July 2003 Archives

by David Remer --PoliWatch.Org--

For the first time, President Bush has accepted personal responsibility for a now discredited portion of his January state of the union address, dealing with claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear material from Africa.

At a news conference Wednesday at the White House, the president also defended his National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, who has been criticized for her role in the controversy. He said the United States is lucky to have such an "honest, fabulous" person working in its government.

CIA Director George Tenet took responsibility for the nuclear materials claim, as did deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley. In recent weeks, the administration has distanced itself from the claims, saying they were based partly on forged documents.

Must be nice to be able to take responsibility without consequences. In the world I live in, consequences always accompany my actions, whether I take responsibility for them or not. In Bush's world, he can take responsibility because he has the power to insure there are no consequences.

Mr. Bush again rejected criticism of his administration's use of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq, saying he would never assume that dangerous enemies will exercise restraint and show good will.

How can he both say that his use of faulty intelligence is his responsibility and also state that his administration did not err in its use. He seems to be saying that the intelligence didn't matter, our decision to invade would have been correct regardless of what the intelligence said. This is madness! Only hallucinating schizophrenics insist that reality has no bearing on their experience or decisions and justify it all the same.

The president said in the months ahead he will focus on the economy and security for the American people.

I would have thought that the economy and security for the American people would have been his focus all along. Guess I was wrong.

The President rejected assertions that his tax cuts are partly to blame for the country's increasing deficits.

This is absurd. Could anyone of us who is spending more than we are taking in say that a cut in our income would not result in increased indebtedness. This man doesn't even have basic arithmetic skills. We are all in peril while he represents us.

It was Mr. Bush's first extensive news conference since March 6 - 13 days before the beginning of the Iraq war. The president is leaving Saturday for a month-long stay at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

I hope he gets a lot of sleep. Because "the more he sleeps, the safer we are." (Thanks Arlo Guthrie).

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on President Bush to persuade Palestinian leaders to do more to dismantle terrorist organizations. By Richard W. Stevenson. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

The president said that the disclosure of the deleted section, which centers on allegations about Saudi Arabia's role in financing the hijackings, "would help the enemy." By David Johnston and Douglas Jehl. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

Enron used money from the World Bank and the United States government to pay millions in questionable payments to a group of Guatemalan businessmen. By Bloomberg News. [New York Times: Business]

COCA COLA IS OUT, COLA TURKA IS IN
Everyone is drinking it, everyone is speaking of it - the new Cola Turka launched in the midst of Turkey's sizzling summer has been an overnight success. (Via Aardvark)
Turkish food and beverage manufacturer Ulker is cashing in on anti-U.S. sentiment in the wake of the Iraq war, with Cola Turka - just as Qibla Cola in Britain, "Mecca Cola" in France and Zam Zam Cola in Iran were marketed as political statements against what some perceive is exploitation of Muslims. And there is Cuba Cola in Sweden.
See also here. [Heli's Heaven and Hell Radio]

Japan now generates half of the world's solar power and has overtaken the U.S. as the leading producer of solar panels. By Ken Belson. [New York Times: Business]

Speaking of hip pockets. Weren't we supposed to be the leaders of the manufacturing and technology for cleaner energy at one point in time? Must have been before the Bush's, like clean air and water, it is just a faded memory now.

David Remer --PoliWatch.Org--

The Texas Freedom Network reports:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and other Senate officials quickly took steps to try to round up the missing senators, who deprive the Senate of the necessary quorum to conduct business. But Dewhurst said there wasn't much the Senate sergeant-at-arms or law enforcement officers could do since the Democrats had fled across state lines.

Dewhurst, who has tried to forge a redistricting compromise and concluded a lengthy meeting with most of the Democrats only minutes before they fled the Capitol, pleaded with them to return.

"I'm asking our Senate Democrats to come back and to work with us. But I've got to share with you, I'm disappointed, very disappointed," he told reporters.

Dewhurst said the absent senators were "putting their party affiliation over what they were elected to do."

Well now, if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black! The Republican Governor, Rick Perry, had to call this special session of the Texas Congress at no small expense to the taxpayers because De Lay's Republicans lost so much valuable time trying to redistrict the first time around, a few months ago. Now, it appears the Governor will wait for the Dem's to return at the end of this special 30 day session, only call another one. At even more cost to taxpayers.

See, the deal is, the tax payers paid for redistricting every 10 years at the conclusion of the national census. This was done in order to realign districts to insure each fixed group of citizens had their own representative. Then along comes the Republicans with De Lay's bright idea that they can redistrict every 2 years if necessary to insure that the Democrat voters in the states won't have enough concentration in any of the new districts to win in the next election. Doing this, of course, means the taxpayers will pay five times as much for redistricting every 2 years as they paid for when this gerrymandering was only done once a decade.

Yes, the Democrats walked out and that is costing taxpayers. But, this bright idea was all the Republican's in the first place with the intent of depriving Democratic voters in the state the value of their vote.

Pot & Kettle. I think both camps should sit on the kettle and smoke a little pot and regain their senses.

David Remer --PoliWatch.Org--

by David Remer July 29, 2003 --PoliWatch.Org--

The 2004 elections will determine the fate of America's educational system, but also, in no small part, the future of America's work force which depends directly upon today's educational system. The fundamental issue is whether to voucher (fund) private schools from federal tax dollars and local public school funds or, provide more resources to the poorer public educational systems.

This appears to be a Democrat vs. Republican issue though, members of all parties can be found on both sides of the issue. The appearance is deceptive, however. The issue is really one of contention between moderate tax paying property owners and religious plus economic conservatives.

Before making the argument, let's see where the parties stand on this issue of school vouchers.

The Natural Law party is emphatic on this issue in their platform.

"The Natural Law Party also supports federally funded vouchers to increase parental options for school choice and to foster competition among schools."

The Constitution Party's position is probably for vouchers as indicated by this in their party platform:

"We support the unimpeded right of parents to provide for the education of their children in the manner they deem best, including home, private or religious."

The America First Party is ambiguous in their party platform:

"Parents will decide where and how their child will be educated, whether in public, private or religious education." ... "Every child should be allowed to have prayer at school, during recess, lunch, or after school on school property. They should be allowed to have religious classes on their own time. These schools are paid for by 'We the People.'"

On The Green Party web site, I could not find a specific reference to vouchers. However, it appears they do not support vouchers in light of their policy issue statements found under education:

Greens Advocate: Educational funding formulas that avoid gross inequalities between districts and schools. We are deeply concerned about the intervention in our schools of corporations.

The Libertarian Party 2000 platform addresses vouchers this way:

Democrats want to spend more of your money on all the failed federal programs that have done so much damage to America's schools. Republicans want to extend these bad programs to private schools - by issuing vouchers that will force private schools to obey federal rules.

Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate, wants to get the federal government completely out of education - and repeal the income tax so you'll have the money to put your child in any school you want.

The Democratic Party opposes vouchers as evidenced by the following from their web site: "But Democrats, led by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), kept school vouchers out of the bill and ensured that schools in low income communities were targeted for additional funds."

The Republican position as evidenced by Children First America:

Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican and longtime advocate of school choice, said he is eager to sign the bill, while the Colorado Education Association, representing 36,000 public school teachers, has threatened a legal challenge.

In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, and leaders of both houses of the Republican-controlled Legislature have teamed with Rep. Ron Wilson, a black Democratic lawmaker from Houston, to support a similar voucher bill.

In Louisiana, where the Legislature just opened its new session, Gov. Mike Foster, a Republican, has offered a pilot voucher plan to give students in low-performing schools the option to transfer to private schools that take part in skills tests required by the state.

President Bush, a strong advocate of expanded school choice, included $75 million in his proposed fiscal year 2004 budget for pilot voucher programs throughout the country.

In every case of school vouchers the majority of the funds will come from the funds now used, and required, by public school systems. Even the $75 million in the 2004 proposed federal budget for voucher programs is $75 million less going to the support of the poorest public school systems. The consequence to tax payers and state budgets and public school systems cannot be overstated.

Proponents of school vouchers from President Bush on down state that vouchers will help the underprivileged student in an academically failing school to move to a passing or excelling school, improving that student's chances for learning and success. And at the same time, the President says his $75 million dollar program "is the beginning of an experiment that will show whether or not private school choice makes a difference in quality education in public schools. I happen to believe it will." (July 1, 2003)

Opponents to school vouchers such as the Texas Freedom Network ( a non profit organziation working against the religious right) says:
A Pilot Voucher program would siphon hundreds of millions of dollars in public tax dollars out of neighborhood public schools to fund private and religious schools. If the voucher lobby achieves their stated goal of a statewide voucher program, that amount would exceed $3 Billion!
Vouchers don't create 'choice' for parents and kids; they create 'choice' for private schools at taxpayers' expense. The private voucher experiment in progress in Edgewood ISD confirms that private schools will use vouchers to recruit the most talented and academically motivated kids out of public schools at taxpayers' expense, leaving behind the children who can't get into private school.
The math is interesting. An excellent article by the Star Tribune explains how the math touted by voucher proponents does not add up.

Tuition doesn't cover the cost of a private-school education. At St. Paul Academy and Summit School, one of the Twin Cities' most prestigious prep schools, the average tuition will be $15,900 next year. But the cost of educating the average student will be $17,800, higher than the per-pupil cost of any public school district in Minnesota.

The gap is greater at many other private schools. Tuition and fees at Victoria's Holy Family Catholic High School in 2000-01 were $6,800 per pupil, but the total cost of educating that student was $10,136. That's a higher per-pupil cost than all but 11 of the state's 345 public school districts. Private schools make up much of the difference by soliciting donations from parents and alumni.

The property owning tax payers who fund the bulk of public education in America obviously stand to lose a great deal if a portion of their taxes supporting their child's public school goes to educate students at private or religious schools. Their property taxes must go up over time if they wish to make up the funding loss to the school system for a small minority of students who leave the system for private schools. This is the heart of the opposition's stance to vouchers. They wish to protect their tax dollar investment in the public school their children go to.

What do the voucher advocates stand to gain? Let us first look at who the advocates are.

First there is the religious right. Deorah Kovach Caldwell, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News reports:

Leaders of a rapidly growing movement of conservative Christians are urging followers to withdraw their children from public schools by next year in order to bring down the government school system.

At least four organizations have sprung up around the country in recent months to press parents to abandon what fund-raising letters describe as atheistic and unclean public schools in favor of home schooling and Christian academies.

Next there are the entrepreneurs: William Bennett, a conservative founder of K12, has a web site which states: "K12 also serves homeschooling families by making a portion of its curriculum available for direct purchase by consumers." Mr. Bennett has been in Texas lobbying mightily in the state's congress to pass a voucher system there. He and his company's investors of course stand to profit nicely.

Noam Chomsky writes:

In fact, a couple of years ago already, the big investment firms, like Lehman Brothers, and so on, were sending around brochures to their clients saying, "Look, we've taken over the health system; we've taken over the prison system; the next big target is the educational system. So we can privatize the educational system, make a lot of money out of it."

Then there are the neoconservative Milton Friedman followers who believe that free markets alone produce the best goods and services and that all education should eventually be provided by private institutions and thus add stimulus to the economy. His followers, (President Bush among them if you read his speeches) fail to observe however, Friedman's implied warning that because a corporation's sole responsibility and goal is to maximize profits; ethics, morality or even compassion have no place in the corporation save as public relations, marketing/advertising tools, or increasing market share.

Finally, there are the students. There is no doubt that some students who leave a failing inner city school using a voucher to attend a superior school will find their educational experience enhanced, perhaps even greatly so. But, at what cost to the remaining students and their families?

When one does the math objectively, taking into account all of the costs for educating a student including public subsidy of private school nurses, books, educational materials, and out of pocket expenses by parents for non-tuition costs, private education costs more per student than public education. Since, the cost of vouchers will come from property tax payers, the cost of property taxes must eventually go up.

The dollars spent on vouchers equal dollars not being spent on public school students, which inevitably will result in a vicious cycle of lowered quality of education at public schools, greater vouchers to transfer students, resulting in even more funding losses to public schools, leading to more vouchered students in private schools, etc. etc. until public schools are no longer viable. End result a completely privatized school system in America which will cost more than the public system did.

The cost of privatizing America's school systems is great. The first and perhaps greatest cost will be to the students themselves. The reason for this is the profit motive. Ultimately, a privatized educational system will be answerable to its shareholders, and not to parents or students. When profits go down due to competitive forces, educational quality will follow suit. And ironically, when monopolization occurs, as will be the case as one or another competitor in the market eventually becomes the largest market shareholder, a stabilization will occur where the lowest cost education is provided at the highest sustainable profit levels. As we have all seen in this latest recession, the profitability of corporations was maintained by most through cost cutting efforts. This same free market force will take place in a privatized educational system.

The next major cost of taking vouchers to its logical conclusion is the elimination of the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. This clause prohibits the government from establishing a national religion. When most of us think of private schools, we think of Catholic schools or private Christian schools. These schools will be direct beneficiaries of the voucher system. In fact, it may not be an accidental coincidence that vouchers and faith based legislation are occurring simultaneously. Note this from the The Christian Science Monitor:
[...]the two items may be very closely tied together by the Supreme Court's ruling. "Christian organizations and scholars have been working to nudge the court into a new interpretation of the First Amendment that would open the door to widespread change, putting faith institutions on an equal footing with secular groups as recipients of public funds," writes Jane Lampman. "They've had small victories in recent years, but hope this serves as the 'tipping point.'"

Finally, there will be the cost to the future work force. As corporatization of education takes place, the chief consumer of that education will be corporations. That is to say, corporations already spend large sums of money at college campuses not only in recruiting graduates as new employees, but, also in influencing the higher institutions in regard to curriculum. Hewlett Packard, Microsoft other large corporations lobby the educational system for the shaping of the student's education in accordance with the needs of the industry. Students may become better trained for the work force, but, will they become better people, capable of managing their lives well and fully?

There is no reason to believe that such large dollar influence will not immediately make its mark on K-12 education when K-12 schools become corporations themselves. Of what value is social studies or literature or fine art to corporations making widgets or selling services here and abroad, especially if another semester of computer programming would benefit the employer dramatically? What is the value of that lost social studies course or fine art course to the student? Well, they don't call such courses Humanities for no reason.

It is not about Democrats and Republicans when it comes to voucher issue in 2004. It is clear that corporate interests, religious right interests, and conservative economicians support the Republican Party. These same interests desire private schools over public schools. Such a coalition does not exist in the Democratic Party. As education is and will be an issue in the upcoming 2004 elections, there is a clear choice for voters on this issue at the ballot box. Democrats, Libertarians and the Green Party oppose school vouchers. The Republican and other major third parties support vouchers either directly or by implication.

by David Remer July 22, 2003 --PoliWatch.Org--

The 1960's saw a social revolution brought on, in part, by a failure of the political parties to address the issues pressing upon lives of draftees, blacks and college youth. A similar revolution is taking place today but, the issues have changed. This article is the second in a series to discuss the social issues pressing on American voters as we move into the 2004 election cycle.

Political Fundraising is an election topic which is as important as any other facing voters in 2004. While this is a politically and constitutionally complicated subject, the heart of the matter is easy to get to. Note the following from a 1999 House committee hearing:

In the course of striking down several campaign finance reform measures in that case, the Buckley Court explained that ''[i]n the free society ordained by our Constitution, it is not the Government, but the people, individually as citizens and candidates, and collectively as associations and political committees who must maintain control over the quantity and range of debate on public issues in a political campaign.''
In this quote, chairperson Canady points directly at the issue for voters, whether 1st Amendment protection by way of funding political campaigns should extend to "associations and political committees". There is no debate that individuals should be able to contribute to the candidate or party of their choice but, a heated debate ensues over whether collective financing (e.g. unions and corporate lobby groups) to candidates and political parties should be permitted.

What is wrong with current campaign financing is the publicly perceived servitude of the election victor to the collective donors once he or she is in office. If the official knows they are going to need that collective financing for reelection in two, four or six years, will their law or policy making reflect the public good or the donor's interests? Far too often, it appears to the public that the donor's interests win out over public good. Democrats love to accuse Republicans of favoring corporate interests over public good and conversely, Republicans accuse of favoritism toward unions and trial lawyers. So, the issue is whether or not collective organizations should be permitted to contribute to candidates or parties?

The Constitutional Dilemma! There were no political parties when U.S. Constitution was drafted and George Washington was elected president. They appeared very shortly thereafter, however, as the advantage of collective voter affiliation toward one view over another became an obvious advantage in the next election.

The Supreme Court has established the central first amendment framework for campaign financing in Buckley vs. Valeo where money contributions were viewed as a protected form of speech. The first amendment protects the public's right to freedom of speech. It does not however, state that bribery is a protected form of speech. In fact, the Constitution in Article II, section 4 states an official shall be removed from office for accepting a bribe.

Therefore, the issue of campaign finance reform hinges upon the view of whether our politicians are in fact being bribed by contributions of large corporations and organized groups who fund, in the multi-millions of dollars, the election of candidates. In an excellent CACEF research of voter confidence in collective funding of officials, between 60 and 70 percent of respondents indicated concern over how such contributions affect elected officials performance in office. There are a host of other such research projects demonstrating similar results. If campaign finance reform is an issue with such widespread public interest, why is it so difficult to change the system?

Quite simply, the answer is because Democrats and Republicans would need to pass such legislation. Neither of these parties really wants campaign finance reform. Not only would large amounts of funding be cut off, but, predictability, campaign strategy and history, and issue orientation would completely be altered and thrown into the realm of the unpredictable. Both parties would find it difficult to predict or even develop campaign strategy where large collective interests were not there to support their elections and their platform positions. The parties would have to reinvent grass roots political support rather than rely heavily upon collective support for campaign funding. Even the parties issue campaigns would be thrown into question, since, they would have to shaped toward individual voter donations rather than corporate and organization donations.

Getting Campaign Finance Reform Anyway! The constitutional obstacle is surmountable. With the growth and pervasive intrusion of third parties upon national elections, the pressure on representatives incrementally grows to reform campaign financing. This is so, precisely because, third parties have campaign financing reform as key to their party platforms. See their positions at the end of this article. Or, campaign finance reform could come in one fell swoop with a constitutional amendment. One possible amendment would be:

Where money as political speech is concerned, only the the money collected from individual American citizens to a political party or an individual to a candidate shall be protected as speech under the first amendment of this constitution.

Such a constitutional amendment would be logistically very difficult, and improbable in the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is more likely that the pressure and influence of third party voters will bring about an incremental increase in campaign finance reform. If this issue is important to you as a voter, you will find the third party positions on campaign finance reform near the end of this article. It is very unlikely that meaningful campaign finance reform will come from the two major parties, alone. But, like so many other difficult issues facing Americans, there is the promise of finding solutions as more and more voters turn to the third parties for representation.

In his excellent work, Multiparty.Org, Matt Grossmann, points out the three potential sources for growing multipartism in America.

As Diana Dwyre and Robin Kolodny put it, "One can easily imagine three sources of change: pressure from within the major parties, the court system, and the ballot box."
Factions represented by the likes of Sen.'s John McCain and Russ Feingold can nudge campaign finance reform from within the two major parties, but, as we have seen in the last year, such reforms are too small and weak to have any major effect on the structure of influence peddling in campaign financing. The court system has the potential to move campaign finance reform along. However, it appears that the Supreme Court will be moving to a more conservative bent in the near future and such a court would not likely abridge current interpretation of money as free speech in favor of eliminating bribery at the campaign level.

That leaves the Ballot Box as the prime mover toward real campaign finance reform. The more voters who pull votes away from the two major parties and place them in one or another of the third parties, the greater the pressure will be on lawmakers to reform campaign financing. First, larger numbers of third party voters weaken the two major parties at the ballot box. This forces the two major parties to consider third party issues for competitive advantage in their next campaign. Second, more third party votes translates into a greater case of mandate for lawmakers like Feingold and McCain. Finally, the greater the number of voters who vote third party, the stronger third parties will become through party membership and hence, third party contributions. Third parties with greater financial resources will no doubt tackle the greatest obstacle to becoming a major party, which is the two party stranglehold on large donor collective campaign financing. This will no doubt raise the priority level of campaign finance reform as a platform issue in each of the third parties.

So, which third party should I support? I have decided it does not much matter. I personally like aspects of The Green Party and The Natural Law Party, but, have not found a third party that meets all my criteria. However, I have decided that the third party that will represent my values and ideals will only come to exist if I vote any third party candidate today.

As argued above, it is only with the growth of third party voters at the ballot box, that third parties will grow and thus pressure the two major parties to shape their policies toward those voters. Therefore, when I go to the ballot box, I have decided to vote for almost any third party candidate if they are on the ballot. As millions more Americans do the same, we will see true campaign finance reform that will foster the growth of multiple parties and focus partisan politics on the people's issues instead of lobbyist issues. And that is ultimately what we voters want, is it not?

Major third party positions on campaign finance reform:

From The Green Party 2000 platform:

Public Campaign and Party Financing: Equal public campaign financing and free broadcast media time for all candidates who agree not to use private money. Equal free broadcast media time for party broadcasts. Public financing of parties through matching funds for party dues and small donations up to $300 a year.

From the Libertarian Party 2000 platform:

We urge repeal of the Federal Election Campaign Act which suppresses voluntary support of candidates and parties, compels taxpayers to subsidize politicians and political views which many do not wish to support, invades the privacy of American citizens, and protects the Republican and Democratic parties from competition. This law is particularly dangerous as it enables the federal government to control the elections of its own administrators and beneficiaries, thereby further reducing its accountability to the citizens.

From the American Reform Party 2000 platform:

Reduce the influence of money and special interests in campaigns. Establish public funding options for clean elections and shorten election cycles. Eliminate soft money from corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals. Prompt Internet disclosure of campaign contributions and voting records. Lobbyists provide information, not money.

From the Natural Law Party 2000 platform:

Support long-overdue reforms to ensure (a) equal access to the ballot, the media, and the public for all qualified candidates, (b) the elimination of PAC and soft-money funding of campaigns, and (c) a shift toward public sponsorship of campaigns in order to reduce the undue influence of special interest groups on election outcomes. Such reforms will fulfill every American's right to complete information about all candidates and their platforms while freeing elected officials to focus on serving their country rather than seeking campaign contributions.
Encourage voter participation in the election process by shortening the campaign season to two months, making election day a national holiday, and abolishing the Electoral College. Restrict lobbying and limit congressional privileges.

Important issues facing voters in 2004: (Note: articles on issues in bold below can be found in the archives in the Third Party column.)

  • Voter party identification
  • Campaign Finance Reform.
  • Public vs. Private education.
  • Schools: Local Standards vs. National Standards.
  • Public Debt.
  • War Powers: congressional vs. executive.
  • Government: open or secret.
  • One party or multiple party government.
  • Economic Mix.
  • Lobbyist Power.
  • National Security: Offensive vs. Defensive.
  • Wealth Distribution.
  • Media Responsibility and Ownership.
  • Public Resources: To privatize or not.
  • Globalization: Diplomatic Leadership vs. Force.
  • Environment: Proactive vs. Reactive policy.
  • by David Remer --PoliWatch.Org--

    There is a pattern here? I saw the following from the AP this morning and bells immediately went off.

    SEOUL, South Korea - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunday he would take full responsibility if an inquiry ruled that his government had indirectly contributed to the suicide of a former U.N. weapons inspector caught up in a dispute over the Iraq war.

    But the premier insisted he had no intention of resigning, despite the death of David Kelly and the ongoing row over the government's use of intelligence in the buildup to war.

    And notice President Bush's words Friday:

    Well, first, I take responsibility for putting our troops into action. And I made that decision because Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security, and a threat to the security of other nations.

    Striking isn't it? Taken straight out of Watergate history texts? Note this from President Nixon:

    President Nixon, after accepting the resignations of four of his closest aides, told the American people last night that he accepted full responsibility for the actions of his subordinates in the Watergate scandal.


    They say they take responsibility, and like P.M. Tony Blair, in the same breath, say, they will not accept the consequences. Responsibility without consequences is NOT responsibility. Wikipedia states the following:

    Responsibility involves the obligation to answer for actions (the etymology of the word ultimately relates to Latin respondere (to reply).

    But let us not forget the etymology of the last half of the word responsibility, ibility, coming from the word Ability, meaning 'having the capacity'. Thus, the word Responsibility literally means 'having the ability to respond appropriately to the task assigned or action undertaken and being answerable for the appropriateness of that action or task'.

    Therefore, as Nixon, Bush and Blair state they 'take responsibility' for their decisions, they are, in fact, inviting the public assessment of the appropriateness of their decisions. Was it appropriate for Nixon to use the power of the office of President to authorize criminal activity to gain political advantage over the Democrats? The Constitution of the United States clearly indicates it is not appropriate and posits the authority for that determination in the House of Representatives which has the power to impeach.

    Was it appropriate for Prime Minister Blair and President Bush to commit to the expenditure of billions of tax payer dollars and the deaths of hundreds of its citizens in the military based on intelligence that was at least five years old and based on their guess that Iraq still had weapons of mass destruction and intended to use them upon U.S. or British lands, assets, or persons? Clearly, Bush and Blair had the power to make those decisions since the U.S. congress and the British Parliament, granted each of them that power. And herein, lays the crux of the matter.

    The Parliament and Congress, which represent the authority of the citizens of their respective countries, granted the power to war on Iraq based on information presented to them by the President and the Prime Minister. Clearly, in the case of the U.S., the information that was provided the Congress and the American people as justification for obtaining and exercising the power to war, was different from the facts that have since come to light regarding the threat that Iraq posed toward the U.S. and Great Britain. Note the following excerpt from The Star Tribune:

    The overall findings of last October's intelligence "estimate" served as the foundation for many of the general assertions made by Bush and other administration officials in the run-up to the war: that Saddam was making chemical and biological weapons, was rebuilding his nuclear-weapons program and had illegal long-range missiles that could reach as far as Israel.
    None of those assertions has been validated by postwar findings in Iraq.

    This discreprency between the facts now and the evidence presented before the war, is not, I repeat, is not, the issue. If Blair and Bush provided faulty intelligence to their Parliament and Congress to justify going to war without knowing it was faulty, they have not violated their roles of office.

    The issue is, did Bush and Blair know the intelligence was faulty prior to presenting the evidence to the public and prior to the invasion of Iraq? The answer to that question now appears to be clear. Follow this chain of events.

    [July 19, 2003, Baltimore Sun] The White House declassified portions of an October 2002 intelligence report to demonstrate that President Bush had ample reason to believe Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear weapons program.
    ... "Claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are ... highly dubious," said a State Department addendum included among the declassified material.
    In the declassified documents, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research concluded: "The activities we have detected do not ... add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing ... an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons."
    In his State of the Union address, [January 28,2003] Bush asserted, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
    Secretary of State Colin Powell had voiced skepticism about such allegations. For that reason, he told reporters recently, he did not include the material in his lengthy presentation to the U.N. Security Council in early February. [2003]
    And this from the NYTimes on July 19, 2003 is more damning:
    As part of today's briefing, the White House declassified part of its main prewar intelligence summary on Iraq's weapons programs. The document, a National Intelligence Estimate, encompasses the findings of the main intelligence agencies. The document noted reports that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium in Africa but included a warning from the State Department that the reports were "highly dubious."
    White House officials said the document was one of those drawn on by speechwriters as they put together the State of the Union address. The official who gave the briefing today said Mr. Bush was unaware of the State Department's skepticism.
    The president "is not a fact checker," the official said.
    The document also noted that the intelligence agencies had "low confidence" in some of its conclusions, including when Saddam Hussein might use weapons of mass destruction, whether he would try to attack the United States and whether he would provide chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda. Administration officials had cited all those possibilities in building a case for the war.

    The President has stated he is responsible for the decision to send Americans into harm's way. Among normal citizens, ignorance is no defense under the law. If the President was responsible for the making the decision, he then, is also respsonsible for verifying or, at least testing the reliability of, the information which he personally uses to make the awesome decision to go to war.

    The President may not, in good faith, blame the persons he appoints to collect information and write his speeches if, in fact, he is responsible. To do so, makes his claim of being responsible, a lie.

    He has the same responsibility to the American people to truthfully present the State of the Nation in the speech of the same name. He is responsible for that speech and its content. Blaming speech writers or the CIA or the British Intelligence makes a mockery of his claim to being responsible for his decisions.

    It is clear from above, that the President probably knew the evidence for his claim of imminent threat by Iraq toward the U.S. due to a nuclear capability was in doubt. It is clear the President either asked, or should have asked the CIA about the reliability of their intelligence. If he asked, then he lied to Congress and the American people. If he did not ask, then, he clearly failed his responsibility as a President making the decision to go to war.

    The President thus was lying, or incompetent, when making the case for war. And now, like Nixon, he blames and will let fall, if necessary, those below him to save face. All while publicly stating he is responsible. Such a contradiction will not ultimately stand.

    Responsibility is the ability to respond appropriately, and clearly, one way or the other, the President failed his responsibility. To err is human. To lie, blame others and otherwise coverup one's errors when asked if one is responsible, is unethical and immoral at least. Where the awesome power of the presidency is concerned, such behavior should rise to meet the test for bipartisan investigation at the very least. To lie is not a crime. To lie under oath before a congressional investigation is a crime called perjury. With the President's party in control of the Congress, the only loser will be the truth.

    by David Remer - PoliWatch.Org

    Tony Blair's speech before Congress yesterday and the President's and Blair's televised speeches, remind me of Richard Nixon who got up behind that mighty podium of office with friends and press about, and declared in no uncertain terms: "I am not a crook" Only yesterday the word was changed from Crook to Liar and and the Big L word was not referred to directly. Their declaration that they had done no wrong, however, rang with the same hollow din of Richard Nixon's declaration and for the same reason. The cat was inevitably going to get out of the bag, and damage control was mandated by the circumstance.

    Die hards who will believe 'the sky is falling' if the President says so, will assert that the two heads of state provided each other a bold and eloquent defense of their actions. However, they will overlook Blair's concession that WMD may not be found because they didn't exist, and haven't existed since the days of Hans Blix and his U.N. inspectors. What was all that intelligence about movement of convoys in Iraq while the inspectors were searching for WMD? It was Saddam Hussein getting rid of it all in order to protect his regime.

    Bush's assertion that Hussein had WMD and was attempting to develop nuclear weapons was part true and part false. Hussein had WMD which we gave to him during the Iran-Iraq war. True enough. But that intelligence was ancient history. Certainly this intelligence did not constitute an imminent threat against the U.S. or Iraqi neighbors. As for the nuclear development it is obviously a patent flat out lie. Look, would Bush be taking all this heat as he approaches the election season if he had the ability to prove the claim? If he has the proof, or even credible evidence, all he needs to do to completely vindicate his decision to invade is to provide that evidence in a closed hearing to the Senate foreign affairs and intelligence committee. Those Senator's have top security clearances and would be more than willing to stand behind the President if the evidence were credible.

    No, President Bush, you and your British partner are not crooks. But, you are both certainly liars and guilty of gross mismanagement of public funds, violating a number of international treaties regarding unwarranted preemptive military strikes, and gross abuse of the power of your offices. You both used national security as cloak to hide what you believed at the time would be politically astute for your own careers. No leader fails to win reelection after winning a just war. Problem is you both ignored the "just" part of the war. You will pay for these deeds, and NO!, history will not vindicate you, unless by that you mean, that in a couple of generations, folks will have forgotten all about this dismal and peace threatening venture for political capital.

    Do I have proof for my assertions about Saddam's, Blairs and Bush's actions in the above paragraphs? No. But, then, Bush and Blair would not require me to have such proof, would they? See the dilemma?

    After a review last night of about 40 liberal and conservative editorials published on the web last week, it occurred to me that a tremendous amount of bandwidth is being spent discussing everything but the real issues facing voters in 2004. American Democracy and culture are in the throes of change and demanding direction by the people. Unless the voters focus on the core issues and vote their conscience on those issues, we face losing the cohesiveness that binds us together as Americans.

    The 1960's saw a similar upheaval and rip in the fabric of society brought on by a war we could not afford, a huge surge in educated youth and middle class wealth, and a rise in activism to address horrible disparities between a predominantly white middle class and the poorer ethnic groups in the south and west. A social revolution ensued that brought rioting to our streets and neighborhoods, brought guns into the California legislature, and brought the U.S. Military to fire upon and kill unarmed demonstrators exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

    by David Remer --PoliWatch.Org--

    For Democrats and third parties alike, there is good news for 2004. The one person who may be able to unseat President Bush has been found. His name is John Ashcroft. President Bush, who has rid himself of many cabinet members who have disagreed with him, is unwilling to admit error and is therefore, obligated to stand behind his loyal John Ashcroft.

    Military tribunals are about to take place with American civilian defense attorneys reluctant, or refusing, to take part due to rules which ignore constitutional protections. This backdrop N.Y. Times story is grossly unflattering for the Administration. For John Ashcroft, who has refused to let the Bill of Rights stand in his way, it provides the kind of headlines that could shift voter support from President Bush in 2004.

    The one topic that is proving sure to raise cheers and applause at Democratic rallies is that of removing John Ashcroft from the role of Attorney General of the United States. A N.Y. Times article states:

    Some Republicans expressed concern about potential damage the often unvarnished Mr. Ashcroft might cause this president. "None of those Democrats can beat George Bush, but John Ashcroft can," said one Republican strategist.

    But a senior political adviser to Mr. Bush argued that no matter how unpopular Mr. Ashcroft might be, he would not hurt the president. And this adviser suggested that there were no plans, at least now, to try to keep Mr. Ashcroft out of public view as the election approaches.

    This is great news for Democrats and third party candidates. It provides an albatross to hang around the President's neck over the next 16 months of campaigning. John Ashcroft is a hot topic that the media will run with since it will not have the unpatriotic kickback that attacks upon the President may generate.

    by David Remer --PoliWatch.Org--

    On the issue of Campaign Finance Reform, (by this I mean the virtual elimination of special interest group financial backing of parties or candidates) there are three 3rd party organizations supporting such reform. They are The Green Party, American Reform Party, and The Natural Law Party. This information was obtained through a review of all current parties which had a platform drafted in the 2000 elections. For review of party platforms (year 2000) and party philosophy see PoliWatch.Org web site with links to same.

    The Democratic and Republican parties are rife with special interest financial backing and constitute a huge amount of media coverage regarding the directions of these two parties influenced by the money that backs them. The Libertarian Party seeks an end to federally sponsored poltiical parties all together. The Constitution Party makes no mention of the subject.

    Therefore, if you are truly interested in campaign finance reform and view special interest donations as a source for so much lack of interest in D.C. for the common public good, you should look into The Green Party, American Reform Party and The Natural Law party as potential representatives of your point of view.

    by David Remer July 8, 2003 --PoliWatch.Org--

    Patricia Wilson wrote an article about George Bush's speech at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on July 4. Bush made three statements that reflect the lack of understanding and weakness of his thinking and that of his advisors and speech writer. The President is quoted:

    "The United States will not stand by and wait for another attack or trust in the restraint and good intentions of evil men," Bush said on a sun-scorched day in the U.S. heartland.

    There is a lot in this statement to be criticized. First, that "we will not stand by and wait for another attack" implies that we will do all of the attacking first. This simple statement is becoming a cornerstone of America's foreign policy, in rhetoric, if not in action. As a foreign policy, this statement has grave consequences for America's support around the world. Leaders of Russia, China, Germany, France, Japan and a host of other countries have not forgotten the lessons of WWII, when Hitler, in the name of self defense, became an aggressor of unequaled magnitude. Our allies have no choice but to be very concerned by such a policy held by the most powerful nation in the world.

    I say in rhetoric if not in action, because, far more dangerous nations like Iran and N. Korea, are not on Bush's radar screen when it comes to first strike policy. This is sending countries and hostile groups throughout the world the message that if you don't have any ability to withstand America's might, you have two choices. First, to succumb to the wishes of America and its allies or, second, to develop and brandish weapons of mass destruction as soon as possible, (since America does not appear to have an appetite for war against those who could inflict large numbers of American military casualties). If rogue nations and groups read Bush's policy in this manner, our allies must become very concerned about the weapons black market and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in their own regional areas and the escalation of terrorism.

    Additionally, Bush's statement places the priority for the protection of America on aggression, rather than home security. Bush's statement is consistent with his lack of adequate funding for homeland defense and his unfunded mandates to the states regarding homeland security. America's emphasis on aggression is of grave concern to all peace loving persons in the world as well as third world nations who want the opportunity to develop outside of America's sphere of influence.

    President Bush has taken the giant step beyond the MAD (mutually assured destruction) policy of the cold war era to one of unilateral dominance in the world through opponent assured destruction. The military industrial complex is developing new weapons for aggression. Of these is a gun capable of shooting 1 million rounds per minute, design of low yield nuclear weapons for use against small targets such as a building or bunker, furthering development of a 'star wars' defense system with orbiting attack vehicles strategically placed around the world, as well as a supersonic bomber capable of reaching any target in the world in two hours. The net outcome of all this aggressive war development will inevitably be a renewed arms race between the US and nations like China and Russia.

    Make no mistake, whether intentional or not, using terrorism as a reason for development of such destructive weapons and power, is not going to hide the potential threat of the U.S. toward a future confrontation with China. China has no choice, based on historical US hostility and aggressive posture toward communism, but, to view President Bush's actions as preparation and prelude to eventual confrontation with China. China constitutes the single largest threat to the American economic system over the next two or three decades. The potential GDP growth in China is staggering and its wealth of low cost labor and development of cutting edge technology poises China to become the next economic giant in world trade and financial development. President Bush's escalation of US military development, will, without doubt, spur similar military development in China raising the specter of global war again in just two or three generations from now.

    Of equal concern in Bush's statement is the remark, we will not "trust in the restraint and good intentions of evil men". First, this statement stresses the U.S.'s willingness and confidence to judge who are, and who are not, 'Evil Men', regardless of their restraint or good intentions. This is an alarming statement. For it presupposes that the US will judge the evil nature of a leader's soul and no amount of restraint or good intentions or positive actions will be permitted to alter that judgment. Based solely on the judgment that a leader or group is evil in nature, they shall become a target of US aggression and first strike regardless of what they do or how they act. This should raise alarms in the minds of all persons throughout the world. This kind of thinking belongs to a Hitler, Pol Pot, or Mao Tse Tung, not to an American head of state.

    President Bush is also quoted in the same article and on the same occasion:

    "Without America's active involvement in the world, the ambitions of tyrants would go unopposed, and millions would live at mercy of terrorists. With Americans' active involvement in the world, tyrants learn to fear, and terrorists are on the run," he said.

    It is simply not true that without America's involvement, tyrants would thrive. Where tyrants rise and threaten their neighbors, the neighbors themselves will resist at first, then join and put down the tyrant, with, or without American involvement. If the European community perceived an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein, the European community would have responded. The fact simply was that Hussein posed no imminent threat to Europe.

    Far more erroneous in judgment, is the second sentence above. When Bush states tyrants learn to fear when America becomes involved, he truly is revealing the ignorance and lack of understanding required to competently manage U.S. foreign policy. Tyrants are born of fear. They are shaped by fear. Tyrants are motivated and emboldened by fear. Any grown up who has reflected upon the bully of their childhood recognizes that the bully they were so afraid of, was himself, a very frightened person who used aggression to stay his fear. Tyrants are already afraid; else, they would not have become tyrants. To target them is to raise their fear and make even more of a tyrant of them.

    A very successful strategy of the Civil Rights movement was to protest by making one's presence inescapable, and, to respond and react to aggressors without aggression. This strategy was successful, because it brought to the media the contrast between the passive nature of protesters and the ugly violence of the bigots for all to see. By targeting what Bush claims are potential tyrants, it is very likely he will make tyrants of persons who otherwise might not have been, and create hostilities that otherwise might never have been.

    It is becoming extremely important for Americans and the world to look closely at the words of President Bush. For, while they sound reasonable enough on the surface, their implications, and consequences are often pregnant with new conflicts, troubles and costs for the American people that otherwise might never have come to pass.

    by David Remer July 7, 2003 --PoliWatch.Org--

    Today's headlines and stories are unusually full of potential presidential election issues in November, 2004. Below are articles that have appeared in the last 24 hours in various media. Potential campaign issues raised are 1) Democrats losing incumbent seats in South, 2) administration allowing changes in Medicaid without following through on quality of care, 3) President Bush to be indicted for war crimes, 4) administration's attempt to roll back overtime pay, 5) morale of U.S. troops in Iraq waning: death toll growing, 6) former U.S. ambassador employed by CIA debunks Africa-Iraq uranium trade and 6) Unemployment rate grows.

    It remains to be seen what role third parties will play in the 2004 elections. There is little doubt the (Democratic National Committee) is right about having lost votes due to Green Party candidates having drawn them off. With growing dissent between factions of the Republican Party, a similar effect may be felt by the RNC (Republican National Committee) in 2004. The RNC should be concerned if the American Reform Party, The Libertarian Party, The Constitution Party, and The Reform Party of the USA are successful in recruiting more voters in 2004 than in 2000, because these parties will drain Republican votes.

    Today's headline election issues follow:

    Carl Hulse writes in the NY Times that Democrats have a challenge in the Southeast holding Senate seats, with 2 Democrat seats open due to incumbents running for president and Zell Miller leaving the Georgia Senate seat open. The South was a Bush stronghold in 2000 elections.

    Robert Pear of the NY Times writes: "The Bush administration has allowed states to make vast changes in Medicaid but has not held them accountable for the quality of care they provide to poor elderly and disabled people..."

    The Japan Times contains an article announcing: "A group of Japanese lawyers unveiled documents Monday "indicting" U.S. President George W. Bush for war crimes allegedly committed against the Afghan people since the United States-led coalition began its antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan in October 2001."

    Bob Herbert of the NY Times writes: "The Bush administration, which has the very bad habit of smiling at working people while siphoning money from their pockets, is trying to change the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in a way that could cause millions of workers to lose their right to overtime pay."

    A story by Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor is headlined Fatigued, U.S. Troops Yearn For Home. He writes: "The trauma of this conflict is varied: Soldiers say they have seen remarkable scenes of killing and carnage; others speak of fears they face daily, doing urban patrols against an unseen, ghostlike enemy. Others have been away from home too long, with the absence and new dangers fraying their families' patience."

    The BBC news in Britain reports: "Joseph Wilson - US ambassador to Gabon between 1992-95 - was asked by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to check reports that Niger sold Baghdad processed uranium that could be used to make nuclear weapons in the 1990s.

    After spending eight days talking to dozens of people in Niger in February 2002, Mr Wilson concluded: "It was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place."

    Ron Scherer of the CS Monitor writes: "Unless the economy improves, Bush will have to run on a record of losing jobs - so far 2.5 million. That would give him the dubious distinction of being behind only Herbert Hoover in terms of job losses."

    by David Remer July 6, 2003 PoliWatch.Org

    You are visiting India. Suddenly, you are arrested by Pakistani agents. You are permitted consultation with an attorney in Inida, charged with channeling funds to the al-Qaeda, then whisked off to Pakistan. There you are held for a long period of time with no consultation with your attorney or family or anyone from the outside. Then, you are interrogated and beaten. Finally you are told you will be tried by a military tribunal.

    You are informed that Pakistani Head of Military, Dlefsmur, will appoint you defense counsel and that your attorney may be replaced at anytime without reason by Dlefsmur. You are also informed that your conversations with your attorney will be monitored. Finally, you are told that the judge also may be replaced at any time without reason by Dlefsmur. After being informed of this, you are offered a deal. You may face death by execution if found guilty or you may plead guilty and receive a 20 year sentence. What would you do?

    Dlefsmur is Rumsfeld, spelled backwards. The detainees are two British citizens held by American authorities in Guantanamo Bay instead of Pakistan. This type of justice was implemented by the President of the United States by executive order. The rest of the above scenario is reported in a chilling tale of Inquisition type misjustice provided by Martin Bright, Kamal Ahmed, and Peter Beaumont in a story released in The Observer. From the article:

    Stephen Jakobi of Fair Trials Abroad, which is leading the campaign for the two men, said: 'Our concern is that there will be no meaningful way of testing the evidence against these people. The US Defence Department has set itself up as prosecution, judge and defence counsel and has created the rules of trial. This is patently a kangaroo court.

    According to US legal and constitutional experts, the Final Rule, the regulations that will govern the military commissions, has rendered a fair trial almost impossible.

    The British are filing a protest with the Whitehouse and requesting these detainees be remanded back to Britain to stand trial under civil laws in British courts which will assure some measure of justice for the charges levied. This story breaking in British news combined with the slew of stories about Prime Minister Tony Blair's 'dressing up' the intelligence in order to gain public support for the invasion of Iraq, is putting a considerable strain on the English people's respect for their own Prime Minister and the American President, George Bush. The suspicion is growing by all accounts of the news stories coming out of Britain, that Tony Blair and George Bush conspired to deceive their public in order to justify invasion of Iraq.

    It does not help the Prime Minister's or the President's case that trials will be conducted with the threat of death hanging over the accused if those accused do not confess their crimes and vindicate the Prime Minister and the President. These Medieval Inquisition type courts may gain spotlight as the Prime Minister seeks to restore divisions in his party and the U.S. President seeks reelection in November of 2004, only 16 months away. As these stories circulate throughout the world, the credibility of President Bush's message about taking freedom, justice and the rule of law to the oppressed people's of foreign nations may be seriously challenged.

    By MATTHEW L. WALD

    Washington, July 3, The Energy Department's plan for cutting billions of dollars and several years off the bomb-waste cleanup at three government nuclear reservations is illegal, a federal judge has ruled, because it would leave some of the wastes in shallow burial despite Congress's prescription that they can be safely disposed of only in a deep "geologic" repository.

    David Remer of PoliWatch.Org comments:

    Now we see how this administration intends to make up for its and Congress' wild spending spree. This story reflects the true nature of this adminstration's position on the environment. It will even attempt to violate the laws of the people, passed by the people's Congress to rid itself of the inconvenience of toxic wastes. Had their plan gone ahead, it would have been only a matter of a few years for the radioactive materials to have begun showing up in animals and humans. Just enough time for this administration to have maximized its term limit.

    Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Energy Department, said, "If this decision stands, it could lead to a tremendous burden on the taxpayers with respect to cost of cleanup, and jeopardize our ability to clean up our sites sooner."

    Now this is rich! They were going to poison Americans quietly and do so in the name of protecting Americans from additional taxes. Seems like someone ought to have thought of that before granting huge tax breaks to the wealthiest of Americans who can most afford to pay them. And where are their priorities?

    Keep tax cuts and kill and disease Americans for untold generations? Perhaps it was just a matter of taking care of the tax cuts now, and let some other administration eight or twelve years down the road deal with the deaths and disease and cleanup costs, then. Where is the compassion in that? I don't even see 'conservative' in this kind of thinking. It will cost far more to clean it up later than it will to clean it up now. This is selling out the American public for political expedience. This is intolerable!

    Mr. Wald also states in the article:

    There are 117 underground tanks at Hanford, storing about 53 million gallons of wastes that come from the production of nuclear bombs, but some of the liquids have already leaked into the soil and joined underground water that flows toward the Columbia River.

    In order to clean it up, it is estimated another site in addition to the Yucca Mountain site will need to be built to accomodate all the bomb making wastes and the energy producing wastes. The article states this will cost a large number of billions of dollars. So, why again, did the administration give the wealthiest billions of dollars in tax cuts?

    Patriotism toward government opposed by founding fathers.

    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' are naive who declare that any who speak against the actions of the American government are at least unpatriotic, and some would say traitors.

    "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 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.

    "Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." -- George Washington

    This is precisely why they protected individual rights against government in the Bill of Rights and constructed the checks and balances between the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. The founding fathers knew there would be abuses of power by officials in power. This is why they lay such great oversight responsibility in the congress, since, congress was supposed to be the champion of the people's causes.

    The founding fathers could not then foresee the Congress placing political party power protection ahead of the people's causes as has occurred far too often today. There were no political parties at the time of the Continental Congress. Had they foreseen it, they certainly would have devised a protection against political parties' abusive influence in government as well.

    For the founding fathers patriotism was not toward government, but, toward the union of people under the banner of freedom from oppressive government, and justice for abuses of governmental power.

    "Never trust a government that doesn't trust its own citizens with guns.".

    "When government fears the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.".-- Thomas Jefferson --

    Those today who claim to be patriots while deriding any who challenge the actions and motives of political leaders are foolish. They should take note of Ben Franklin's lesson:

    "It is the fist responsibility of every citizen to question authority."

    It was to the people of the colonies who were willing to sacrifice their property and lives for freedom from tyranny and for self-determination that their patriotism was directed. Today, as then, our patriotism should be directed toward our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and to our brave soldiers who are willing to make the sacrifice to defend our rights to freedom and self-determination.

    BUT, we are foolish to direct our patriotism toward leaders in government who would put our young troops in harm's way. We are foolish to fail in vigilance while politicians make loud promises then stealthily and secretly reverse those promises with their actions.

    "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." --James Madison--

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Our allegiance is to what the flag stands for. Our flag stands for one nation guided by just laws which preserve and protect the liberty for all. Our Flag stands for administering justice to those who abridge those liberties for personal gain or profit. And that includes our politicians, who place the protection of their power above the interests of the public at large as England's King George did.

    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." --Thomas Jefferson--

    Patriotism! Our founding fathers knew what it meant. I hope millions of Americans will not let hot dogs and fire works and beer interfere with their rediscovery of what American Patriotism was originally all about.

    David Remer, - PoliWatch.Org

    U.S. Offers Iraqis $25 Million for Finding Saddam Hussein [New York Times: International News]

    David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Comments:

    He started out saying we would get Osama bin Laden. Oh, well. Then he said he would get Saddam Hussein. Oh, well. Then he said, be patient, it is only a matter of time. Oh, well. Having failed all that, he is at least willing to implicitly admit that he failed and move on to Plan B. Offer a bounty.

    Straight out of the 'Old West' when there was too much territory and not enough sheriffs. This Bounty at least has a chance of succeeding. Can't wait to hear President Bush say, "See, I told you I would get him". No, the tax payers footing the bill for $25 million dollars got him. You failed, Mr. Bush, in every way, save to indebt my daughter's future with huge tax increases to pay back the Bush credit spending binge. The American people have little to show for all this credit spending, a mediocre Rx drug plan, failing schools and teacher salaries, horrendous budget deficits and national debt, and absolutely no more security against terrorism today than we had the day before Sept. 11.

    President Bush, the cowboy, has picked up the tax payers budget six shooter and is twirling it around, pretending to be John Wayne. Watch out! You could shoot yourself in the foot, you greenhorn.

    Bush Says No Decision Yet on U.S. Troops to Liberia. "I am in the process of gathering the information necessary to make a rational decision," the president said today. By Eric Schmitt and Richard W. Stevenson. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

    David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Comments:

    Bush said he cannot now make a rational decision. That is understandable. Condoleeza Rice and Collin Powel are out of the office and Karl Rove is catching up on some much needed sleep. Without anyone around to tell him what to think, he provided the only appropriate answer for a politician. President Bush is, if nothing else, a very good politician. Or is that a contradiction in terms?

    Next challenge in Iraq: Sabotage. The country's electrical infrastructure and oil pipelines are being targeted. [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

    by David Remer, July 3, 2003 -- PoliWatch.Org

    In the Viet Nam War, it was a hidden and mobile guerilla army that defeated the U.S. In Iraq, it may be a hidden and mobile group of saboteurs that sends the U.S. packing. The enemy in Iraq, will be coming from Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and other Arabl countries for the foreseeable future, in the form of saboteurs. It won't take an army of them, just a couple hundred. They need not engage American forces to battle them. They only need to prevent stability from taking hold in the country during the American sponsored and shaped new government.

    Though President Bush says, "Bring them on" in response to attacks on U.S. military personnel in Iraq, it may be the last thing the President actually wants to see happen. It may be that President Bush foresees enemies of the American invasion grouping for an all out WW II type military assault on American forces. If so, America needs a new president, in a hurry! It is obvious such a tactic would not work. However, should the enemies of the American invasion decentralize their forces into groups of just a few or couple, and target Iraqi infrastructure, it will be extremely difficult for American forces to stop them.

    If the new government cannot stop the attacks on the infrastructure, and the weekly count of American dead and wounded shows no sign of abating over the foreseeable future, the cost of maintaining a U.S. military presence in Iraq may become too high for the American public to accept. Such a strategy worked in Viet Nam to defeat the mightiest nation in the world. It is no wonder, that President Bush is now asking other nations of the world for their military presence in Iraq. It is no wonder that now President Bush is seeking that which he felt unnecessary in the beginning, a united nations coalition force, which could maintain a presence for years without incurring shame or accusations of defeat in the event stability in Iraq proves to be unattainable for years.

    It is also no surprise that other nations such as Germany and Russia do not want to get involved. Also, no surprise that of all the nations who are willing to participate in Iraq, their exposure will be minimal; such countries sending only small complements of personnel to the region to minimize their losses. It will come as no surprise to this writer, if Iraq conjures up American memories of Viet Nam in the months and years ahead.

    by David Remer, July 3, 2003 -- PoliWatch.Org

    In Texas this week is a highlighted example of what is wrong with a two party system. Namely, that it is about to become a one party system. This leaves the voters with NO CHOICE at the polls. Sound familiar? The Iraqi's had no choice in their last election either.

    Texas, for decades in the 20th century, was a one party Democrat state. The governors were Democrat, both houses of Congress were Democrat, and most of the judges were Democrat. Republicans have been making inroads, since the time of Ronald Reagan, to the seats of power by garnering support from the corporations in the big cities and the ranchers in the rural areas. In the last 12 years, the Republicans have managed to take the governorship, both houses of congress and a host of judge seats. Texas is again a one party state.

    But the Republicans, recognizing the Democrat's one party stronghold was temporary, now seek to insure their stranglehold becomes permanent. They are in special session as I write these words, redrawing congressional districts to eliminate Democrat incumbent districts and to gerrymander in such a way as to eliminate the last remaining districts supporting Democrats.

    It is NOT that the people have changed from Democrats to Republicans; large cities in Texas remain Democrat. The Republicans are carving up the cities on the district maps so that a small portion of a city becomes a part of a large rural Republican district. In this way they will be able to nullify the Democrats votes at the polls in 2004 by overwhelming a small portion of a city's Democrat vote with a large number of rural area Republican votes. This will insure a Republican majority for that district in 2004 and eliminate the Democrat district altogether.

    Note that this gerrymandering is not without a price tag for the tax payer. Where the state redrew districts in the past every 10 years in accordance with shifts in the national census, the Republicans in Texas are envisioning this redistricting process occur every 2 years, if necessary, to insure their hold on government. That means the cost for redistricting could jump 500% for tax payers in a 10 year period. The most vocal outcry against such taxpayer cost increases is coming from the cities where the greatest concentration of voters are. However, when all is done, their voices will be of little concern to the government. The Republican government will have eliminated the voting power of those concentrations of voters.

    This is what is wrong with a two party system. Eventually, one party is able exercise its temporary majority status to change laws and districts so as to perpetuate a one party system, their own. The Green Party and Libertarian Party are growing as American voter dissatisfaction with both the major parties also grows. All of the third party platforms in the year 2000 contained some reference to eliminating or reinventing the Federal Elections Committee (FEC). The FEC is run by the Democrats and Republicans and currently works against third parties in various ways.

    In 2004, a third party has no chance of winning the presidency or any majority in either house of Congress. However, if, independents and all other voters who have lost faith in the two major parties were to go vote third party candidates, a great many Republican and Democrat incumbents could be replaced, and the vibrancy and hope of a multi-party democracy would mushroom in this new century.

    I for one am no longer concerned about the short term consequences of voting third party. The problem is the dominance of two parties in America. And the solution is to increase the number of 3rd party candidates winning offices in the next 3 or more election cycles. Once that is accomplished, the FEC can be restructured to provide equal access and equal treatment in the election system.

    Most third parties also recommend taking back the public airways and granting media supported access to the public by all qualifying parties during an election cycle. That is the goal; giving the American people real choices at the voting booth. A government that is made up of multiple parties will diminish the concentration of power in the hands of a few political bosses over all the diverse people of this great land. Consider voting 3rd party in 2004, it will be good for our democracy.

    -- U.S. Sen. Bill Frist (D-Tenn.), discussing the recent Supreme Court decision declaring Texas' sodomy law illegal and his support for a
    constitutional amendment to restrict marriages to those between a man and a woman. [Chron]

    David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Editorial Note:

    Appears the Republican leadership is looking for an end run around the Supreme Court. This party has no respect for the checks and balances of our Constitution. That is clear. Bush has expanded the executive power tremendously even to the point of taking congressional powers unto the office, like that of going to war. (Constitution states only Congress shall have the power to declare War). And now, the Republicans, will take it upon themselves to interpret the intent of the Constitution's right to privacy provisions and spend horrendous sums of money to undo the Supreme Court's decision.

    It amazes me, the arrogance of the Republican party since their 2000 victory at the polls, to act as if they had some kind of overwhelming mandate from the people to change the face of our society, culture, government and foreign policy to reflect their own images. Such arrogance fortunately is never successful in the long run. The historical pendulum from Left to Right and Back to Left again is unstoppable. Regretfully, such arrogance is going to cost tax payers mightily in both the Republican's attempts to change the American face, and then again to undo all those changes when the pendulum reverses.

    The U.S. Justice Department has filed a friend of the court brief in support of an evangelical group seeking to send Maryland public school children home with religious fliers. [W-Times]

    David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Editorial:

    Integration of church and state is definitely on the Republican agenda. Can't wait to see the look on their faces when the Supreme Court, under the equal treatment provisions, upholds a Church Of Scientology or Pagan's United right to give fliers to their children at school. Should be a sight to behold!

    Governor Rick Perry is expected to expand the Legislature's special session today to include a government reorganization bill that could significantly increase his power over state agencies. [Chron]

    David Remer of PoliWatch.Org Editorial:

    This is what can happen when one party gains control of the executive and congressional branches of government. They meet in a special session and expand their power to insure that government remains a one party government in perpetuity, through redistricting and expansion of the powers of the executive. This is exactly what is happening in Texas and in the federal government.

    Unless the public at large is significantly repulsed by such moves, this will become a one party nation with a very large number of one party states. Since, no party represents more than about 25% of the eligible voters, that means the death of democracy in America and a large number of states. It also means the death of choice at the voting booth; you will have two choices, vote for the dominant party and all other discounted votes.

    Americans, TAKE NOTICE ! You are about to receive the kind of government your voter apathy so richly deserves!

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