June 2003 Archives

Bush Announces $100m to Fight Terror

June 28, 2003
Posted to the web June 30, 2003

John Kakande, Kampala

JUST days before his long-anticipated trip to sub-Saharan Africa, President George W. Bush has announced a $100m (about sh2b) aid package for Uganda and the three eastern Africa countries to fight terrorism. ...

Bush said his administration was committing $200 million over five years to train more than 420,000 teachers in Africa. He said it would also provide scholarships for 250,000 African girls, and in partnership with Historically Black Colleges to provide 4 million textbooks.

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

More than 6.5 Trillion dollar US debt and growing, another 1/3 billion now going to Africa, and this man can't find another few million for American kids in schools? Bush's paranoia over terrorism is going to hit us so hard in the wallet around the 2008 to 2012 period, just when he figures the public will have elected a Democrat after finding out about the skyrocketing interest rates and taxes, he created. Clever man, this one! Sorry, that kind of compliment should be reserved for Karl Rove, we all know puppets don't think for themselves, right?

NAR Backs Bush Proposal to Strengthen Consumer Credit Protections

To: National Desk

Contact: Linda M. Johnson of the National Association of Realtors, 202-383-7536

WASHINGTON, June 30 -U.S. Newswire -- The National Association of Realtors praised President Bush and Treasury Secretary John Snow for the plan unveiled this afternoon to strengthen the consumer credit protections available under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). NAR strongly backs the Administration's proposals to provide consumers with one free credit report per year and to give consumers information as to how their credit scores were derived, how they can improve them and how they can correct any errors in their credit files. [more]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Editorial Note:

While I too commend this support by the administration for consumer access to credit information, it does seem as though the only time this administration can do what is right by the public at large is when corporate interests or profits will also benefit. In this case it is a win-win scenario, but, on education, compliance with the bill of rights, the environment and a host of other public issues, the Bush administration comes down on the side of corporate interests and not the public at large.

US urged to join Liberia force. West African leaders call on the United States to take a lead role in a multinational peacekeeping force for Liberia.

[BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition]

Got any oil? someone in America responded.

D. Remer June 30, 2003 -- PoliWatch.Org --

GOD SPOKE TO BUSH
"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
From Haaretz and The Moscow times.

[Heli's Heaven and Hell Radio]

Editor's note: Many thanks to Heli's Heaven and Hell Radio for finding the Haaretz source for the article that appeared in the Moscow Times. In a previous log I indicated that I could not find the source. The quote is found at the very end of the article printed in Haaretz (at the link above). If there is any credibility issue, now, it is the question of how an Israeli newspaper obtained notes from meetings conducted between Abbas and faction leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups?

I am still a bit skeptical of the source, so I have emailed the author of the Haaretz article, Aaron Regular, asking for information on how these notes were obtained and his assessment as to their authenticity. If I receive a reply, I will post and update here.

David Remer, June 29, 2003 -- PoliWatch.Org --

Bush administration proposal would dramatically alter rules for paying overtime, study says.

June 27, 2003: 2:54 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - More than 8 million workers in the United States will be ineligible for overtime pay under a plan proposed recently by the Bush administration, a research group said Thursday. [more...]

GM protesters bare all. Villagers are due to bare all and spell out their opposition to genetically-modified crops with a naked protest.

[BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Editorial Comment:

Who said the '60's are dead? This is my kind of protest, simple, effective, headline getter, and cheap! Bravo!

David Remer, June 28, 2003 -- PoliWatch.Org

The Israeli government, specifically, Ariel Sharon, is very likely to resist President Bush's attempts to get veto over Sharon's need for 'abort buttons' to the 'Road Map for Peace'. Sharon must not lose the support of his hardliner's in Israel who do not want full concession of all settlements near the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip. Therefore, Sharon is going to make demands that Abbas will not be able to meet.This will allow Sharon to appear to be following the Road Map with a safety net for withdrawing from negotiations when the Palestinian leadership is inable to comply with Sharon's requirements.

President Bush has an election coming up in just 17 months and the campaigning will begin in earnest in just 6 months. That is how long President Bush has to establish a peace accord in the Middle East. In January of 2004, President Bush cannot afford to offend or alienate the Jewish vote in America. And if Sharon is able to place stealthy road bumps in the negotiating process to slow the process down until January, Sharon will be able to appear to both have worked for peace and to have taken a hard line when Abbas is unable to meet the January deadline for compliance when President Bush will have to abandon his Road Map efforts to pursue reelection and Jewish support.

There is a story circulating that Bush is quoted as saying God told him to invade Iraq [link]. Caution is required. I searched the sources indicated by this story and found nothing to support such a statement by Haaretz, an Israeli news source, on their site.

I conducted this search because I was skeptical about the story's indication that Bush's quote was found in notes from Palestinian Leader Abbas and obtained by Haaretz. I find it difficult to believe that President Bush's keepers would ever permit him to make such a disastrous statement to a foreign leader giving that foreign leader the political power to release such a quote.

I am no defender of Bush's reelection, but, I abhor undocumented, opinionated, and biased stories "of fact" which have no verifiable base.

David Remer June 28, 2003, PoliWatch.Org

Bush administration hypocrisy demonstrated by the following two stories. D. Remer of PoliWatch.Org, analyzes the double standard of rolling back air pollutinon standards which will kill many Americans, while supporting Auto industry's desire to make gas guzzlers on the basis of saving lives.

Ads Target Bush Rollback of Air Pollution Rules -- WASHINGTON, DC, June 26, 2003 (ENS) - A hard hitting new television advertisement uses cutting edge graphics to spotlight how dirty power plants are causing worldwide health problems.

Pitting Fuel Economy Against Safety -- By DANNY HAKIM
DETROIT, June 27, For years, automakers have cited studies contending that thousands of people die annually because fuel economy regulations force the companies to make cars that are not heavy enough. [more...]

These two headlines and the stories behind them reveal once again the double standards hidden behind the Bush administration's newspeak of saying one thing to the public while doing the opposite in action. The Bush administration's rollback of pollution standards is defended on the basis that jobs are more important than 100's or more deaths each year resulting from the energy industry's smoke stack emmissions. On the other hand, the administration defends heavier cars which guzzle more gas and reduced mpg production standards on the basis that heavier vehicles are safer and will save lives.

In both cases, it is the corporation's interests which are being defended and protected at the expense of both public health and fuel costs. The article on fuel standards is complicated with many divergent views, however, the bottom line is that the technology exists to make moderately heavier cars more fuel efficient and at the same time, because they are only moderately heavier, they save lives when the lighter weight vehicle impacts another. The auto industry however, is lobbying heavily to roll back the fuel efficiency standards. While it is not stated directly, the reason for this is obvious. Implementation of new technology will be more costly for the auto manufacturers who will need to compete against foreign car makers, thus preventing American auto makers from passing the increased cost on to the consumers. Their net profits will fall somewhat. President Bush's appointees to review and draft the new standards come from the auto industry and appear from the article to be protecting the auto industry's interests amidst a host of information about the negative consequences of heavier vehicles on our roads and the pollution that results from increased gas guzzling.

The same profit motive is at play in the administration's roll back of pollution standards by the energy producing companies. The hypocrisy is blatant in that the administration uses 'saving lives' as a justification for rolling back auto fuel efficiency standards, or at least, not increasing them, while using jobs as a defense for killing Americans with smoke stack emissions cut backs.

These are highly technical issues and the public is unlikely to find them palatable reading. Therefore, the administration apparently feels comfortable with this hypocrisy counting on the complicated nature of the subject to camouflage his position of putting corporate profits from contributors ahead of the publics health and safety.

Mandela Criticizes Bush Over Iraq War

[AP World News]

D. Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

There are true men of peace in the world, then there are those who mouth the words for political gain while making war with their power. Along with Mahatma Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, and French President Chirac, all committed deeply to the cause of peace and avoidance of the horrors of war; add the name of Nelson Mandela. This week he is quoted in the Title article hyperlinked above as saying:

"For anybody, especially the leader of a super state, to act outside the United Nations (news - web sites) is something that must be condemned by everybody..."

Nelson Mandela believes in the original intent and purpose of the U.N. and has suffered much in the cause for equality and freedom for all persons in his own country. In total contrast to Mandela, stands the United States President George W. Bush. The use of the word peace by these two men is as highly contrasted as their skin color. George Bush, leading up to the invasion of Iraq and since, has made numerous speeches touting Peace as the goal and objective of his administration in foreign affairs. Yet, his decisions and actions reflect the hawkish nature of his key advisors including V.P. Cheney, who advocate the exercise of U.S. might to force any nation that has the potential to disrupt or interfere with America's intent to spread its version of economic, political, and cultural values throughout the world.

It is a shame that the words of President Bush carry such bandwidth throughout the world while those of Mandela will be quoted for a day or two and fade. Mandela became president of the very country and people who jailed him for years for exercising his human right to freedom of speech and his call for an end to Apartheid. Yet, this man of peace, after ascending to office, made not a single move or uttered a single word of vengeance, retaliation, or retribution for his suffering.

It seems clear to me that the words of Mandela should ring louder and longer in the press than those of poltical double speak opportunists. But, this is not an ideal world. We can however, be thankful that there are persons in the world such as Mandela who maintain idealistic standards by which the rest of us can measure the true value of daily events and actions.

"When shall it be said in any country of the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance or distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes not oppressive; the rational world is my friend because I am friend of its happiness; when these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and government."

Thomas Paine
Posted By David Remer, PoliWatch.Org 

David Remer (PoliWatch.Org) found the following quote which seems so appropriate for the U.S. struggling with a weakened economy, high taxes and voter apathy.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage. --Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian

The bondage of which Sir Tytler speaks is evident today in America through the growing of the American Aristocracy and the bondage of working class citizens to taxes for the undeterminable future as a result of an approaching and growing 7 trillion dollar federal government debt.

Senate Vote Sets Up Passage of Medicare Overhaul. The Senate approved a critical compromise that cleared the way for its passage of the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation. By Robin Toner and Robert Pear.

[New York Times: NYT HomePage]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

House Republicans rule, Senate Democrats capitulate, some elderly will benefit, some will not, all will face tedious choices regarding prescription drug plans, and the tax payer again gets mediocrity for its dollar.

News Analysis: Bush Team: A Sense of Harmony Felt Within Diplomatic Circles

[New York Times: International News]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

Finally, something I can applaud the Bush Administration for. (Please note: I did not say President Bush). This excellent article lays out in clean detail the two pronged strong arm approach that Condoleeza Rice and Collin Powell are taking to bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this circumstance, I believe the administration may have hit upon a strategy that has the potential of living up to a satisfactory end.

This article is a must read... even for Democrats. The Bush administration, thanks to the leadership of the State Department, Collin Powell, Secretary of State Rice and Elliot Abrams of the National Security Council, may bring about what no president has been able to for over 20 years, a peace accord between Israel and a new Palestinian nation.

I have the feeling that our President, in a rare moment of wisdom, realized the middle east issue was way over his head, and told his department leaders to work together and get the job done. Having been given the rope to hang themselves with, they chose to succeed instead. If peace is brokered, one must admit that nothing succeeds like success, and the administration will finally have entered an endeavor with a successful outcome and with appropriate means applied toward the end.

With hope, the president will not decide at the last minute to put his two cents in and muck it all up. If he leaves the ball in Rice's, Powell's and Abrams' court, he might just have something legitimate to take to the polls in 2004. Question is, can his ego stand back and let success happen?

Poll gives Tories lead over Labour. Politics: Conservatives two points ahead after government hit by reshuffle controversy and 'dodgy dossier'.

[Guardian Unlimited]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

First a quote from the article at the top:

Alastair Campbell, the prime minister's communications chief, believes that the claims undermine trust in Mr Blair, which explains the fall in support for his leader.

Oliver Letwin, the shadow home secretary, said the Tories had turned a corner. Mr Letwin, who recently joked that the Tories stood no chance of winning the next election, told a Westminster lunch: "The Tories have turned a corner... I never thought that in my lifetime as a politician I would see the Conservatives in power, but I do now believe there is a possibility."

Now, substitute, Alastair Campbell with Ari Fleischer, Oliver Letwin with Tom Daschle, and the Tories with Democrats. Then add the following line from the article:

As Downing Street struggles to fight off allegations that it misled the country over Iraq's banned weapons...

Substitue Downing Street with Whitehouse, and you get the picture. Bush's polls are slipping too. And there is plenty of time yet for the American people to become aware of the great Bush hoodwink which cost over 170 American lives and untold American injuries, and umpteen tax dollars for a personal vendetta or vision of power in the world.

Bush Calls for Changes in Africa to End Wars and Promote Trade. President Bush demanded Liberia's leader step down, called for change in Zimbabwe and for the dispatching of an envoy to Sudan. By Richard W. Stevenson. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

Now that headline just about sums up compassionate conservatism, doesn't it? President Bush calls for an end to African wars, not because men, women, and children are killed, abducted, raped and tortured, but, because, the U.S. needs someone to trade with to keep its economy afloat. He is going to regret those tax cuts to his wealthy compatriots, I do believe, since the African's are too busy to just stop what they are doing and follow President Bush's requests. I can hear Bush now, "If you people would just be more like us Americans and stop all this fussing, you will be much better off as capitalists." And the African's response, "We don't have capital to be capitalists with, want to lend us some?"

With Deadline Near, States Are in Budget Discord. An unusually high number of states lack budget agreements as they face the end of their fiscal years. By Jodi Wilgoren. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

D. Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

It is refreshing to see governments in the U.S. frantically battle to avoid bankruptcy only to find the tills empty. Refreshing and ironic since our government is considering revoking the bankruptcy option for working folks, offering restructured lifetime repayment instead. Hah! Shoe is on the other foot, how does it fee-e-e-l ?

Not Hopeless

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Amazon destruction speeds up. New data shows the world's biggest rainforest is being cleared at a dramatically increased rate.

Developing world faces cancer crisis. Cancer cases in the developing world will reach 10 million a year by 2015 without better access to radiation therapy, say experts.

RAND study released Wednesday shows that nearly half of all Americans don't receive the care they should.

[Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

The following comments on this article by D. Remer of PoliWatch.Org:

The article states that less than 50% of diabetics, heart attack victims and pneumonia patients receive the appropriate care for the their condidtion according to professionals in the field. Research cited in the article also states that between 48,000 and 98,000 patients die each year in hospitals as a result of medical errors.

I do believe this is the capitalist free market health care system that sets the US apart from most other western nations. It would appear that it's self-interest profit goals are not the only fact that sets our system apart from others. We pay the highest dollar for medical care and get perhaps the worst treatment overall. That at least seems to be the implied conclusion after reading the Rand's research paper on the US Health System.

It was said to be the first time that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's so-called "death penalty" on power sellers was imposed. By The Associated Press. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

Note the following excerpt:

California and several Western utilities have since argued that the long-term prices were closely tied to the short-term, or spot, prices that the commission has said were manipulated by Enron and other companies.

The state has renegotiated long-term contracts initially worth about $30 billion.

Wood and Commissioner Nora Brownell -- the commission's two Republicans -- voted to uphold the remaining $12 billion in contracts, saying that California was a willing partner and employed savvy negotiators.

Do the Republican commissoner's really expect people to see justice in this? There was no way California could have known at the time that the prices negotiated for long term contracts were illegally and deceptively pushed higher by conspiracy on the part of Enron and some 40 other company's involved in price fixing through illegal and secret means. Looks like these Republicans are looking for more oil company campaign contributions for 2004, I certainly would not give them a cent.

The nation's second-largest financier of mortgages said it understated its operating profits last year by as much as $6.9 billion, increasing the volatility of its future earnings. By Alex Berenson.

[New York Times: NYT HomePage]

D. Remer of Poliitcal News & Analysis comments: The first step to successful embezzlement is to hide some of the profits. While this article does not lay any claim or speculation in this direction, there is a bigger story here, than Freddie Mac stipulating it was just holding those billions back to pad future years when earnings would be lower. Plausible statement. But, in light of Anderson Accounting Firm's involvement, it seems greater scrutiny is required here. It must be remebered that the tax payers are vulnerable to picking up the tab for fraud and abuse at Freddie Mac, and the public should demand a more detailed investigation.

Public Opinion Watch: June 16 to 22

The Century Foundation Senior Fellow, Ruy Teixeira is co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority.

Editor's Note: The following is excerpted from an excellent article at TomPaine.Com.

Perhaps this unwelcome publicity is one reason why Bush's glossy approval ratings on foreign policy issues are starting to fall. According to the latest Gallup poll, his approval rating is down 7 points on the Middle East situation, down 10 points on foreign affairs, and down 13 points on the situation with Iraq.

As for further signs of deterioration of the administration's position, a Fox News poll finds an 11 point decline in those who believe going to war with Iraq has been worth it. And the same poll finds that the public is split between those who believe either that Bush, or the intelligence agencies, or both, exaggerated the dangers of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and those who believe there were no such exaggerations.

India and China boost relations. The Indian and Chinese prime ministers sign nine agreements to improve ties between the two Asian rivals. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Comments:

This story, joined with recent stories of the EU constitution draft, and less recent stories of easing of tensions and development of agreements between China and Russia, combine to support the evidence that 1) America's trade position in the world will never be the same again, and 2) the first steps toward a global economic unity forged by 3 major trading blocks are taking place. The European Union (EU), The Asian Trading block and the North & South American Trading block are rapidly changing the face of our economic globe, and thus, will unavoidably change the face of the political globe.

India and China represent one third of the world's entire population. After decades of cold shoulders, the meetings and agreements just signed between these two countries will have economic and political repercussions throughout the world. The article hyperlinked above states:

"The nine agreements were signed after Mr Vajpayee held talks with his host, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

The agreements include:

Increasing co-operation in science, technology, commerce and education

Easing visa rules

Setting up joint infrastructure development projects, focussing on water and energy resources

Establishing cultural centres in each others' countries

The implications of these agreements for America are both positive and negative.

On the positive side, as these trading blocks are formed and the economic bonds that tie them strengthen, political strife throughout the world will lessen easing the need for America to play global supercop and reducing the threat of nuclear confrontations.

On the downside, such economic coalitions will have the strength and internal resources to permit standing up to America's economic might and dictating terms, as we have seen with the EU's refusal to accept American surplus genetically modified foods. Also, for decades, America's diminishing educational output has been compensated by imported brain power from countries like India. As the economic infrastructure and consumer demand grow in non-American trading blocks, their will be less incentive for the very bright and well educated in those trading block countries to want to emigrate. The U.S. should prepare now to make major investments in its educational output in order to compensate. That however, does not seem to be happening, in fact, quite the opposite seems to be true.

WMD found on paper?

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U.S. Seeks WMD Data in Seized Iraq Papers

[AP World News]

David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

While the article does not state any "smoking guns" were found in the paperwork, it does state that the papers will be turned over to top US intelligence officials for a search of evidence of WMD and other information. Hmmm! Finding (or creating) the smoking gun on paper should be a lot easier than it has been to turn up hard evidence of WMD on the gound. I wonder if the public will ever be able to do an independent examination of the found paperwork, or, will it all be classified TOP SECRET and hidden from view while the Administration generates headlines about how the paperwork proves there were WMD which were destroyed on the eve of war, or, some such storyline. This is news item worth tracking.

David Remer June 21, 2003 PoliWatch.Org

by David Remer, June 20, 2003 - PoliWatch.Org

Our Choice - Democracy or Aristocracy

This article (TomPaine) discusses repeal of the estate tax proposed by the US House of Representatives. The article is extremely well written by Chuck Collins and provides great detail about the myths and realities being bantered about to support such a repeal. At the heart of the issue however, is the Constitution of the United States and the Revolutionary War which won freedom and independence from the King of England and the aristocracy that ruled at the time. Our founding fathers despised aristocracy, which is defined by the New World Dictionary as "1) government by the best citizens 2) government by a privileged minority or upper class, usually of inherited wealth and social position".

Our founding fathers wanted government to be responsive to all free men of the nation regardless of class, social status, or even wealth. The estate tax prevents such an Aristocracy from becoming larger than it already is. Since we already know that money talks in D.C. louder than the individual voter's letters or emails to Congress or the President, repeal of the estate tax will create a larger aristocracy. The super wealthy already have inroads to elections, lobbying power, and influence upon our elected representatives that the middle class does not. It takes huge money to get elected, and an aristocracy can afford to insure a candidate that the money will be there, provided the candidate's views favor the aristocrat donor.

House Republicans and Democrats who support the bill to repeal the estate tax, are turning their backs on some of the most fundamental reasons the Revolutionary War was fought and the Constitution was written the way it was. The checks and balances between the branches of government were designed such, that no individual nor small group of individuals could wield tyranny upon the people by way of the government.

And while the preamble states the constitution is written in order to create a more perfect union and justice in the land, an Aristocracy of a minority of multi-millionaires and billionaires stands in direct opposition to the preamble and its intent. American aristocrats already have the ability to pull the strings of government both through the election process and through right of privilege to be heard by elected officials directly through visitation, dinners and lunches, fund raisers and expensive lobbying. A growing aristocracy through the repeal of the estate tax is antithetical to the patriots of this nation who fought and died in the Revolutionary War to establish this more perfect union and to free themselves from the aristocracy of England.

Some in Congress argue that they are trying to preserve small farmers from losing their farms. However, this is a ruse. Note the following from Chuck Collins' article, "At a June 17 press conference, Tom Bius from the National Farmers Union, which represents over 300,000 small farmers, called on Congress to "stop using farmers to front for complete estate tax repeal." The Farmers Union supports reforming the estate tax, but not repeal. The pro-repeal American Farm Bureau has not produced a single example of a farm lost because of the estate tax."

Also, congresspersons argued that estate taxes constitute double taxation. But, as Collins points out, "But the bulk of assets in taxable estates -- appreciated stocks and real estate -- is wealth that has never been taxed."

The repeal of the estate tax will face stiffer opposition in the Senate, but, without the response from the public in large numbers, the US will indeed grow the American aristocracy to the detriment of present and future generations of tax paying, hard working, citizens of modest means whose votes will be discounted and whose voices will be unable to be heard over the din of powerful money influences in Washington D.C. The estate tax is our best defense against such an aristocratic strangle hold upon the future generations of the American middle class.

The 62-to-28 vote today marked the second time in less than a year the Senate voted to permit pharmacists to buy prescription drugs in Canada, and resell them in the U.S. By Robert Pear and Robin Toner. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

by David Remer - PoliWatch.Org

Let me get this straight. The House votes to foot 400 quintel-quadrillion of our tax dollars to a Rx drug aid package for senior citizens without any attempt to control the cost of prescriptions, but, the Senate votes to allow Pharmacists to buy discounted exported (from the US) Canadian drugs to resell back to Americans at a discount? Do I have this shell game straight, did I find the Pea? The tax payers are footing a 400 quintel-quadrillion subsidy to American Pharmaceutical Companies? Yep, I found the Pea. One heck of a pill to swallow.

We have got to get The Republicans out of majority control. When we had a divided congress, we Americans were a lot safer and so were our pocketbooks.

Texas Redistricting

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Texas Governor Rick Perry officially called for a Special Legislative Session to begin on June 30th; the focus will be on Congressional redistricting. Chron.

by David Remer --Political News and Analysis--

This is a very dangerous precedent for the American people. In Texas, the Republican Party holds the governorship, The Senate and House majorities. Until now, redistricting has been an activity to occur every 10 years following the census, as a means of insuring the proper number of seats and representatives in the House. While over the decades, this exercise has become very political resulting in gerrymandering and very oddly shaped districts for political advantage by one party or another, the costly affair only occurred every 10 years.

The Republicans in Texas are setting a precedent which if followed elsewhere in the country, could end up costing tax payers excessive tax increases to support redistricting every two years, instead of ten, for the benefit of whichever party has control of the government controls. This could result in 5 times the tax payer cost for redistricting for the benefit of one party. In some states, the process could even end up resulting in a virtual one party state, where redistricting insures the dominant party greater representation than actually exists in the public at large.

Online: Republican senator calls for the development of new technology to remotely destroy computers belonging to illegal music downloaders. [Guardian Unlimited]

Remer's Comments:

The Constitution of the U.S. guarantees citizens protection from the government from loss of life, property or liberty without due process of law. Automated destruction of citizen's computers for alleged illegal file swapping will fail to protect owners of such computers from government abuses. What if actions of another who obtains access to the owner's computer is responsible? Such a law would bypass the judicial system and constitutional protections of due process.

The NY Times reports most governmental reform efforts have been focused on elementary school students, but the data released today suggest that serious problems loom at the high school level. By Diana Jean Schemo. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

Remer's Comments:

There are intense efforts on the part of vested interest groups to establish vouchers (money would come from public school funds) to permit parents to send children to private or religious schools. If there are serious problems at the high school level for American students learning performance, reduced funding of public schools can be predicted to worsen this high school performance for the majority of students left in the public school educational system.

By David Remer, June 18, 2003 - (Orig. published at Political News & Analysis)

The Reuters news release yesterday regarding the Justice Department's Ban on Profiling for federal law enforcement at the request of the President seems to be an election ploy. Why? It sounds good. There is only one flaw to this ban on profiling, it does NOT ban profiling. It does however render headlines like the one found in the NY Times yesterday stating "Bush Orders Ban on Profiling in Guidelines for Law Enforcement". Nice headline, but, patently false. The headline should have read, Bush Limits Profiling for Federal Law Enforcement to Whatever Profiling Is Faddish Today.

By David Remer, June 17, 2003

In response to an article by Brian Knowlton, June 17, 2003, regarding Gingrich's call for the overhaul of the US State Department, a critical analysis is required. (See link below for Knowlton's article). Gingrich is a hawk who believes that the US should use its military and economic might to reshape the world according to US whims and designs. There is no doubt that Newt Gingrich is patriotic, he loves his country. What he does not seem to acknowledge is that his brand of patriotism is just another form of nationalism. And while he condemns nationalism in countries that won't play ball with the US, he seems unwilling to recognize what the US looks like to other nations, nor, would he care if he did recognize it.

David Remer, June 17, 2003 --

Stories out of the British news media today (see stories below) indicate damning testimony about Prime Minister Tony Blair's role in Iraq invasion is coming out. While Republicans in the US House of Representatives are unwilling to pursue an investigation of whether or not the Administration lied to the American people and Congress about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al-Queda. However, if damning evidence builds to prove the case in Great Britain that Tony Blair lied about these same facts to the Brits, the same body of evidence will probably become the basis for investigation of President Bush and his justification for invasion.

Wake up America! Smell the taxes, smell the debt, smell the deficits, smell the 28% credit card interest rates, smell the smog, smell the unemployment, smell the erosion of pension benefits, medical benefits and social security, smell minority rule of 25% of American voters determining the laws the other 75% of Americans have to live under, smell the deterioration of State budgets, smell the deterioration of our roads and bridges, smell the erosion of public education, smell the loss of jobs to China, Mexico, Korea, Japan and now the EU.

The US Government as of this date has a national debt owed to those who invest in this country 6 trillion, 687 billion, 265 million dollars. The American in a family of four who brings home the bacon owes those investors, 91 thousand 849 dollars. In addition to this, that same breadwinner owes those same investors an additional $2,565.75 in interest for this year on that debt.

by David Remer, June 16, 2003 -

The US Government as of this date has a national debt owed to those who invest in this country 6 trillion, 687 billion, 265 million dollars. The American in a family of four who brings home the bacon owes those investors, 91 thousand 849 dollars. In addition to this, that same breadwinner owes those same investors an additional $2,565.75 in interest for this year on that debt.

Recent polls show democrats support to throw Bush out of office is growing fast. I suspect with the Patriot Act and Attorney General Ashcroft's threatening civil liberties granted us by our founding fathers, the Libertarians may desire to lean toward the Democrats in 2004. In addition The Natural Law Party members may also have a stake in seeing Bush unseated from the presidency and the Senate based on their anti-debt and deficit sentiments. Without doubt, the Green party members would prefer Democrats in 2004 for environmental and corporate greed reasons. These are the Democrat's starting blocks. And they may well prove to give the Democrats a competitive edge against Republican fund raising which will grossly outdo Democrats.

by David Remer, June 12, 2003

We may be headed down a road with the absence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq that could render indictment against President Bush for high crimes and misdemeanor. The pressure is on President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to produce the evidence of WMD in order to justify their preemptive strike policy to the people for putting their armed forces in harm's way.

by David Remer, June 11, 2003

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
--Benjamin Franklin

The founding fathers of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights would be very concerned by what passes for Patriotism today. The "Love It or Leave It" patriots who would declare that any who speak against the actions of the American government were at least unpatriotic, and some would say traitors. The founding fathers had no love for government, not even our own. They assumed that power corrupts and that government is inherently a powerful force. Their lack of faith in politicians and government in general is to be found everywhere in the Constitution and Bill of Rights as well as many of their well documented quotes as Ben Franklin's above.

David Remer, June 9, 2003

Think Tanks are prevalent around the world, their influence pervades in the UN, the US Government, Political Parties, special interest groups like Teens, Gays, Blacks, and are also found influencing policy decisions and ideology from community centers and local governments right up to the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization.

So what should a think tank be?

F.A.I.R. is fair!

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by David Remer, June 9, 2003

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is effective in challenging many errors and disinformation in the media. But, note that their challenges often result in retractions or corrections made by the erring media after the headlines have of misinformation have done their damage. Still, I believe the role of FAIR is an important one and should be supported by all who desire to maintain honesty and integrity in media reporting. Following (in blue) are some of the accomplishments of FAIR which are considerable, and are drawn from their website.

When the New York Times and NPR severely downplayed and undercounted anti-war activists in Washington DC, FAIR activists spoke up. What happened? NPR corrected their report, and the New York Times actually ran a new, more accurate story four days later.

My family reunion this weekend provided a solution to many of the worlds conflicts. I am an independent with loads of criticism for all political parties. I am liberal on some social issues, conservative on others, and the same is true for economic and constitutional issues. Many of the family members I went to visit this weekend are staunch republicans. I dislike republicans only a little more than democrats, but, this was a reunion and not a political referendum. So, I went to visit great cousins and aunts, uncles and parents, some of whom I have not seen in 45 years. We embraced, and exchanged courtesies, demonstrated interest in what each other were doing, etc. It felt wonderful, inclusive and warm to be in the midst of family who didn't ask or care what party I was affiliated with. However, some extremist political positions were revealed by some family members in the course of otherwise seemingly innocuous conversation.

by David Remer - June 3, 2003

According to the NY Times Article today, "G-8 Leaders Talk Tough on Spread of Nuclear Arms", the G-8 called nuclear proliferation "the pre-eminent threat to international security". While the black market sales of large multi-megaton nuclear bombs may be a threat, how much bigger will the threat be if the US, now researching low-yield localized use bunker busting nuclear weapons, actually puts them into production? These smaller low-yield nuclear weapons may well become the weapon of choice of terrorists in the future. Cheaper to make, easier to conceal, easier to transport and perhaps easier to detonate, these weapons being researched in the US, constitute the height of hypocrisy from an administration sitting at the G-8 talking about non-proliferation. Were it not for congress taking the reigns and telling the administration they could not produce such weapons without congressional approval, these weapons might be in production in the very near future.

by David Remer, June 3, 2003

Philadelphia's New Declaration of Independence from the Patriot Act makes it the 115th municipality to pass such a resolution. Also, three states have passed statewide civil liberties legislation defending against the USA Patriot Act, Hawaii, Vermont, and the Republican bastion state, Alaska.

The following quote is from an article on the ACLU web site:

Philadelphia's measure comes on the heels of the adoption of a statewide resolution in Vermont on Wednesday and an exceptionally strong resolution pushed through the Alaska statehouse by Republicans just last week. Significantly, Alaska's Congressman Don Young, a Republican, has been one of the strongest conservative opponents of the USA PATRIOT Act, deeming it "the worst piece of legislation we ever passed."

The G8, can they concentrate their holdings and still hold out hope for the world?

The G8, (the nations with the largest economies in the world) have a lot on their plates. In fact, it appears their plates are overflowing. At the Summit, African nations are asking for debt relief from the G8 countries and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The G8 represents less than 14% of the world's population, but, controls over 60% of the world's money. While they discuss terrorism this week and the sluggish world economy, the poor nations of earth are demanding assistance in the face of the effects of the world economy on their already strapped nations.

A new study finds that 50 million households in America will NOT see a single dime cut in their taxes. [Cbpp] This includes 6.5 million minimum wage families with 12 million children. Yet, Ari Fleischer said Thursday that people in the lowest tax brackets would receive the most benefit. The Republican National Committee web site says everyone who pays taxes will benefit from the tax cut. Senator Grassley said last week anyone who pays taxes will see more money in their pay check. [NYTimes]

What do you think? I think it was an oversight brought on by a lack of focus on the needy in this country and an obsession with insuring the wealthy get their share in order to keep those campaign contributions coming to the RNC.

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