Friday, October 22, 2004

Fighting Terrorists Effectively

Fighting Terrorists Effectively

Wilson C. Lucom
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Birds of a feather flock together" is an old commonsense proverb. Eagles with eagles: the United States and Great Britain. Vultures with vultures: Iraq, Iran, Sudan and al-Qaida in these and other vulture countries. They help each other in every way possible.

Undoubtedly Saddam Hussein, because of his wealth, supported the terrorists and was a leader of the "vultures." They are enemies of the United States for harboring and/or supporting terrorism. Remember, President Bush said, "You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror."

Realistically, al-Qaida and terrorist countries use the policy of "rules are for fools." They apply this policy to the U.S. 9/11 Commission, President Bush, Congress and any other "fools" who believe in rules of any kind, including evidentiary rules.

One of the Geneva Conventions specifies rules for the decent and humane treatment of prisoners of war. Other rules apply to workers in war zones, such as Iraq.

President Bush is severely criticized when prisoners are abused, not as a matter of policy but as aberrations of individual troops. The major media and TV are making a big thing out of something that should be "small potatoes" when the United States is at war. In this way they are helping the terrorist enemy.

The terrorist enemies follow "rules are for fools" and behead their prisoners, hostages and newsmen. We wring our hands and say "Isn't this terrible," but this hand wringing does not stop the terrorists from following their disdain for rules and continuing to behead innocent people.
The U.S. has to find a strategy to stop these beheadings.

The news media, biased 80 percent to 20 percent toward Democrats, simply mention the horrible acts of beheading or the taking of hostages and/or prisoners of war, dropping these stories after a short time. But the much less serious violation of prisoner abuse, such as making prisoners strip naked, has been constantly kept alive for over five months and will probably continue until election time.

Who benefits from this news bias?

In this instance, the American news media are benefiting the terrorist enemy, not the United States. The news media should constantly work to benefit the United States, which gives them very important rights and freedoms they would not receive in other countries. Yet they turn against their country when a Republican is president. Why?

If the U.S. is to survive as a free nation, the U.S. Congress and others must stop saying, "We are above committing such acts because we are a moral nation." The U.S. is not a moral nation; look at Enron and other scandals. If we were a moral nation, these scandals would not have happened. Even President Clinton was immoral. If the nation was moral, Clinton would have been expelled from office.

To survive, we have to be a realistic nation and instead "fight fire with fire," taking "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." A long terrorist war could bankrupt the United States, which must not happen. It may have to be ended by killing all the terrorists.

This is how Israel survives. Every time a Palestinian suicide bomber kills an Israel soldier or citizens, the Israel government retaliates and kills 10 Palestinians for every Israeli killed. If Israel did not retaliate, it would long ago have ceased to exist as an independent nation.

The U.S. must learn to do the same thing, retaliating in kind or even greater than the original attack upon it. It would certainly discourage the terrorists, cut off their funds and reduce their numbers if the U.S. beheaded 50 of their captives for every American they beheaded. This is the only kind of action they understand. Otherwise, they know we are actually fools for allowing them to continue with their despicable deeds in time of war.

The 9/11 Commission and other agencies all follow the rules of evidence that credible evidence must be obtained, which, due to the secretive nature of al-Qaida, cannot be obtained in advance. Proof of this fact is that Osama bin Laden has not been caught because he keeps his location and further plans a deep secret.

Even CIA Director George Tenet said for 10 years that we have been unable to catch Osama bin Laden because he keeps his information a closely guarded secret, known only to himself and his immediate followers.

The 9/11 Commission in its final report said "no credible direct evidence" exists that there were ties between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. On deeper examination, this finding is useless and conveys a false impression that Bush was wrong to start the war against Hussein. It is a Democratic attack on Bush.

What does "no credible direct evidence" actually mean? No credible direct evidence actually does not mean anything, and the 9/11Commission looks really stupid in issuing such a statement.

Why does the 9/11 Commission look stupid? It is virtually impossible if not impossible to get credible direct evidence on an organization that keeps all its plans a deep secret.

For example, a man commits a murder to which there are no witnesses, he left no gun
and there is no possible way to locate him. This man is without doubt a murderer, but there is no CREDIBLE DIRECT EVIDENCE to even find him because he kept all credible evidence, including indirect evidence, a deep secret known only to him. A court must report that there is no credible direct evidence to prove he was the murderer. The man is a murderer, but there was no direct evidence to prove it and he is free to murder again.

Likewise, Hussein was a terrorist murderer.

No doubt about it, birds of a feather flock together and Hussein and the other terrorist nations including al-Qaida flocked together and helped each other, but the 9/11 Commission could not obtain the proof because of the secretive nature of the terrorists and Hussein. Therefore, it reported that a"no credible direct evidence" existed.

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, said that "terrorism is like a cancer." It may for a period of time go into "remission," but it is not cured and is still with us to break out again when the time is right. To effectively fight and cure cancer you have to completely cut it out. With terrorism, you have to completely destroy it, cut it out so it cannot go into remission and start up again.

President Bush had to start with one of the "biggest birds" of terrorism, Saddam Hussein, because if unopposed, the terrorists would have regrouped and again attacked the U.S. President Bush prevented future terrorist attacks by attacking terrorism on foreign soil, not United States soil, where you could have been killed. You will observe that, because of the attack on Hussein, the terrorists have not been able to regroup to again attack the United States. What more proof is needed?

Every American, instead of criticizing President Bush, should give thanks to him for thwarting any further attacks on you for two and a half years. Let us pray that he can continue to do so.

* * * * * *

Wilson C. Lucom is co-founder, with Reed Irvine, of Accuracy in Media (AIM). Lucom's first grant started AIM. For over 25 years he was a vice president and a director of AIM. For many years Lucom was editor of Accuracy in Academia's newspaper, now called Campus Report. During the Roosevelt administration, Lucom served as an assistant to the Secretary of State in the State Department and Acting Chief of Mission, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

Paul Johnson: George Bush Is the Next Thatcher

Paul Johnson: George Bush Is the Next Thatcher

Jeremy Bradshaw
Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Paul Johnson is a leading writer, author and historian in Britain. He was once a radical left-wing journalist in Britain. He converted to the Right under Margaret Thatcher and became the leading intellectual to support the conservative cause in Britain in his bestselling books and columns. A staunch supporter of the United States, he tells NewsMax that George W Bush is America’s New Thatcher and warns of growing anti-Americanism in Europe.

London – “Hillary Clinton - she’s awful!” “ Prince Charles – he’ll be a terrible King!” “ Bush Senior – a very weak President!” “ Margaret Thatcher – a great friend.” “Tony Blair – a man of integrity.”

And so it is.

Paul Johnson, prolific author, writer and leading intellectual has a view on most of the great and the good.

But then he’s met most of the giants of the last fifty years, befriended many and passed judgment on all – in either articles or one of his many books.

Recently visited with the distinguished journalist to get his views on the world in turmoil.

Mr. Johnson has some unique perspectives. He was, in the 1960s and early 1970s, a radical left-wing card-carrying member of the British Labor Party at a time when Labor advocated state ownership of industry, mass redistribution of wealth and punitive tax levels.

As Britain’s economy faltered, Johnson was seduced by Margaret Thatcher’s message of less government and less taxation.

Emotionally and mentally, he was won over to the Right and became among her closest advisers to Margaret Thatcher.

“In the 1970s Britain was on its knees. The left had no answers. I became disgusted by the over-powerful trade unions which were destroying Britain,” he recalls.

Thatcher: Her Father’s Daughter

Thatcher became the leader of the opposition Conservative Party in 1975.

“I was instantly drawn to her. I’d known Margaret at Oxford. She was not a party person. She was an individual who made up her own mind. People would say that she was much influenced by Karl Popper or Frederick Hayek.

“But it was her father, Alderman Roberts – who was active in local politics in Grantham, Lincolnshire – who was the biggest influence on her.

“He taught her to follow a mix of Adam Smith and the Ten Commandments. The result was that Thatcher followed three guiding principles: truthfulness, honesty and never borrowing money.”

It was a philosophy that Johnson also shared. “My friend Jimmy Goldsmith, the billionaire financier never agreed with us. He once said ‘How do you think I made my billions? Using other people’s money, of course’ ” chuckles Johnson.

Tony Blair: Man of Integrity But Doesn’t Read Books

Personalities are important to Johnson. He left the Conservative Party when John Major succeeded Mrs. Thatcher as prime minister in 1990. “I couldn’t bear the man.”

With Tony Blair, who bounced in to Johnson’s life in 1994, it was different.

“He arrived one morning on my doorstep to introduce himself - just after he became leader. I liked him very much. He is a nice fella. He is a man of integrity,” insists Johnson.

“However, he’s not a well educated person – he never reads books. Although Blair did tell me he once read a book – it was on the slave trade.”

“To Hell with the Europeans – Don’t Trust the French”

Blair’s winning personality and readiness to court Johnson paid off.

As a leading force in British journalism, with major columns in both the tabloid and more weighty broadsheet press, Johnson’s views mattered and the Man who wanted to be Prime Minister knew this.

For Johnson, it was all important that Blair continued Thatcher’s close relationship with the U.S.
“I told Tony Blair that when he becomes Prime Minister he must always stick close to the Americans – they are our allies. They are more than that, they are like family. We’re not foreign countries. I said Hell to the Europeans – you can never trust them, especially the French.”

And Blair listened and followed Johnson’s advice. Blair enjoys Johnson’s continued support.
He has kept the Thatcher legacy intact although his foreign policy successes have not been matched by domestic successes, perhaps because “Blair is not really interested in home affairs.”

Johnson’s fascination with the United States has been a dominant theme of his life.

He once said, “I have fallen in love with America and its history. I have visited America several times a year for four decades and studied every aspect of its continental story.

Johnson’s book “A History of the American People” is a reflection of his enduring enthusiasm for the country. But again and again it is the personalities that seem to fascinate the writer. Johnson, like Churchill, believes in the great man (or woman) of history.

“’Reagan’s your man,’ I told Margaret Thatcher”

In 1980 Paul Johnson served as a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and studied the rise of Ronald Reagan to the presidency.

“When Reagan won the Republican nomination I wrote to Mrs. Thatcher and said, ‘You must make your number with Reagan as he will be president and in my opinion you will find like yourself you share the same three or four key principles.’

“At first the Iron Lady showed reluctance. As she said, ‘That’s not my information.’ ‘I told her to dismiss as Georgetown gossip the information fed to her by our diplomats and to get on with meeting Reagan.’

“Of course the rest is history. The moment the two met they hit it off. The key was not just their views,” says Johnson. “Mrs. Thatcher was remarkably feminine despite all this talk of her being the Iron Lady. She loves handsome men. Reagan was just her type. She also loved Reagan’s one-liners.”

Bush Like Thatcher

Johnson’s admiration for Reagan also extends to George W Bush.

“Bush Junior is far more intelligent than his image or the press suggest. And he is 100 per cent trustworthy. He is also a much stronger man than Bush senior,” says Johnson.

“President Bush has far more in common with Thatcher than his father. It is nonsense to say Bush is in the pocket of the neo-conservatives. I know the so-called neo-cons and it is all a myth. They can’t agree on anything, let alone organize themselves for a predetermined program. He’s got the steel and backbone of his mother, Barbara Bush, and not his weak and feeble father.”

Iraqi War Was Necessary

Bush’s attack on Iraq deserves full support, says Johnson.

“Saddam Hussein was clearly an evil man. The war was necessary and a good thing. It was as plain as a nose on your face that Saddam had to go.

“If Thatcher had still been in power when the first Gulf War took place then I am certain she would have made sure the Americans liberated not just Kuwait but also had gone onto Baghdad and removed Saddam.

“Instead, Bush senior was too weak and in the hands of his generals so he did not want to go in to Iraq. And so it was left to George W. to sort out.”

The result? “Bush Junior has made the U.S. a far safer country – as witnessed by al-Qaida’s failure to do anything since 9/11.”

Ironically al-Qaida may have helped Bush.

“Before 9/11 President Bush had no idea what he hoped to achieve with his presidency After the terrorist outbreak al-Qaida gave Bush a theme and a purpose: to make the U.S. a safer place and to rid the world of terrorism. And this will help Bush win a second term.”

Johnson clearly has little time for the Democrats. Perhaps it is the unattractive personalities involved . He doesn’t rate Kerry or his chances of winning the presidency.

“He has a one in a million chance of success,” he says.

The Clintons are not fully backing Kerry, he adds. After all, they want a Hillary 2008 campaign. “Let’s not forget: The Clintons’ marriage is a dynastic marriage of ambitious swine.”

Prince Charles: A Bad King

As Johnson’s looks to the future he sees storm clouds gathering in two areas. The historian in him worries about the future of the monarchy.

“He will make a bad king – if he becomes one. Our only hope is that the Queen will live on in to her late eighties so Charles may never reign or only for a short time. Like Edward VII, the wayward heir of Queen Victoria, he may ascend to the throne in his sixties and experience a belated maturity. But one thing of which I am certain: he will never marry that Camilla.”

Anti-Americanism Is Racism

Johnson’s other concern is the growing tide anti-Americanism sweeping the globe.

“It’s borne of jealousy and power envy. It is a form of racism. The U.S. is a microcosm of the world’s races, Hatred of the Americans is a form of self-hatred. The solution to this anti-Americanism? I say, carry on doing what is right!”

John Kerry As Joe Btfsplk

John Kerry As Joe Btfsplk

Paul Weyrich
Monday, June 28, 2004

Senator Zell Miller, (D-GA) made an interesting point when he addressed a meeting I chaired last week. He asked the audience if they remembered the comic strip “Li’l Abner”? Less than half did. He went on to explain that there was a character, Joe Btfsplk, who always had a rain cloud above his head. No matter how sunny the rest of the strip was, Joe never escaped the rain cloud. That character in today’s politics, said Sen. Miller, is John Kerry. Miller went on to recite all of the good economic news in today’s economy and then added, “Kerry’s talking about the Great Depression.”

It is true that politicians who take a glum view of the world don’t do as well as those who are positive and upbeat. In that respect the political parties have switched roles. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt built the New Deal on deficit spending, the Republicans donned their green eyeshades and began to warn the nation of the dire consequences of spending more than you take in. The voters listened to all of this and contrasted it with the positive “we can do it together” message of the Democrats, and they gave the Democrats 20 years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It was only when things really got bad (Korea, corruption and communism) did the voters finally turn to war hero General Dwight David Eisenhower. Even then Ike might have won as a Democrat. He didn’t make up his mind which party to join until about year and a half before the 1952 election. It was about that same time Ike got baptized, too (as a Presbyterian). Ike had an essentially negative message (urged on him by then-Senate GOP leader Robert A. Taft after Taft declared that the Eisenhower campaign was running “like a dry creek”). It would have been interesting, however, if Ike had decided to become a Democrat. He could not have had a negative message, as it would have been against his own party. So Ike, who had a rather sunny disposition anyway, might well have won for the Democrats with a positive message if the Republicans had nominated the somewhat dour Taft. Of course, we’ll never know.

Walter Mondale tried to run against incumbent President Ronald Reagan with a highly negative theme. Not only did he constantly warn of deficits, but he said he would raise taxes. Reagan’s slogan was “It’s morning in America.” I have to say, when I first saw the commercials about “morning in America” I did not like them. In fact, I didn’t think they would work. The nation was facing serious problems. The Soviets were still a great threat. We were coming out of a serious recession. But I was dead wrong. Mondale’s doom and gloom view of the world was overwhelmingly rejected. The voters loved Reagan’s upbeat look at the world. He won a 49-state landslide.

The rap on Al Gore, if you think about it, is that he failed to emphasize the roaring economy of the 1990s that created 22 million new jobs. Instead, Gore chose to warn about the dangers of the internal combustion engine, global warming and a host of other problems. That may well have cost him what should have been a Bush 41-style victory. Bush 41 won a convincing victory in 1988 giving voters “Reagan’s third term.” Gore should have been able to give voters Clinton’s third term. Instead he ran away from Clinton.

Now we come to 2004. Bush, despite having weathered a recession, the effects of 9/11 and so on, is running mostly an upbeat positive campaign. Of course, he has that little problem known as Iraq to contend with. No President in recent times has had anything like the day-after-day negative coverage that Bush has experienced. It is unprecedented. We hear now that even the Gallup poll says that a majority of Americans believe going into Iraq was a mistake. One can only speculate what the situation would be like if the media had not overblown every negative story possible.

Then there is Sen. Kerry. He is not contrasting himself with Bush much on Iraq. Oh, he says he would involve more nations at the UN. Presumably since Kerry can speak the once diplomatic language, French, he will get nations to flock to the US to help in Iraq. Right. He does want to send 40,000 more American troops to Iraq. And he wants to pay for that by eliminating our missile defense program.

Kerry says that not only is the deficit going to ruin the lives of our grandchildren, but also we have the worst economy since the Great Depression. In the Depression, as my father preached to me often, more than two in 10 Americans were unemployed. That is as opposed to 5.6 percent unemployment now. That translates to a little more than a half a person in 10 being unemployed. The economy is growing at the fastest rate since 1984. The economy is creating jobs at a great rate but Kerry says they are minimum wage jobs. Bush says half of the new jobs are above average in wages and benefits. It is not clear whose message is getting through. Some polls suggest that the public trusts Kerry more on the economy than the President.

You have heard it before but, trust me, there has never been an election like this one in modern times. The incumbent President has very high negatives. His job approval hovers in the high 40s. That is just high enough so that he might recover. Any lower and he would be dead…the way Jimmy Carter was in 1980.

The challenger does not have high positive ratings either. The Iraq issue has decimated the Bush lead on his greatest strength, leadership in the War against Terrorism. Very clearly, what is driving this election is the tremendous intensity of the Bush opponents. They want him out of office more than anything else. Morton Blackwell has often taught us that elections are battles of political activists and the more highly motivated of those usually prevails. If that is the case, Bush may as well plan on turning the keys to the White House over to Senator Kerry.

The leftist activists could care less about Senator Kerry. In fact, many just plain don’t like him. But they want Bush out so badly they will work feverishly to defeat him. I do not find a comparable group of volunteers for Bush. True, the Bush campaign has recruited an unprecedented number of precinct captains in every part of the nation. Still these folks, by and large, do not have the intensity of their liberal counterparts. Bush doesn’t inspire the sort of emotional commitment on the part of ordinary Americans that Ronald Reagan did. That is in no way a comment on his abilities as President. It is a personality thing.

Speaking of personality, I asked Zell Miller, who heads the Democrats for Bush operation, who he thought would win the election. He replied, “I don’t have any polls, but I think Bush will eventually prevail for two reasons. First, when voters think about whom they really want to lead the country on the War on Terror, they will pick Bush. Bush is an outstanding leader and I’ve never seen Kerry offer leadership on anything in his twenty years in the Senate.

Second, Bush is a genuinely nice person. He is the sort of person you would like to have as your neighbor. He is friendly. He makes you feel comfortable. Kerry is not a very nice person. He almost never smiles. He is arrogant. You wouldn’t want to live next door to him. Bush will win because he can relate to the average American voter and Kerry cannot.”

That’s an interesting theory. If Miller turns out to be correct, we will have to change the old adage “nice guys finish last.” If Bush wins in part because he is a pleasant person, parents will be teaching their kids “Nice guys get elected President.”

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

Bush Speaks to China of 'The America I Know'

Bush Speaks to China of 'The America I Know' Wires
Friday, Feb. 22, 2002

BEIJING – President Bush, perhaps taking a leaf from his wife's gift for teaching, Friday delivered a primer on the America he knows to Chinese university students, telling them that "in a free society, diversity is not disorder. Debate is not strife, and dissent is not revolution."

The 55-year-old president presented one of the most thoughtful views of his country he has ever sketched as he tried to assuage the anxiety of Chinese leaders, who worry that chaos will follow if they relax their hold on this country of 1.2 billion people.

Speaking before an audience of 240 Tsinghua University students in the school's main auditorium, the president said, "Life in America shows that liberty, paired with law, is not to be feared.

"In a free society, diversity is not disorder. Debate is not strife. And dissent is not revolution. A free society trusts its citizens to seek greatness in themselves and their country."

At the end his remarks, the president fielded questions for 20 minutes with the young audience, clearly enjoying the exchange. He ducked questions on why he will not plainly say he backs reunification of Taiwan with mainland China, told the audience that the most significant change since his last visit in 1975 was that people could choose colorful clothes and then gave a lecture on capitalism and the free market.

When one young woman asked wouldn't he like his daughters, Jenna and Barbara, to come to China and attend this historic university, Bush told them: "I'm afraid they don't listen to me anymore, if you know what I mean." He said the youngsters certainly had an amazing country and he thought his daughters should visit it.

The president told the students that "America is a nation guided by faith. Someone once called us 'a nation with the soul of a church.'"

"Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God, and I'm one of them," Bush said and stressed that "Freedom of religion is not something to be feared, it's to be welcomed, because faith gives us a moral core."

Bush's lecture on religion goes against some of the basic tenets of Mao Tse-tung's communist revolution, which attacked Christian missionaries as part of a western culture that subjugated the Chinese.

The president told the students he was speaking on the 30th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's trip to China that changed the two countries' relationship. Nixon's visit was a trip designed to "end decades of estrangement and confront centuries of suspicion." During the years since, "America and China have exchanged many handshakes of friendship and commerce."

Nevertheless, Bush said, "As America learns more about China, I am concerned that the Chinese people do not always see a clear picture of my country."

Some of the reasons for this, Bush said, are "of our own making. Our movies and television shows often do not portray the values of the real America I know. Our successful businesses show the strength of American commerce, but the community spirit and contributions of those business are not always as visible as their monetary success."

Bush said U.S. Ambassador Clark T. Randt Jr. "tells me that some Chinese textbooks talk of Americans 'bullying the weak and repressing the poor.' Another Chinese textbook, published just last year, teaches that special agents of the FBI are used to repress the working people.'" Neither of these is true, he said.

"In fact, Americans feel a special responsibility for the poor and the weak. Our government spends billions of dollars to provide health care and food and housing for those who cannot help themselves ... Many of our citizens contribute their own money and time to help those in need. American compassion stretches way beyond our borders.

"We are the number one provider of humanitarian aid to people in need throughout the world. As for the men and women of our FBI and law enforcement, they are themselves working people who devote their lives to fighting crime and corruption," Bush said.

Bush said his "country certainly has its share of problems and faults. Like most nations, we're on a long journey toward achieving our own ideals of equality and justice. Yet there is a reason our nation shines as a beacon of hope and opportunity, a reason many throughout the world dream of coming to America.

"We are a free nation, where men and women have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. No matter your background or circumstance of birth, in America you can get a good education, start a business, raise a family, worship freely and help elect the leaders of your community and country. You can support the policies of our government, or you are free to openly disagree with them. Those who fear freedom sometimes argue it could lead to chaos, but it does not, because freedom means more than every man for himself."

Bush told the students: "We are a nation of laws. Our courts are honest and independent. The president can't tell the courts how to rule and neither can any other member of the executive or legislative branch. Under our law, everyone stands equal. No one is above the law, and no one is beneath it.

"All political power in America is limited and temporary, and only given by a free vote of the people. We have a Constitution, now two centuries old, which limits and balances the powers of the three branches of our government: judicial, legislative and executive."

Bush said, "All of these qualities of America were vividly displayed on a single day," recalling the heroism of thousands of Americans after the terrorist attacks.

"None of this was ordered by the government. It happened spontaneously, by the initiative of a free people," the president said.

President Bush made his remarks at Tsinghua University, sometimes called China's MIT because it is a science of engineering school of the same prominence as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tsinghua has more than 20,000 students, including 12,000 undergraduates, 6,200 master's degree candidates and 2,800 doctoral degree students.

The students seemed eager to ask him questions, several posing the question first in Chinese and then asking it in English.

He never answered why he would not back reunification of Taiwan and the mainland, but said the United States was for the peaceful settlement of the issue.

When asked what was the most different since his visit 27 years ago, Bush answered that "everybody wore the same clothes. Now people picks their own clothes. Just look at the front row, everybody's dressed differently."

One girl, he said, was wearing a beautiful red sweater and by choosing that, created the need for someone to produce a sweater which is the essence and element of a free market.

The address comes on Bush's last day in Beijing. He and Mrs. Bush are expected to visit the Great Wall and shortly after 3 a.m. EST, the president boards Air Force One for Washington.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin said Thursday that China will work with the United States to "achieve peace and stability" on the Korean Peninsula.

During their meetings Thursday, Bush said he asked Jiang to encourage the North Koreans to open a dialogue with South Korea and the U.S.

In an extraordinarily lively joint news conference with President Bush in the Great Hall, the 76-year-old Chinese leader said it had always been the Chinese position that differences between North and South Korea should be settled peacefully.

"All in all, in handling state-to-state relations, it is important to resolve the problems through peaceful means, in a spirit of equality and through consultation. And that's why I've explained our consistent and clear-cut position on the question of the Korean Peninsula. It's quite near."

Despite the agreement on Korea, the two leaders did not appear to make any progress on weapons non-proliferation. In the past, the United States has accused China of supplying missile technology and support to Pakistan, Libya, Iran and North Korea. China has denied selling any weapons that violate international law.

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the sticking point is over China's unwillingness to pass effective export controls and reluctance to punish some Chinese companies that have violated weapons export agreements. The U.S. is refusing to lift sanctions against Chinese companies.

In a January report to Congress, the CIA said as of the middle of 2001, China provided missile technology and support to Pakistan, Libya, Iran and North Korea, including computers and other support. China also has sold advanced conventional weapons to Pakistan, including F-7 fighter aircraft.

Meanwhile, Bush said that Jiang has agreed to visit the United States next October in conjunction with his attendance at the Asian Pacific Economic Conference and that Vice President Hu Jintao would be visiting the United States shortly.

The president's visit to Beijing is the shortest of any of the three capitals he has traveled to on his Asian venture.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International. All rights reserved

Bush urges blacks to break with Democrats

Bush urges blacks to break with Democrats

c. 7/23/04

DETROIT, United States (AFP) - US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) passionately wooed black voters, who voted against him by a 9-1 margin in 2000, and urged them to break their traditional allegiance to the Democratic party.

In a speech to the non-profit National Urban League community-based group, Bush played off a recent poll showing 35 percent of black voters think Democrats automatically assume they can count on their support.

"Does the Democrat Party take African-American voters for granted? That's a fair question. I know plenty of politicians assume they have your vote, but do they earn it and do they deserve it?" he said, winning scattered applause.

Bush played up his appointments of blacks to serve in key administration jobs, including Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites), as well as Education Secretary Rod Paige.

"Listen, (the) Republican Party's got a lot of work to do. I understand that," he said, drawing laughter and applause.

But "is it a good thing for the African-American community to be represented mainly by one political party? A legitimate question. How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete?" he asked.

Bush's stop here aimed to repair some of the damage from his decision to snub an invitation to address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (news - web sites) (NAACP), citing its leaders' sharp criticisms of him.

His remarks came as a new poll showed 79 percent of black voters back Democratic White House hopeful John Kerry (news - web sites) but suggested that their support for him is not as warm as it was for then-vice president Al Gore (news - web sites) four years ago.

Just 27 percent of the 1,000 respondents to a July 6-15 Black Entertainment Television/CBS News poll said they were enthusiastic about the senator from Massachusetts' bid for the White House, while 58 percent said they were merely satisfied.

And the study, which had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, included a warning for Democrats, with 35 percent of respondents saying the party takes blacks for granted.

Still, those are numbers the Bush team can only dream about: 85 percent disapprove of his handling of his job and 90 percent say the war in Iraq (news - web sites) was not worth it.

The study found that an overwhelming number of black voters say the US economy, in which job growth has come in fits and starts, is the most important issue, with employment the top concern.

Aiming to capitalize on that, Bush also unveiled a modest plan to partner the US government with the Urban League to promote black business ownership.

"You can't say to somebody 'you must be an entrepreneur.' You can't say that. But you can say 'if you want to start your own business we'll help you,'" the president said, drawing applause.

Kerry earned a warm reception on Thursday from the Urban League, taking a jibe at Bush by promising: "As president, I will show up, not just at national meetings during election season."

He also assailed the Bush administration for what he said was its failure to back early childhood development programs, winning a standing ovation from the crowd.

A Bush campaign spokesman said the president had previously addressed the Urban League on August 1, 2001 in Washington and July 28, 2003 in Philadelphia.

The black vote is crucial to capturing Michigan, which went for Gore in 2000 by a 51-46 percent margin.

Bush Criticizes Kerry's Achievements

Bush Criticizes Kerry's Achievements

c. 7/30/04

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - President Bush (news - web sites) launched his counterattack Friday against John Kerry (news - web sites), saying his Democratic rival spent 18 years in the U.S. Senate with "no signature achievements."

"My opponent has good intentions, but intentions do not always translate to results," Bush told thousands of supporters who repeatedly interrupted his remarks with standing ovations.

Appearing at a baseball stadium at Southwest Missouri State University, Bush said that during eight years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kerry voted to cut the intelligence budget but had no record of reforming America's intelligence-gathering capability. Problems with the intelligence agencies have been blamed for many of the failures surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Bush also said Kerry has no significant record for reforming education or health care.

The president said that Kerry and running mate John Edwards (news - web sites) consistently oppose reforms that limit the power of Washington and leave more power in the hands of the people.

"This week members of the other party gathered in Boston," Bush said. "We heard a lot of clever speeches and some big promises. After 19 years in the United States Senate my opponent has had thousands of votes but very few signature achievements."

Bush also mounted a defense of his record, saying that Kerry would erase gains made in the past four years in the economy and U.S. security.

"We are turning the corner and we are not turning back" in the war on terrorism and on issues from improving education and health care to maintaining the tax cuts he has put in place, said Bush, declaring: "Results matter."

"They're going to raise taxes, we're not," Bush said of Kerry.

He said the Bush administration has "a clear vision on how to win the war on terror and bring peace to the world."

Bush also contrasted the longtime government service of Dick Cheney (news - web sites) to Edwards, a first-term senator.

"I appreciate my running mate," said Bush. "He's not the prettiest man in the race, but he's got sound judgment."

Offering broad outlines of his re-election agenda, Bush promised better times and fresh ideas, declaring "we have more work to do."

In response to Bush's speech, the Kerry campaign said "results do matter" and that Bush's policies have led to record deficits, skyrocketing health costs, lower quality jobs, a military that is stretched too thin and a nation isolated from its allies.

In his acceptance speech Thursday night, Kerry hit hard at the president's handling of the Iraq (news - web sites) war and the war on terror.

"Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so," said Kerry. "Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so."
Outside the minor-league baseball stadium where Bush spoke, hundreds of protesters carried signs and chanted.

"I'm so frightened about what's happening to the country," said Joan Wagnon, 72, of Springfield. She held a sign reading, "Don't waive your rights while waving your flag."

Bush did not stay up to watch Kerry's convention address but read and saw reports about it, spokesman Scott McClellan said. Adviser Karl Rove watched the speech, McClellan told reporters.

"I think the senator of Massachusetts is a walking contradiction," McClellan said. Although he called Kerry's speech "nicely crafted," he criticized Kerry's Senate record and said he is "running as fast and as far as he can from that record."

In a trip focused on the Midwest, the president campaigns Saturday by bus in Ohio, the second bus tour he has made in the state in three months. He will wrap up two days of campaigning with a rally Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, just hours after Kerry speaks in a nearby suburb. It will be his 31st visit to Pennsylvania since being elected.

Bush won Missouri in 2000 with 50 percent of the vote to Al Gore (news - web sites)'s 47 percent, and in Springfield, Mo., the president appeals to some of his strongest supporters in the state.

"This is a turnout game and whoever mobilizes their base most effectively is going to win the state," says political science professor Martha Kropf of the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Missouri has lost nearly 40,000 manufacturing jobs since Bush took office, but the picture has improved markedly in the past year, with the labor force as a whole adding 83,000 jobs.

Hero O'Grady Four-Square Behind the President

Hero O'Grady Four-Square Behind the President

Dave Eberhart,
Saturday, Aug. 7, 2004

Capt. Scott O'Grady (U.S. Air Force, retired) once was on the cover of Time magazine, perhaps the first individual warrior-hero of America’s challenging new era of conflict. Shot down while flying a fighter in support of the NATO no-fly zone over Bosnia in 1996, he escaped and evaded the enemy for days until a Marine team flew in for the rescue. The gutsy aviator captured the imagination of Americans and gave a face to GI heroes all over the globe.

Electing to end a 12-year career in the Air Force, the hero now lives in Dallas and is pursuing a master's degree. And he’s supporting the re-election of President Bush.

In speeches and lectures around the country and recently even in an Internet chat room session sponsored by the White House and attended by NewsMax, O’Grady spells out that he has no doubts about his president’s hard line on the War on Terror:

“President Bush has shown through his decisive leadership that we will take a stand against terrorism. Because of his leadership, we have made major changes in our government to help us against this war, such as the Homeland Security Department, the PATRIOT Act, and a proactive policy of fighting terrorists on their own soil before they come and kill us in our country.

“I believe that it's President Bush's personal values, morals and his clear determination not to allow the terrorists to succeed and to take a proactive role against them, and to view it for what it is - a war - not a criminal act that we need to fight with law enforcement, as the previous administration did and failed.”

'Nightmares' About Admitted 'War Criminal' Kerry

Capt. O’Grady is equally vocal about his distaste for candidate John Kerry as a potential commander in chief:

“I can tell you that I, Scott O'Grady, do not see him fit. I have had nightmares about this. Let me put it this way. I have myself have heard John Kerry testify that he committed war atrocities, where he came out and admitted that he is a war criminal. That he was involved in activities in Vietnam where he hurt innocent civilians.

“There is a big difference between war operations where civilians are hurt or killed in collateral damage. It's a tragedy of war versus actually targeting civilians, which is a criminal act. It's against our military laws of warfare. It is an unlawful act to purposely target non-combatants.

“I've heard from Senator Kerry's mouth when he testified after coming back from Vietnam that he purposely took part in activities that targeted civilians.

"The other reason I don't see him fit is his Senate record. His voting record does not support the military: the supplies they need, the pay they receive, the support for their families. I think it would be a major mistake for the American people to vote for John Kerry.”

When a cyber-questioner looks to the controversial Patriot Act as an indication that Bush has overstepped, O’Grady fires back:

“The misleading myth that the Patriot Act has carte blanche authority to violate civil liberties is a lie. All the Patriot Act does primarily is to allow federal agencies to communicate more effectively with one another to fight the War on Terror with intelligence and allows federal agencies to investigate terrorist groups just as if they were organized criminals, i.e. the Mafia.

“Federal wire-tapping was allowed before the Patriot Act to follow individuals. All the Patriot Act does is to take policies already in place to fight crime to be allowed to fight terrorism. I will also note that there has not been one instance of reported abuse because of the Patriot Act.”

Media 'Very Biased'

If O’Grady nurses a pet peeve it has to be what he perceives as a media bias toward the negative when it comes to reporting on the war in Iraq.

“I drive my opinions by stories from people who just came back from Iraq. They tell me of the great stories of freedom going on over there. Citizens embracing them for granting them freedom and allowing them to participate in activities they would not have been allowed to before. I feel the media has become very biased lately, and I find that very disheartening.”

O’Grady is also opinionated when it comes to those who suggest that President Bush hasn’t been mindful enough of our men and women in uniform.

“[I]t is my understanding that President Bush in 2004, his budget contained the largest increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs than has ever been requested. I also understand that President Bush's budget allows for more than a million more veterans to seek health care than in the year 2000. It's also my understanding that President Bush's 2004 budget included the largest ever increase for veterans' health care.

“Since President Bush took office, the VA's health care budget has been increased by over 30 percent.”

O’Grady says he was inspired to join the service by a Vietnam veteran father and a call to duty he could not dismiss. To this day he says he was able to survive his dramatic ordeal in Bosnia because of his faith in God and country.

President Bush could ask for no worthier advocate.

Senator Kerry: You Can't Have It Both Ways

Senator Kerry: You Can't Have It Both Ways

David Limbaugh
Monday, August 9, 2004

I have a few more questions about John Kerry's foreign policy and national security "vision," as laid out (or not) in his convention speech and elsewhere.

You say, Mr. Kerry, that President Bush burned bridges with our allies in going to war against Iraq precipitously. How exactly did he burn those bridges? It surely wasn't that he failed to consult - tirelessly - with those nations, because he did.

He asked France, Germany and Russia to join the coalition. They refused. He asked them again and again, and they refused. At that point, what should Mr. Bush, as commander in chief, have done?

Should he have shared all of our intelligence with them to try to persuade them of Saddam's WMD programs? I'm sure he did, but it wouldn't have mattered, because they already believed it anyway. As you know, Mr. Kerry, these nations were all quite convinced, independent of what we told them, that Saddam was actively engaged in acquiring WMD. But they were unmoved.

What else, then, should we have done to try to convince them to join us? You've said, quite cryptically, that as president you would have multiple bargaining chips at your disposal to use in negotiations with foreign countries. Are we to assume that you would use these chips as leverage to pressure recalcitrant nations into joining our coalition against their will? How would you fulfill your promise to enhance our relations with these nations while bullying them into war? Is that what you mean by your commitment to conduct a more "sensitive" war on terror?

Or, in order to stay on the good side of "Old Europe," would you yield, alter your course and decline to strike Iraq? If so, would you then be breaking your pledge not to confer a veto power on other nations over our national security interests?

You've also said that you have a great deal of experience - some 20 years - dealing and negotiating with foreign countries and foreign leaders. Since the Constitution vests the executive power in the president, can you tell us which leaders you negotiated with and pursuant to what authority?

What possible bargaining chips could you have played as a lone congressman in dealing with any foreign leader? Surely you weren't conspiring with them against a sitting president. So please tell us specifically what you're talking about.

Do you stand by your party's equivocal platform plank that reasonable people may disagree on whether we should have gone to war against Iraq? Is that based on what we know now or what we thought we knew prior to going to war?

If you do stand by this platform copout that either position is reasonable, how can you condemn President Bush for going to war? And how do you square this ambiguous position with your statement that the United States should never go to war because we want to, but only because we have to? Surely that was your barely veiled code language to your base that we didn't "have" to go to war against Iraq and therefore shouldn't have.

If it is only reasonable and prudent for America to go to war when we have to, then how can reasonable people disagree about whether we should have attacked Iraq, since we didn't "have" to? Either we "had" to attack - in which case reasonable people, by definition, couldn't have opposed the war - or we didn't have to, in which case it was unreasonable (according to you) for us to attack. For once, Senator, please slide off that fence.

And if your sole face-saving claim for your absurdly inconsistent positions on Iraq is that President Bush lied about WMD intelligence, how do you account for the CIA’s and the 9/11 Commission's conclusion that he didn't lie? But if you insist on maintaining this fraud, please tell us what specific intelligence the president lied about or exaggerated. Surely not that Saddam tried to purchase uranium from Niger? ... Then what?

Are you saying the president didn't believe Saddam had WMD stockpiles, or better yet, somehow knew that he didn't? But how could he have possibly believed, much less known, that Saddam didn't have WMD when our intelligence agencies and those of all other relevant nations said he did? (I'll try not to mention again that you had access to the same intelligence as the president.)

Oh, and did you vote for the Iraq war resolution because President Bush conned you about WMD or because you thought he would only attack as a last resort? You've said both, but you can't have it both ways. If you believed he had them, you shouldn't have been in the "wait-and-see" camp.


First Lady Bashes Kerry Stem Cell Stance

Bill's Comment: Despite the date of the article, and the passing of Christopher Reeve, this article holds merit to this day.

First Lady Bashes Kerry Stem Cell Stance

c. 8/9/04

By RON FOURNIER, AP Political Writer

LANGHORNE, Pa. - First lady Laura Bush defended her husband's policy on embryonic stem cell research Monday, calling Democratic rival John Kerry (news - web sites)'s criticism "ridiculous" and accusing proponents of overstating the potential for medical breakthroughs.

"We don't even know that stem cell research will provide cures for anything — much less that it's very close" to yielding major advances, Bush said.

The first lady weighed in on the highly charged political and scientific issue on the third anniversary of Bush's decision to limit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to only the 78 stem cell lines in existence Aug. 9, 2001.

Religious groups oppose the scientific work in which culling of stem cells kill the embryos, equating that with abortion, and had urged Bush not to be the first president to fund the research — even with limits.

Proponents of the science, including former first lady Nancy Reagan and 58 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, argue that it could lead to cures to diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's. Former President Reagan suffered from the latter for a decade before his death June 5 due to related pneumonia.

They and many members of the medical community contend that only a handful of those initial 78 stem cell lines are still available under Bush's policy, as opposed to the more than 100 that have been created worldwide since Bush's decision and could be studied under more wide-open rules.

With polls showing overwhelming support for stem cell research, Kerry has promised to give scientists more freedom. He has used the word ban to describe Bush's actions when what the president has done is limit the research.

"That's so ridiculous," Laura Bush said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's one of the myths that start during a campaign."

Kerry spokesman Phil Singer said Bush's restrictions apply to 99.9 percent of potential stem cell lines that could be studied. "If that's not a ban," he said, "we don't know what is."

Unusually combative, the first lady said Kerry was trying to make a political issue out of her husband's policy "without saying what's right. I imagine he knows better."

Like other Bush-Cheney campaign surrogates, Bush credited her husband with being the first president to use taxpayer money for the research. That is true, perhaps only because the science is so new. The policy of Democratic President Clinton (news - web sites) allowed taxpayer money to be used in the research of any stem cell lines, but he never funded the nascent research. Bush invested $25 million in limited research.

Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards (news - web sites) of North Carolina, said Monday marked "a sad anniversary" because the Bush administration "put restrictions in place that dramatically undermine our efforts to find cures for diseases."

Edwards, in a conference call with reporters, said Kerry would reverse Bush's policy, invest $100 million for research and establish ethical guidelines for the science.

In a speech to the Pennsylvania Medical Society, which endorsed her husband, Bush said policy-makers must be aware of the "ethical and moral implications" of the research.

Afterward, the first lady said she was not singling out the Reagan family, several of whom have called for the restrictions to be lifted. Ron Reagan spoke out against Bush's policy at the Democratic National Convention last month, urging delegates to cast a vote for stem cell research in November — a tacit endorsement of Kerry.

"It's not fair" to raise false hopes "because stem cell research is very, very preliminary," said Bush. Alzheimer's contributed to the death of her father in the 1990s.

Health and Human Services (news - web sites) Secretary Tommy Thompson also defended Bush's policy, saying the administration "opened the doors for the first time to federal taxpayer funding for human embryonic stem cell research."

Embryonic stem cells are master cells that form during the early days after conception and can turn into any tissue in the body. Many scientists hope to one day harness them to grow replacement tissue to treat diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other diseases.

A poll by the University of Pennsylvania National Annenberg Election Survey found that 64 percent of Americans favor federal funding of embryonic stem cell research while 28 percent oppose it. Independent voters, crucial in a close election, also back using taxpayers' dollars while slightly more than half of Republicans support it, according to the survey released Monday.

While Bush's actions forbid federal dollars, it does not stop private funding of stem cell research. In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine (news - web sites), Dr. George Q. Daley, a leading stem cell researcher, said that research has struggled without federal dollars.

"The president's policy has severely curtailed opportunities for U.S. scientists to study the cell lines that have since been established, many of which have unique attributes or represent invaluable models of human disease."

U.S. to Change Airport Background Checks

Bill's Comment: What took so long to do this? The answer- PC , Libs, and the ACLU, as always!

U.S. to Change Airport Background Checks

c. 8/11/04

By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Homeland Security Department is tossing out huge chunks of a multi-million-dollar plan to run background checks on airline passengers.

So many people objected to the Computer-Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System, CAPPS II for short, that the makeover will even include a new name.

Critics especially disliked CAPPS II because it would check identity by running a passengers' personal information against government and commercial databases.

Homeland Security officials say the new plan will likely use a different system to check identity. Officials also say the new system will give passengers the ability to correct mistakes if they're wrongly identified as terrorists or suspects.

The makeover will include a new name, though that, too, is turning out to be a dilemma for the Homeland Security Department.

The working title, "Secure Passage," was abandoned because it had the same initials as another aviation security program. In a city that loves its acronyms, it's best not to double up.

No one thinks a name change alone will be enough to resurrect CAPPS II.

Dennis McBride, director of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a research institute that focuses on science and technology, was briefed by Homeland Security officials on CAPPS II's progress last week.

"Getting there from here won't be easy," McBride concluded.

The Homeland Security officials working on the project are likely to get rid of one element that CAPPS II's critics dislike: making sure people are who they say they are by running their personal information against commercial and government databases.

Any new system would probably have a different process for verifying identity, according to Homeland Security officials.

Another problem is how to give airline passengers the ability to correct mistakes if they're wrongly identified as terrorists or suspects.

Homeland Security spokesman Dennis Murphy said the department is working on that.

"That's something we clearly intend to test, to have a process for people to get redress if they feel that they're being screened unnecessarily or too frequently," Murphy said.

But what's really needed, say CAPPS II's numerous critics, is for the project's developers to drop their passion for secrecy.

Business Travel Coalition chairman Kevin Mitchell said CAPPS II wouldn't have become a political debacle if Homeland Security officials had been open about how the system was supposed to work. The coalition is an advocacy group that tries to lower the cost of business travel.

"It was badly handled," Mitchell said. "It scared everybody. The lack of transparency and inclusiveness is what really doomed it."

Mitchell said privacy advocates and airline passenger groups might not have objected so strenuously to CAPPS II if they'd been included in the project's development.

"People would have been able to contribute solutions and buy into the process," Mitchell said.

But privacy advocate David Sobel thinks CAPPS II may be so fundamentally flawed that no amount of reshaping or repackaging can save it.

Sobel characterizes CAPPS II as a secret system of surveillance on tens of millions of people who fly on commercial airlines.

"It's a fundamental dilemma that arises when the government attempts to use intelligence information against average citizens," said Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based research group.

But Paul Rosenzweig, a researcher with the Heritage Foundation think tank, predicts Homeland Security officials will come up with a successor to CAPPS II.

"They're strongly committed, as I think they should be, to the idea that we need to know something about people who travel on planes," said Rosenzweig, who attended the meeting last week with Homeland Security officials.

Bill's Final Word: I say that we emulate our airport security the way that Israel does it. However they do it, we duplicate it, regardless of inconvenience.

Noisy Sex Session Awakens Entire Street

Bill's Comment: A breather in between all of this political stuff. I figured that you might get a kick out of this one.

Noisy Sex Session Awakens Entire Street

Tue Aug 31,10:20 AM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - A pair of young lovers so annoyed their neighbors with a noisy sex session that police had to go and ask them to lower the volume, police said on Tuesday.

Officers in the western city of Essen interrupted the couple shortly after midnight after neighbors, listening to the sounds through an open window, called to complain.

"Gradually more and more neighbors gathered in front of the house to investigate the noise," said a police spokesman.

The embarrassed couple were asked to close the window and continue at a lower volume, he said.

Millions Blocked from Voting in U.S. Election

Bill's Comment: The election is not even here yet, and they are already crying, and excuse that I am not buying. What about those in the military overseas? At least their argument is legitimate. It goes to show you to not believe in everything you read and see in the "mainstream" media.
Millions Blocked from Voting in U.S. Election

circa 9/22/04.
Source: Reuters

By Alan Elsner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Millions of U.S. citizens, including a disproportionate number of black voters, will be blocked from voting in the Nov. 2 presidential election because of legal barriers, faulty procedures or dirty tricks, according to civil rights and legal experts.

The largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been deprived of the right to vote under laws that have roots in the post-Civil War 19th century and were aimed at preventing black Americans from voting.

But millions of other votes in the 2000 presidential election were lost due to clerical and administrative errors while civil rights organizations have cataloged numerous tactics aimed at suppressing black voter turnout. Polls consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

"There are individuals and officials who are actively trying to stop people from voting who they think will vote against their party and that nearly always means stopping black people from voting Democratic," said Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights.

Vicky Beasley, a field officer for People for the American Way, listed some of the ways voters have been "discouraged" from voting.

"In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle," she said.

In a mayoral election in Philadelphia last year, people pretending to be plainclothes police officers stood outside some polling stations asking people to identify themselves. There have also been reports of mysterious people videotaping people waiting in line to vote in black neighborhoods.

Minority voters may be deterred from voting simply by election officials demanding to see drivers' licenses before handing them a ballot, according to Spencer Overton, who teaches law at George Washington University. The federal government does not require people to produce a photo identification unless they are first-time voters who registered by mail.

"African Americans are four to five times less likely than whites to have a photo ID," Overton said at a recent briefing on minority disenfranchisement.

Courtenay Strickland of the Americans Civil Liberties Union testified to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week that at a primary election in Florida last month, many people were wrongly turned away when they could not produce identification.


The commission, in a report earlier this year, said that in Florida, where President Bush (news - web sites) won a bitterly disputed election in 2000 by 537 votes, black voters had been 10 times more likely than non-black voters to have their ballots rejected and were often prevented from voting because their names were erroneously purged from registration lists.

Additionally, Florida is one of 14 states that prohibit ex-felons from voting. Seven percent of the electorate but 16 percent of black voters in that state are disenfranchised.

In other swing states, 4.6 percent of voters in Iowa, but 25 percent of blacks, were disenfranchised in 2000 as ex-felons. In Nevada, it was 4.8 percent of all voters but 17 percent of blacks; in New Mexico, 6.2 percent of all voters but 25 percent of blacks.

In total, 13 percent of all black men are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction, according to the Commission on Civil Rights.

"This has a huge effect on elections but also on black communities which see their political clout diluted. No one has yet explained to me how letting ex-felons who have served their sentences into polling booths hurts anyone," said Jessie Allen of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, which seeks to ensure fair multiracial elections, recently reported that registrars across the country often claimed not to have received voter registration forms or rejected them for technical reasons that could have been corrected easily before voting day if the applicant had known there was a problem.

Beasley said that many voters who had registered recently in swing states were likely to find their names would not be on the rolls when they showed up on Election Day.

"There is very widespread delay in the swing states because there have been massive registration drives among minorities and those applications are not being processed quickly enough," she said.

Panel OKs Extension of Tax Cuts

Panel OKs Extension of Tax Cuts

circa 9/23/04


WASHINGTON - Legislation to extend several popular middle class tax cuts cleared a House-Senate conference and could be on President Bush (news - web sites)'s desk within days, handing him a major legislative victory in the closing weeks of the presidential campaign.

The $145.9 billion package marked the fourth significant tax cut package that the president has championed since taking office.

The bill was considered must-pass legislation by Republicans because without it provisions dealing with the child tax credit, relieving the marriage penalty and providing an expanded 10 percent tax bracket would have expired at the end of this year.

The House was expected to take up the measure as early as Thursday. Republican leaders predicted it would win Senate passage either Friday or early next week.

"President Bush has made it a priority to make sure that families keep more of their own money, and we intend to deliver on that priority," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., said after a joint House-Senate conference committee completed work on the bill late Wednesday.

While Democrats has originally argued that the government could not afford the price tag of extending the tax cuts in light of soaring budget deficits, leaders of both parties expected the legislation to pass easily in both chambers.

Bush had rejected a deal in July that would have extended the tax cuts for just one year and paid for them by closing various corporate tax loopholes. He held out instead for a five-year extension in a gamble that opposition would lessen the closer lawmakers got to the November elections.

All members of the House must stand for re-election on Nov. 2, as will two-dozen senators.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., who is in a tight re-election race, said last week that he could support the longer extension and would not insist on the tax cuts being paid for by raising taxes in other areas.

The tax package would keep the child tax credit at $1,000, instead of letting it drop to $700. It also would continue an expanded 10 percent tax rate that lowers tax bills for virtually all taxpayers. A third provision would continue to offer married couples relief from the so-called marriage penalty that can take a bigger tax bite from some couples than if they were single taxpayers.

The child tax credit was extended for five years, while the marriage penalty relief was extended for four years and the expanded 10 percent tax bracket for six years.

In addition to those three provisions, the tax package would extend for one year current relief from the alternative minimum tax, which was intended to make sure that wealthy Americans did not escape paying taxes but is starting to ensnare more middle income taxpayers.

The cost of the middle class tax relief was put at $131.4 billion over 10 years.

At the last minute, the Republican leaders of the conference committee decided to extend, generally for one year, nearly two dozen business tax breaks. The largest one of these would extend a research and development tax credit for one year at a cost of $7.56 billion.

Other tax breaks which would be extended included support for the economic recovery of New York City's lower Manhattan district, which was hit during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and tax credits to support the purchase of electric cars and the production of electricity from wind and biomass products, including poultry litter. The total cost for expanding the expiring business tax breaks was put at $12.97 billion.

Sen. Max Baucus (news, bio, voting record), D-Mont., failed in his efforts to amend the package by including additional corporate tax breaks or alternatively to hold down the cost by limiting the middle class tax breaks to just one year and paying for it by closing various corporate tax shelters.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (news, bio, voting record), D-Ark., also was unsuccessful in efforts to expand the part of the child tax credit that is refundable to low-income wage earners with children.

"This would provide additional tax relief for working families," she said, arguing that her provision would have benefited more than 4 million families whose earnings are too low to take full advantage of the refundable child tax credit.

Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he hoped with passage of the middle class tax relief, the White House would honor a pledge to support a separate corporate tax bill needed to repeal an export subsidy that has been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization (news - web sites) and replace it with other types of corporate tax breaks.

As long as that subsidy remains in place, Europe is imposing penalty tariffs on 1,600 U.S. manufactured goods and farm products exported to Europe. The tariff, now 11 percent, is increasing 1 percentage point per month.

Bill's Comment: If we can work those European countries to either reduce or eliminate the penalty tariffs, this will be a win-win situation for both sides.

Cleveland Ranked Nation's Poorest Big City

Cleveland Ranked Nation's Poorest Big City

circa 9/23/04

By M.R. KROPKO, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND - Crushed by the loss of steel and other manufacturing jobs, Cleveland has ranked high for poverty before — but never No. 1. That changed when a report from the U.S. Census Bureau (news - web sites) recently rated it has the nation's poorest big city, putting it ahead of Detroit, Miami and Newark, N.J.

"To be ranked No. 1, that's bad," said Councilman Zachary Reed. "Let's be honest, the fact is people in our community are living in poverty and just making it day to day."

The unwanted distinction is the latest in a litany of struggles for Cleveland, which appeared to be on the rebound over the past decade, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Jacobs Field and Gund Arena.

But this year the budget-strapped port city laid off hundreds of police officers and firefighters and reduced trash pick up and other city services.

Hundreds of teachers and other workers were laid off from city schools and officials are pushing a $68 million tax increase on the November ballot to try to ease some of the schools' financial needs.

With a poverty rate of 31.3 percent in 2003, Cleveland stands out even in Ohio: Cincinnati's was 21.1 percent, Toledo 20.3 percent and Columbus 16.5 percent.

The overall poverty rate in the United States was 12.7 percent, according to the survey released Aug. 26.

"I guess I am a little surprised, because my sense was that Cleveland was a city on the rebound," said Tom Kaplan, the associate director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Despite Cleveland's thriving image in the 1990s, poverty was always in the background, said Myron Robinson, president of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and co-chair of a newly formed civic committee on job creation.

"We had probably about 42,000 African American males unemployed then, as now. It didn't get a lot of attention until now. It's like we hit rock bottom."

The city remains home to a few steel and other manufacturing companies, many with scaled back work forces.

Hospitals, banks, law firms and universities are other big employers in Cleveland, which has a 12.2 percent unemployment rate. That's nearly double the state rate of 6.3 percent in August, when the national rate was 5.4 percent.

Deann Hazey, spokeswoman for the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland, views tourism as one solution to the poverty problem.

"We want to create a greater demand in the hospitality industries. Those with good people skills, not necessarily a college degree, can find a good job opportunity and work their way up," she said.

Rose Blade lives in Cleveland's Mount Pleasant neighborhood, where well-maintained homes and businesses mix with those in disrepair. The former factory worker is among the thousands who are unemployed.

"Things are really tough around here," said Blade, 45. "There's too many hungry people."

Bill's Comment: So much for LBJ's "War on Poverty". I am sure that this is not how the late President envisioned it to be. Speaking of the Democratic Party, what is the Kerry/Edwards plan?

What is the common link between Cleveland, Detroit, Detroit, and Newark, NJ? They are all mayored by Democrats! If want to see a successful big city, look at New York City over the last ten years, under the Republican leadership of both former Mayor Rudy Giulianai and current Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The last big city success under Democratic Party regime was when current Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was chief executive for Philadelphia.

Something else to think about for Election Day. ...

Game Puts Players in Kerry's Swift Boat

Game Puts Players in Kerry's Swift Boat

Fri Sep 24, 7:38 AM ET

By MATT SLAGLE, AP Technology Writer

DALLAS - An upcoming video game lets players re-enact the Swift boat mission in Vietnam that won Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites) a Silver Star award for battlefield heroism.

The first-person shooter "Kuma War" uses a ripped-from-the-headlines approach where gamers can download and then relive actual battles, mainly from the current war in Iraq (news - web sites).

Beginning Sept. 30, the "John Kerry" mission will be available for download as an add-on pack for the game, made by New York-based Kuma Reality Games.

The Kerry mission is based on the Navy's records of the encounter on Feb. 28, 1969.

Playing as Lt. John Kerry, you lead three Swift boats into enemy fire on the banks of the Mekong Delta. Don't try to turn around and flee — the game is scripted, so you have no choice but to attack the enemy before they kill you.

Kerry is unaware of the game and had no comment, spokeswoman Allison Dobson told The Associated Press. She said Kerry doesn't play video games.

The Silver Star was awarded for Kerry's actions in pursuit of enemy forces while commander of Swift boat unit PCF-94.

Some veterans have challenged the Democratic presidential candidate's version of the circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the award, as well as his three Purple Heart medals.

"The level of rancor has been such that few of us know what is supposed to have occurred in anyone's version of the story," Kuma Reality chief executive Keith Harper said. "Kuma Games is in a unique position to bring clarity to ordinary people's understanding of Swift boats, of the men who served in them, and of the events in question by letting you, as Lt. John Kerry, join Swift boat PCF-94 during these important events."

Last week, Navy inspector general Vice Adm. R.A. Route concluded in a memo that procedures were followed properly in the approval of Kerry's awards.

Other recent "Kuma War" missions include "Battle in Sadr City," which creator Kuma Reality Games says is based on an actual U.S. Army operation that occurred May 23, 2004.

On the Net:

Another "Attic Days" Session

Hi Everyone,
It is time for another "Attic Days" session. While most of us, including myself, are still in a fall cleaning mode, why not do it with the archives in my e-mail? I will tryo to focus on ones that pertain to bothcurrent and relevant issues.

Enjoy what lies ahead!


Curt Schilling on "The Late Show with David Letterman", 10/21/04

This is the Top Ten List from Thursday night, with Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. Enjoy!

Schilling delivers Top Ten
10/22/2004 12:46 AM ET

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling appeared on Late Show with David Letterman on Thursday night to deliver The Top Ten list.

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who picked up the win in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees despite an ailing right ankle, appeared on Late Show with David Letterman on Thursday night to deliver The Top Ten list: Top Ten secrets of the Red Sox comeback.

10. Unlike the first three games, we didn't leave early to beat the traffic.

9. We put flu virus in Jeter's Gatorade.

8. Let's just say Pete Rose made some phone calls for us.

7. We asked Pokey Reese to be a little less Pokey.

6. It's not like we haven't won a big game before -- it's just been 86 years.

5. Honestly, I think we were tired of hearing about the Patriots.

4. The messages of encouragement Martha sent on prison napkins.

3. We pretended the baseball was Letterman's head.

2. What'd you expect -- we have a guy who looks like Jesus!

1. We got Babe Ruth's ghost a hooker and now everything's cool.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Report Cites Corruption in Oil Nations

Report Cites Corruption in Oil Nations

Wed Oct 20, 9:06 AM ET

Source: Associated Press

LONDON - Most oil-producing nations are also rife with corruption, and oil companies should provide more information about their operations to help clean up the market, a global watchdog group said Wednesday in an annual report.

Angola, Azerbaijan, Chad, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq (news - web sites), Kazakhstan, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen scored very low in clean government practices, said Transparency International Chairman Peter Eigen in releasing the "Corruption Perceptions Index" for 2004.

"In these countries, public contracting in the oil sector is plagued by revenues vanishing into the pockets of Western oil executives, middlemen and local officials," he said.

Eigen said oil companies could help stamp out corruption by publishing details of the fees, royalties and other payments made to governments and state oil companies.

Transparency International said 146 countries were surveyed for the report — not just oil-producers — and it found that corruption was rampant in 60 nations.

The survey found that 106 scored lower than a 5, with a top score of 10 being the least corrupt. Bangladesh, Haiti, Nigeria, Chad, Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Paraguay were perceived to be the most corrupt, all scoring lower than 2.

The United States ranks number 17, with a score of 7.5, tied with Belgium and Ireland, better than France but worse than Canada.

The index is compiled from a series of polls on perceptions of corruption made by independent organizations. This year's report is based on 18 surveys conducted since 2002, by a dozen groups. The index rates only those countries which appear in three or more surveys.

Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Iceland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland were rated the least corrupt, all scoring higher than 9 out of 10 on the index.

Compared to last year's report, corruption was perceived to be worse in Bahrain, Belize, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Oman, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Improved scores were recorded for Austria, Botswana, Czech Republic, El Salvador (news - web sites), France, Gambia, Germany, Jordan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, Transparency International said.

Love-Making Couple Sparks Police Emergency

Love-Making Couple Sparks Police Emergency

Wed Oct 20,10:31 AM ET


LONDON (Reuters) - British police sprang into operation after receiving an emergency '999' phone alert from a woman in apparently in some distress -- only to discover it had accidentally been made by a couple having sex.

Officers at Durham in northern England became alarmed when the call came through to their headquarters in the middle of the night and all they could hear was what sounded like a woman crying with a man's voice in the background.

Police traced the number and rushed to the scene, where they found the embarrassed and disheveled couple who explained they were "messing around."

"It happened while they were having sex. The woman had depressed with her foot the '9' button on the phone which happened to be on the floor," a Durham police spokesman told Reuters Wednesday.

"It certainly put a smile on the faces on the police side -- we were just very relieved it wasn't a violent situation and that the couple were clearly getting on very well together."