the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv... The newly-arrived unit is responsible for setting up the infrastructure for communication and coordination among the IDF, the Pentagon and any American forces in the area during the expected war with Iraq. For now, its stay has been defined as open-ended."
HA'ARETZ | related stories

"Networks To Dissolve Exit Poll Service. Replacement Sought For Election Surveys The major television networks and the Associated Press decided yesterday to dissolve the Voter News Service exit poll consortium but have not reached agreement on a replacement plan to survey voters on Election Day."
WP | related stories

EPA to Allow Polluters to Buy Clean Water Credits. Environmental Groups Say Policy Weakens Law The Bush administration yesterday announced plans to allow industrial polluters to purchase "credits" from lesser polluters to bring them into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
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"More Kids Receiving Psychiatric Drugs. Question of 'Why' Still Unanswered The number of American children being treated with psychiatric drugs has grown sharply in the past 15 years, tripling from 1987 to 1996 and showing no sign of slowing, researchers said yesterday."
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NYT Has YOUR Pension Fund Been Enronized? "Many American companies are spending large amounts to shore up pension plans that have deteriorated, sometimes drastically....Today's pension accounting methods "have led to misleading financial statements that paint a rosy picture as the health of defined benefit pension plans deteriorates," said David Zion, an accounting analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

REEVES Bush "is, right or wrong -- and he certainly is convinced he's right -- a true big-picture guy. He may be riding for a fall, but he is trying to change the world and the country. Bush, right now, is moving to remake the world in an American image -- institutionalizing an American empire -- and remake the country in a conservative image with government power reduced by cutting its funding. And if people don't like it, they can go to court and appeal to the judges he picked. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

CONASON "[Bush Fed Judge Appointee] Pickering's résumé displays many of the most unappetizing characteristics of the segregationist milieu from which he and so many other white Mississippi politicians have emerged. He did once testify against a Klan member, as his supporters incessantly repeat, but that single instance must be weighed against a long record of apparent hostility to equal rights for blacks. He and his supporters insist that he was a moderate, rather than a hardcore racist. But in the South of the Citizens Councils, a "moderate" was someone who defended segregation but didn't practice or advocate brutal violence to suppress the black freedom struggle. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

HIGHTOWER "The eight most frightening words coming out of our nation's capitol these days are: "The Bush administration has announced revised standards for..." It doesn't matter "for what" - you just know that it's going to be awful news, because the Bushites are zealously taking their ideological, pro-corporate chainsaws to every rule on the books that protects us regular Joes and Janes from the overbearing greed of corporate power. Whether it's a rule to protect our health, our jobs, the purity of our air and water, our pensions, our privacy, our natural resources, our citizenship rights - you name it, Bush & Co. are ripping up the current legal standards so it will be easier for corporations to get their way." 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

ENGEL ""Bushwhacked: With war looming it is no good the American public looking to its newspapers for an independent voice. For the press have now become the president's men . " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

SEATTLE PI "Iraqi cancers, birth defects blamed on U.S. depleted uranium." 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

GOLDSBOROUGH "America is being maneuvered by its government into war with Iraq, and there is a fair chance we will fight it alone. Why does the Bush administration see Iraq differently from how others see it?...The threat to the alliance is real, but comes not from Saddam Hussein or an imagined Euro-American psychological diversion, but from George W. Bush, who is turning America into the new Prussia. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

RALL Guess Which One? "The Defense Department claims 12 nations with nuclear weapons programs, 13 with biological weapons, 16 with chemical weapons, and 28 with ballistic missiles as existing and emerging threats to the United States. But only one of those countries sits atop the second largest oil reserves in the world. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

SCHEER "Hey, people: War is no game. Bush's planned post-Super Bowl spectacle will turn tragic in overtime....The viewing public doesn't seem to understand that what is being planned is a multiyear occupation of an independent, powerful and modern Muslim nation rife with ethnic tension. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

REESE "Our American service people take an oath to defend the United States, not to serve as legionnaires on the outposts of a global corporate empire. Whatever oil or minerals we need we can buy from whoever is sitting on them, and other than that we have no legitimate interest in what kind of government they have. Our most immediate problem is political leaders who seem to have read little and think even less, not to mention a bulky intelligence community that is so uncoordinated it probably represents more of a risk than a safeguard. World War II and the Cold War were wars enough. It is now time to pursue peace with strength." 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "SHIELDED FROM public attention by the mounting crises in Iraq and North Korea, Afghanistan slipped into the new year without having achieved the stability it desperately needs for a sustained recovery -- but also without plunging into chaos. That it has avoided famine, civil war and the resurgence of serious military challenges to U.S. forces during the past 12 months is something of an accomplishment, if only in a negative sense....But Mr. Karzai and his Afghan and Western allies are still in a precarious position, one that in the next year could as easily tip toward anarchy as toward the self-reinforcing cycle of economic revitalization and governmental reconstruction that is hoped for. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

CONASON "Anyone struggling to understand the economic reasoning behind Bush's latest plan is wasting mental energy. This plan's aim is the same as that of almost any other economic proposal emanating from this White House: to make America's tax regime more regressive. In keeping with the media strategy that Karl Rove has followed since the very beginning of the Bush presidential campaign in 1999, this upper-class warfare, which seeks to return us to the political norms of the 19th century, is marketed as 'reform.' " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

GOLDSBOROUGH "Republicans wouldn't be Republicans if they didn't stand for tax cuts, would they? So President Bush has offered the de rigueur Republican tax-cut plan, and the question is: Is it good for the country? Taxpayers don't think so. An Associated Press poll last week showed that two of three Americans oppose tax cuts because of fears over deficits and war. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

RASPBERRY "It seems to me Bush is one of those people who like tax cuts just because they like tax cuts. They change their justification for the cuts when the economic facts change, but they never change their fondness for the cuts. Bush's first tax-cut measure, if you recall, was proposed as a way of redistributing the huge budget surplus he inherited from Bill Clinton. You know, give the people their money back.When the surplus evaporated (I won't get into whose fault that was), he proposed tax cuts as a way to stop the economy from deteriorating. Now he's proposing tax cuts as a way to turn the economy around. Does he really believe tax cuts can, like penicillin, find their healing way to wherever the infection happens to be? Or do he and his fellow cutters think tax-cutting is the most appropriate way to shrink the size of a government they excoriate as too big and too intrusive (except when they want a government that can pry into our computers and mail and spending habits)? " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

IVINS "Speaking of damn lies and statistics, one of the little games being played in Washington is that the Republicans want to switch to Enron accounting on the economy. They're leaning on both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation to change the way they make their economic estimates. According to the R's, "static scoring" -- as opposed to your "dynamic scoring" -- overestimates the cost of tax cuts by ignoring their role in boosting economic growth. Why, claim the R's, tax cuts pay for themsleves! If that's so, why are all the states going broke? Bring on Arthur Andersen and mark-to-market accounting -- that'll perk up the economy. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

RIDGEWAY "Almost half of the projected benefits from President Bush's plan to scrap taxes on dividends would go to the one percent of the population whose incomes top $1 million. The scheme has been promoted as beneficial to the elderly, but in fact, only six percent of the elderly with incomes under $50,000 get anything out of it. These figures come from a briefing Monday by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank. Further, taxpayers who earn $35,000 or less come away with $27 more a year. The impact on individuals is just the start of the matter. State governments are already reeling under fiscal pressures. Instead of following the right-wing mantra of helping the states out, Bush's proposal would drain more money away from them, worsening their situation by at least $4 billion a year." 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "VIRGINIANS -- especially poor Virginians -- have been suffering the effects of misguided state parsimony for years. Now, in tight times, they are suffering even more. Only hours into the new legislative session in Richmond last week, the politics of priorities was in play: Before Republican lawmakers could make political hay out of Gov. Mark R. Warner's decision to close a dozen Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices, the governor relented, announcing that he had found $6.4 million from a legal settlement to cover the cost. Hooray; an inconvenience has been averted. But there was no similar outcry, and no comparable rescue, for the thousands of vulnerable Virginians who will suffer because of cuts in state spending. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "How has a new round of proposed federal tax cuts stirred the emotions and economic aspirations of American families? The answer from four of them seems to be: not very much. A carpenter, a clerk, a surgeon and a software engineer were interviewed with their families by The New York Times two years ago, just before the last tax cuts took effect. Reached again this week, after President Bush proposed new tax cuts as part of a $674 billion, 10-year economic plan, they said they were working harder and longer than ever in today's bleaker economy. The 2001 cuts, which included a $300 refund check, have made little difference in their lives, these taxpayers said, and they do not expect any new cuts the president and Congress agree on to matter much either. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "Underlying Hypocrisy....The G.O.P. majority quietly changed a more recent rule championed by fiscal conservatives that mandated a direct vote in order to raise the national debt. With [their] brief era of budget-surplus politicking gone, the change allows lawmakers to accept the deepening red ink implicitly with each vote they cast on budget measures that are far more pleasing to constituents. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Hastert, DeLay Reward Loyalty Over Seniority. House Republican leaders, through a series of little-noticed rule changes and key appointments, are dramatically tightening their hold on power as they prepare to push for new spending cuts, bigger tax breaks and a more ambitious social agenda. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

CANNONINGTON "I never thought Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and I would have anything in common. He represents several New York City neighborhoods. I live in a stereotypically suburban Maryland neighborhood. The list goes on from there; our differences are obvious, myriad and vast. And yet last week I found in Rangel a welcome, if unlikely, kindred spirit. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

COCCO "Rangel's Draft Plan Would Spread the Burden." 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

ARIANNA "Road Outrage: How Corporate Greed And Political Corruption Paved The Way For The SUV Explosion. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "The National Academy of Sciences has addressed various aspects of human-caused climate change in reports over the years, including one prepared at the behest of the White House in 2001. All of the reports are laced with caveats and discuss unresolved questions, but authors and other scientists say that is standard in such research. What is most important, they say, is the shift [to greater] confidence in the conclusions, which can be traced in the following excerpts from five reports issued between 1990 and 2001. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "The Pentagon plans to ask Congress next month for relief from environmental regulations that protect endangered species and critical habitats on millions of acres of military training ranges across the country, saying those controls impede crucial exercises and combat readiness. " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "With Gore Out, Lieberman Announces Bid. Former VP Candidate Is Latest to Join Presidential Race " 01.13.03 www.bushwatch.com

BRODER "Before the O'Neill talk, I asked one of my favorite Republican economics guides what he thought of the new Bush tax plan. He did not mince words. This man -- a veteran of the Nixon and Ford administrations and a friend and adviser to many officials in the Reagan and two Bush administrations -- said, "It may be the least defensible policy ever." I would amend that slightly: It is probably the most ill-considered since Treasury Secretary John Connally persuaded President Nixon to freeze wages and prices in 1971. Like that move -- designed to help Nixon's reelection in 1972, whatever the damaging long-term consequences -- this latest pack of proposals reeks of politics. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED Bush War Against Women. "The Bush administration's anti-choice obsession is resulting in a steady march into the past, to a time when pregnancy was more a matter of fate than choice." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

BRODER "When George W. Bush was running for president, he did not campaign as an enemy of the federal government. But he claimed that he would limit its growth and power....That was then. Now that Bush is running the federal government, its size doesn't bother him so much. Two years after taking office, Bush is presiding over the biggest, most expensive federal government in history. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "A special Justice Department recruitment program long overseen by career employees has been moved firmly under the control of Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and his senior aides, prompting complaints that the effort is being politicized, according to current and former department officials. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

TRIGAUX "Another suspect deal, another Bush brother in the mix....The Bush brothers' track record as directors of troubled companies is gaining legendary status....Maybe Marvin Bush, who is financially savvy enough to manage hedge funds in Virginia just outside the nation's capital, finally learned from history. Unlike his brothers, he chose to get out while the getting was good. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

BURNS Marvin Bush Tied To Company That Provided World Trade Center Security As Well As Company That Insured World Trade Center. Both Companies Have Benefited From Terrorism Insurance Protections Backed By The White House And Approved By Congress. 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

TRIGAUX "Once upon a time, a rich and powerful father gathered his four young sons and urged them to become rich and powerful....Take risks. Push yourselves. Influence others, he ordered in a bold voice. Then he whispered, "And if you muck things up, a fairy godfather will always appear to make things better." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Congress Repubs Remove Their Own Reform Rules, Now That They Are In Power, Raise The Deficit Ceiling, And Decide To Use Supply Side Fantasy For Budget Creation 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Bush "Top Secret" Sept. 2001 Memo Began Planning For Iraq Attack. "Almost as a footnote, the document...directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq, senior administration officials said. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT U.S. Force in Gulf Is Said to Be Rising to 150,000 Troops 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "THE INSPECTION PROCESS in Iraq, regrettably, is proceeding according to past form, both on the ground and at the United Nations Security Council. While feigning openness before television cameras, Saddam Hussein's regime has resorted to the same tactics of evasion it practiced all during the 1990s. Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix reported Thursday that the weapons declaration Iraq was required to submit last month was "practically devoid of new evidence"; that some of the information it provided about nerve gas was contradicted by documents already in the inspectors' hands; and that Baghdad had not "made a serious effort" to supply the names of its weapons scientists. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

AHMED+VULLIAMY "Hawks sit out a phoney peace while the war machine rolls on. The UN weapons inspectors' first report on Iraq found no 'smoking gun' to trigger a US and British attack. But the appearance that peace has broken out is deceptive... 'If Blix finds anything, that will be a breach of the resolution. If his work is frustrated, that will also be a breach,' says a Downing Street source." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

AHMED "Tony Blair last night made clear that war with Iraq remained virtually inevitable as President George W. Bush continued his inexorable steps towards military conflict with Saddam Hussein... As the aircraft carrier Ark Royal left Portsmouth yesterday, Number 10 officials told The Observer that military action is still 'more likely than not' and that Britain would back America, which is still set on war with Iraq." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

MC GRORY "The barely breathing peace community is clinging to a faraway figure, Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw. He's in London, and he's all they've got. He said last week that the odds on going to war had shifted from 60-40 for war to 60-40 for peace. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

DILLON "An Independent on Sunday survey of Labour Party chairs of ministers' constituencies shows overwhelming grassroots hostility to military action against Iraq... Nearly all Labour Party constituency chairs and agents asked - almost half the total of those held by government ministers - said their members were completely opposed to US-led unilateral military action against Saddam Hussein." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

OBSERVER "Prime Minister Tony Blair faces being confronted by 20,000 anti-war demonstrators when he travels to Glasgow next month to speak at the Labour Party's spring conference... The party is due to be addressed by Blair on February 15, the same day as a planned worldwide anti-war demonstration... Organisers of the Scottish protest said it would be the largest such march in Glasgow for more than a decade and made it clear they were determined to disrupt the Prime Minister's visit." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

LAT 5-15,000 Protest Iraq War In Los Angeles 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

ANTIWAR "Helen Thomas, the most senior member of the White House press corps, really socked it to Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer on Monday over the issue of Iraq. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

FRIEDMAN "Why is George Bush so intensely disliked? In part, it's because people feel the president and his team have stopped talking to the world. They only growl at it now. But the biggest factor remains the Bush team's seeming indifference to making any serious effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when so much killing is going on. The administration's refusal to apply any creative imagination to defusing this conflict, and even belittling it while calling Ariel Sharon "a man of peace," has embittered the Arab public. This now clouds everything we do here: Invading Iraq is cast as a war to protect Israel. Democratization is cast as a way to punish the Arabs. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

FISK "Israel is asking the United States for $8bn (£5bn) in loan guarantees - and has sent to Washington one of the former army officers implicated in the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacre of Palestinian civilians to persuade the Bush administration to grant the money." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "Sharon is the perfect exemplar of the violent Israeli, the sort who tramples his neighbor and who responds wildly and screams bloody murder whenever anyone tries to put him in his place. That's what he always used to be; and now it turns out that his term as prime minister did nothing to soften the edges, and change his behavioral traits. The moment he gets into trouble, the moment he sets a goal for himself, he doesn't fret about the means used to get what he wants. He doesn't flinch about breaking the rules of the game - and sometimes these rules happen to be actual laws. And when he's called on to make accounts, he puts on a martyr's face, playing the part of a victim of some heinous miscarriage of justice." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

BURKE "Modern Islamic militancy is chaotic. It is composed of individuals, small unknown groups and larger better known entities that constantly form, dissolve and reform. Some involve longstanding activists, some are nothing more than a couple of hot-headed youngsters; some militants have been in Afghanistan, some have been in Bosnia or Chechnya or both, some have never left their home countries. Some have contacts with bin Laden or people close to him, others get funding or orders from other activists, some get no funding at all. Some of them share aims, others disagree. Some are prepared to co-operate to achieve common aims, others are fiercely competitive. Their views and preferred tactics differ and change. Some militants become active late in life, others at an early age. Some are genuinely committed to a jihadi struggle, others are simply caught up in things beyond their understanding. This is not a structured coherent organisation taking orders from one man." 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

YAHOO "Illinois governor overturns 167 death sentences in momentous blanket clemency....The governor's historic vote of no confidence in this part of the judicial system was hailed by opponents of capital punishment who hope it will encourage some of the other 37 states that still have judicial execution on the books to look at what they believe are universal problems. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED Governor Ryan's "willingness to confront the magnitude of the failure of his state's criminal justice system commands respect. On this issue, he leaves Illinois a better place -- and a model for the nation as to how a state can begin facing the problem of the death penalty. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

STAR Canadian Premier Pulls A Bush. "The political career of British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell has plunged into crisis after he was charged with drunk driving while vacationing in Hawaii. " 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

ARCHIVES "Dubya's Drunken Driving Raises Bigger Questions" 01.12.03 www.bushwatch.com

GATES "There is a stunning disconnect between the terrible budget shortfalls facing states and localities and the priorities of federal tax-cutters. States face budget deficits of more than $60 billion for the coming year--and the ax is falling on mental health, education and children's healthcare. Libraries are being shuttered, tuitions increased and parks closed. Governors of all political persuasions talk about the need for massive federal relief to the states in the form of block grants and Medicaid subsidies... Yet the President and Congressional tax-cutters are marching ahead with a $670 billion tax cut that could include elimination of dividend taxes and an acceleration of 2001 tax rate cuts... Also at the top of the domestic agenda is the push to make repeal of the federal estate tax permanent. Such a step will not have any short-term or long-term economic stimulus effect. But cutting $850 billion in revenue in the decade after the tax is phased out--money that would have been collected from the heirs of multimillionaires--will prolong the current fiscal crisis. Many states will feel the pain of revenue loss first because their inheritance and estate taxes are linked to the federal levy." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Key Republican senators are raising objections to President Bush's $670 billion tax cut proposal, an early sign that the White House will face a tougher fight than it did on two previous rounds of tax reductions. " 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

WALLACE "If Philadelphia is to be our model [for the 2004 GOP National Convention in New York City], we shouldn't count on a riveting event. That was a tightly scripted affair about "compassion," featuring people of color performing for a snowy white audience of delegates. Maybe next year the theme will be updated from race to class, with a stageful of the unemployed and uninsured singing the virtues of tax cuts." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

GARTEN " Unless our military confrontations lead to something much better for the millions of people who will be hurt, we will have won the wars and lost the peace....There are at least four broader [economic] challenges the United States must now confront, and with an urgency that the Bush administration has yet to demonstrate." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

SEATTLE PI "The Bush administration said yesterday it will consider removing Clean Water Act protections against pollution and development from up to one-fifth of the nation's streams, ponds, lakes, mudflats and wetlands. While the question is being decided, the administration said, federal regulators should act as if that policy already is in effect. Only by getting clearance from headquarters can the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency try to protect the approximately 20 million acres that appear to be affected, administration officials said....The move was denounced by some environmentalists and their allies in Congress. Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., said it would "roll back 30 years of progress" under the landmark environmental law.For those waterways and wetlands that lose protection, "you can throw garbage in it or animal waste in it," said Joan Mulhern, a lawyer-lobbyist with the Earthjustice law firm. "You can kill it, ditch it or destroy it."...In Washington state, the policy apparently would remove protection from mudflats that scientists say are critical to the biological health of Puget Sound." David Beckman, director of the California Clean Water Project said Bush's decision, "is going to make it much easier for big corporations to develop wetlands and discharge pollutants into streams. It's a blatant attempt to sidestep Congress, a move under the cover of darkness to rewrite the rules incorporated by the act." (SFC) 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "Unsafe workplaces are a problem that goes well beyond a single company. An estimated 200,000 workers have died from injuries on the job since 1972, and many more have been injured. Despite the flaws in the system, the Bush administration has proposed a 1.7 percent cut in OSHA's budget for this year. If the White House will not address the problem, Congress must. " 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

KELLER "Mr. Bush came in with an attitude rather than a policy. The attitude was that Kim Jong Il was despicable, and that bargaining with him would be immoral. Mr. Bush called Mr. Kim a "pygmy," told a reporter he "loathed" him, inducted him into the axis of evil. The North Koreans have spewed enough hysterical invective of their own — they once called us "cannibals," and this week they were bellowing about World War III — to recognize bluster when it's aimed at them, but they seem to have taken our bellicose talk fairly seriously. Especially when we abruptly cut off discussions, adopted military "pre-emption" as our doctrine for dealing with nuclear wannabes, and cited North Korea as a justification for building a missile defense system in Alaska. When Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that our military is designed to fight two wars at the same time, guess what he meant. " 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

ROTHSCHILD "I suppose it's too much to ask for profundity from Bush when he's on his way into a coffee shop in Crawford or out giving tours of his ranch, but could the guy prepare a little more before he meets the press?... The United States may be within weeks of waging war against Iraq, and the commander in chief can't make a coherent argument to save his life as to why Baghdad is more threatening than Pyongyang... Granted, it's not an easy argument to make." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

GUARDIAN "Transatlantic differences over Iraq threatened to set back America's timeline for an invasion yesterday when the European Union warned the US that there could be no war against Saddam Hussein without clear proof that he holds banned weapons... Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, issued a blunt reminder to Washington that only the UN security council could determine whether military action was justified." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Over the past week, key U.S. allies have sent an unambiguous message to the Bush administration to give United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq time to complete their work, even if it means delaying the onset of hostilities." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "Is it in fact certain that the United States and Britain will go to war against Iraq? And if so, when will it happen? Suddenly, we are hearing voices to the effect that this most-talked-about of wars will not take place. This, however, is not the view in Israel. The appraisal of the situation here is that Washington has even decided on the exact date for the start of the war - during February or March, according to the Israeli assessment." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

WALTER "But there is also another objective: to remind politicians that there will certainly come a point when more and more people will start to turn from apathy to action. As war gets closer, there will be far more activity on the streets that will reflect the growing frustration of people who are tired of being able to voice their dissent only to pollsters. This may be, in more ways than one, the lull before the storm." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

ROSIN "It was one of those times when lawmakers, as well as President Clinton, urged immigrants to come out of the closet even if they had worked here illegally. All they had to do was wait, patiently, while the INS processed their applications. And now here they are, two years later, legal papers pending, and they're in jail. There may be some vague connection between keeping an accurate record of Middle Eastern men in this country and the war on terrorism. But this operation isn't about that. This instead has become one of those moments when we all have to be honest about the absurdity of American immigration policy. Sometimes, usually in economic boom times, we allow winks and ambiguities, and then suddenly we don't anymore. And no matter how much lawmakers complain about the INS, they never reform it or boost its funding. Which must mean that at some level, we want it this way." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP With Dems Support, Chafee, Snow, And Collins Force Frist's Hand On Lott Promise. Repub Senate leaders agree to have special interest vaccine, offshore fed contracts, and Tx. A+M provisions removed from Homeland Security bill. 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

LETTERS "Blacks are driven to vote Democratic based on experience." 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "Presidents Vicente Fox and George Bush both took office two years ago promising to forge a new partnership. It hasn't happened, and as a result Mexico's enlightened foreign minister has resigned. " 01.11.03 www.bushwatch.com

HICKEY "The Bush economic proposals are a sham. They make the tax system more unfair, they starve the public sector of resources for needed public investment and they will not revive growth, spur corporate investment or create jobs. Progressives should say so loudly and clearly. But they must also make sure the Democratic Party's plan for jobs and economic growth offers a real alternative to the Bush program." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

AP Mario Cuomo Accuses Bush of Class Warfare 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "The estimated cost of the [recently passed unemployment benefits extension] measure is $7.2 billion, which is a pittance compared with the cost of the various economic packages now floating around Capitol Hill. For an extra $4.5 billion, Congress could also provide badly needed help to about a million "exhaustees" - people who have already used up their federal benefits but are still without a job. That would be a worthy addition to any stimulus package." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

REUTERS "The already troubled U.S. job market took a turn for the worse in December as the economy lost 101,000 jobs, the government said today. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

DIONNE "You have to hand it to President Bush and his judge-pickers. They understand the power of the judiciary to shape American political life for years to come. They brazenly use their executive authority to fill the courts with their allies. Then they attack, attack and attack again when opposition senators dare invoke their own constitutional power to slow a juggernaut whose purpose is to remake the world according to the specifications of Justice Antonin Scalia..... By sending Pickering up again, Bush signaled to his Southern backers that he was willing to stand up for a Mississippian against Senate liberals, despite Lott's defenestration. And the energy the Pickering and Owen battles will soak up may allow other ideological nominees to slip through. The real issue here involves not the personal characteristics of nominees -- there are plenty of smart conservatives on Bush's list -- but a political struggle to create an increasingly activist conservative bench. "They realized that if they took over the one unelected part of the government, they could govern for a generation," says Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat. A liberal fantasy? On the contrary, the ever-candid Clint Bolick, a former Reagan Justice Department official and conservative activist, told The Post this week that "everyone on the right agreed in 2000 that judicial nominations were the single most important reason to be for Bush." The worst-kept secret in Washington: Judicial appointments are the tribute Bush pays to his political base. Moreover, conservatives are increasingly willing to use federal judicial power to achieve political ends." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

KRISTOF "Conservative groups in President Bush's support base have declared war on condoms, in a campaign that, if successful, could lead to millions of deaths from AIDS around the world....So far President Bush has not fully signed on to the campaign against condoms, but there are alarming signs that he is clambering on board...."The Bush administration position basically condemns people to death by H.I.V./AIDS," said Adrienne Germain, president of the International Women's Health Coalition. 'And we're talking about tens of millions of people.'" 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

CAMPBELL "The Bush administration yesterday announced a new job - in effect a demotion - for Otto Reich, the controversial Cuban-American who has been responsible for policy in Latin America for the past year... The decision is a climbdown which acknowledges that the Senate, even with its new Republican majority, will not confirm Mr Reich as assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "A recent ruling that Americans who are labeled "enemy combatants" can be held indefinitely without access to a lawyer points to an unsatisfactory trend. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "IN THE UNITED STATES, citizens have long slept easy knowing that their government could not lock them up without charge or hold them indefinitely incommunicado, and that if arrested they would get the chance to tell their side of the story to a judge. Then, last year, the military brought a man named Yaser Esam Hamdi to American shores. Mr. Hamdi, the military contended, had been captured with a Taliban unit in Afghanistan. He was shipped to a Navy brig in Virginia after military interrogators learned that, having been born in Louisiana to Saudi parents, he was likely an American citizen. Since then, the government has held him as an "enemy combatant," filing no charges against him. He has not been permitted to see a lawyer or anyone from his family. Wednesday a federal appeals court in Richmond endorsed this state of affairs. The military, ruled a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, need offer a court no more than a cursory two-page document to keep an American locked up until the war on terrorism is over -- whatever that may mean. The decision demands the Supreme Court's attention. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

IGNATIUS "To understand [the war on terrorism,] let's try to imagine what it looks like from the other side -- from the perspective of an al Qaeda operative in the field. Based on the best information I've been able to gather from U.S. officials, here's how I would read that imaginary agent's mind today:... " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Thousands of nervous immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, many risking arrest and deportation, have been flooding into U.S. immigration offices in advance of today's deadline to register for a controversial program that has already resulted in more than 500 detentions nationwide. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "Fiasco In The Making. Both the efficacy of the procedure -- what will the INS learn and how will the information be used? -- and the wisdom of treating law-abiding and largely pro-American foreigners like criminals are debatable, particularly since the precedents are not good. Indeed, the INS so comprehensively bungled the first round of registrations last month -- for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan -- that this time around its credibility as a legitimate player in the war on terrorism is at stake. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

REZA "Look hard enough at a person and you're sure to find something he has done wrong. Focus on any group and you'll find wrongdoing among its members. We saw this last month with the arrests of hundreds of Middle Eastern visitors for routine immigration violations when they showed up to comply with a new regulation requiring them to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

GUARDIAN "Israel's state attorney is investigating Ariel Sharon in connection with an allegation that he lied to the police about the source of $1.5m (£930,000) used to repay illegal campaign funds. The latest financial scandal to touch Mr Sharon, whose party is reeling from a spate of allegations about vote-buying and organised crime as it approaches a general election in three weeks, came to light after the justice ministry asked the South African authorities for help in tracking the money. Papers sent to the South Africans indicate that Mr Sharon and his two sons, Omri and Gilad, may be open to charges of fraud, deception and lying to the police. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Sharon, Going on TV Over Scandal, Is Yanked Off Air In Mid-Speech For Breaking Election Rules. 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "One way or another, it is already clear today that Sharon is not the man who will leave the territories and make any painful concessions. He has manacled himself and the country with his bullying policies, which have ruined the economy and turned our lives into a Russian roulette of suicide bombings. The Teflon Man has become a wounded animal, liable to pitch Israel straight into the inferno. If he does not agree to resign, one can only hope that the voters will not give him the power to go on destroying the dream of a different future for this country." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "A panel of 11 Supreme Court justices on Thursday overturned the Central Elections Committee's decisions to disqualify Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi, Azmi Bishara and the Balad party from running in the January 28 election. The court also upheld the decisions to allow far-right activist Baruch Marzel to run, and to disqualify Likud candidates Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Feiglin." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ ED "The Supreme Court yesterday issued a just and wise ruling on the Central Election Commission's decisions to permit or forbid certain candidates to run for the Knesset. By allowing the candidacies of Baruch Marzel, Ahmed Tibi, Azmi Bishara and the Balad list, and rejecting those of Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Feiglin, the court once again confirmed its stature as an independent branch of government that examines the issues that are brought to it on their merits and stands guard over the rule of law in this country." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "No 'Smoking Guns' So Far, U.N. Is Told. Blix Says Iraq Failed to Provide Enough Data " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

GUARDIAN "Iraqi scientists whose evidence could provide Washington with a trigger for war are to be whisked out of the country soon to a neutral venue, Cyprus... The foreign minister of Cyprus, Ioannis Cassoulides, told the Guardian: "It seems they will be coming."... A tug-of-war between the US and Baghdad over the scientists is shaping up as the crunch issue. The dilemma for the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, is that if he allows a scientist out to blow the whistle on a banned weapons programme, it could lead to war, but if Iraq were to block their departure, that too could be the cause of all-out conflict." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Iraqi Scientists Not Likely To Be Interviewed Abroad. Despite Pledge, Iraqi Official Says Arms Experts Not 'Ready to Go'" 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

ASHLEY "First the good news for Tony Blair: his cabinet is not split about Iraq. All this loose talk of divisions is so much journalistic hot air. Second, the not-so-good news for our prime minister: the cabinet is not split only because it is united in deep angst and worry about what he is up to... In recent weeks, three cabinet ministers, two of whom you would classify as ultra loyal, have privately expressed to me grave doubts about the course apparently being pursued by Mr Blair. "This is not what we were elected for," said one. "This is madness," said another." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

GRICE+USBORNE "Tony Blair put a brake on the drive towards war with Iraq yesterday by saying the United Nations weapons inspectors should be given more "time and space" to finish their work... He gave his assessment after the United Nations said bluntly that six weeks of searching for weapons of mass destruction by its inspectors in Iraq had failed to find any incriminating evidence or come up with any "smoking gun" that might point to illegal concealment." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

GUARDIAN "Russia has put three warships on standby to go to the Persian Gulf within the next month to protect its "national interests" in the event of an American invasion of Iraq... Russia's Pacific fleet has been ordered by the central command to prepare two cruisers and a fuel tanker for immediate deployment to the Gulf... The move will heighten tension between Moscow and Washington, who both have interests in Iraq's oilfields." 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

AP "Preparing for possible war against Iraq, the Marine Corps has taken the unusual step of stopping all Marines from leaving the service for the coming 12 months, officials said Thursday. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "North Korea set off a flurry of diplomatic activity and condemnation today when it announced it was withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Schools' Internet Subsidies Are Called Fraud-Riddled. "The $2.25 billion E-Rate [federal] program has helped connect thousands of schools and libraries to the Internet, but it may also be enriching unscrupulous contractors, according to a report released yesterday."01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

BBC "The polar bear could be driven to extinction by global warming within 100 years, warns an ecology expert. The animal, which relies on sea ice to catch seals, is already starting to suffer the effects of climate changes in areas such as Hudson Bay in Canada. Scientists say Arctic sea ice is melting at a rate of up to 9% per decade. Arctic summers could be ice-free by mid-century. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Increasingly concerned about an oil shortage as a possible war with Iraq approaches, the Bush administration has overcome its reluctance to become [openly] involved in Venezuela's escalating political conflict and is preparing a major initiative it hopes will lead to a breakthrough in deadlocked talks between the government and opposition there, according to U.S. and foreign diplomatic sources. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

HAMILTON "Empires always serve the rulers, not the ruled.....Extraordinary to say, but there seem to be a substantial number of people in Washington who believe this patronising drivel [of empire]. Worse they are finding an echo over here, not just with a few fogeys who declare how much better Africa would be if it were still ruled by the British, but with people who believe America should take up Britain's imperial role. " 01.10.03 www.bushwatch.com

HEARST "World on path to disaster, bomb pioneer warns. Defence analysts at Guardian non-proliferation conference see increased risk of atomic war President George Bush, hijacked by hardliners in his administration, is setting the world on a course towards nuclear disaster, a founder of the nuclear deterrence policy said. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Anti-U.S. Sentiment Deepens in S. Korea . Support for Isolating North Seen Lacking....Inside a Starbucks coffee shop tucked in a posh shopping district of South Korea's capital, three women in their late twenties sip cappuccino, their Prada purses and Gucci sunglasses testifying to lives of comfort in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula -- the side defended by 37,000 U.S. troops.Yet, as their conversation turns to the nuclear confrontation playing out here, all three express sympathies for North Korea and anger toward the United States. They reject the central tenet that has bound South Korea and the United States together for a half-century -- that they need American troops here to protect them from the menacing Communist power to the north. 'If the United States left, I wouldn't mind," says Kim Young Ran, 29. "If North Korea wants nuclear weapons, I think they should have them. The U.S. and so many other countries have them. There's no way North Korea will attack us with their nuclear weapons. I don't think so. We're the same country. You don't bomb and kill your family. We share the same blood.'" 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED Bush Continues To Want It Both Ways On Race. "The nation didn't have to wait long to find out if President Bush's impassioned denunciation of Trent Lott's racial views last month presaged a new approach to the selection of federal judges. It didn't. That became clear on Tuesday evening when the White House decided to renominate Charles Pickering, who failed to win confirmation from the Democratic-controlled Senate last year. Judge Pickering, a Mississippi trial judge and a protégé of Mr. Lott, was rejected largely because of his insensitive handling of civil rights cases. The Senate should once again refuse to confirm Judge Pickering, and should carefully scrutinize the 30 other nominees the administration is putting forth." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

KAKUTANI "It's no surprise that David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who helped coin the "axis of evil" phrase that George W. Bush uttered in his State of the Union address, thinks the president is doing a good job in moving aggressively against Iraq. And it's no surprise that Mr. Frum sides in this book with the hawks in the administration, repeatedly dissing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, while pressing for a strong-armed reorientation of American foreign policy.What is surprising about "The Right Man" is how tired, disingenuous and knee-jerk so many of its arguments are....The volume as a whole...is less an insider's view of the Bush White House than a shrill polemic about the administration's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and its campaign against Saddam Hussein....Mr. Frum's penchant for facile analogies and bellicose language underscores the dogmatic, hectoring tone of this book, a book that plays solely to readers who already share all of his certainties and that makes no effort to persuade others through historical knowledge, foreign policy acumen or simple logic." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED Bush Is A Divider, Not A Uniter. "PRESIDENT BUSH didn't waste any time prying open the fissure lines between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. Before members of the 108th Congress could even settle into their offices, the White House served up its first controversies, with promises of more to come. As if spoiling for combat, and within hours of the GOP's taking control of the Senate, Mr. Bush resubmitted the nominations of U.S. District Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr. of Mississippi and Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla R. Owen to positions on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, even though both judges were rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee in party-line votes last year. At the same time he set out to antagonize Senate Democrats, the president proposed an economic plan so steeped in conservative ideology as to dampen any possibility of early bipartisan compromise on a stimulus program. It is disappointing to witness the political climate deteriorate so quickly, especially with the nation under threat of terrorist attack and poised for war in the Persian Gulf. In times such as these, the president should be the prime mover for bipartisanship. Instead, it is Mr. Bush who has launched the first attack in an ill-timed and uncalled-for partisan war. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Democrats Set to Fight Pickering Nomination. Filibuster Hinted Against Miss. Judge 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

MC GRORY " The opening session of the 108th Congress was expected to provide a living tableau of the November election, and it did. The Republican side of the Senate floor vibrated with eager rookies and big-foot alumni. Bob Dole was exhibiting husbandly pride in his newly elected wife. A suddenly portly Howard Baker renewed old acquaintance. Trent Lott got his full share of hugs and shakes -- and a seat in the fourth row. But there were surprises, too: a Democratic rumble on behalf of the poor, and the sight of meek Tom Daschle, the new minority leader, upstaging his stately opposite number, Bill Frist of Tennessee. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

CLINES Initial Savaging By Congressional Repubs Hidden From Media View By Bush's Tax Cut Unveiling In Chicago 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

IND ED "If Mr Bush's consistency is unimpeachable, there is room for considerable doubt about the wisdom of what he is doing. The so-called stimulus package will push the US domestic budget further into deficit, while leaving the hard-pressed working poor little better off even as joblessness rises. The record surplus bequeathed to the Republicans by the Clinton administration has been squandered. Foreign trade is also notching up record deficits and the dollar is sliding." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Democrats Who Backed Tax Cut in '01 Balk Now. A number of moderate Senate Democrats said that they opposed eliminating the tax on dividend payments, clouding the prospects for the new Bush economic plan. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

COHEN "To make the rich richer, the government is going to go deeply in debt. It would be one thing if it was doing that to help the needy or to increase social services. But it's not....When the rich take from the poor, it's called an economic plan. When the poor take from the rich, it's called class warfare." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "A White House estimate shows that administration officials are expecting President Bush's tax plan to generate only 190,000 jobs in 2003, a small number when compared to the 1.5 million jobs that have disappeared over the past two years.The document, prepared by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, makes it clear that the main purpose of the president's 10-year, $670 billion tax-cut proposal is not to fix the economy's current weakness but rather to advance a longer-term agenda of reducing taxes and increasing future growth.... Senator Jon Corzine, Democrat of New Jersey, said the estimates validate Democratic criticisms that Mr. Bush is not primarily interested in economic stimulus."This isn't a jobs program, it isn't stimulus," he said today. "It is what it is, a restructuring of the tax system with a high proportion of the advantage going to people who are already doing well." The estimate also includes an extremely optimistic projection of the plan's total cost. Using a supply-side analysis, which assumes that tax cuts will partly pay for themselves by promoting faster growth..." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

HERBERT "The economic plan proposed by President Bush on Tuesday centers on elimination of taxes on stock dividends, a giveaway to the rich while other Americans struggle to survive. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Congress Approves Unemployment Bill And Bush Signs It. 39 Weeks Approved To June 1 as Unemployment Climbs To 6%. Repubs Refuse to Extend Coverage To Those Still Unemployed Whose 39 Weeks Ran Out Prior To Dec. 28. "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, told reporters, "What the Democrats' problem is, is nothing is good enough for them. In fact I would venture to guess that they would have unlimited unemployment compensation. Somebody could stay out of work for the rest of their lives," he said." (Reuters) 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

60 Minutes II "With the economic recession, there has been a sudden leap in the number of people on emergency food assistance. In Ohio, some of the food lines look like something from the Great Depression... It’s not just the unemployed. Plenty of people working full time are still not able to earn enough to keep hunger out of the house. If you think you have a good idea of who’s hungry in America today, you may be wrong." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "I think [Bush's] intention is to give large tax breaks to corporate investors while throwing a small bone to the average Joe in hopes that we're all going to believe that it will benefit us all in the long run," Ms. Dawson, a Republican, said.01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "One of the Army's top biodefense officers said today that the Pentagon does not have vaccines to protect troops from some virulent biological agents because it has not been able to offer enough money to commercial pharmaceutical companies to produce them. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT " At a packed committee hearing, Senators John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, joined forces today to challenge the Bush administration on global warming.The two former — and possibly future — political rivals to President Bush and each other offered their bill to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases, saying the administration was stuck in neutral on that crucial environmental matter."The United States is responsible for 25 percent of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions," Mr. McCain, chairman of the Science, Commerce and Transportation Committee, said as he opened the hearing. "It is time for the United States government to do its part to address this global problem, and a discussion of mandatory reductions is the form of leadership that is required." That assertion was a direct challenge to Mr. Bush, whose approach relies on voluntary reductions." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Too Little Too Late? "After weeks of delay, the United States within the past several days has begun providing United Nations inspectors with "significant" intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs that has enabled inspectors to become "more aggressive and to be more comprehensive in the work they're doing," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

GUARDIAN "The government is facing a hardening mood among Labour backbenchers against an attack on Iraq with predictions that up to 100 MPs are preparing to rebel and junior ministers could resign if war starts without UN backing... Labour's chief whip, Hilary Armstrong, has passed on to Tony Blair growing demands for evidence of any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, and a new UN mandate to justify any attack. MPs are warning that the last time Britain went to war divided - over Suez in 1956 - it ended with disaster and Anthony Eden's fall from power." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

SMH "Britain is pressing for war against Iraq to be delayed, possibly until late this year, to give weapons inspectors more time to provide evidence of violations by President Saddam Hussein....In another development, Mr Straw was expected to appeal to Indonesia yesterday to back a drive to disarm Iraq, saying Iraq posed an equally serious threat to the Muslim world." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, opposes military action to topple the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, the foreign minister said today. The minister, Hassan Wirajuda, said "regime change" through military intervention "would be difficult to accept." Instead, he said, Indonesia supports 'every effort on the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction through the United Nations Security Council.' " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "U.S. officials said they were increasingly concerned that Turkey would not permit the deployment of American ground troops in case of a war with Iraq. " 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "Sharon is no longer the winning sphinx of 2001. Trouble is chasing down the great lucky man of Israeli politics. The balls he kept juggling aloft are now threatening to crash down on his head and the forces that support his rule are now backing away from him. The question is whether this time, too, he'll be able to find another millionaire to dig him out of the hole at the last minute." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

IND ED "Where the Prime Minister has probably been mistaken is in relying too much on his personal relationship with President Bush. On this question, Bush seems immovable. If the US is Israel's advocate in the world, then the only other grouping that could provide any kind of countervailing force on the Arab side, however weak, must be Europe. Britain's initiative on its own has run into the sand." 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "The untold story of how a reclusive family ascended into the ranks of the nation's wealthiest industrial dynasties is an often-painful one, written in the blood and tears of the very blue-collar workers celebrated by the Vulcan statue. As reported yesterday in The New York Times, McWane Inc., one of the world's largest makers of cast-iron water and sewer pipes, is also one of the most dangerous businesses in America. The company has by far the worst safety record in an industry that, for three of the last four years, has had the highest injury rate in the nation. McWane has been cited for more than 400 safety violations since 1995, four times more than its six major competitors combined. " (Will be on PBS Frontline tonight.) 01.09.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Bush Renominates Once-Rejected "Racially Divisive" Miss. Judge, Friend To Lott, And 29 Others, Including Once-Rejected Texas Judge Said To Have Anti-Abortion and Anti-Labor Views. 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "We hold to the old-fashioned opinion that the government ought to provide certain services, and that to do so it must raise a certain amount of revenue. The federal tax burden today is not inordinately high by historical standards, while the demands on the government are large and growing. Mr. Bush himself has not been shy to spend: on defense, for example, and on farm subsidies. Yet the president and most of his fellow Republican officeholders continue to behave as though balancing the books just isn't part of their job description. The economic plan that the president proposed yesterday is in keeping with this irresponsible philosophy....When you factor in the other tax changes proposed by Mr. Bush yesterday, you find that the poorest fifth of Americans would see their after-tax income go up this year by one-tenth of 1 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center. The top 1 percent of earners, by comparison, would see their income rise by 3.5 percent." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "If Mr. Bush is truly concerned about the people who "spend their entire adult lives living paycheck to paycheck," he should be pushing a more targeted plan along the lines proposed Monday by Congressional Democrats. At less than one-fourth the $674 billion cost of the president's extravagant designs, their plan provides short-term relief to states and working-class Americans, thereby doing more to insure against an economic slowdown. " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

SHAPIRO "Tuesday, the most revealing critique of the Bush presidency came from former speechwriter David Frum, the author of the first kiss-and-tell memoir to emerge from within the cloistered gates of the White House. Kept under pre-publication wraps until late Monday, Frum's engagingly candid book, The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, provides the perfect counterpart to the president's latest tax-cut serenade.... Even as he stresses that Bush is the man in charge, and not the puppet of his advisers or Dick Cheney, Frum lists the president's faults: "He is impatient and quick to anger; sometimes glib, even dogmatic; often incurious and as a result ill-informed; more conventional in his thinking than a leader probably should be....On the day in which the president proposed $674 billion in tax cuts over 10 years, it was sobering to read Frum's take on the president's economic thinking: "Bush had a poor memory for facts and figures. He sometimes forgot whether his tax plan's last rate reduction went into effect in 2005 or 2006." A passion for mental simplicity may explain why Bush is pumping to make these rate reductions permanent, effective immediately. " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

WEISMAN "War's Cost May Dwarf Stimulus Effect. The president's determination to push more tax cuts as the nation prepares for war has struck some economists as folly, since the economic shock of war would likely dwarf the impact of Bush's stimulus plan....A recent analysis by experts convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies predicted that any war would knock down stock prices by as much as 25 percent, more than undoing the [administration's own] anticipated benefit of the dividend tax elimination....Fumed Rep. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, 'Never in a time of war have we reduced the tax burden on the most privileged.' " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

BROWNSTEIN New Bush tax cuts "essentially commit the administration to limiting discretionary non-defense domestic programs for years to come." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

FORTUNE In Other Words, Bush's Latest Round Of Tax Cuts Gives Additional Money To The Rich (Increased Dividends) At The Expense Of The Poor (Lower Government Spending). "Presidents don't get to stay in office for the long term. If they're perceived as do-nothings when the economy is sputtering, their terms can be mighty short indeed. So Bush has split the difference. He sold his 2001 tax cut in part as a response to the gathering economic storm, and will probably do the same with the latest edition. But don't be fooled: The administration officials crafting the tax proposals know the immediate effects on the economy will be modest at best....As far as encouraging long-term economic growth goes, these cuts are pretty good ideas. But even they will still cost the government money. Eventually, that loss will have to be recouped either through lower spending (as a share of GDP) or higher taxes. That's one law of economics that even George Bush can't do anything about." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Bush's call to eliminate taxes on corporate dividends, a centerpiece of his economic plan, is raising alarm among state and local officials who say it could add to the growing budget pressures on states and cities.Budget experts were still reviewing numbers today, but said the provision on dividends would cost state and local governments tens of millions of dollars a year in lost revenue. The states fear they will lose in two ways. Because state income tax laws are tied to the federal law, the states will also stop taxing dividends. In addition, the removal of taxes on dividends makes stocks a more attractive investment vehicle than the traditionally tax-free municipal bonds. Over all, the officials said the potential losses far exceed the $10 billion in state aid included in Mr. Bush's 10-year plan, much of which is earmarked to help the unemployed. " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

ECONOMIST "There may be a long-term case for getting rid of dividend taxation, though even that is open to debate. It is not clear, however, that such a move would provide a short-term economic stimulus. It certainly lays Mr Bush open to the familiar charge that he is favouring the better-off. One study has shown that the average annual benefit for people earning less than $10,000 a year would be $6, while that for those with million-dollar-plus incomes would be more than $45,000.... The longer-term impact of Mr Bush’s fiscal plans. When he took office two years ago, he inherited projected budget surpluses as far as the eye could see. These have shrunk at alarming speed, reflecting a combination of Mr Bush’s own ambitious tax-cut programme, higher government spending in the wake of the September 11th attacks and the economic downturn. Excluding social security, the budget is in deficit for most of the next ten years at least, and the latest plan reduces what surpluses there are even further. The price of Mr Bush’s stimulus gamble could be a open-ended return to deficit-run government-not necessarily the political legacy he would want." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

CHAIT "Perhaps the hardest part of criticizing the Bush administration's economic logic is simply keeping track of it from week to week. Consider President Bush's view of deficits. His initial position, while peddling his tax cut on the campaign trail and in the first months of his presidency, was that a return to deficits was inconceivable. "We can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens," he said in March 2001. "The projections for the surplus in my budget are cautious and conservative." When, in the late summer and early fall of that year, budget forecasts first showed deficits on the horizon, he dismissed them as "speculative" and "guesswork." When finally forced to acknowledge the inevitability of deficits last spring, he insisted they would be "small and temporary." Meanwhile, he'd begun laying the groundwork to shift the blame away from his tax cut and onto such factors as the September 11 attacks, the recession, and big-spending Democrats. But, with the recession and the terrorist attacks now receding into the past and unified control of the government in GOP hands, deficits are still projected to remain a large and permanent feature of the Bush presidency. And so it has become necessary for the administration to retreat to yet another new line of defense: Deficits don't matter. " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

DOWD Repugs Pick Big Apple For Convention. "Mr. Rove and his president have a new style of class warfare — the affluent afflicting the afflicted; the ruling class enacting policies to help itself, weaving a pashmina safety net so the well-off can buy more expensive stuff they don't need.... Bloomberg News calculated that under the president's proposal, Mr. Bush would have been spared $17,000 in taxes on the $43,805 in dividends he reaped in 2001, and gotten another $27,500, based on his $711,453 in taxable income, if his proposed accelerated income tax cuts had been in effect. That's nothing compared with the hundreds of thousands of dollars Halliburton Dick would have saved....No matter if, in the summer of 2004, Wall Street is still suffering through a bear market, or Osama is still on the loose, or the tax cuts for the wealthy lead to more homeless people on the streets. The TV cameras will catch only the trompe l'oeil tableau of Republican regular folk: Rudy Giuliani and a stage full of Rockettes and firemen; Bill Frist resuscitating a homeless man outside the Garden, and the Harlem Boys Choir singing to the ever fatter G.O.P. cats." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

KAPLAN Is Bush Encouraging Worldwide Nuclear Proliferation? "If sheer practicality were the rationale for attacking Iraq and dealing in some other way with North Korea, other leaders, especially those who might run up against our interests, would gain a valuable lesson from this exhibition—that is, the best way to avoid an American attack is to get yourself an atom bomb, quickly and secretly (maybe you can buy one from North Korea)." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

HERTZBERG "As a rhetorical flourish, "the axis of evil" soared like an eagle. But in retrospect it more closely resembles a turkey, and the inclusion of North Korea, in particular, has begun to look uncannily like a chicken that in recent days has come home to roost. This is of a piece with the whole of the Bush Administration's Korea policy, which, from the beginning, has been a fairly comprehensive botch." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

GREENE ". Any honest reading suggests North Korea represents every bit the crisis Iraq does, if not more. " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

USA Bush Changes Mind Again. Now He'll Talk To N. Koreans Before They Halt Nuke Program 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

Mearsheimer +Walt "In the full-court press for war with Iraq, the Bush administration deems Saddam Hussein reckless, ruthless, and not fully rational. Such a man, when mixed with nuclear weapons, is too unpredictable to be prevented from threatening the United States, the hawks say. But scrutiny of his past dealings with the world shows that Saddam, though cruel and calculating, is eminently deterrable. " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

MARSHALL "The Bush administration’s confrontation with Iraq is as much a contest of credibility as it is of military force. Washington claims that Baghdad harbors ambitions of aggression, continues to develop and stockpile weapons of mass destruction and maintains ties to Al Qaeda. Lacking solid evidence, the public must weigh Saddam Hussein’s penchant for lies against the administration’s own record. Based on recent history, that’s not an easy choice... The first Bush administration, which featured Dick Cheney, Paul D. Wolfowitz and Colin L. Powell at the Pentagon, systematically misrepresented the cause of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the nature of Iraq’s conduct in Kuwait and the cost of the Persian Gulf War. Like the second Bush administration, it cynically used the confrontation to justify a more expansive and militaristic foreign policy in the post-Vietnam era." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

HOOPER "The head of the UN's weapons inspectors in Iraq, Hans Blix, will tell the security council tomorrow that several of the key claims in Tony Blair's dossier of evidence against Saddam Hussein are unfounded, according to a German newspaper report... But, Die Tageszeitung says today, the UN will also be told that Baghdad had failed to answer questions concerning its alleged efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

GADDIS "George W. Bush's report on "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America," released on September 17, 2002, has stirred controversy, though, and surely will continue to do so. For it's not only the first strategy statement of a new administration; it's also the first since the surprise attacks of September 11, 2001. Such attacks are fortunately rare in American history--the only analogies are the British burning of the White House and Capitol in 1814 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941--but they have one thing in common: they prepare the way for new grand strategies by showing that old ones have failed. The Bush NSS, therefore, merits a careful reading as a guide to what's to come. " (Letters to BW invited.) 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "Following allegations of financial improprieties by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his two sons, which were reported in Ha'aretz, advisers to Sharon conceded Tuesday that the prime minister had received $1.5 million from a South African businessman, but denied any connection to criminal activity." 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel has every right to respond swiftly and firmly to Palestinian terrorist outrages. But when his actions undermine the prospects for better Palestinian governing and an eventual end to the violence, neither Israel's interests nor America's are well served. Mr. Sharon unwisely decided on Monday to bar Palestinian delegates from attending a meeting in London next week that Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, hoped would encourage internal Palestinian reform. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is right to urge Mr. Sharon to reconsider. " 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Senate Leader Daschle, Who Only Votes Dems 80% Of The Time, Decides Not To Run For Prez 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

NOAH Could His Wife's Job As Airline/ Pharmaceutical Lobbyist Have Anything To Do With It? 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

USA Flu kills thousands more in USA than thought 01.08.03 www.bushwatch.com

KOVACH+ROSENSTIEL "Without much notice, the federal government is moving toward the most sweeping change ever in the rules that govern ownership of the American news media. This shift could reduce the independence of the news media and the ability of Americans to take part in public debate. Yet because of meager press coverage and steps taken by the Federal Communications Commission in its policy-making process, most people probably have no idea that it is taking place. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

KRISTOF "Unless the administration switches gears, here's what may happen: North Korea will reprocess spent fuel at its Yongbyon reactor, giving it enough plutonium for five to eight nuclear warheads by May 1. The North will also resume construction of a much bigger reactor at Taechon, accelerate its enriched uranium program, possibly drop out of the Nonproliferation Treaty, and test a Taepodong 2 missile that, in three stages, could reach New York (although it might be so inaccurate that it would miss and wipe out Newark). In five years, North Korea could have 100 nuclear weapons and be churning out more like a fast-food chef. With nothing else to keep its economy going, North Korea will peddle them to the highest bidder ("One free Taepodong 2 missile with every three warheads you buy!") This scenario is so horrendous that by late spring the Pentagon will be preparing options for a military strike on Yongbyon, even though President Bush has sensibly resisted that approach so far because the result could be another Korean War. And this is, as Colin Powell calls it, "not a crisis"?" 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

COHEN "North Korea, in acting to expel monitors and move ahead aggressively with its nuclear weapons program, has presented the Bush administration with a serious problem. The administration is understandably making every effort to play down this challenge as we head into the final weeks of resolving the manner in which Saddam Hussein's regime will be disarmed. However we choose to characterize the situation on the Korean peninsula -- as a crisis or simply a major challenge -- the options open to the United States, regrettably, run the full gamut from bad to worse." 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

IGNATIUS "U.S. policy toward North Korea is a case study of what can happen when an administration is sharply divided over an issue: Rhetoric becomes disconnected from actions; feuding Cabinet departments produce a muddy strategy that confuses friends and foes alike. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "The more we learn about a case of severe corrosion discovered at a nuclear plant in Ohio last March, the more frightening the incident appears. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

STEVENSON "The Politics of Portfolios: Bush Bets on an Investor Class. The president is embracing the idea that investors' financial health will be vital to prosperity and his own electoral success. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

DIONNE Bush Has Been Engaged In "Class Warfare" Since He Began As Texas Governor, And Now He's Doing It Again. "The president is proposing an economic "stimulus" plan that will certainly stimulate the very wealthiest Americans. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "A dividend-tax cut will not provide the economy with a short-term stimulus - the ostensible goal of the Bush administration's plan. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

KRUGMAN "Karl Rove and the Bush administration intend to use the pretense of stimulus mainly as an opportunity to get more tax cuts for the rich. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

SWEENEY "The clock's running, and working families are being walloped by the economy. Rapid-fire layoffs have communities from Pascagoula to Peoria on their backs, and with long-term unemployment way up over last year, people who lose their jobs are increasingly out of the game. Good health care is being priced beyond reach. State budgets are bleeding red ink, with schools, Medicaid and crime prevention tops on the injured list. The gap between the rich and poor widens, and CEOs continue running up their personal score. So how does President Bush respond? He says he's thinking "about how to help those folks who are looking for work." And then he talks up a cut in the dividends tax that will give big breaks to the very wealthiest taxpayers but won't create jobs and won't help workers hit hard by the downturn or average American families. Time out. Where's our economic game plan?" 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "House Democrats yesterday unveiled a $136 billion, 10-year economic stimulus package that would extend unemployment benefits for more than six months and provide every taxpayer with a $300 tax credit. The proposal is much smaller than a plan President Bush will introduce today in Chicago that would cost nearly $674 billion over the same 10 years. Democrats suggested that their plan, which includes short-term benefits for businesses and ailing state governments, could jump-start the nation's sluggish economy without permanent tax cuts that drain the federal treasury. Democrats said their plan favors middle- and lower-income Americans and contrasted it with the Bush package. Administration officials say the White House plan is based largely on expedited cuts in income taxes and the elimination of the tax on dividends, both of which tend to help upper-income Americans." 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

MACASKILL "The US and British governments officially deny that oil is a factor in the looming war with Iraq, but some ministers and officials in Whitehall say privately that oil is more important in the calculation than weapons of mass destruction... These ministers and officials have pointed to the instability of current oil sources - the Middle East, Caspian region and Algeria - and the need for secure alternatives. Iraq has the second biggest known oil reserves in the world." 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

LETTERS Oil Isn't Reason Enough For War 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

COHEN "There is nothing in the past of Iraq's dictator to suggest he will do anything but fight . " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

PI "Though many experts agree that Americans' support for war may hinge on U.S. deaths, some also ponder how many Iraqis may be killed without damaging the war's goals and its public support."I suspect most conservatives would not be terribly upset at a lot of Iraqi casualties," said Ted Galen Carpenter, a foreign-policy expert at the Cato Institute. "But... the administration is serious about keeping them low... . Its strategy is portrayed as a liberation of Iraq, and if there is a large number of civilian casualties it will be difficult to maintain that image."..."As far as I can see, Americans don't care about foreign casualties," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University political scientist and expert on U.S. public opinion about war."When we ask people point-blank in polls, they say it does matter. But the polling evidence suggests it really doesn't in the end," said Mueller." 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

HUTTON "The United States is a country on the edge, lacking its customary self-confidence. And for that it can thank George Bush. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

MONBIOT "Act now against war Those against an attack on Iraq must do more than shake their heads at the television. " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Israel Won't Let Palestinian Leaders Attend London Talks. 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

GUARDIAN ED "The Sharon government's action in attempting to wreck the London conference also amounts to a slap in the face for Tony Blair, who has invested much personal capital in trying to assist Israelis and Palestinians to break out of the cycle of violence in which they are currently snared. Mr Sharon did not like the conference idea from the start even though, in truth, it is an extremely modest initiative that falls far short of Mr Blair's original proposal for resumed, fully-fledged negotiations. Now he has found a pretext to torpedo it. Foreign secretary Jack Straw was right to express Britain's sharp displeasure. Mr Netanyahu's response was as irrational as it was ungracious." 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "Before the first word has been spoken in the discussions scheduled for today in Washington about the special aid and loan guarantees, the Israeli public is getting the message that the leader of the free world is pleased with the policies of the Sharon-Eitam government: presumably, if Bush wasn't interested in perpetuating the right-wing government, he wouldn't have invited the prime minister's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, at the height of an Israeli election campaign, to discuss the aid. Last month Bush rebuffed Quartet pressure to place the road map on Sharon's desk. At the time, he was convinced that sensitive political issues should wait until after the elections." 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ ""Blowing up houses, humiliation, violation of human rights, excessive force - all these have produced a cycle of hatred that is very hard to break. Because of Sharon, the prospects of a settlement are further away than ever. He has turned Israel into an occupier in the eyes of the world, ostracized and undesirable wherever it turns. Go figure out the mentality of a public that allowed this man to win a landslide victory." " 01.07.03 www.bushwatch.com

RALL "On Dec. 28, 2002, the same day that 780,000 Americans ran out of unemployment benefits, George W. Bush--our first leader in memory to refuse to extend those payments during a recession--bragged that things couldn't be any peachier. "The United States economy is growing," Bush crowed while pledging "to turn our economic recovery into sustained economic growth." By the way, that makes 1.8 million people out of work, out of benefits and out of luck under Bush's clueless conservativism. Millions more "discouraged workers" who have given up looking for jobs are no longer counted as unemployed." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "LET'S SEE IF we have this right. President Bush plans to propose a stimulus plan the centerpiece of which will have little or no stimulative effect. At a time when some people badly could use help, Mr. Bush's tax cut mostly will help those who need it least. And while the president is warning Congress to restrain its spending on basics such as education and aid to the poor, the tax cuts will further inflate his growing budget deficit. No wonder that Mr. Bush, even before officially unveiling the plan tomorrow, waved his magic "class warfare" amulet, seeking to obscure the obvious -- another tax cut for the rich -- by preemptively accusing his accusers." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Bush Proposes To Go All The Way For His Wealthy Backers, Saddle Another Administration With Massive Debt. "President Bush will propose eliminating taxes on corporate dividends paid to shareholders, a measure that could cost the government $300 billion over 10 years and would be far bolder than some of his advisers had been suggesting, administration officials said today. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Eliminating taxes on dividends paid to individuals, the centerpiece of President Bush's stimulus package, would do little to spur economic growth or reduce the nation's jobless rate, according to an analysis this weekend by two prominent economists. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "Democratic leaders have been charging for months that the administration's main motives for squeezing domestic programs are to offset the revenue lost through the president's 2001 tax cut and make room in the budget for further cuts and new priorities such as a Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors.Some outside analysts agree. "They're saying we can't have guns and butter, but in fact the butter side is the tax cut," said Victor Miller, a senior fellow at Federal Funds Information for States, which tracks the federal budget for the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

O'HANLON "Naturally enough, U.S. defense spending has shot up since Sept. 11, 2001, with little criticism from either side of the political aisle. The national security budget, just more than $300 billion in 2000, will be $385 billion in 2003, not even counting the costs of a possible war against Iraq. Internal administration planning documents now project that the budget will exceed $500 billion by 2009 (not counting most costs of homeland security, which are outside the Pentagon's purview). Such a $200 billion increase in the yearly military budget is too much....When combined with the president's tax cuts, it would worsen the U.S. federal deficit, deprive the country of the opportunity for any major domestic policy initiatives, and perhaps even hamper homeland security efforts in the end. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Josh Bolten can't hide his revealing title - White House deputy chief of staff for policy - and a growing reputation as the hub of the administration's domestic agenda, which is increasingly set by a small handful of West Wing aides under the command of Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, and Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff....Bolten is the one who oversees the 45 minutes that Mr. Bush has scheduled for "policy time" on most days the president is in Washington....At Goldman Sachs, the investment banking firm where he worked for nearly six years in the 1990's, Mr. Bolten was considered a pragmatist who liked tax cuts, and not a supply-side true believer, as are many of the economists who have influenced Mr. Bush's economic programs....He's the explainer of all things Jewish to the White House," Mr. Rove said. 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

MARSHALL "The Bushies told the North Koreans that they either had to shape up or we'd take them out. Now the North Koreans have called our bluff. And the administration -- as signalled by Powell's comments over the weekend -- has caved, enunciating a policy which is now substantially more dovish than the Clinton policy.Tough talk sounds great until your opponent calls your bluff and everybody sees there's nothing behind the trash talk. Then you look foolish. That's where we are right now with North Korea. As Nelson says, no doubt the NKs are the bad guys. And this is an extremely complex problem with no easy solutions. But the Bush administration has pursued a keystone cops policy on the Korean Peninsula for two years now, mixing think-tank braggadocio with feckless inconstancy. Now we're all going to pay the price." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

DOBBS "Soon after rolling out a new post-Cold War foreign policy doctrine, the Bush administration is scrambling to explain why "preemption" may be appropriate for dealing with Iraq, but not such a good idea in defusing the threat from fellow "axis of evil" member North Korea. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

RIDGEWAY "Viewed from the cynical pit of capital politics, North Korea is no distraction from Iraq, but instead another big plus for Bush domestic policy. Fears of missiles sailing in from Asia can only underscore Bush's arguments for a "Little Star Wars" missile shield plan. Bush doesn't really want to attack the peninsula, if only because Washington is counting the days (about a month's worth is the current best guess) until the U.S. attacks Iraq. And while the White House may be willing to weather armed conflict on two fronts, the administration is less prepared to plunge two regions into economic chaos. Making war with North Korea would inevitably affect South Korea, China, and Japan-all vitally important in the world marketplace. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

GRASS "The dangerous combination of familial, economic and political interests along with such ignorance leads [Bush] to become a real danger." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

REEVES "Do not be shocked to read or see in a week, a year or five years, a declaration by Japan that it has decided, as a matter of self-defense, to build nuclear weapons and missile systems to deliver them. Or perhaps it will be Brazil. Or South Korea.In just two years, the Bush administration has managed to undo the decades of work all over the world to try to prevent the proliferation of "the bomb." In talking of pre-emptive strikes against "evil" regimes -- evil, of course, being in the red-white-and-blue eye of the beholder -- the United States is forcing other countries and their leaders, sane and insane, to re-evaluate long-ago decisions to trust a few rich nations that already had nuclear technology. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

CASPI "George W. Bush was raised to believe in... simplistic values. Villains are villainous to the core. They have horns and a tail, so that anyone can tell them apart from the good guys. Using force against the bad guys is moral, and the good guys usually win. Bush is now trying to implement this philosophy in Iraq using hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and millions of tons of metal and explosives. For him, the world is a Hollywood movie. Bad guys come and go - sometimes they are the Taliban, sometimes Saddam Hussein - but the hero is always George W.... But what is so real about his world, which is also the world of all American action shows? In the real world, after all, evil prospers. In fact, it is often hard to tell who the evil ones are. In our real world, most people are neither saints nor villains, but somewhere in between. In our real world, not every use of force against evil is moral, and sometimes in the course of fighting evil, the good themselves turn bad. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

NORTON-TAYLOR "Telegrams from British embassies and missions around the world are urging Tony Blair to step up pressure on President Bush to pull back from a war against Iraq. In what amounts to a collective cri de coeur, our envoys - congregating in Whitehall today for an unprecedented Foreign Office brainstorming session - are warning of the potentially devastating consequences of such an adventure, including its impact on a greater threat than Saddam Hussein: al-Qaida-inspired terrorism." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

BG "About 100 US Special Forces members and more than 50 Central Intelligence Agency officers have been operating in small groups inside Iraq for at least four months, searching for Scud missile launchers, monitoring oil fields, marking minefield sites, and using lasers to help US pilots bomb Iraqi air-defense systems, according to intelligence officials and military analysts who have talked with people on the teams." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

LOEB "The U.S. military is assembling a ground force for a possible invasion of Iraq that could exceed 100,000 troops and include three to four heavy Army divisions, an airborne division, a Marine division and an assortment of Special Operations forces, according to defense officials and analysts. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Bush Plan For Post-Saddam Iraq. "...calls for an 18-month occupation, trials of only the most senior Iraqi leaders and a quick takeover of oil fields. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

RASPBERRY "A lot of us who have voiced bafflement and frustration about President Bush's success in selling his logic for a war against Iraq have been strangely silent about the constitutionality of such an undertaking. We've behaved as though the question of war is a matter of presidential discretion. Well, it isn't -- or at any rate, it shouldn't be. It's right there in the Constitution -- Article I, Section 8 -- that Congress, not the president, has the power to declare war. Nor do I find anything to suggest that Congress may delegate its war-making authority to the president....The trend of recent years has been for politicians to avoid controversy when possible. Candidates would rather attack an opponent's proposals than make any of their own. Most controversial legislation passed at the state and local level seems to have come by way of referendum -- with no politician having to take a strong public position. So I don't imagine the men and women of our national legislature will step forward and tell the president that, under the separation of powers, declaring war is a congressional responsibility. I just think they ought to." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

AVNERY "Sharon's propaganda agents are pouring oil on the flames by accusing all critics of his policy of being anti-Semites. Many good people, who feel no hatred at all towards the Jews but who detest the persecution of Palestinians, are now called anti-Semites. Thus the sting is taken out of this word, giving it something approaching respectability.The practical upshot: not only is the State of Israel not protecting Jews from anti-Semitism, but—on the contrary—its government is manufacturing and exporting the anti-Semitism that threatens Jews around the world." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

NEWMAN "The decision to deny candidacy to two prominent Arab legislators has marred the Israeli Arab voters' faith in the election system. " 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

PARRY "The notion of a “liberal” national news media is one of the most enduring and influential political myths of modern U.S. history. Shaping the behavior of both conservatives and liberals over the past quarter century, the myth could be said to have altered the course of American democracy and led the nation into the dangerous corner it now finds itself." 01.06.03 www.bushwatch.com

FRIEDMAN "Is the war that the Bush team is preparing to launch in Iraq really a war for oil? My short answer is yes." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

BERKOWITZ "It's fair, it's equitable and it's the patriotic thing to do. For those privileged Americans who have been historically underrepresented in America's military, it's time for an affirmative action plan. Americans need to move beyond mouthing slogans and posting flag decals on their SUVs and pick-up trucks, and stand up for their country. I never thought I'd be saying this, but it's time to bring back The Draft. Everyone gets an opportunity to serve -- National Football League players, major league baseball players, Hollywood stars, the neighborhood butcher, hip-hop artists, Senators' sons and daughters, Cabinet Secretarys’ youngsters -- no excuses, no special deals for cushy National Guard placements, no college deferments, no slithering out. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

IGNATIEFF "What every schoolchild...knows about empires is that they eventually face nemeses. To call America the new Rome is at once to recall Rome's glory and its eventual fate at the hands of the barbarians. A confident and carefree republic -- the city on a hill, whose people have always believed they are immune from history's harms -- now has to confront not just an unending imperial destiny but also a remote possibility that seems to haunt the history of empire: hubris followed by defeat....Empires survive when they understand that diplomacy, backed by force, is always to be preferred to force alone. Looking into the still more distant future, say a generation ahead, resurgent Russia and China will demand recognition both as world powers and as regional hegemons. As the North Korean case shows, America needs to share the policing of nonproliferation and other threats with these powers, and if it tries, as the current National Security Strategy suggests, to prevent the emergence of any competitor to American global dominance, it risks everything that Gibbon predicted: overextension followed by defeat. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

TOLSON The new american empire? Americans have an enduring aversion to planting the flag on foreign soil. Is that attitude changing? 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "Right now the world must seem like a potentially deadly game of three-dimensional chess to the the Bush administration. In Asia, its allies don't agree with each other about whether a North Korea with nuclear arms is an international danger. But they are very certain they don't want the United States to do anything that might trigger an angry response. The American people are confused by the contradictions between their government's approach to North Korea and Iraq, and frustrated by the sudden lack of clarity in their government's foreign policy....Washington must not get into a situation where America's diplomatic and military resources are so tied up in pre-empting future dangers from Iraq that its ability to cope with more imminent threats from North Korea and terrorism are significantly compromised. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "Much as the administration might wish to play down nation-building in Kabul so that it can be done in Baghdad, or induce a dictator like Kim Jong Il to postpone his provocations until a more convenient moment, it will need to act aggressively in all these theaters or risk fundamental and possibly irreversible damage to U.S. interests." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

GORDON "While the White House insists that North Korea's nuclear efforts do not represent a crisis, most experts believe it is the gravest threat in the region in a decade. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

IND "The United Nations food agency warned yesterday that supplies for some seven million people, a third of North Korea's population, will run out early next month without further aid. The news could worsen the crisis over North Korea's nuclear threats. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

DAO Why Keep U.S. Troops in South Korea? 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

FISK "I think I'm getting the picture. North Korea breaks all its nuclear agreements with the United States, throws out UN inspectors and sets off to make a bomb a year, and President Bush says it's "a diplomatic issue". Iraq hands over a 12,000-page account of its weapons production and allows UN inspectors to roam all over the country, and - after they've found not a jam-jar of dangerous chemicals in 230 raids - President Bush announces that Iraq is a threat to America, has not disarmed and may have to be invaded. So that's it, then." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

AP "AMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 4 -- Pakistan insisted today that it never gave the United States permission to chase Taliban and al Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan into Pakistan."Absolutely not. The Americans cannot cross the Pakistani border from Afghanistan to chase what they say are vestiges of Taliban and al Qaeda," Information Minister Rashid Ahmed said. The assertion directly contradicts American assertions that U.S. troops could cross the border if they were in hot pursuit of suspects. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

BURKHALTER "Recent reports that U.S. intelligence operatives and military police are torturing captured al Qaeda and Taliban suspects are but the latest evidence of the United States' disgraceful handling of detainees in its war on terrorism. For the past year we have known that U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan turned over surrendered combatants to their local allies, who reportedly murdered hundreds of them in captivity. Thousands of others who lay down their weapons were crammed into freezing, filthy, dilapidated cells at Shebergan prison. The United States detains al Qaeda and Taliban captives indefinitely without charge or trial, some imprisoned in secret locations in foreign countries where security services that are known to use torture conduct interrogations on our behalf. These immoral and illegal practices are extremely costly to U.S. interests and ought to be stopped immediately. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

BEAUMONT "Why al-Qaeda is winning. War against terrorism won't be won until the West grasps the fact that we are fighting a lethal idea rather than a tangible enemy " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

KESSLER "The White House is seriously considering a proposal to cede the FBI's counterterrorism function to a new agency similar to MI5, the British domestic spy agency. The idea scares almost everyone who has actually been involved in investigating terrorism, and with good reason. A domestic spy agency would mean a return to the years when the FBI, under J. Edgar Hoover, investigated citizens simply for subscribing to leftist publications or for speaking out against the government. It was all done in the name of intelligence gathering, an amorphous standard that could be used to justify investigating and compiling files on anyone perceived to be different." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

MC GRORY "A driving issue with [Dem Prez candidate John] Edwards is the Bush administration's assault on civil liberties since 9/11. He will take on Attorney General John Ashcroft. 'I know people have to feel safe, but they can feel safe but strong as far as individual liberties go. I talk about Ashcroft all the time, and the way they grab people, call them enemy combatants -- throw them in jail, deny them lawyers and keep them there indefinitely. In America, that is not okay. Do we stand for something? How can we expect to have any moral authority?'" 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

ALTERNET "AlterNet’s Rights and Liberties page is dedicated to documenting, reporting, and reflecting on the increasingly restrictive climate for civil liberties and human rights. Our goal is to alert and inform, provide passionate analysis and opinion, and offer concrete tools for action. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "The next round of [U.N.] decision making on Iraq promises to be even more difficult than the first. The United States may have to persuade skeptical members to accept its interpretation of less-than-overwhelming evidence that Iraq cheated the inspectors by hiding illegal weapons." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Repubs Have The "Skids Greased." "Mr. DeLay, described by opponents and allies alike as a ruthless tactician, has been invaluable in restoring to Republicans the full control of the lawmaking machinery that was abruptly snatched away in mid-2001 with the party switch of Senator James M. Jeffords, independent of Vermont. That shift in the balance of Senate power led to one legislative impasse after another. This time, Republicans plan to move forward quickly, before the next presidential election intrudes.They are readying an agenda of tax cuts, Medicare changes, increased energy production, legal liability limits and welfare revisions that they hope will maintain their ascendancy." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

RICH "The broader political climate carries the same aura of unreality as the ground zero architectural debate. We're told that North Korea is "not a crisis," but we are anxious anyway about an expanded war. The anxiety can be found everywhere from the numbers on Wall Street to those of a post-Christmas Associated Press poll showing that two-thirds of the nation feels that a war with Iraq will increase the likelihood of terror attacks. And yet the Republicans and Democrats return to Washington to debate . . . their competing visions of tax cuts. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "People in and outside the Bush court say the economic plan was hammered out months ago by a small core of still-in-place presidential advisers - Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Andrew H. Card Jr. and Joshua Bolten - who control all domestic policy in an administration where power is ever more tightly held at the White House.... Republicans close to the White House say that the two newest economic faces, Mr. Snow and Mr. Friedman, are to be more salesmen than architects." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

LAZARUS "The Bush administration, under fire for its handling of the economy, has quietly killed off a Labor Department program that tracked mass layoffs by U.S. companies.... Businesses cutting back didn't exactly jibe with the White House's recent declarations that prosperity is right around the corner. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

MAYER "The impulse to revise the dividend tax is a good one. Today's tax code distorts corporate accounting and warps corporate behavior. The president's plan, however, would do little to remedy the damage wrought by an ill-conceived tax code — and would make it even more unfair. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Many local health departments across the nation say they will have to curtail an array of services, including cancer and tuberculosis screening and children's dental examinations, to meet the needs of President Bush's federal smallpox vaccination program....'We understand the need to be prepared, but the load for doing this is falling principally on local health departments, and we're not getting additional funding,'" 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

THOMAS "The administration has co-opted the word "reform" to roll back progress and promote its goals of weakening government restraints in a variety of areas. It's noteworthy that the administration has never pursued the corporate chieftains whose greed stunned the nation last year with the same energy that it goes after lawyers who are fighting for the consumer. "Reform" implies intent to make things better and to correct defects and abuses. But buyers, beware. This so-called reform is double speak -- a euphemism to try to block private suits by trial lawyers in behalf of consumers. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

TB "By meeting FirstEnergy Corp. halfway on last year’s shutdown date for the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials violated public trust - and the agency’s mission - with a profit-ahead-of-safety compromise, according to a government report issued yesterday. The NRC’s Office of Inspector General said in a 25-page report that agency officials failed to uphold their mandate for keeping safety paramount to financial considerations by setting aside a shutdown order the agency’s staff had written in the fall of 2001....The degree of corrosion has been described by the NRC for months as the nation’s closest brush with a major nuclear accident since Three Mile Island in 1979.U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said the inspector general’s report reaffirmed her suspicion that the NRC is a weak agency that allows itself to be coerced by industry. 'It was all about money - not people and safety.'" 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Candidate With The Most Cash Wins 93% Of The Time. Average Americans Have Been Shut Out Of Political Office. 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

SMITH "Computerized Balloting is Taking Over Elections In Maryland--But Can We Trust the Results? " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Gephardt to Seek Presidency. Bush Leading U.S. Down the Wrong Path, Democrat Says 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "White House Silent on Racial Controversy. The White House and the Republican National Committee declined to comment yesterday on a racial controversy involving a Bush administration ally who is campaigning to become chairman of the California Republican Party. " 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

PATCHETT Could Future Prez Debate Be Between Two Docs? 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "Likud loyalists are now concerned that the prime minister's son Omri Sharon will be summoned to the police for questioning next week, thus keeping the Likud scandals in the headlines. The party is also worried about the complaints filed yesterday against Sharon's other son, Gilad, in the wake of an article published yesterday in Yedioth Ahronoth about suspected payoffs from contractor David Appel." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

WT "Israel is putting the final touches on a $15 billion special aid request to the United States to bolster an economy under pressure from the Palestinian uprising and preparations for any attack by Iraq.... Israeli officials believe it is unlikely that a new aid package would be approved in Washington before a campaign to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, for fear of alienating Arab countries whose political support will be crucial in the effort. The aid, they say, will help defray costs of deploying the Arrow missile, Israel's anti-ballistic missile system on which the country will rely to intercept Iraqi Scud missiles.... The loan guarantees, in which the United States would act much as a co-signer, would provide Israel a cheaper alternative to finance its national debt than floating bonds on local financial markets." 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

MUKHERJEE Destiny's Child 01.05.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "The Bush administration has exhibited a penchant for secrecy that has been striking to historians, legal experts and lawmakers of both parties....Mary Graham, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, saw two major risks in this administration's level of secrecy."What are often being couched as temporary emergency orders are in fact what we are going to live with for 20 years, just as we lived with the cold war restrictions for years after it was over," Ms. Graham said. "We make policy by crisis, and we particularly make secrecy policy by crisis."Moreover, she said, it ignores the value of openness, which "creates public pressure for improvement." When risk analyses of chemical plants were available on the Internet, she said, people could pressure companies to do better, or move away. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Bush Defines Those Who Oppose His Tax Cuts For The Rich As Engaging In "Class Warfare." "Bush plans to propose excluding a large chunk of individuals' dividend income from taxation, the officials said. That is the bulk of an economic stimulus package expected to total about $300 billion over 10 years. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

DIONNE "Congress may be about to debate the wrong thing when it takes up the renewal of welfare reform this year. The Bush administration wants to push states even harder to move welfare recipients into the workforce. But in this economy, where are the welfare poor supposed to find jobs? And where will states find the money to finance work programs if the jobs aren't there?...It was a scandal that Congress and the White House failed to extend emergency unemployment benefits in the last Congress. The effect was to terminate benefits on Dec. 28 -- Happy New Year, folks! -- for at least 750,000 workers..... The surest way to cripple welfare reform would be for Washington to become stingier toward the nation's poor and unemployed at the very moment that they need the most help. They're the ones who need a 'stimulus.'" 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

DOMBECK "A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt recognized the vital connection between forests and water. When Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, the first United States Forest Service chief, set up the national forest system, they talked about managing for the greatest good for the greatest number — for the long run....It comes as no surprise that the Bush administration is proposing new forest-management policies.What's unfortunate, however, is that some of these policies effectively abandon Theodore Roosevelt's long-term goals." 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "With the new Senate majority leader as a powerful ally, President Bush will propose sweeping, long-term changes in Medicare later this month when he urges Congress to provide prescription drug benefits for the elderly....Mr. Bush, like Dr. Frist, has said he wants to foster competition between the original fee-for-service Medicare program and private health plans. Such changes could eventually make Medicare look more like private insurance. " [Note. Dr. Frist, "one of the wealthiest members of Congress with a blind-trust fortune of $20 million, retains close ties with his family's hospital chain, which "has agreed to pay cumulative fines or penalties totaling $1.7 billion to settle accusations of health care fraud that included overbilling Medicare and kickbacks to physicians." --Nathan Newman] -- 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP "In step with President Bush's faith-based initiative, the government on Thursday sent money from its child support programs to religious and nonprofit organizations so they can promote marriage....The government has promoted marriage in the past, primarily through the 1996 welfare overhaul, but it has faced restrictions in giving money to religious organizations to advance that same goal. Some Democrats in Congress object to the prospect that church groups will use the tax dollars to proselytize, and in doing so violate the constitutional separation of church and state....Bush, bypassing a reluctant Congress, signed executive orders last month that put parts of his faith-based initiative in motion. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

SCHEER "What is happening here? Certainly not the construction of a coherent foreign policy aimed at increasing the security of the United States or our allies... This is an Administration that in two years has so mucked up our approach to the world that merely applying the demands of logic is made to appear unpatriotic." 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

CORNWELL ""Day by day the North Korean crisis deepens, and day by day the language coming out of Washington grows more absurd. Kim Jong II may rule over certainly the most reclusive and arguably the most miserable country on earth. But the man whom a CNN host sneeringly dismissed yesterday as "a weird looking little dude" has tied the world's mightiest country in knots as it tries to explain why it is gearing up for war on Iraq while soft-pedalling a far more serious state of affairs in Asia." " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

KRUGMAN "Deterrence requires a credible commitment to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior.I know, it sounds obvious. Yet the Bush administration's Korea policy has systematically violated that simple principle.Let's be clear: North Korea's rulers are as nasty as they come. But unless we have a plan to overthrow those rulers, we should ask ourselves what incentives we're giving them. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Bush discounted American differences with Asian nations today on how to handle the nuclear standoff with North Korea....But in private, several of Mr. Bush's advisers say the North Korean crisis has complicated their diplomatic task at the United Nations. So has Mr. Bush's determination that a pre-emptive strike on North Korea is not viable even if Mr. Kim is only months away from adding to his nuclear arsenal, the advisers say. "We will be facing considerable skepticism on the question of how we can justify confrontation with Saddam when he is letting inspectors into the country, and a diplomatic solution with Kim when he's just thrown them out," one senior diplomat acknowledged today. 'And we're working on the answer.' " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

WATTS "South Korea began an intensive diplomatic effort yesterday to try to avert a nuclear stand-off between its neighbour North Korea and its closest ally, the United States... Anxious about the increasingly bellicose noises from Pyongyang and the growing calls in Washington for punitive measures, it has asked China and Russia to step in." 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

KRAUTHAMMER "China supplies nearly all of North Korea's energy and 40 percent of its foodstuffs. South Korea has significant investments in North Korea. International organizations provide a huge amount of food aid. Moreover, North Korea has only a few major harbors. They could be blockaded. If China and South Korea were to cut off North Korea, it could not survive....[The Chinese] show no inclination to deny North Korea what it needs to survive. Even more ominously, Bill Gertz of the Washington Times reports that the Chinese have just shipped 20 tons of highly specialized chemicals used in extracting plutonium from spent reactor fuel....We should go to the Chinese and tell them plainly that if they do not join us in squeezing North Korea and thus stopping its march to go nuclear, we will endorse any Japanese attempt to create a nuclear deterrent of its own. Even better, we would sympathetically regard any request by Japan to acquire American nuclear missiles as an immediate and interim deterrent. If our nightmare is a nuclear North Korea, China's is a nuclear Japan. It's time to share the nightmares." [Letters to BW Invited.] 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

MALLEY "While Iraq and Iran may have some very bad reasons to want to develop their nonconventional arsenals, they feel they have some pretty good reasons as well — not least of all, their fear of each other Unless these fears are addressed, any solution is liable to be short lived. Failure to offer practical ideas for what should happen if war does not occur will only make war more likely — either now or when the next crisis is upon us. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

NORTON-TAYLOR "Many senior British diplomats are known to share deep concerns about President Bush's apparent determination to attack Iraq with or without evidence that Saddam Hussein is hiding weapons of mass destruction....The diplomats believe the Bush administration is further radicalising Arab and Muslim opinion with its emphasis on military might against the long-term interests of the west." 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "THERE HAS BEEN a lull recently in Palestinian attacks against Israelis; a shooting attack that killed four in a West Bank settlement last week was the first major incident in a month. But almost every day, Palestinian civilians, including many children, are being killed by the Israeli army and police. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

KENNEDY "In our effort to feed people, we have created a vulnerable enterprise: Its weakness emerges in our inadequate knowledge of how to help small farmers in the poorest countries and -- on the other hand -- in the liability of the monocultures of our major cereal grains. Both depend on our capacity to keep their genetic armaments in good shape. That will take serious support, and unless we get behind the Global Conservation Trust, the support may not be there. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP N.C. Sen. Edwards Announces Bid For White House. "Next up is likely to be outgoing House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), who is expected to set up a committee this weekend. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, and outgoing Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) are close to announcing their decisions, according to advisers. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton may also seek the Democratic nomination. " 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

RUTENBERG Outflanked Democrats Wonder How to Catch Up in Media Wars 01.03.03 www.bushwatch.com

KUTTNER "HAPPY NEW YEAR, George W. Bush. You enjoyed an election day blowout. Your popularity ratings are holding up nicely. But 2003 may not be as happy a year for you as 2002....At some point the public has to notice the threadbare economy, the assaults on privacy and liberty, the homeland insecurity, and the reckless foreign policy. At least [we] have to hope that it does and that we get through the year intact." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "With Congress so far unwilling to get involved in defining reasoned boundaries, the courts have been the only realistic check on the Bush administration's unilateral assertions of power. This is a far-too-passive means of making law in such a fateful area. In the American system, the national legislature is primarily responsible for determining what the law should be. If, through inaction, it effectively cedes that power to the president, the new rules will reflect the presidency's interests at the expense of all others. That's a dangerous prospect for civil liberties and, in the long run, for effective counterterrorism as well. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

OLIPHANT "THE BUSH administration's ''policy'' toward North Korea poses unusual challenges to a would-be supporter. How, for example, does a country (even a superpower, even the superpower) go about isolating another country that is more isolated from us than from the rest of the world? Or how can an official foreign policy crisis (as North Korea was termed nearly three months ago) become an official foreign policy noncrisis (Colin Powell's latest description) without anything good happening? Better yet, how can a country with no known nuclear weapons but an alleged ambition to possess them (Iraq) be more dangerous (and thus more appropriate for invasion and conquest) than a country that already has them? The administration's lame attempts at answers to these questions, and the correct answers that the administration is not prepared to give, reveal a ''policy'' that cannot stand even cursory examination and thus will have to be changed." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

FUERTH "When using words as weapons, a leader must be prepared to back up his rhetoric with force. The president's nomination of North Korea as a member of the "Axis of Evil" in his last State of the Union message now looks like a bluff that is being called. And the outcome of the administration's diplomacy is that we are preparing to fight a war with a country that might eventually acquire nuclear weapons, while another country is closing in on the ability to go into mass production. Like it or not, the administration needs to test the theory that North Korea is trying to force the United States into negotiations. That would be bitter medicine for the administration to swallow, but in view of the alternatives it would be wise for the administration to reverse course and engage with North Korea. However, if such a process doesn't stop the North Korean nuclear enterprise, and quickly, then the administration must either accept a monumental blow to the security of the United States, or prepare for a second major military enterprise in Korea - one that would take place simultaneously, or nearly so, with action against Iraq. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP ED "THE DEBATE over what to do about North Korea, an exceptionally difficult question, has been further complicated by distorted descriptions of the problem by both the Bush administration and its critics....[Powell's] logic is convenient to the administration's strategy of playing down the North Korean threat and postponing an active response to it. But if it's not certain that this murderous and immoral regime already has a bomb, then it is important to do whatever can be done now to stop what increasingly looks like a drive by dictator Kim Jong Il to produce an arsenal as quickly as possible. Perhaps there is no way to stop him; but the administration would be wrong to prematurely concede North Korea's standing as a nuclear power. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

MC GRORY "We may talk to the North Koreans informally, but we will certainly not negotiate, Powell says. We must not "reward bad conduct." That is true with small children and other difficult human beings, but it is not necessarily a principle in dealing with a nutty little nation that has gone nuclear, having produced two bombs and acquired the makings for as many as one a month.Playing it cool may be good for Bush's war -- it won't unduly divert people -- but it doesn't do a lot for world peace. Negotiating with a paranoid Kim Jong Il might be the equivalent of dealing with a kidnapper or a hostage-taker, but surely some allowance could be made for weapons that could wipe out the world. But the buzz is that if Bush sent someone to the North Korean capital, we would be giving the maniac in charge "just what he wants" -- that is, attention. Apparently little thought is given to the possibility that a U.S. envoy might be successful in convincing crazy Kim Jong Il that North Korea needs other things more than plutonium to make it a serious country. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

BERGER+GALLUCCI "The extent to which North Korea is able to end its isolation from the United States and the rest of the world should not just depend on its willingness to step back from the threatening actions of the past several days and give up its clandestine enrichment program; it must be willing to step forward to resolve its past nuclear history and open its future behavior to comprehensive and verifiable international scrutiny. If it does, other issues between us can be addressed and steps toward a more normal relationship with us are achievable. This course is not without risks. But the support for a regional cutoff of all significant contacts -- or for more robust options -- is unlikely if we do not make such an effort. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

REEVES "Washington's plan to use economic pressure to stop North Korea from restarting its nuclear plants - seen by the CIA as nuclear warhead factories - has been rejected as ineffective by South Korea... The outgoing President, Kim Dae Jung, and his successor poured scorn on the American strategy yesterday, saying it would not persuade Pyongyang to change tack." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "After 50 years as a stalwart U.S. ally, South Korea is now one of the administration's biggest foreign policy problems. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

BENN "The lengthy preparations for the war on Iraq suggest that even the world's superpower finds it hard to chew gum and talk at the same time. And there are no vacuums in the international arena: With America engaged by Saddam Hussein, others are exploiting circumstances in order to create new strategic facts. Thus the balance of power in the region is likely to change for the worse before we get to the "day after." The events of the past weeks furnish several examples of the limits of America's power as world policeman." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

WEISS+O'HANLON "While the President decides whether to march to Baghdad, Saddam Hussein may be poised to bring the battle to American cities via terrorism. Yet Washington's focus on creating a new Department of Homeland Security has left America's cities not much better protected than they were sixteen months ago.... We can't make up for a year lost to other federal priorities, but here are five things the Administration should do right away to bolster local efforts to prevent and respond to a terrorist attack. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "M.I.T. Studies Accusations of Lies and Cover-Up of Flaws in [Bush] Antimissile System " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

BRODER "Tom Daschle agreed with his party majority only 80 percent of the time -- a remarkably low figure for a man often described by Republicans as a partisan obstructionist....Bill Frist of Tennessee, often described as "a healer," was every bit as loyal a partisan last year as the man he replaces, Trent Lott of Mississippi. Lott was a 98 percenter; Frist, 97 percent, and the new Republican whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, also voted the party line 97 percent of the time. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

DIONNE "Bush will come up with measures supposedly designed to stimulate the economy. In fact, the stimulus argument is an excuse for furthering his campaign to reduce the share of taxes paid by the most well-off Americans. He's expected to propose making his tax cut permanent and cutting taxes on dividends....As Washington sits by, lower levels of government are forced to do all the things the president says he's against: raising taxes, cutting spending on schools, reducing outlays for security, including police and fire departments. States, like individuals and families, are also being clobbered by rising health care costs." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

KRUGMAN "Like corporate malfeasance, deflation has turned out to be something that can happen here. It's by no means a foregone conclusion: Federal Reserve officials assure us that they can and will steer us away from a Japanese-style black hole. But we're close enough to such a black hole that it's already warping our economic space.Here's how it can happen:... " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

WP Voucher Watch. "States Worry New Law Sets Schools Up to Fail. Federal "No Child Left Behind" law's use of test scores would label most poor performers." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Galvanized by the Republican takeover of the Senate, opponents of abortion are preparing a major push for new abortion restrictions in the next Congress. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

VINCENT Adults Lead Class In Anti-Gay Bigotry 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Global warming is forcing species to alter habits in ways that could disrupt ecosystems, two groups of researchers say....Projections of global warming by 2100 ranged from 2.5 to 10 degrees above current levels, should concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, which flow mainly from smokestacks and tailpipes, continue to rise." Bush has said that we should learn to live with the changes, which researchers term "pretty frightening. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

AP "Major changes to clean air rules for utilities, refineries and manufacturers were being formally issued Tuesday by the Bush administration, prompting a court challenge from a coalition of New England and mid-Atlantic states. ``We think what they are doing is contrary to the Clean Air Act and it is fundamentally injurious to the American public,'' Eliot Spitzer, New York's attorney general, said in an interview. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "Bush recently promised to increase fuel economy in S.U.V.'s by 1.5 miles a gallon by 2007. But that's less than what the automakers say they can do on their own, and far less than what the National Academy of Sciences says is possible for all cars with existing off-the-shelf technology. And the rewards for a big increase in efficiency would be huge: cleaner air, fewer global warming gases, reduced dependence on Persian Gulf oil. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT Bush's Norton Reduces Southern California Water Supply As A Penalty 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "Hebron Residents Describe an Israeli Reign of Beatings. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT ED "For an idea that's doable, our foreign policy choice is dismantling Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Just as terrorism is the greatest Palestinian obstacle to Middle East peace, so the settlements established in territories captured in the 1967 war are the greatest Israeli obstacle. They deprive the Palestinians of valuable land and water and deny them geographical continuity. They are hard for Israel to defend against Palestinian attack, and they make it impossible to establish a clear, secure Israeli border." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

HA'ARETZ "Sharon, the political analyst, who only sees the Arabs' responsibility for terror and not the part he plays in egging them on, does what commentators do when they have no explanation for what is going on: He uses distraction. Corruption? That's not the issue. The main thing is getting ready for the war on Iraq. Scare tactics never hurt a commentator when the words run dry." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

FOOT "Triumph of doublethink in 2003: Orwell warned against the kind of lies we are being fed about Iraq." 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

HOLT "The full and fair picture, which the VOA has followed most of the time, is flexible enough for most days; but some days the White House - or Defense or State - wants to make a point so badly that it is tempted to stretch the truth or even (here comes the dangerous part) to make it up. This happened in the cold war, and it could happen again in the war on terror if we are not careful. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

LEDBETTER How Internet Bubble Reporting By Business Media Became Part Of The Problem 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

NYT "As universities rush to install wireless networks, professors say the technology poses a growing challenge for them: retaining their students' attention. " 01.02.03 www.bushwatch.com

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