Wednesday, May 07, 2003



The Big Ideas?

Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.: Edwards, himself a first-generation college graduate, wants to pay for the first year of state college for qualified high school graduates to level the playing field for groups historically underrepresented at the university -- meaning the poor and minorities.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean: Plans a radically different foreign policy approach by drastically increasing aid to developing countries to foster the creation of democratic institutions, thereby decreasing the likelihood that country will create terrorists.

U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Missouri: Rolled out a universal health care program that would give major tax breaks to companies to help them afford coverage for their employees.

Former ambassador and Illinois U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun: Wants to reform the way public schools are funded by increasing the aid from the federal government -- it provides only 6 percent right now -- that would make the system less reliant on local property taxes

Now, the question is whether those ideas actually get communicated to the American public. Their fate rests largely with the press, and judging by the coverage this weekend's festivities received, the prospects don't look so good.



"A journalist visiting Atlanta a few weeks ago stopped by The Daily Newspaper of Dramatically Declining Circulation (hereinafter referred to as the AJC). When the scribe offhandedly made a laudatory remark about The Rapidly Growing Alternative Newspaper (aka Creative Loafing or, to save a little ink, CL), an AJC poobah sniffed that the alt-weekly was "free." That disparagement was meant to end discussion -- "free" equals "not worthy."
Later that day, the journalist, BBC's Greg Palast, would quip to an overflow crowd at Emory U that he found it a relief that CL was "free" because the AJC was obviously still "enslaved."
The crowd roared with delight. And all Atlantans -- at least those remaining few souls who for one reason or the other must clench their teeth and read the AJC -- are likely roaring in derision at the daily's pitiable excuse at competition aimed at CL.



Bush may lift sanctions on his own, despite opposition
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
06 May 2003

"The Bush administration is studying whether to lift US sanctions on Iraq unilaterally – a move likely to put it on a new collision course with France, Russia and other members of the UN Security Council.
A legal team led by the National Security Council at the White House is examining such a step and its likely ramifications in international law, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday"
From Newsmax, 5/7/03:


Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bob Graham is reportedly sitting
on damaging evidence that the Bush administration could have prevented
the Sept. 11 attacks - but he hasn't released the information yet
because it's classified.

"I think Bob Graham has a smoking pistol on the Bush administration,"
Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford told WABC Radio's John
Batchelor and Paul Alexander late Tuesday.

Crawford explained that Graham's mystery evidence has to do with
"their failures, particularly intelligence failures, before 9/11."

From The Nation, 5/5/03:

Top Gun at Job Destruction


From The Los Angeles Times, 5/7/03:

Karl Rove: Counting Votes While the Bombs Drop
By James C. Moore
Karl Rove led the nation to war to improve the political prospects of
George W. Bush.

I know how surreal that sounds.
But I also know it is true.
As the president's chief political advisor, Rove is involved in every
decision coming out of the Oval Office.
In fact, he flat out makes some of them.
He is co-president of the United States, just as he was co-candidate
for that office and co-governor of Texas.
His relationship with the president is the most profound and complex
of all of the White House advisors.
And his role creates questions not addressed by our Constitution.
Rove is probably the most powerful unelected person in American
The cause of the war in Iraq was not just about Saddam Hussein or
weapons of mass destruction or Al Qaeda links to Iraq.
Those may have been the stated causes, but every good lie should have
a germ of truth.
No, this was mostly a product of Rove's usual prescience.
He looked around and saw that the economy was anemic and people were
complaining about the president's inability to find Osama bin Laden.
In another corner, the neoconservatives in the Cabinet were itching to
launch ships and planes to the Mideast and take control of Iraq.
Rove converged the dynamics of the times.
He convinced the president to connect Hussein to Bin Laden, even if
the CIA could not.
This misdirection worked.
A Pew survey taken during the war showed 61% of Americans believe that
Hussein and Bin Laden were confederates in the 9/11 attacks.
And now, Rove needs the conflict to continue so his client -- the
president -- can retain wartime stature during next year's election.
Listen to the semantics from Bush's recent trip to the aircraft
carrier Lincoln.
When he referred to the "battle of Iraq," Bush implied that we only
won a single fight in a bigger war that was not yet over.
I first encountered Rove more than 20 years ago in Texas.
I reported on him and the future president as a TV correspondent
there, traveling with them extensively during their race to the
governor's mansion in Austin.
Once there, Rove was involved in every important decision the governor
made and, according to Bush staffers, vetted each critical choice for
political implications.
Nothing is different today in the White House.
The same old reliable sources from his days in Texas are in Washington
with him.
And they say Rove is intimately involved in the Cabinet and that he
sat in on all the big meetings leading up to the Iraq war and signed
off on all major decisions.
Rove fancies himself an expert in both policy and politics because he
sees no distinction between the two.
This matters for a number of reasons.
There is always a time during any president's administration when what
is best for the future of the country diverges from what best serves
that president's political future.
If Rove is standing with George W. Bush at that moment, he will push
the president in the direction of reelection rather than the country's
best interests.
The United States is best served when political calculations are not a
part of the White House's most important decisions.
Rove's calculus is always a formula for winning the next election.
He was less concerned about the bombing of Iraqi civilians or the
bullets flying at our own troops, according to people who have worked
for him for years, than he was about what these acts would do to the
results of the electoral college, or how they influence voters in
swing states like Florida.
There needs to be something sacred about our presidents' decisions to
send our children into combat.
The Karl Roves of the world ought to not even be in the room, much
less asked for advice.
Rove has influenced dealings with Iraq and North Korea, according to
Bush administration sources.
For instance, when the U.S. was notified, through formal diplomatic
channels, that North Korea had nuclear technology, Congress was in the
midst of discussing the Iraqi war resolution.
Rove counseled the president to keep that information from Congress
for 12 days, until the debate was finished, so it would not affect the
He was also reported to be present at a war strategy meeting
concerning whether to attack Syria after Iraq.
Rove said the timing was not right.


Having the political advisor involved in that decision is wrong.
War, after all, is not a campaign event.


From The Associated Press, 5/7/03:
Report: Pentagon Adviser in Iraq Flap

"LOS ANGELES, May 7 — Pentagon adviser Richard Perle briefed an investment seminar on ways to profit from conflicts in Iraq and North Korea just weeks after he received a top-secret government briefing on the crises in the two countries, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday"

Is George W. the Demagoguer in Chief?
By P. M. Carpenter
History News Network

"Anyone with a lick of common sense and a penchant for prophecy could easily call the 2004 presidential election without further ado: a Democrat, almost any Democrat, will mop up the floor with George W.
Forget Iraq. Today's ill-reasoned hoopla over that wagged dog will be long forgotten tomorrow. And let us even grant that America's greatest foreign policy blunder - otherwise known as Operation Iraqi Freedom - doesn't blow up in our face till at least 2005. The economy, our commonsensical prophet would reason, is always the key to electoral success and in that arena W. couldn't be doing more to ensure victory for the opposition."

Hush-hush at the Justice Department
Nat Hentoff

"No administration, in my memory as a reporter on national affairs, for some forty years, has been as resistant to congressional oversight as George W. Bush's executive branch. And when Congress is shut out, so is the rest of the citizenry. The most secretive of all divisions of the government continues to be the Justice Department."


APRIL 28, 2003

George W. Bush proclaims himself
a born-again Christian. However, Bush and fellow self-anointed
neo-Christians like House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft,
and sports arena Book of Revelations carnival hawker Franklin Graham
appear to wallow in a "Christian" blood lust cult when it comes to
practicing the teachings of the founder of Christianity. This cultist
form of Christianity, with its emphasis on death rather than life, is
also worrying the leaders of mainstream Christian religions,
particularly the Pope.

One only has to check out Bush's record as Governor of Texas to see
his own preference for death over life....

Bush's blood lust has been extended across the globe. He has given the
CIA authority to assassinate those deemed a threat to U.S. national
interests. ....Bush's "Christian" blood cult sees no other option than death for those who
become his enemies. This doctrine is found no place in Christian

Bush has not once prayed for the innocent civilians who died as a
result of the U.S. attack on Iraq. He constantly "embeds" himself with
the military at Goebbels-like speech fests and makes constant
references to God when he refers to America's "victory" in Iraq, as if
God endorses his sordid killing spree. He makes no mention of the
children, women, and old men killed by America's "precision-guided"
missiles and bombs and trigger-happy U.S. troops.....

Bush and his advisers, previously warned that Iraq's ancient artifacts
and collection of historical documents and books were in danger of
being looted or destroyed, instead, sat back while the Baghdad and
Mosul museums and Baghdad Library were ransacked and destroyed....

The ransacking of Iraq's historical treasures is explainable when one
considers what the blood cult Christians really think about Islam.
Franklin Graham, the heir to the empire built up by his anti-Semitic
father, Billy Graham, has decided being anti-Muslim is far more
financially rewarding than being anti-Jewish....

Bush's self-proclaimed adherence to Christianity (during one of the
presidential debates he said Jesus Christ was his favorite
"philosopher") and his constant reference to a new international
structure bypassing the United Nations system and long-standing
international treaties are worrying the top leadership of the Roman
Catholic Church......

Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs, and
his constant references to "evil doers," in the eyes of many devout
Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in
the Book of Revelations - the anti-Christ....

The Pope worked tirelessly to convince leaders of nations on the UN
Security Council to oppose Bush's war resolution on Iraq.....


US nuclear power snags may drain oil/natgas supply
May 7, 2003

NEW YORK - Extended summer shutdowns at U.S. nuclear power plants threaten to
push up oil and natural gas prices this summer by straining already tight
fossil fuel supplies, analysts said.

News of degraded reactor vessel heads at two more U.S. nuclear units fueled
concern that the problem could sideline several of the nation's 103 nuclear
power plants, which generate about 10 percent of the nation's electricity.

Natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 8 percent this
week after news that large nuclear power units in Florida and South Carolina
were found with reactor vessel head problems... SEE LINK
Environment Takes a Hit! | 05.06.03

"The House-passed energy plan (H.R. 6), which is similar to last year's failed energy plan (H.R. 4), does little to protect the environment or make America less dependent on foreign oil. The bill does, however, follow the Administration's continuing strategy of doling out bonuses to big business. H.R. 6 provides more than two-thirds of its tax breaks to oil, coal and nuclear companies; grants subsidies to utility companies; tosses out safeguards to protect wilderness and coastal areas from energy exploration; and opens up the Artic National Wildlife Refugee to drilling. With the Senate set to consider its energy package this month, a real energy bill should include provisions to:

--Increase focus on conservation and alternative energy sources that are safe and clean.
--Encourage industries to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
--Require improvements in fuel economy standards
--Protect consumers and oppose the deregulation of the electricity industry."



May 5, 2003
Howard Dean and His American Dream Team By Joe Edelheit Ross

Excerpts: "Dean appears poised to benefit from three dynamics that assisted Carter in 1976 but that crucially eluded Hart in 1984 and Tsongas in 1992.
The first is organization. Long before his surprise New Hampshire win in 1976, Carter somewhat anonymously traveled throughout the country to meet party officials and lay a coast-to-coast groundwork for his campaign. As Tsongas put it, Carter created a national constituency "by sheer shoe leather."
...".. Dean appears to be building a nationwide constituency, though not by "sheer shoe leather." Dean has collected more than 18,000 supporters online at, a free Web-based tool designed to facilitate monthly group meetings around various topics. Though not a scientific measure of electoral appeal, Meetup provides a mechanism for Dean enthusiasts to self-organize.
It remains to be seen whether Dean will be able to effectively plug into these local groups to raise money or organize volunteers. But for now, Dean is using the Web to build a nationwide organization on the cheap. If he succeeds, the lesson for future campaigns may be that it is as valuable to be "Netgenic" as it is to be telegenic in presidential politics.
A second ingredient for success after New Hampshire is the ability to attract the support of the traditional - read: liberal - Democratic constituencies that vote in primaries. Both Tsongas in 1992 and Hart in 1984 did well among upper-income, better-educated whites, but neither candidate attracted significant support from blacks, union members or self-described liberals.
Despite standing to the right of most Democrats on the deficit and gun control, Dean doesn't appear to have a problem with the liberal party base.
Howard Dean may not soon grace Time's cover, but overall he is enjoying remarkably favorable coverage. Editor & Publisher magazine reports that the national press has anointed Dean "the freshest face of the Democratic Party."..............

From: Dean Taps Into Elites In Early Fundraising
Reports Are Windows on Democratic Campaigns

"Among these not-too-surprising findings, one thing stands out: Dean, more than any of his competitors, has tapped into the new Democratic elite: affluent, well-educated professionals, the fastest-growing Democratic constituency. "Professionals," wrote sociologists Jeff Manza and Clem Brooks in their book, "Social Cleavages and Political Change," "have moved from being the most Republican class in the 1950s . . . to the most Democratic class" by the end of the 1990s.
Dean's top 10 contributor Zip codes, along with Beverly Hills' 90210, include Cambridge, Mass., (home to Harvard University) 02138; California's Pacific Palisades, 90272 -- between Santa Monica and Malibu; and Palo Alto, Calif., (Stanford University) 94301."
..."Dean's money people are different from his competitors' in several respects. According to the donors' occupations listed on the disclosure reports -- a category that some contributors leave blank -- Dean, the former governor of Vermont, has outmuscled his Democratic presidential rivals when it comes to professors. There were 63 on his donor list, compared with 32 for his closest rival, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). The same was true for "writers" -- 60 for Dean, 11 for Kerry, and 10 each for Edwards and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn); "artists" -- Dean 27, eight each for Kerry and Edwards; and psychiatrists, 13 for Dean, compared with 6 for all the others combined, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, an Internet-based service.
Dean was crushed, however, in other occupational categories. Only 36 Dean donors described themselves as "president," usually head of a corporation, whereas Kerry had 185, Gephardt 175, Lieberman 79 and Edwards 48. Similarly, 20 chief executive officers gave money to Dean, compared with 105 for Kerry, 64 for Gephardt, 41 for Lieberman and 32 for Edwards."


ANDREW SULLIVAN: "I concur with Will on Dean. I will always revere Dean for his principled defense of gay equality, but he has a truly mean, contemptuous streak (I debated him once and saw this side of him all-too-closely) that will turn off voters. But then Kerry has that streak too. Glad to see Lieberman find his footing at last. He's ahead in South Carolina."

MATTHEW LANGER: "My apologies to all readers (again) for the harsh treatment I've given Howard Dean since the Columbia debate. I know I promised that I would lighten up and focus my guns on the President instead of on a good Democrat, but I lost my cool.
The debate was a disappointment. It was thoroughly disheartening to see nine candidates up on that stage and get the feeling that not a single one of them could beat George Bush, to think that the most charismatic, thoughtful, progressive, and forward-thinking candidate your party can present is Al Sharpton.
So I took my frustration out on Dr. Dean, and as Jerome Armstrong properly characterized, I went "over the top." But as any regular reader should know, I'm always one to recognize when I've done so and reconcile. Every once in a while, like when you've stayed up all night watching and then agonizing over a debate, the filter between the brain and the keyboard gets shut off.
I don't think Howard Dean is the anti-Christ. I think he is a man of principle, courage, good intentions and good policy. All I wish is that he would play the game a little cleaner. That is, honestly, the source of nearly all of my complaints about him. But I understand the political requirement of getting a dark horse into the spotlight and that his attack strategies may be the best plan he's got. All I hope is that sometime in the near future Howard Dean will have sufficiently secured his status as a front-runner so that he'll no longer need to resort to such tactics to get media play, and that we'll then have the opportunity to assess each of the candidates for what really matters: their policy."