Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
If the previous story wasn't enough....
Ever heard of the Codex Alimentarius? If not, don't be surprised. It's one of the best-kept "open secrets" of the U.S. government. It's scheduled to take effect on December 21, 2009, and it may present the greatest disaster for our food supply--and thus for our health--this country has ever seen.
What is the Codex Alimentarius, and how did it come to pass?
In the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1897 and 1911, a collection of standards and regulations for a wide variety of foods was developed, called the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus. It wasn't legally binding but served as a useful reference for the courts to determine standards for specific foods.
The post-World War II rebirth of the Codex Alimentarius (or short, Codex), however, is much more dubious.
To understand the full implications, we need to go back to the history of one huge conglomerate: The Interessengemeinschaft Farben, or IG Farben--a powerful cartel that consisted of German chemical and pharmaceutical companies such as BASF, Bayer, and Hoechst.
IG Farben was, you could say, the corporate arm of the Third Reich. Having lucrative contracts with Hitler's regime, IG Farben produced everything from ammunition to Zyklon B, the nerve gas that was used to kill prisoners in the concentration camps. IG Farben was the single largest donor to Hitler's election campaign... and later the single largest profiteer of World War II.
"Whenever the German Wehrmacht conquered another country, IG Farben followed, systematically taking over the industries of those countries," states the website of the Dr. Rath Health Foundation, a non-profit promoter of natural health. "The U.S. government investigation of the factors that led to the Second World War in 1946 came to the conclusion that without IG Farben the Second World War would simply not have been possible."
Auschwitz, the largest and most infamous German concentration camp, also benefited IG Farben. New, unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines were liberally tested on Auschwitz prisoners--many of which died during the tests.
Not surprising, the Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal prosecuted 24 IG Farben board members and executives for mass murder, slavery and other crimes against humanity. One of those convicted was Fritz ter Meer, the highest-ranking scientist on the executive board of IG Farben, who was sentenced to seven years in prison (of which he only served four). When asked during trial whether he thought those human experiments had been justified, he answered that "concentration camp prisoners were not subjected to exceptional suffering, because they would have been killed anyway."
In 1955, ter Meer was reinstated as a member of the supervisory board at Bayer and one year later became its chairman. In 1962, together with other executives of BASF, Bayer and Hoechst, he was one of the main architects of the Codex Alimentarius.
"When he got out of jail, he went to his UN buddies," said Dr. Rima Laibow, MD, in a passionate speech at the 2005 conference of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). "And he said, '[...] If we take over food worldwide, we have power worldwide.'"
The result was the creation of a trade commission called the Codex Alimentarius Commission, now funded and run by the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
At its foundation in 1994, the World Trade Organization (WTO) accepted the standards of the Codex--and by the end of 2009, all member countries of the WTO will be required to implement the Codex, "to harmonize the standards" for the global trade of foods.
In the U.S. meanwhile, Congress passed the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994, which defined vitamins, minerals and herbs as foods, therefore not to be regulated by pharmaceutical standards. The Codex Alimentarius would reverse all that. It would treat those dietary supplements not as foods, but as toxins.
"How do you protect somebody from a poison?" asks Laibow. "You use toxicology. You use a science called 'risk assessment.'"
Risk assessment, she explains, works as follows. You take the toxin in question, feed it to lab animals and "determine the dose that kills 50% of them. That's called the LD 50. And you extrapolate what the LD 50 for a human being might be. Then you go down to the other end of the dosage range and you start feeding [little] bits of it to test animals, and you come up with the largest possible dose--the maximum permissible upper limit--that can be fed to an animal before a discernible impact is shown. [...] Then you divide that by 100. [...]
And now you've got a safety margin, so you got 1/100 of the largest dose that can be given with no discernible impact."
In other words, classified as toxins, vitamins, minerals and herbs would only be allowed to be marketed in doses that have no discernible impact on anyone. Then why bother taking them?
And that's not all. Where our grocery and health food store shelves are now brimming with supplements, only 18 of them would be on the Codex whitelist. Everything not on the list, such as CoQ10, glucosamine, etc. would be illegal--not as in "prescription-only" illegal, but as in "take it and you go to jail" illegal.
But the mandatory requirements of the Codex will not only concern vitamins and minerals, but all foods. Under Codex rules, nearly all foods must be irradiated. And levels of radiation can be much higher than previously permitted.
While irradiated U.S. foods are currently treated with 1 - 7.5 kiloGray of radiation, the Codex would lift its already high limit of 10kiloGray--the equivalent of ca. 330 million chest X-rays--"when necessary to achieve a legitimate technological purpose," whatever that may be. Granted, the text says, that the dose of radiation "should not compromise consumer safety or wholesomeness of the food." Note, however, that it says "should," not "shall" (an important legal difference, since "should" is not compulsory).
You buy rBST-free milk? Not much longer, because under the Codex all dairy cows will have to be treated with Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone. All animals used for human consumption will have to be fed antibiotics. Organic standards will be relaxed to include such measures. And did we mention that under the Codex, genetically modified (GM) produce will no longer have to be labeled?
Say good-bye to true organic food, and maybe even food that retains any resemblance of nutritional value.
Moreover, in 2001, twelve hazardous, cancer-causing organic chemicals called POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) were unanimously banned by 176 countries, including the United States. Codex Alimentarius will bring back seven of these forbidden substances--such as hexachlorobenzene, dieldrin, and aldrin--to be freely used again. Permitted levels of various chemicals in foods will be upped as well.
What, are they trying to kill us?
Rima Laibow has done the math, she claims, using figures coming directly from the WHO and FAO. And according to those epidemiological projections, she believes that just the Vitamin and Mineral Guideline alone will result in about 3 billion deaths. "1 billion through simple starvation," she says. "But the next 2 billion, they will die from the preventable diseases of under-nutrition."
She calls the new Codex standards "food regulations that are in fact the legalization of mandated toxicity and under-nutrition."
Even if you're thinking of emigrating to Thailand or Guatemala to escape this nutritional holocaust, forget it. Once implemented, the Codex Alimentarius will set food safety standards, rules and regulations for over 160 countries, or 97% of the world's population.
The only way is to fight it before it gets implemented, says Laibow, who is working on just that with a team of lawyers. If you want to help, send an email to your Congressman and/or sign the citizens petition on Laibow's website, www.HealthFreedomUSA.org.
To paraphrase Mark Twain: No supplements are safe when Congress is in session.
And that's even true of a lame duck Congress like the one that's now poised to sneak through a bill that can only have a negative impact on dietary supplement consumers.
Senate Bill 3546 is titled Dietary Supplement and Non-Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Act. But as any Congress watcher knows, the titles of bills are often quite deceptive. Consumer protection? If driving up supplement prices and narrowing the field of supplement choices is "protection," then, sure, this is a consumer protection act.
In a nutshell, S.3546 is intended to amend the Food, Drug and cosmetic Act, and would require supplement makers and manufacturers of over the counter drugs to report serious adverse events linked to the use of their products.
To begin with, this change would be yet another step toward regulating supplements the same way pharmaceuticals are regulated. In other words: A win for drug companies.
Secondly, S.3546 would create yet another level of bureaucracy and red tape, and the accompanying expenses would put additional financial burdens on supplement makers. This might drive some smaller companies out of business, while larger companies might be forced to increase prices to cover the additional expense.
What's most annoying about this bill is that it's completely unnecessary, because without it, consumers and their doctors will simply do what they already do: Report adverse events directly to the FDA.
I hope you'll take a moment to contact your state senators and ask them to vote NO on S.3546. You can find easy access to e-mail addresses and phone numbers for all senators and representatives on the web site Contacting the Congress, which you'll find here: visi.com/juan/congress/
Friday, November 10, 2006
While most Republicans woke up this morning lamenting Armageddon Tuesday, some of us didn't lose any sleep over the election results. Happy at the prospect of two years with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi running Congress? Hardly. But there are a lot of silver linings behind these otherwise dark clouds.
The single, most important lesson here: Democrats didn't win; Republicans lost. And they didn't just lose; they were routed. Voters didn't reward Democrats, they punished Republicans. Badly.
This wasn't the country saying it wanted to go further Left; it was the country saying Republicans had already taken the country too far Left. This wasn't about taking the country in a new direction; it was about correcting the GOP's course.
This wasn't swing voters swinging over to the Left. This was conservative voters swinging back to the Right.
This was "burning the village down to save it." Conservatives didn't necessarily stay home, though certainly many did. But they did find other ways to protest the GOP's leftward tilt. It'll be interesting to see the "under-vote" in this year's congressional races. That would be the number of ballots cast where a vote in the congressional race was left blank.
Yesterday's election was a repudiation of George W. Bush's brand of "compassionate conservatism."
It was also a repudiation of waging a politically correct war with one hand self-tied behind your back. No American soldier's life is worth a mosque. And American generals, not American lawyers should be running the war. You're either all in...or get out.
The Democrats, of course, are taking all the wrong lessons out of yesterday's results, a fact which can't help but help Republicans regain their bearings and regain their majorities two years from now. Democrats will over-reach, as is their nature. The big question is whether or not the GOP will reposition itself to take advantage of the opportunity sure to come in 2008.
Had yesterday's reckoning with conservatives happened in 2008 instead of 2006, Republicans would have likely lost not only Congress, but the White House, as well. Best that the lesson was taught to Republicans now than later.
The entire House Republican leadership team should now resign - from Denny Hastert on down. It's time to hand the ball off to Reps. John Shadegg and Mike Pence. Had House GOP members done that last January when they had the chance, they may have avoided the disaster they suffered yesterday.
Question: Now that Democrats have wrested control of Congress from the Republicans, how long do you think it will be before we see helicopters airlifting the last U.S. service personnel from the roof of the American embassy in Baghdad?
Do you think the Republican establishment will FINALLY have learned not to put its fate in the hands of a Dole? Bob Dole gave Republicans the embarrassing 1996 presidential defeat, and his wife Liddy, who was put in charge of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) this cycle, coached the team to the crushing Senate losses a decade later.
The biggest victory in losing yesterday? The defeat of liberal Sen. Lincoln Chafee (ACU Lifetime Rating: 37) in Rhode Island. Not only was the Senate's most liberal Republican purged from the ranks, but the Republican Party's establishment got a kick right in the shorts, as well. Recall that the NRSC, the RNC and the White House pulled out all the stops to defeat Chafee's conservative challenger in the GOP primary just two months ago, saying the party had to sacrifice principle for electoral victory. As it turned out, they got neither. Conservative Republican voters in Rhode Island got their revenge.
As did conservative Republican voters in Pennsylvania, where Sen. Rick Santorum was upbraided for famously saving liberal Republican Sen. Arlen Specter's bacon two years ago in his GOP primary race against conservative Rep. Pat Toomey. Payback's a...
As did conservative voters in Ohio, where Sen. Mike DeWine (ACU Lifetime Rating: 80) got spanked, at least in part, for his role in the infamous Gang of 14 which stopped the Republican majority from deploying the "nuclear option" and ending the Democrat blockade of judicial nominations.
Republican Sen. Conrad Burns out in Montana got hit by conservatives for not only drifting too far left on the Earmark Express, but for getting too tied up in the Jack Abramoff insider scandal. Any Montanan who "goes native" in Washington, DC is gonna have some big problems.
When a strong social conservative such as Sen. Jim Talent loses in a bedrock state of social conservatism such as Missouri over the social issue of embryonic stem cell research, it's time to rejigger the conservative legislative priorities and get back to the basics of taxes, spending and national defense.
Perhaps the most devastating loss of the evening will end up being Sen. George Allen in Virginia, a race which will likely be "too close to call" for quite some time...with the balance of power in the Senate on the line. Allen was the toast of the town just two short year's ago after riding herd on the extremely successful GOP effort that resulted in a 55-45 Republican majority in the Senate in 2004. And he was fast-tracked to be the conservative choice in the early 2008 GOP presidential contest. Those hopes are now gone, even if he does somehow miraculously hold onto his Senate seat. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Republicans wouldn't have lost the Senate, if in fact they do end up losing the Senate, had Republican Tom Kean Jr. won in New Jersey. Kean, you'll recall, is the Republican candidate who called for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation in the campaign. Now the Left might hate Rumsfeld, but conservatives don't. Not a smart political move there.
One bright light in the Senate contests: conservative Republican Sen. John Ensign whupped Jimmy Carter's kid's butt in Nevada. There's nothing quite like beating a Carter for conservatives.
Oh, and let's not forget that little Democrat dust-up in Connecticut. Remember, Democrats are crowing that yesterday's victories were a victory for the anti-war movement. But former Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman came back as an Independent to crush the Left's anti-war candidate yesterday, 50-40 percent.
You gotta believe there was a serious anti-Republican backlash out in the Colorado gubernatorial race, where outgoing Gov. Bill Owens sold out the Right by supporting efforts to suspend the state's government-restraint TABOR law last year. A strong GOP candidate, Rep. Bob Beauprez - who once served as the state's Republican Party chairman - went down in flames. Thanks, Gov. Owen.
Asa Hutchinson was best known as George Bush's drug czar for a time, before doing a stint at the poorly-regarded...at least as far as conservatives are concerned...Department of Homeland Security. He lost his bid for governor in Arkansas.
Republican Rep. Jim Nussle lost his bid for the governor's office in Iowa. Nussle married a lobbyist a few years back.
Republican Dick DeVos lost his bid against the job-killing Democrat governor in Michigan. The DeVos family was well-known for their opposition to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative which would have banned the use of affirmative action in government hiring and college admissions. Voters passed MCRI and abolished affirmative action by an overwhelming margin yesterday. A HUGE victory for my friend Ward Connerly, who I hope to have on this week's radio show Friday night.
The best doggone victory yesterday for limited-government conservatives was Gov. Mark Sanford winning re-election in South Carolina. Sanford was under fire for being too "libertarian" - including supporting school vouchers and vetoing Republican-passed spending bills. In fact, the GOP majority leader did ads for the Democrat candidate because he was ticked off that Sanford showed up one day in the Legislature holding two pigs under his arms - one called "Pork" and the other called "Barrel." Sanford was also criticized roundly for not compromising his principles or cutting deals on core issues. He won with 55 percent of the vote.
The worst defeat for conservatives yesterday was the loss of Rep. J.D. Hayworth in Arizona. Not only did the GOP lose a true limited-government conservative, but a leader in the fight against illegal immigration as well as an articulate spokesman. Most Republicans are tongue-tied, wishy-washy weenies when on TV. Hayworth was a notable exception. But something tells me J.D. won't be off the stage for long. Gov. Hayworth or Sen. Hayworth has a nice ring to it.
Whether you call it a house-cleaning or thinning the herd, there's no mistaking the fact that a number of well-know moderate-to-liberal Republicans in the House of Representatives were booted yesterday. Robert Simmons (ACU Lifetime Rating: 54) in Connecticut was trailing this morning, though the race was still too close to call. Fellow Connecticutian (or is it Connecticutite) Nancy Johnson (ACU Lifetime Rating: 47) lost. Charlie Bass (ACU Lifetime Rating: 71) in New Hampshire lost. John Sweeney (ACU Lifetime Rating: 77) in New York lost. Deborah Pryce (ACU Lifetime Rating: 79) in Ohio lost. Curt Weldon (ACU Lifetime Rating 70) in Pennsylvania lost.
There's much, much more to go over, but I'm off to the radio studio for some post-election analysis on NPR. We'll pick this back up later. But believe you me, this is not as bad for limited-government conservatives as many folks would have you think. This was a much-needed pruning which will allow the GOP to come back much healthier in the future...
This was, indeed, a loss for Republicans. But they asked for it. Serves 'em right. And in the long run, this may yet prove to be a huge victory for limited government conservatism. Onward and rightward!
The Democrats’ sweep of both House and Senate (and the happy, happy resonance it found in Europe) may be bullish for the dollar. Not because something fundamental has changed overnight. But because something is likely to disappear -- the “budget deficit.”
Mind you, I have no expectations at all that the actual deficit will disappear. While the Clinton administration did indeed produce a notable statistical aberration in squeezing a nominal surplus out of the Internet boom of the 1990s, that surplus was more an indication of the strength of that boom than of Democrat frugality.
To the contrary, I expect government spending to go up considerably. The Democratic groundswell may have brought a new generation of more conservative representatives. But they pushed the incorrigible bunch of socialists to the top: the Pelosis, the Kennedys, the Kerrys -- people who have been in office for so long their right hand not only is unaware of what the left is doing, they have forgotten they have a left hand.
And that hand is solidly lodged in your pocket.
But a reinflating U.S. budget deficit won’t matter anymore. It actually never has. The dollar is roughly at the same exchange rate against the yen and euro at 2006’s 1.9% of GDP budget deficit than it was at 3.6% in 2004.
If a Democratic Congress is in charge of running up that deficit, it won’t matter. The media, now back in lockstep with politics, will see to that. And if the media provides a politically acceptable rationalization for growing deficits, traders and investors -- whose institutional memories last from 12 to noon -- will find other explanations to justify moves.
-- Higher taxes and the gradual crippling of U.S. take-home pay through new levies may also have a “beneficial” effect on the U.S. current account deficit. After all, if people have less money to spend, they buy less. And if they buy less, the Chinese sell less.
Today’s numbers for the September current account deficit indicate that the deficit is already shrinking, thanks to lower energy import prices.
The U.S. trade deficit fell 6.8% to $64.3 billion in September from a record the prior month, the biggest drop in almost two years. That gap occurred despite a new record trade deficit with China.U.S. exports set a new record on increased foreign demand business equipment such as industrial engines, telecommunications gear and aircraft.
Throw in the potential of trade sanctions against China, a stronger dollar (buying more abroad for the same money) and a potential cinch in U.S. consumer demand, and we might see the U.S. account deficit plummet by 2008.
If you’re better off then is another question.
It seems as though controversial subjects never really go away. Sure, nobody talks about them or they don’t make headlines for a while, but a good controversy is never over.
Just a few months ago, the nation was up in arms over the idea Dubai Ports was interested in purchasing the Port of Baltimore, one of the nation’s busiest seaports. With enough debate and finger shaking, the foreign investors gave up on the notion and went to find other ways to spend their money.
Even though the acquisition bid was unsuccessful, it stirred a debate that has been ongoing. Who should invest in our country? Should we let nation’s that are friendly with our enemies invest in American businesses? Should we invest in foreign businesses even though there is tension between the nation’s governments?
These are all questions a strong democratic country should be asking itself. It is even a question a communist country should ask itself. That is exactly what China is doing.
Recently, China announced new guidelines on how it will treat and react to large foreign investors. When the country was struggling to grow, it accepted money from nearly everybody. But now that it is reaching economic maturity and becoming quite the global powerhouse, it has to be much more choosy. It needs to ensure its booming economy is making its citizens wealthy and not greedy foreign capitalists.
China’s new foreign investment blueprint is too aggressive. It claims the country is now seeking “quality” investments versus “quantity.” For a country known for its cheap labor and lax environmental and workplace statues, quality will be tough, if not impossible, to define -- let alone attract.
The country is looking to shed the stereotype that its workforce is only good for menial processing and assembly tasks. It wants to become a leader in high-tech design, research, and modern manufacturing techniques, sort of like India.
Frankly, this plan won’t work. Sure, the Chinese government would love to have a country filled with high-paying jobs, but that is not what investors go to China for. It is viewed as the land of cheap labor, lax regulations, and a seemingly unending labor pool. If China sticks to this blueprint, foreign investors will go somewhere else for the cheap labor they are craving.
Even worse, if China begins to deny foreign investments that it does not view as a strategic fit, the country’s economy is going to stop growing at its current breakneck pace. The days of double-digit growth would be over.
For American investors, this move is a troubling sign. It proves the wild ride in China is coming to an end. The days of quick gains from investing in the country’s infrastructure are over.
The country’s economy has matured and now the government is meddling with it trying to squeeze everything it can out of it. That’s trouble. If you have a sizeable sum investing in China, now would be a great time to put that money elsewhere.
The FDA announced today that it found 200 acetaminophen caplets containing metal out of the 70 million it examined. I punched the numbers and figured out this is 2.86 parts per million (ppm). In the grand scheme of things that’s not too bad. Let me explain first.
Do you remember total quality management? Well, if you ever worked for a company with more than 5,000 employees, you probably got a load of it firsthand.
Independent working environment, slashing the bureaucracy, and allowing employees solve their own problems without management’s assistance were all one of the key tenants of TQM. In fact, TQM called it all empowerment .
But TQM originally began to be popularized in 1950’s and the Japanese took it to a new level in the 80’s. But TQM is old hat. In it’s heyday, you would probably even find TQM management departments to ensure employees were empowered. But the establishment of an office to monitor the program was totally anathema to the nature of the system.
Big corporations needed something new. So they moved onto the newest management philosophy focused on process management known as Six Sigma. The goal of Six Sigma is to improve the quality of products a company makes.
The system’s ultimate goal is to get the defects per million down to less than 3.4. Achieving this level of quality reduces returns, speeds up production, and contributes significantly to the bottom line. General Electric and Motorola have made Six Sigma famous, but they rarely actually achieve that magic 3.4 defects per million.
The system is called Six Sigma because its goal is to achieve quality that is six standard deviations away from the mean. If you remember Statistics class, six standard deviations away from the mean is pretty far. In fact, out of 10 million bits of random data place on a bell curve, there would only be two that are six or more standard deviations away from the mean.
That’s about as good odds as winning the lottery in many states. So, you see that’s just a goal. And when you’re making jet engines, locomotives, or ever-shrinking cell phones, that level of quality is all but impossible, but it’s a nice goal to have.
So I don’t really fault the fine people at Tylenol and other acetaminophen manufacturers for this type of performance. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to trading stocks, two out of three isn’t bad. And when it comes to Tylenol, 200 out of 70 million isn’t bad either.
Consumer goods and retail stocks will have enough trouble as it is with the return of the Democrat majority to the House of Representatives.
“He’s demented… he’s making comparisons between apples and elephants,” said Charlie Munger at this year’s Berkshire Hathaway meeting, when asked about Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel. Siegel, who calls himself the “Wharton Wizard,” has added global warming to his dubious list of theoretical phenomena, alongside stock-market efficiency.
The “Wizard” says that if global warming continues, “the earth will be as warm as it was 3 million years ago when the seas were between 15 and 35 meters higher than today....” My question to the “Wizard”: How many SUVs were on the road 3 million years ago?
Warren Buffett once commented that he should endow a dozen finance professors… so that folks would continue to believe that the stock market is efficient.
The midterm congressional elections have given the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives. It is possible -- as of this writing, on Wednesday afternoon -- that the Senate could also go to the Democrats, depending on the outcome of one extremely close race in Virginia.
However it finally turns out, it is quite certain that this mid-term was a national election, in the sense that the dominant issue was not a matter of the local concerns in congressional districts, but the question of U.S. policy in Iraq.
What is clear is that the U.S. electorate has shifted away from supporting the Bush administration's conduct of the war. What is not clear at all is what they have shifted toward. It is impossible to discern any consensus in the country as to what ought to be done. Far more startling than the election outcome was the sudden resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld had become the lightning rod for critics of the war, including many people who had supported the war but opposed the way it was executed.
Extraordinarily, President George W. Bush had said last week that Rumsfeld would stay on as secretary of defense until the end of his presidential term. It is possible that Rumsfeld surprised Bush by resigning in the immediate wake of the election -- but if that were the case, Bush would not have had a replacement already lined up by the afternoon of Nov. 8.
The appointment of Robert Gates as secretary of defense means two things: One is that Rumsfeld's resignation was in the works for at least a while (which makes Bush's statement last week puzzling, to say the least); the other is that a shift is under way in White House policy on the war. Gates is close to the foreign policy team that surrounded former President George H. W. Bush. Many of those people have been critical of, or at least uneasy with, the current president's Iraq policy.
Moving a man like Gates into the secretary of defense position indicates that Bush is shifting away from his administration's original team and back toward an older cadre that was not always held in high esteem by this White House. The appointment of Gates is of particular significance because he was a member of the Iraq Study Group (ISG). The ISG has been led by another member of the Bush 41 team, former Secretary of State James Baker.
The current president created the ISG as a bipartisan group whose job was to come up with new Iraq policy options for the White House. The panel consisted of people who have deep experience in foreign policy and no pressing personal political ambitions. The members included former House Foreign Relations Committee chairman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, who co-chairs the group with Baker; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican; former Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan; Leon Panetta, who served as White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration; former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry; former Sen. Chuck Robb, a Democrat; Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming; and Edwin Meese, who served as attorney general under the Reagan administration.
Before Rumsfeld's resignation, it had not been entirely clear what significance the ISG report would have. For the Democrats -- controlling at least one chamber of Congress, and lacking any consensus themselves as to what to do about Iraq -- it had been expected that the ISG report would provide at least some platform from which to work, particularly if Bush did not embrace the panel's recommendations. And there had, in fact, been some indications from Bush that he would listen to the group's recommendations, but not necessarily implement them.
Given the results of the Nov. 7 elections, it also could be surmised that the commission's report would become an internal issue for the Republican Party as well, as it looked ahead to the 2008 presidential campaign. With consensus that something must change, and no consensus as to what must change, the ISG report would be treated as a life raft for both Democrats and Republicans seeking a new strategy in the war.
The resulting pressure would be difficult to resist, even for Bush; if he simply ignored the recommendations, he could lose a large part of his Republican base in Congress. At this point, however, the question mark as to the president's response seems to have been erased, and the forthcoming ISG report soars in significance. For the administration, it would be politically unworkable to appoint a member of the panel as secretary of defense and then ignore the policies recommended.
It is, of course, not yet clear precisely what policy the administration will be adopting in Iraq. But to envision what sort of recommendations the ISG might deliver, we must first consider the current strategy.
Essentially, U.S. strategy in Iraq is to create an effective coalition government, consisting of all the major ethnic and sectarian groups. In order to do that, the United States has to create a security environment in which the government can function.
Once this has been achieved, the Iraqi government would take over responsibility for security. The problem, however, is two-fold.
First, U.S. forces have not been able to create a sufficiently secure environment for the government to function.
Second, there are significant elements within the coalition that the United States is trying to create who either do not want such a government to work -- and are allied with insurgents to bring about its failure -- or who want to improve their position within the coalition, using the insurgency as leverage.
In other words, U.S. forces are trying to create a secure environment for a coalition whose members are actively working to undermine the effort.
The core issue is that no consensus exists among Iraqi factions as to what kind of country they want. This is not only a disagreement among Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, but also deep disagreements within these separate groups as to what a national government (or even a regional government, should Iraq be divided) should look like.
It is not that the Iraqi government in Baghdad is not doing a good job, or that it is corrupt, or that it is not motivated. The problem is that there is no Iraqi government as we normally define the term: The "government" is an arena for political maneuvering by mutually incompatible groups.
Until the summer of 2006, the U.S. strategy had been to try to forge some sort of understanding among the Iraqi groups, using American military power as a goad and guarantor of any understandings. But the decision by the Shia, propelled by Iran, to intensify operations against the Sunnis represented a deliberate decision to abandon the political process.
More precisely, in our view, the Iranians decided that the political weakness of George W. Bush, the military weakness of U.S. forces in Iraq, and the general international environment gave them room to reopen the question of the nature of the coalition, the type of regime that would be created and the role that Iran could play in Iraq.
In other words, the balanced coalition government that the United States wanted was no longer attractive to the Iranians and Iraqi Shia. They wanted more. The political foundation for U.S. military strategy dissolved.
The possibility of creating an environment sufficiently stable for an Iraqi government to operate -- when elements of the Iraqi government were combined with Iranian influence to raise the level of instability -- obviously didn't work.
The United States might have had enough force in place to support a coalition government that was actively seeking and engaged in stabilization. It did not have enough force to impose its will on multiple insurgencies that were supported by factions of the government the United States was trying to stabilize. By the summer of 2006, the core strategy had ceased to function.
It is in this context that the ISG will issue its report. There have been hints as to what the group might recommend, but the broad options boil down to these:
Recommend that the United States continue with the current strategy: military operations designed to create a security environment in which an Iraqi government can function.
Recommend the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and allow the Iraqis to sort out their political problems.
Recommend a redeployment of forces in Iraq, based around a redefinition of the mission.
Recommend a redefinition of the political mission in Iraq.
We are confident that the ISG will not recommend a continuation of the first policy. James Baker has already hinted at the need for change, since it is self-evident at this point that the existing strategy isn't working. It is possible that the strategy could work eventually, but there is no logical reason to believe that this will happen anytime soon, particularly as the president has now been politically weakened.
The Shia and Iranians, at this point, are even less likely to be concerned about Washington's military capability in Iraq than they were before the election. And at any rate, Baker and Hamilton didn't travel personally to Iraq only to come back and recommend the status quo.
Nor will they recommend an immediate withdrawal of troops. Apart from the personalities involved, the ISG participants are painfully aware that a unilateral withdrawal at this point, without a prior political settlement, would leave Iran as the dominant power in the region -- potentially capable of projecting military force throughout the Persian Gulf, as well as exerting political pressure through Shiite communities in Gulf states.
Only the United States has enough force to limit the Iranians at this point, and an immediate withdrawal from Iraq would leave a huge power vacuum.
We do believe that the ISG will recommend a fundamental shift in the way U.S. forces are used.
The troops currently are absorbing casualties without moving closer to their goal, and it is not clear that they can attain it.
If U.S. forces remain in Iraq -- which will be recommended -- there will be a shift in their primary mission. Rather than trying to create a secure environment for the Iraqi government, their mission will shift to guaranteeing that Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, do not gain further power and influence in Iraq.
Nothing can be done about the influence they wield among Iraqi Shia, but the United States will oppose anything that would allow them to move from a covert to an overt presence in Iraq.
U.S. forces will remain in-country but shift their focus to deterring overt foreign intrusion. That means a re-deployment and a change in day-to-day responsibility. U.S. forces will be present in Iraq but not conducting continual security operations.
Two things follow from this.
First, the Iraqis will be forced themselves to reach a political accommodation with each other or engage in civil war. The United States will concede that it does not have the power to force them to agree or to prevent them from fighting.
Second, the issue of Iran -- its enormous influence in Iraq -- will have to be faced directly, or else U.S. troops will be tied up there indefinitely. It has been hinted that the ISG is thinking of recommending that Washington engage in negotiations with Iran over the future of Iraq.
Tehran offered such negotiations last weekend, and this has been the Iranian position for a while. There have been numerous back-channel discussions, and some open conversations, between Washington and Tehran.
The stumbling block has been that the United States has linked the possibility of these talks to discussions of Iran's nuclear policy; Iran has rejected that, always seeking talks on Iraq without linkages.
If the rumors are true, and logic says they are, the ISG will suggest that Washington should delink the nuclear issue and hold talks with Iran about a political settlement over Iraq. This is going to be the hard part for Bush.
The last thing he wants is to enhance Iranian power. But the fact is that Iranian power already been enhanced by the ability of Iraqi Shia to act with indifference to U.S. wishes. By complying with this recommendation, Washington would not be conceding much. It would be acknowledging reality.
Of course, publicly acknowledging what has happened is difficult, but the alternative is a continuation of the current strategy -- also difficult. Bush has few painless choices.
What a settlement with Iran would look like is, of course, a major question. We have discussed that elsewhere.
For the moment, the key issue is not what a settlement would look like but whether there can be a settlement at all with Iran -- or even direct discussions. In a sense, that is a more difficult problem than the final shape of an agreement.
We expect the ISG, therefore, to make a military and political recommendation. Militarily, the panel will argue for a halt in aggressive U.S. security operations and a redeployment of forces in Iraq, away from areas of unrest. Security will have to be worked out by the Iraqis -- or not.
Politically, the ISG will argue that Washington will have to talk directly to the other major stakeholder, and powerbroker, in Iraq: Tehran.
In short, the group will recommend a radical change in the U.S. approach not only to Iraq, but to the Muslim world in general.
Thursday 9 November 2006, by Alain
Osama bin Laden reportedly gets CNN on the television in his cave. It is rumored that the brutal terrorist prefers CNN to Al Jazeera because the later is too objective and "pro-west" in its coverage. With the exception of Wolfe Blitzer, OBL sees CNN as the terrorist’s choice for news - unfair and unbalanced to America, Israel, and infidels in general.
It is a safe bet than Osama knew the results of Tuesday’s elections very early in the evening, probably at least two or three hours before President Bush knew. That is just one of the advantages of being “in” with the maestros at the Zogby Poll service. John Zogby reportedly sent text messages to Osama every time a race was decided, and gave OBL a personal live call once the Democrats achieved majority status in the U.S. House.
Osama bin Laden immediately sent a congratulatory e-mail to Nancy Pelosi. OBL said the following to the Speaker-elect of the U.S. House:
Dear Ms. Pelosi,
Praise be to Allah!
We have learned that Allah has delivered the U.S. House from the clutches of that evil infidel—George W. Bush—and into the hands of those who will accept the complete domination of Islam in America.
We know that eliminating your Constitution and other secular Christian laws will take time. Because of the complexities involved, we are prepared to wait 60 days after your swearing-in as House Speaker before demanding that Islam become the law, and the only law, in America.
That means that by March 6, 2007, we expect to see Islam fully installed in America.
Praise be to Allah!
We were concerned that you might be unable or unwilling to surrender that quickly. We now understand that you have been working with this goal in mind for several years now.
We ask that, for obvious reasons, Dianne Feinstein, Joe Lieberman, and Charles Schumer be excluded from any formal proceedings.
One last bit of information is vital: Be advised that all females in your U.S. Congress will be required to wear appropriate burkha face wear from this date forward. No exceptions.
Praise be to Allah!
Also, as of March 6, 2007, there shall be no females allowed in your capitol city of Washington, D.C. In addition, we have been advised that your party is infested with people like Barney Frank and other “girly-men.”
All such individuals, regardless of party affiliation or seniority, must be stoned to death before March 6.
Thanking you and Howard Dean in advance, I remain sincerely yours.
Praise be to Allah!
Well, there you go. And who said Nancy Pelosi was too naïve to be Speaker of the U.S. House?
by Deroy MurdockPosted Nov 06, 2006
As Americans vote Tuesday, surveys suggest Democrats may capture Congress. Leading terrorists pray this happens.“Americans should vote Democrat,” said Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Jaara led the Palestinian terror gang’s 2002 seizure of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Jaara added, “It is time that the American people support those who want to take them out of this Iraqi mud.”
Jaara spoke with WorldNetDaily’s Aaron Klein, who interviewed other Muslim fanatics hungry for a Democratic victory.“I tell the American people, vote for withdrawal” from Iraq, said Hamas’ Abu Abdullah.
Democratic cut-and-runnism emboldens Middle Eastern terrorists. “As Arabs and Muslims, we feel proud of this talk,” Islamic Jihad’s Muhammad Saadi told Klein. Saadi explained that a U.S. pullout would “prove the resistance is the most important tool and that this tool works.”
These comments echo top Islamofascists’ pro-Democrat/anti-Republican statements from the 2004 election.“Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security,” Osama bin Laden declared in a videotape al-Jazeera broadcast that October 29.Al-Qal’a, a Muslim-extremist website, clarified bin Laden’s statement. “Any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us…”
Why do militant Islamists openly embrace Democrats and assail Republicans? Democrats surely love America and presumably want al Qaeda & Co. neutralized. Still, key Democrats are almost touchingly naïve about the War on Terror and reject the tough measures required to fight it.“The war in Iraq is not the war on terror,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor September 13. “The war in Afghanistan was.”
The San Francisco Democrat poised to become House speaker should realize the War on Terror is (not “was”) fought beyond Afghanistan. Unfortunately, since 9/11, it has bloodied Bali, Madrid, London, Haifa, and dozens of other locales where innocents have been shredded.As for Baghdad being outside the War on Terror, soldiers there battle an enemy called “al-Qaeda in Iraq.”
Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s deputy leader, contacted the late terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. “The jihad movement is growing and rising,” Zawahiri wrote Zarqawi in October 2005. “Now it is waging a great historic battle in Iraq…” Zawahiri also proposed a blueprint for jihad. “The first stage: expel the Americans from Iraq,” wrote Zawahiri.
For his part, Rep. Charles Rangel (D.-N.Y.), who would become House Ways and Means Committee chairman, recently wondered aloud, “You’ve got to pay for the war, don’t you?” This suggests he would de-fund U.S. forces in Iraq.What then?“We can go to Okinawa,” Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.), who wants to be House majority leader, said on the June 18 “Meet the Press.” Even if Japan welcomed a massive influx of American GIs, Okinawa is 4,899 miles from Baghdad, which would complicate subsequent U.S. operations in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Rep. John Dingell (D.-Mich.) is as neutral as tap water regarding one notorious terror group.“I don’t take sides for or against Hezbollah,” said the House’s most senior member. “I don’t take sides for or against Israel.” He then fought a resolution backing Israel in its summer war with Hezbollah.
Senator Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.) said in June 2005 that U.S. treatment of detainees at Guantanamo resembled something “done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime…”Regarding Guantanamo, 79% of House Democrats voted against robust interrogations of terror suspects there.
Last March, 61% of House Democrats opposed Patriot Act reauthorization. Among House Democrats, 87% spurned President Bush’s electronic Terrorist Surveillance Program, even though it has helped unravel radical-Muslim conspiracies to kill Americans.
No doubt, Democrats were sincere when they joined Republicans and sang “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps on 9/11. Alas, this conflict’s gravity escapes most of them. Militant Muslims want to murder Americans by the thousands—or more.
To defeat radical Islam, America must remain confident, resolute, and intrepid.This election offers two options: Republican relentlessness or Democratic denial. Every voter should decide as if his life hinged on this choice, because it does.
Mr. Murdock, a New York-based commentator to Human Events, is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Arlington, Va.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
- Henry Mencken
The people have spoken and they want a new direction! At least that's what Howard Dean, nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel say. But what kind of direction do the people seek?
During the election, I worked as an observer for the Republican Party at one of the local polling stations. During that time, I sat with several observers for the Democrats and had the opportunity to quiz them on why they wanted to put Democrats back in the majority.
My first question concerned the current (and re-elected) Governor of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle. A man who has openly given away tax-funded contracts to big campaign contributors and who is under federal investigation for his "play for pay" tactics (see http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/061104DoyleRapSheet.pdf). Democrats railed for the past two years about the Republican "Culture of Corruption" and yet here were these people actively trying to re-elect a man who may go to jail someday for his actions as Governor. Their response was surprising, none of them were from Wisconsin and they were not aware of the Governor's transgressions. These people were volunteers who had come in from New York to assist the Wisconsin Democrats get all their candidates elected, in other words; Democrat - good, Republican - bad.
So given the idea that any discussion on Wisconsin issues was off the table, I moved on to the topic of national issues. So I asked them why they thought we would be better off paying higher taxes, paying more into social security and medicare, becoming more dependent on foreign oil from hostile nations, perpetuation of a failing education system and a weakened national defense/intelligence system. Here are the myth's that I received as answers with my comments on each.
Myth #1 They are only going to raise taxes on the wealthy. Oh, Really? Let me ask you something; why to billionares like Warren Buffet and George Soros always come parading out talking about how they wouldn't mind higher income taxes? The answer is simple they are wealthy, they don't need income. In fact Warren Buffet only pays himself a meager $100,000 salary (http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=2813), you could raise the top rate to 100% and still not touch a dime of his $60 billion net worth. To add insult to this, go to the US department of the Treasury where you will find that the top 50% of wage earners (those making $55,000 and more) are now paying 96.54 of all taxes paid (http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/menu/cy2003.guest.html). Once this number reaches 100%, it's over, the bottom 50% will keep voting for those politicians who will maintain the status quo and the super rich (Buffet, Soros, Kennedy, Rockefeller) typically vote Democrat since they are unaffected by income tax. In truth, the only way to tax the wealthy is to tax their wealth. Don't hold your breath for this to happen, financial disclosure forms released Friday by the nation's current 100 senators show there are at least 40 millionaires among them -- 22 Republicans and 18 Democrats. All but six of them are men.
Senate millionaires :
John Kerry, D-Massachusetts: $163,626,399 Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin: $111,015,016 John Rockefeller, D -West Virginia: $81,648,018 Jon Corzine, D-New Jersey: $71,035,025 Dianne Feinstein, D-California: $26,377,109 Peter Fitzgerald, R-Illinois: $26,132,013 Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey $17,789,018 Bill Frist, R-Tennessee: $15,108,042 John Edwards, D-North Carolina: $12,844,029 Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts: $9,905,009 Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico: $7,981,015 Bob Graham, D-Florida: $7,691,052 Richard Shelby, R-Alabama: $7,085,012 Gordon Smith, R-Oregon: $6,429,011 Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island: $6,296,010 Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska: $6,267,028 Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee: $4,823,018 Mike DeWine, R-Ohio: $4,308,093 Mark Dayton, D-Minnesota: $3,974,037 Ben Campbell, R-Colorado: $3,165,007 Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska: $2,963,013 Olympia Snowe, R-Maine: $2,955,037 James Talent, R-Missouri: $2,843,031 Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania: $2,045,016 Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire: $1,916,026 John McCain, R-Arizona: $1,838,010 James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma: $1,570,043 John Warner, R-Virginia: $1,545,039 Kay Bailey Hutchison, R - Texas: $1,513,046 Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky: $1,511,017 Harry Reid, D-Nevada: $1,500,040 Sam Brownback, R-Kansas: $1,491,018 Thomas Carper, D-Delaware: $1,482,017 Ted Stevens, R-Alaska: $1,417,013 Maria Cantwell, D-Washington: $1,264,999 Barbara Boxer, D-California: $1,172,003 Orrin Hatch, R-Utah: $1,086,023 Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana: $1,080,014 Bill Nelson, D-Florida: $1,073,014 Charles Grassley, R-Iowa: $1,016,024*These figures are base estimates provided by senators on their financial disclosure forms.
How about the House?
Millionaires fill US Congress halls (Jean-Louis Santini 07/01/04 "AFP"). The US Congress, the domed bastion of democracy in the capital of capitalism, abounds with deep-pocketed politicians whose fortunes have made the legislative branch of government a millionaire's club. In the 435-member House of Representatives, 123 elected officials earned at least one million dollars last year, according to recently released financial records made public each year.
By comparison, less than one per cent of Americans make seven-figure incomes, do you think that these "representatives" are going to enact any tax plan that affects them?
Myth #2 The Democrats will end the War in Iraq. The very idea that what is going on in Iraq is seperate from the overall conflict with Radical Islam is ridiculous! Be that as it may, does anyone really think that if we drop our weapons and leave the war will be over? In her book "Useful Idiots, author goes into great detail the suffering of the South Vietnamese and the horror of the killing fields of Cambodia after we left. The war didn't end until the Communists took over the country. To wit, the leader of Al-Qaida in Iraq has vowed to take the fight all the way to the White House (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/11/10/international/i093219S40.DTL&feed=rss.news) and the leader in Iran has once again threatened the defeat of America (http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/11/27/133838.shtml). We can choose not to fight, but the war won't be over until either they or we are dead.
Myth #3 The Democrats will make us energy independent and lower the price of gas. This was the best one. When I asked them how it would be done, my new friends threw out a new answer every time I shot the previous one down. Ethanol? Ethanol can't travel in pipelines along with gasoline, because it picks up excess water and impurities. As a result, ethanol needs to be transported by trucks, trains, or barges, which is more expensive and complicated than sending it down a pipeline. As refiners switched to ethanol this spring, the change in transport needs has likely contributed to the rise in gas prices. Some experts argue that the U. S. doesn't have adequate infrastructure for wide ethanol use. Solar? Have you ever seen the solar cars, good luck taking the family to visit Mom for the holidays. Hybrids? Car and Driver took out the batteries and electric motor from a Toyota Prius and improved it's overall gas mileage since it was lighter by about 1000 lbs. Hybrids are nothing but a public relations gimmic to buy time and rake in profits while a real technology is being developed. Hydrogen? Someday perhaps, but that technology is years away (http://planetforlife.com/h2/h2vehicle.html) and what do we do in the mean time? The truth is that America has enough oil in the ground to power our population for the next 200 years. Coal liquifaction and natural gas being converted to diesel fuel are also viable today but neither drilling nor the use of coal seems to be on the Democrats list of alternatives.
And, of course;
Myth #4 The Democrats will address Global Warming. I truely believe that it is just a matter of time before this junk science is exposed as the fraud it is once and for all. There is an increasing body of science that is forcing the debate http://www.etherzone.com/2001/carb032201.shtml) and now, journalist Christopher Monckton, who was a policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, has published a detailed report attacking the manmade global warming theory from various angles — including the so-called "medieval warm period."
The United Nations, which has issued a widely quoted report on global warming, "abolished the medieval warm period — the global warming at the end of the First Millennium A.D.," according to Monckton.
A U.N. report in 1996 "showed a 1,000-year graph demonstrating that temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today," Monckton writes in Britain's Sunday Telegraph.
"But the 2001 report contained a new graph showing no medieval warm period. It wrongly concluded that the 20th century was the warmest for 1,000 years . . .
"Scores of scientific papers show that the medieval warm period was real, global and up to [5 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer than now.
"Then, there were no glaciers in the tropical Andes; today they're there. There were Viking farms in Greenland; now they're under permafrost. There was little ice at the North Pole — a Chinese naval squadron sailed right around the Arctic in 1421 and found none."
Monckton also writes that Antarctica has cooled and gained ice-mass in the past 30 years, and the oceans have cooled sharply in the past two years.
He calculates that global temperatures will rise only .18 to 2.5 degrees in the coming century, "well within the medieval temperature range."
And he suggests that rather than point to greenhouse gases as the culprit behind any measurable global warming, we might blame the sun. He cites a scientist who maintains that in the past half-century the sun has been warmer, for longer, than at any time in at least the past 11,400 years.
Monckton's conclusion: "Politicians, scientists and bureaucrats contrived a threat of Biblical floods, droughts, plagues, and extinctions worthier of St. John the Divine than of science."
But even beyond this, Global Warming proponents can't get their story straight Note: "Scientists: Pollution could combat global warming" http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/11/16/smog.warming.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories. As long as Global Warming is a weapon to extract American Civil Liberties, it will prevail however once other industrialized nations like China and Russia come under attack, the myth will go away.
It amazed me that the people I was talking to actually believed what they were telling me, my immediate reaction was simply that they were well drilled to spew the campaign drivel even as unbelievable as it was.
But, if reasonably intelligent people can see through the charade, than how in the world could the Democrats hold all their seats in Congress and the Senate, let alone become the majority on November 7? Unfortunately, there is only one answer a reasonably intelligent person can deduce......
“Another one who keeps his wallet in his front pocket.”
As I laboriously fished my business card from the overly crammed crevices of my wallet, the business journalist I had been chatting with about joining our TaipanFinancialNews.com editorial team smiled, leaned back while stretching out his leg, and dragged his own pocketbook from a front pocket of his pants.
“I’m from New York City,” he explained. “Nobody there can afford to keep his money in a back pocket.”
“Same with Berlin,” I concurred. “Big city subways have a way of teaching you a lesson or two.”
On the morning after the midterm elections, it looks like putting your wallet out of reach will be good advice for many people. Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and the outcome of the Senate races will depend on a few hundred votes here or there -- with the possibility of another Democratic victory being quite distinct.
And if you listened to the various acceptance speeches, there’ll be plenty of hand reaching for those wallets. “Windfall profit” taxes (another word for nationalizing parts of private industry), additional taxes on gasoline, government subsidies for college tuition (through tax credits), and a reversal of the Bush administration’s tax cuts are being bantered about already.
All of which will redistribute wealth from private hands into government spending.
Wall Street is giving us an idea of what we can expect. Stocks opened sharply lower as the news percolated through the system. This may just be a temporary setback -- it may take months if not years to sap the American economy of its power. But for those who did not buy into the campaign mantra of “change,” the economic consequences of our political prospects are taking on shape.
“The liberal vision is a more attractive vision because it assumes away many of the painful and even brutal aspects of human life, especially the fatal dangers of relying on words when dealing with people who only respect force that is backed up by a willingness to use it,” wrote columnist Thomas Powell yesterday.
“Democrats have learned to avoid admitting to being liberals and this year are running a number of moderate candidates,” he continues. “If these new moderate candidates are elected and give the Democrats control of Congress, that control will be exercised by senior Democrats who will hold leadership positions -- and all of them are liberal extremists, whether people like Nancy Pelosi in the House or Ted Kennedy and John Kerry in the Senate. Getting people to vote for moderates, in order to put extremists in power, may be the newest and biggest voter fraud.”
This scenario has now become reality. It’s especially bad news at a time that requires an unprecedentedly large segment of the American population to step up to the plate and take charge of their own financial well-being and wealth-building... for their own retirement and long-term insurance needs.
The coming months and years will place a premium on initiative and responsibility for those of us who can see farther ahead in what our economic future will look like. It will require that you maintain self-discipline and determination to succeed against increasing odds.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Contrary to what many pundits would have you believe, this election is not about side shows like the meaning of Macaca or Senator John Kerry’s assessment of American soldiers’ I.Q. Instead, voters face choices about the most fundamental issue: our national security and whether we can foil a devastating attack that could kill millions of Americans and wipe out our economy.
In talking about the war on terror, the Democrats have focused on how to beef up port security and why Osama bin Laden wasn’t captured years ago at Tora Bora. But the key to stopping an attack is uncovering a plot before a nuclear device has been slipped on board a ship. Nor is bin Laden relevant to the war on terror. He has been neutralized, unable to communicate to his underlings because of fear of being killed.
The Republican administration understands that what is necessary to stop the next attack is a fragment of information that might lead to uncovering a plot. Obtaining that clue requires giving the FBI and CIA the necessary tools and funds to penetrate terrorist cells and make use of intercepted phone calls and emails.
In cutting the CIA’s budget by eighteen percent, after taking inflation into account, and reducing the number of covert officers by 25 percent, the Clinton administration provided an example of how not to uncover those clues. Under Clinton and John M. Deutch, his director of Central Intelligence, the CIA imposed a rule that its officers needed high-level clearance before recruiting an agent with so-called human rights violations.
Yet agents who had murdered or tortured people were the ones who would know what the bad guys were up to. Deutch’s rule sent a message to CIA officers throughout the agency that it was better to sit quietly in their offices than take the kind of risks necessary to obtain intelligence on terrorist activities.
President Clinton himself had little use for intelligence. While he read the President’s Daily Brief prepared by the Agency, six months after taking office he stopped his face-to-face CIA morning briefings.
Meanwhile, under Louis Freeh, Clinton’s appointee as FBI director, the bureau became so politically correct that agents trailing suspects were not allowed to follow them into mosques. FBI agents could not even sign on to online chat rooms to develop leads on people who might be recruiting terrorists or distributing information on making explosives. The FBI had to determine first that there was a sound investigative basis before it could sign on to chat rooms that any twelve-year-old could enter.
“A crime practically had to be committed before you could investigate,” Weldon Kennedy, a former FBI deputy director, told me. “If you didn’t have that, you couldn’t open an investigation.”
Two days after 9/11, Andrew H. “Andy” Card, Jr. started to go over the day’s schedule with President Bush. Bush stopped him. The previous evening, the president had developed plans for reshaping the government’s response to terrorism.
Instead of passively waiting for the next attack, the U.S. would become the aggressor, taking on terrorists wherever they were. Instead of focusing on catching and prosecuting terrorists after they had killed innocent people, the government would switch its priorities to preventing attacks. Instead of relying on laws that created impediments to tracking down terrorists, the government would enact new laws so the FBI and other government agencies would not be handcuffed.
Bush told Card he wanted to rearrange the day’s schedule so he could implement those plans. After the usual CIA briefing at 8 a.m., Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft began to brief Bush.
“They talked about how the terrorists got plane tickets, got on planes, moved from one airport to another, and then attacked our citizens,” Card told me. “And the president, while he was very interested in that report, said, ‘Mr. Director, that’s building a case for prosecution. I want to know what you have to say about the terrorist threats that haven’t materialized yet and how we can prevent them.’”
With those instructions, the entire mission of the FBI changed. It became prevention oriented.
While the FBI in the previous six years had stopped forty terrorist plots before they happened, the bureau tended to look no further than the latest case when going after terrorism. In the previous bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the FBI had been content to catch those responsible without taking the next step to try to determine if it was part of a larger plot or led to other terrorists.
To help the FBI stop the next plot, Bush proposed the USA Patriot Act. As outlined in an Oct. 31 NewsMax article, before the Patriot Act, because of what was known as “the wall,” FBI agents working the same case could not talk to each other about the case because some were working it as a criminal case and others were working it as an intelligence case.
The same wall prevented the CIA from sharing information with the FBI. The Patriot Act broke down the wall and allowed the FBI and the CIA to connect the dots.
Two weeks after 9/11, Bush met with General Michael V. Hayden, then director of the NSA, and other NSA officials in the Oval Office. “The president asked, ‘What tools do we need to fight the war on terror?’” said Card, who attended the meeting.
Hayden suggested changing the rules to allow NSA to target calls and to intercept emails of terrorists if one end of the communication was overseas. Thus, if bin Laden were calling the U.S. to order the detonation of a nuclear device, and the person he called began making overseas calls, NSA could listen in to those calls as well as to bin Laden’s original call.
“Bingo. As a result of the president’s question, we took a fresh look at what NSA could be doing to protect us,” Card said.
Prior to Bush’s order, the information from the calls would have been lost. Even the emergency provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was useless because, before listening in on a call, NSA had to obtain Justice Department authorization. By the time approval came through, the call was gone.
“The president’s action made it more likely that the NSA would intercept the communications most critical to the defense of the nation—that is, communications we believe to be affiliated with al Qaeda, one end of which is in the U.S.,” Hayden told me for a Sept. 25 NewsMax article after he became CIA director.
Hayden noted that under the FISA statute, “NSA cannot put someone on coverage and go ahead and play for 72 hours while it gets a note saying it was okay.”
In August 2005, Bush created the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). Despite the media’s claim that the FBI and CIA don’t talk to each other, at the NCTC, analysts from the FBI and CIA sit side by side, sifting clues and parceling out leads 24 hours a day.
These changes and others have produced solid results. Since 9/11, the CIA and FBI, often with the help of foreign partners, have rolled up some 5,000 terrorists. Dozens of plots have, in fact, been stopped. Others never materialized because the potential perpetrators had already been locked up or booted out of the country. The FBI now has 10,000 terrorism cases under investigation.
Those results have been achieved despite disclosures by the New York Times and other papers of secret operational capabilities, disclosures that are “killing us,” in the words of one high level FBI counterterrorism agent.
“The most important thing has been an overall strengthening of the intelligence community,” Fran Townsend, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, told me. “It’s intelligence reform, it’s greater resources in human intelligence, it’s the transformation of the FBI, it’s the Patriot Act, and the technical tools like the NSA terrorism surveillance program and the financial program. The sum of these changes is greater than the parts.”
If the Democrats win control of Congress and their rhetoric and votes are to be believed, they would adopt the Clinton administration’s spineless approach to fighting terrorism.
They would gut the USA Patriot Act.
They would stop interception of calls from al Qaeda to and from the U.S.
They would end tracking of terrorists’ financial transfers.
They would bestow legal rights on al Qaeda terrorists who are being interrogated about planned plots rights similar to those enjoyed by American citizens.
Finally, they would cut off funds to support the war effort in Iraq, handing al Qaeda a win in what the terrorists themselves have described as a crucial battleground in their effort to defeat America and impose their vision of radical Islam on the world.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had it right when he recalled how wrong appeasement was when dealing with Nazi Germany: Ultimately, the U.S. lost 300,000 lives in World War II. The total killed worldwide was 70 million. War expenditures were 38 percent of America’s GDP per year.
Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. Yet today, because terrorists are trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction, the stakes are far higher than in World War II.
“The race that we’re in right now is to prevent an attack with any kind of WMD,” Joe Billy, Jr., the FBI’s chief of counterterrorism, told me. “The implosion of a nuclear device or chemical-biological weapon of some type is really what we live to try to prevent.”
Because of George Bush’s vision and resolve in the face of vicious personal assaults, we have not been attacked since 9/11.
The question is whether voters will demonstrate the same vision by electing members of Congress who recognize the danger and will keep intact the tools needed by the FBI and CIA to insure our survival.
Friday, November 03, 2006
The upcoming election is front and center in the minds of currency investors right now. They're all wondering whether the election will bring good or bad news for the dollar, particularly if Democrats win control of Congress. I personally think a Democratic victory would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar, but not for the reasons you might think.
The media is speculating that a Democratic Party victory would result in higher taxes and new spending on social programs, which are supposed to spring up like weeds if the Democrats win. Therefore many commentators assume that the U.S. economy will be less competitive and attractive to international investors. And, they predict this will be bad for the dollar. I don't want to get into the politics of their argument. But I will say they're right about the dollar's direction (down), but they're right for the wrong reasons.
“Gridlock” will likely become the watchword if Democrats gain control of Congress. That's because, if the Democrats do win, their margin of control will likely be slim. Plus, we have a Republican president who will likely muster the will to wield a six-year old veto pen that's still filled with ink. In my view, because of the gridlock, government spending may actually be reduced, or at least grow more slowly over the next couple of years. We could see a tightening of U.S. fiscal policy.
You may believe tighter fiscal policy is good for the dollar while loose fiscal policy is bad. If so, you're not alone. We've been conditioned to believe that by the financial press that really doesn't quite get it. Reality is quite different.
When you think about government spending and its impact on the dollar, it's key to link that thinking with the monetary side of the equation (monetary policy). Why? Because this theorem has played out many times over the years:
“A country's currency will tend to rise on loose fiscal policy and tight monetary policy and fall on tight fiscal and loose monetary policy.”
This is a theorem first postulated by George Soros (the global macro trader, not Soros the political gadfly). I first saw this idea back in 1987 when reading Mr. Soros' excellent, yet esoteric, treatise entitled, The Alchemy of Finance. And it fits perfectly to explain the massive bull-run in the dollar from 1980 through 1985.
At that time, the dollar rocketed upward when newly installed Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Paul Volcker instituted an extremely tight monetary policy, jacking interest rates into double-digits to fight inflation. And on the fiscal side, the U.S. government was racking up huge deficits (or at least what was considered huge at the time). Volcker's interest rate increases drew in overseas deposits to the dollar. President Regan's deficits, due in large part to defense spending, lubricated economic growth. As growth momentum rolled along, the additional reserves on deposit helped support loan growth to bolster faster economic growth. It was a self-feeding dynamic benefiting the dollar.
We could end up with a self-feeding negative dynamic for the dollar if Democrat control of Congress. Tighter fiscal policy will drain money from the economy. If so, Fed Chairman Bernanke might attempt to counteract such a reality by aggressively loosening monetary policy. That means we'd have the exact opposite situation happen: tight fiscal policy and loose monetary policy. And according to Soros' theorem – this equals bad news for the dollar.
If this scenario plays out, you can bet a lot of international investors will high tail it out of the buck. Slowing economic growth and falling interest rates isn't why they're here.
Currency DirectorOn behalf of The Sovereign Society
Thursday, November 02, 2006
If the latest Zogby poll is accurate, the Democrats are poised to take control of the House of Representatives. If that were to happen, Nancy Pelosi would likely become Speaker.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is warning that a Democratic victory at the polls on November 7 will turn over the House to "the San Francisco values of would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi."
Just how dangerous, then, is the House Minority Leader from California to those who hold to traditional conservative values?
Pelosi is one of the most liberal members of the House, receiving a 95 percent "liberal quotient" from the Americans for Democratic Action based on her support for the liberal position in key votes. [Editor's note: Find out about the hypocrisy of Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, John Kerry and others Go Here Now!]
She voted against cutting taxes by $70 million, renewing the Patriot Act, reducing the death tax, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and making it a crime to desecrate the U.S. flag.
She supports gay marriage, and backed legislation allowing overseas military facilities to provide abortions for women in the military and military dependents.
The would-be Speaker also backed a measure calling for a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, supported a bill requiring a 72-hour background check for persons buying weapons at gun shows – and opposed a bill strengthening the enforcement of immigration laws.
But a look behind the scenes exposes Pelosi as a Democratic leader who passionately fights for liberal policies, yet goes to great lengths to avoid applying those policies in her personal life.
Best-selling author Peter Schweizer's book "Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy" first revealed the glaring contradictions between Pelosi and other prominent liberals' public stances and their real-life behavior. [Check out our free offer for this book. Go Here Now.]
Pelosi claims to be a staunch union supporter, and along with her husband has received the Cesar Chavez award from the United Farm Workers Union, notes Schweizer.
Unions are, in her words, "fighting for America's working families" and battling "the union-busting, family-hurting" Bush administration. But Schweizer uncovered that a $25 million Northern California vineyard the Pelosis own is a non-union shop!
Pelosi's hypocrisy doesn't stop there.
The congresswoman is the top recipient among members of Congress in campaign contributions from labor unions, and has received more money from the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union than any other member of Congress in the last several election cycles.
But in addition to the wine business, the Pelosis own a large stake in the exclusive Auberge du Soleil hotel in Rutherford, Calif. The hotel has more than 250 employees, but once again, Schweizer found, it is strictly a non-union shop.
The Pelosis are also partners in a restaurant chain called Piatti, which has 900 employees.
"But a union card is not required to work there bussing tables, washing dishes, serving guests or preparing food," Schweizer wrote in NewsMax Magazine.
"As with Auberge du Soleil, at Piatti the Pelosis' commitment to organized labor ends at the front door."
Pelosi has also demonstrated hypocrisy on the environment. "With us," she proclaims, "the environment is not an issue – it's an ethic. It's a value."
That's what she says. Schweizer exposed what she does: One of her largest investments is a private partnership called Lions Gate Limited, which operates the CordeValle Golf Club and Resort in San Martin, Calif.
The last time a U.N. Security Council game of musical chairs broke out was 1979, Cuba vs. Colombia. Over three months, 154 votes were held… and deadlocked until Mexico won as an alternative pick. Cuba did, however, run in 1980 and lost to Panama. It wasn’t until 1990 and 1991 that Cuba emerged the victor of musical U.N. chairs.
This time around, Venezuela and Guatemala were deadlocked on Monday after 10 grueling rounds of voting failed to produce a winner. According to Forbes, “The voting pattern fluctuated through the day. In the early rounds, Guatemala got 116 votes and Venezuela just 70. Then, in the sixth round of voting, they tied at 93 each. On the last vote, Guatemala led again, with 110 to Venezuela’s 77. That was still short of the 125 needed to win.”
Victory for Chavez could be detrimental to the United States’ fight over Iran and North Korea. Worse yet, according to the Miami Herald, “The presidency of the council is rotated among members for a one-month period, meaning that Venezuela could chair the body at least once during its term, serving as its representative and influencing its agenda.”
Playing musical chairs with Guatemala for a reserved Latin America seat on the Security Council, Venezuela must have 128 votes in favor, or two-thirds of the general assembly members. So far, Venezuela does have support from the Caribbean Community, the Arab League, the African Union, China and Russia, according to reports.
A deadlock could end with a compromise candidate such as Uruguay, Costa Rica, Mexico or Chile.
Ian L. CooperEVS / Early Alert Trader
The population of the U.S.A. has topped 300 million. There is now one birth every seven seconds, one death every 13 seconds, and one new immigrant added every 31 seconds.
Immigrants are now accounting for a whopping 40% of U.S. growth. In terms of net immigration gains, the U.S. ranks third with a rate of 3.4 per 1,000, lagging behind Ireland and Australia.
By comparison, Russia has lost 3.4 million people between 2000 and 2005 and is now down to 143 million, with an accelerating trend toward shrinkage. Europe is expected to shed 10% of its total population contracting to 653 million by 2050... while Northern American populations will increase 32% through 2050.
-- These numbers apparently go a long way to explain the rousing inaction both Democrats and Republicans are exercising in regard to the often-announced Social Security reform.
Like any pay-as-you-go system, Social Security can muddle along unchanged if there’s only enough people paying into the pot. It would appear like both parties have tacitly agreed on deferring any decisive political action by all means. Instead, they’re front-loading the active payers’ side with a million new immigrants a year… who hopefully will begin to pay as they go at some point and have kids who in turn will pay not only for their own immigrant parents but for two preceding generations as well.
I feel reminded of what the German journalist Gabor Steingart wrote: “The most important resource of the twenty-first century is education, politicians say. What colossal error: The most important -- because scarcest -- resource of our days is strength of will.”
Let’s see how long lack of political will can be compensated by immigration.
Did you see the above headline on the front page of the New York Times?
Of course not!
That's because two weeks prior to an election, the liberal media would NEVER, EVER print or broadcast a story that casts a liberal in a negative light!
In fact when the scandals about Senator Reid's $700,000 real estate deal initially surfaced:
ABC aired NOTHING on the story.CBS aired NOTHING.NBC's Chip Reid offered a few ill-chosen words.
And CNN's American Morning gave the story 35 seconds. During the same broadcast, they devoted 18 minutes to the Mark Foley story -- TWO WEEKS AFTER FOLEY HAD RESIGNED!
And how did the magisterial New York Times cover the story?
The day after the word went out about Reid's "good fortune," the New York Times buried the story on page A-19 under the headline: "SENATOR TO AMEND FINANCIAL FORMS."And what was on Page A-1? You guessed it! The Foley story -- so old it was covered with green mold. The headline: "FOLEY CASE SNAGS INCUMBENT IN OHIO RACE FOR HOUSE SEAT!"
Let's face facts! Harry Reid was right when he hypocritically pontificated that there is a "culture of corruption" in Congress. And it would appear that Harry Reid knows all about this "culture of corruption" first hand!
It's the duty of every patriotic American -- at least those of us who don't live at the Ritz Carlton in Washington D.C. like Harry Reid -- to demand that Congress clean up its act. Congress must investigate and prosecute all corruption and wrongdoing of its Members.
But don't expect the New York Times and Katie Couric to lead the charge!
It's up to each and every one of us!
And we can start by demanding they investigate and eliminate the bipartisan culture of corruption RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW -- two weeks prior to the election, when our elected officials are actually listening -- we can start by demanding that the Senate Ethics Committee initiate an investigation of Harry Reid as soon as humanly possible!
Was What Senator Reid Did Really That Bad?
Perhaps the more appropriate question to ask is, if you had done what Senator Reid did, would people be calling you a "sneak and a crook?"
However, it is increasingly apparent that some of our elected officials -- ignoring the faith the voters put in them to serve in Congress -- feel they are above the law; that they possess an advantage over everyday, hardworking Americans like us.
And the hypocrisy of Senator Reid -- the Minority Leader of the United States Senate -- is sickening. Maybe that is why he is often called "Dirty Harry" on the Hill.Senator Reid was the first shameless, hypocrite in his party to accuse the Republican opposition of creating "a culture of corruption."
This is also the same ideologue who said of the Foley incident: "But we did expect [the Republicans] to protect our kids. It is now clear we expected too much of them. They are not up to the job of upholding America's values."
As Dirty Harry well knows, everyone -- Democrats and Republicans,.. Liberals and Conservatives -- is sickened and disgusted by what Mark Foley did.
And when Foley quickly resigned, knowing full well the GOP leadership -- and more importantly, the American people -- would ostracize him, there wasn't anyone upset to see him go.
The American people have no tolerance for lawlessness and corruption -- including Foley's sickening acts.
But that also goes for all Members of Congress, including Minority Leader Reid who must NOT get a free pass for profiting from a cushy land deal and failing to accurately report it, and illegally playing fast and lose with campaign funds!
Oh yeah, and what about the hypocrisy of Harry Reid mentioning Jack Abramoff and a GOP culture of corruption every chance he gets -- even though Reid's office and campaign benefited tremendously from his own cushy relationship with lobbyist Abramoff?
And now Harry Reid wants to be Senate Majority Leader. So much for our kids and America's values, Harry!
Now Let's Talk About Reid's Dubious Land Deal:
In 1998, Harry "Culture of Corruption" Reid bought residentially zoned land outside Las Vegas for $400,000.Senator Reid then transferred that land three years later to a corporation run by a casino lobbyist friend.
The land then got rezoned for commercial use, and was sold by the corporation, from which Reid pocketed a check for $1.1 million. Coincidentally, there seem to be no records of Reid's stake in the company.
Did we mention that some of that land belonged to the American taxpayers? That's right.
Part of Reid's land was formerly owned by the federal government -- of course it miraculously transformed into private land in an Interior Department swap with a developer.
Right there outside boomtown. Right there for those with the power and influence of Harry Reid, his friends and family, to pick up cheap, get rezoned and flip for a hefty profit.
And, guess who failed to accurately report his quick $700,000 profitable transaction on his Senate disclosure form as required by law...
Guess who was serving on the Ethics Committee at the time...
Guess who hung up on the Associated Press reporters when they tried to question him about his land caper.
You guessed it -- Mr. Senate Minority Leader himself, Harry Reid!If the Senate Ethics Committee doesn't investigate this stinking mess, then its Members should be investigating themselves.
But Wait A Minute! That Isn't All. Another Story Surfaced.
Senator Reid never misses the chance to boast that he "grew up in a small cabin without indoor plumbing and attended a two-room elementary school."Today he owns and lives in a condominium at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. -- the equivalent of owning and living in a suite in the Taj Mahal. In December of 2002, 2004 and 2005-- playing the role of Lord Bountiful -- Reid gave the service staff at his personal residence at the Ritz thousands of dollars in Christmas bonuses.
A selfless and generous act, right?
Wrong. He took the money out of campaign funds -- a clear violation of federal election law.Here's a rich guy who had recently made a $700,000 profit on a cushy real estate deal, who has given himself "cost-of-living" raises -- financed by taxpayer dollars -- in Congress. Yet, he illegally uses money from his campaign coffers so he can look like Santa Claus.And how did the press handle this one?
Zero coverage from CBS.Same from ABC.A few seconds from NBC.
What happens next is up to you. You can sit back and do nothing or you can take action and put Dirty Harry on the front page of every newspaper and on every network.
If you make your voice heard now, even Katie Couric will have to cover both stories.
Oops, We Almost Forgot About Harry Reid And Jack Abramoff!
Oh, yes. we almost forgot about Senator Reid's connection with Jack Abramoff!You remember Abramoff. He's the Washington lobbyist who pled guilty to three counts of defrauding Indian tribes and two counts arising from his dealings with SunCasinos, Inc.
When this story broke, Democrats, led by Harry Reid, danced barefoot in the streets, shaking their tambourines and chanting "Culture of Corruption!" over and over again.
And boy did we hear about it -- for a few days. Then they got the bad news. Abramoff also had lots of dealings with none other than -- HARRY REID!
Reid's office said the contacts were "routine," but the routine contacts appear to have brought nearly $68,000 in routine donations to Reid's routine campaign account.
In fact, billing records show that Abramoff's firm made nearly two dozen routine calls to Reid's office.And did Abramoff's clients get routine favors from Reid?
It would appear so!In cases involving tribal casinos, Reid wrote four letters on behalf of Abramoff's client and, on the floor of the Senate, opposed legislation that would have adversely affected that tribe's interests. He did these things immediately after receiving a contribution from Abramoff's clients.Abramoff's outfit also solicited Reid's help on behalf of another client, the North Mariana Islands -- a U.S. territory.
The Marianas wanted to stave off the imposition of a U.S. minimum wage law and continue to pay $3.05 an hour.A consulting firm connected with Abramoff arranged a pink-drink, grass skirt boondoggle to Malaysia for Reid's long-time chief of staff.
The Abramoff agency also hired one of Reid's key legislative aides as a lobbyist. This same aide later helped organize a fundraiser for Reid. Guess where the bash took place... That right, Abramoff's digs. When asked if he would give back the money he'd gotten from Abramoff, Senator Reid said absolutely not.
Let's make our voices heard today! Let's send a message that the American people won't tolerate any corruption or lawlessness in Congress. Not even by Harry Reid.
Let's demand investigations right here and right now!
Use the hyperlink below to send your urgent and personalized Blast Fax Messages to President Bush, the leadership of the United States Senate and the Members of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. Tell them to launch a full-scale investigation of Harry Reid's land deal, his failure to accurately disclose $700,000 as required by law, his use of campaign funds to give Christmas bonuses to the service staff at his personal residence the Ritz Carlton, and his cuddly relationship with Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm.
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Yours In Freedom,
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