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December 10, 2005
Sunday  8:50:13 A.M. CST

Novak Recounts Grandy Jury Testimony

Viveca Novak, a Time reporter currently on a leave of absence, recounts her grand jury testimony about conversations she had with Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney.

To read the article, click here.

Fitzgerald has not decided whether or not to indict Kark Rove.

Note:  Novak is not related to columnist Bob Novak, who originally identified Valerie Plame in a column.

November 17, 2005
Thursday 7:28:13 A.M. CST

Bob Woodward Drops Bombshell

Bob Woodward, the famous Washington Post reported during the Nixon era, dropped a bombshell yesterday by
testifying under oath that he knew about Valerie Plame one month before her name was disclosed.

To read his statement, click here.

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September 28, 2005
Wednesday 1:57:24 P.M. CST

Grand Jury Hammers Tom Delay

U.S. Congressman Tom Delay has been indicted by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas.

To read the indictment, click here.

Congressman Tom Delay has temporarily stepped down from his position as GOP majority leader.

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July 1, 2005
Friday 9:57:14 A.M. CST

Sandra Day O'Connor Retires

Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, has retired.

She submitted the following three-sentence resignation letter this morning:

Dear President Bush:

"This is to inform you of my decision to retire from my position as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Untied States, effective upon the nomination and confirmation of my successor.

"It has been a great privilege, indeed, to have served as a member of the Court for 24 terms.

"I will leave it with enormous respect for the integiry of the Court and its role under our constitutional structure."


Sandra Day O'Connor

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September 20, 2004
Monday 8:07:24 P.M. CST

Exclusive: Top Ten List of October Suprises

Timing is everything in politics.

If presidential election history is a guide, there WILL be an October Surprise between Thursday, October 28, 2004 and November 2, 2004.  The goal of an October Surprise is to shake the electorate to make sure that a particular presidential candidate wins.  The most interesting October Surprises are the ones controlled by the presidential campaigns or by individuals who have a political agenda because they determine the date and time of the surprise.   

The race between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry will undoubtedly be a close one.  Any damaging surprise can tilt the vote in key battleground states and determine the outcome. According to independent pollster John Zogby, the only pollster who accurately predicted the outcome of the presidential race in 1996 and 2000 and the one relied on by for electoral college analysis, the current race will come down to the wire, despite the recent fluctuations in recent polls by other news organizations.

The Top Ten List of October Surprises that could affect the outcome of the presidential race is as follows:


The hunt for Osama Bin Laden is like the hunt for the Holy Grail in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. If he is found, he will validate President Bush's war on terror, his primary campaign issue, and bring unexpected electoral success.

Interestingly, President Bush did not mention Osama Bin Laden when he accepted the Republican nomination for President on September 2, 2004.  Two reasons could account for Bin Laden's absence.  First, the President or his presidential advisors (i.e. Karl Rove) might want to lower expectations to heighten the surprise just in case Bin Laden is found.  Second,  Bin Laden will not be found and the President does not want to raise any hopes.

Some skeptics believe that he has already been found and will be "officially found" in October. Remember, it's the timing that matters.  


It happened in Spain and it could happen in the United States.  For several months there has been speculation that Al-Qaeda may want to disrupt the presidential elections.  Even though it is not Al-Qaeda's modus operandi to strike when the spotlight is on their activities, a terrorist strike is still possible, even with the increased security and intelligence since 9-11.

If an attack is imminent, expect the Department of Homeland Security to raise the threat level to "RED".  The fear of a possible attack will affect the way people vote.  It is no coincidence that Vice-President Dick Cheney and U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert have told the American people that a vote for Kerry is a vote for a new terrorist attack.  

Don't be surprised if there are armed guards by your voting booth.


Somewhere under the sands of Iraq a weapon of mass destruction may be found in October.  Saddam Hussein's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction was the main reason for removing the vicious dictator and going to war.  Finding at least one weapon will vindicate President Bush and justify a continued American presence in the oil rich country.


Someone close to the President or Vice-President will take the fall for leaking the name of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent and wife of Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson.  An independent prosecutor has questioned various reporters who have identified the White House source.  Stay tuned for the shake-up.  


It happened to Barack Obama's Republican opponent in Illinois and it could happen to John Kerry.  The media have been trying to unseal Kerry's divorce papers to publish juicy and embarrassing details, if any.  The publication of embarrassing details could affect the public's perception of Kerry's character in key battleground states.


She may be in Africa, but she could spice up a close campaign by granting media interviews to discuss her prior relationship with John Kerry.   Kerry's former intern has denounced reports of an alleged affair.  However, strange things do happen as an election gets closer.


Michael Moore is about to get richer.  On October 5th, the date of the Vice-Presidential debate in Ohio, his larger than life op-ed piece about the Bush Administration and the war on terror will hit video stores.  In a recent survey, more than 30% said they were going to skip the theater version and wait for it to be released on VHS/DVD.

With the number of casualties mounting in Iraq, Fahrenheit 9-11 may lead voters to ask, "Why are we there?"  


Mushroom cloud?  Dam building?

Iran and North Korea are the other members of the once popular term, "Axis of Evil".  Unlike Iraq, they do have weapons of mass destruction or will have them very soon.

A threat by Iran and North Korea to sell weapons of mass destruction to terrorists may spark a preemptive strike by the Bush Administration and keep Americans focused on the war on terror.


New documents about President Bush's record may come to light, but they will not be reported by CBS News or Dan Rather.  After receiving a journalistic black-eye, Bush's National Guard papers may be too radioactive for CBS to touch.  Don't be surprised if other media outlets of 527 groups divulge the information.


Texans for Truth, an Austin, Texas based 527 group created in response to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on John Kerry's record, has offered $50,000 to anyone who served with President Bush in Alabama.  The President has been unable to identify any witnesses. A surprise witness may step up to the plate to claim the reward at the last minute and restore confidence in the President's National Guard service.

Stay tuned for the surprises!
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March 28, 2004
Sunday 9:10:24 A.M. CST

Clarke Pops Bush/Cheney Anti-Terror Balloon

One thing is for sure: Richard Clarke will not be invited to any more White House Christmas parties.

This past week, Richard Clarke, a former Bush White House insider on terrorism, gave the John Kerry Campaign an early Christmas gift - doubt.  In a presidential election, the most potent weapon a candidate can use is doubt, especially on an issue that will make or break a presidential campaign.  In this case, it is the Bush/Cheney record on antiterrorism.  President Bush has made his anti-terror stewardship a key part of his "War Presidency" campaign.  His approval ratings on the issue were sky high that Democrats could not attack Bush without appearing unpatriotic.  Then came Richard Clarke.  The release of his best-selling book and his testimony before the nonpartisan 9/11 Commission popped the anti-terror balloon that once flew high above the skeptics and critics.  Now the campaign issue has quickly descended into hostile political territory.  

Against All Enemies is compelling.  If Clarke's allegations are true, it is an indictment on the Clinton and Bush's administrations' lackadaisical approach to fighting counter-terrorism,  Most damaging, however, is Clarke's assertions that the Bush White House considered Al Qaeda and the war on terror secondary to getting Saddam Hussein.  The Bush White House and the Republican leadership adamantly refute Clarke's allegations and have launched an all out war on destroying Clarke's credibility.  Clarke, a registered Republican, worked for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, and the current President.

The severity of the allegations is measured by the response to quash them.   Every key official in the Bush White House, the Bush/Cheney Campaign, and the Republican leadership have taken extreme measures to set up a political firewall to prevent the damage from spreading.  National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and Vice-President Dick Cheney have appeared on various television and radio talk shows to dispel any misconceptions about the President's commitment on terror. Ironically, Rice refuses to testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission to refute the charges on executive privilege grounds.  Even Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have called on the Bush White House to declassify secret testimony Clarke made to Congress to prove he is a liar.  Presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry entered the fray yesterday and called the ferocious response "character assassination".  Kerry also challenged the Republican debunkers to prosecute Clarke for perjury if they can prove it.

The response may have come a little too late.  A Newsweek poll released yesterday shows that Richard Clarke's has caused significant damage to President Bush.  The survey shows that Bush's rating has fallen to 57 percent.  It was once 70 percent. Political observers note that if this issue can be neutralized and President Bush is forced to focus on the economy and jobs, John Kerry has a good chance of changing addresses in November.     

The firestorm created by Richard Clarke has yet to be quelched.  If the doubt created by Clarke continues to mushroom, the Bush/Cheney Campaign will have to quickly rethink their reelection strategy before it's too late.

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December 11, 2003
Thursday 9:23:13 A.M. CST

Texas Congressional Redistricting:  Summary of Key Issues

Later this morning, an army of lawyers for the proponents and opponents of mid-decade redistricting will square off in a federal courtroom to address the issues which have been raised in several lawsuits filed since the Texas Legislature approved a new congressional map.  In Walter Session, et al. v. Rick Perry, et al. a three judge federal panel will hear witness testimony and consider statistical evidence to determine if the new congressional map violates the rights of minority voters under the Voting Rights Act.  Specifically, the three-judge panel will determine if Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act has been violated.    

The following is a sample of key issues in this lawsuit:

Mid-Decade Congressional Redistricting

As a preliminary matter, Democratic Plaintiffs will likely argue to the three-judge panel that the new congressional map is unconstitutional and illegal because redistricting should only occur once every ten years.  Since the Texas Legislature failed to pass a congressional map in 2001, it missed its window of opportunity.  The Democratic Plaintiffs will rely on a recent decision from the Colorado Supreme Court which threw out a Republican dominated congressional map because the Colorado constitution only allows congressional redistricting to occur once every decade.   The Court specifically noted that it was relying on the Colorado constitution, not the U.S. Constitution, for its decision.

Proponents of the new map will likely argue that the Colorado decision is irrelevant because the Texas Constitution does not set a limit on how many times the Texas Legislature can redistrict.  They will point to an Attorney General's opinion that gives the Texas Legislature authority to redistrict should it chose to do so.   

Partisan Gerrymandering

Yesterday morning, one of the attorneys for the Democratic Plaintiffs argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that partisan gerrymandering in congressional redistricting is illegal because it violates the U.S. Constitution.  In Veith v. Jubelirer, 123 S.Ct. 2652 (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court will determine if the Pennsylvania congressional map violated the U.S. Constitution by being too partisan.  

The same arguments regarding partisan gerrymandering will likely be raised regarding the new Texas map.  The opponents of the map will point out that the main goal was to eliminate Democrats in order to maximize Republican representation in the congressional representation.

Proponents of the map will maintain that redistricting is an inherent political exercise and that partisan gerrymandering does not violate the U.S. Constitution.  They will point to a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court case which says that partisan gerrymandering is not illegal.  Until the U.S. Supreme Court says otherwise, the 1986 case is still good law.  

Racial Gerrymandering

The Democratic Plaintiffs will likely point out that the new congressional maps which stretch from Austin and Bastrop to the Lower Rio Grande Valley are illegal because race was a dominant factor in drawing those districts.  They will point to Districts 25 and 15, which, according to them, are not geographically compact and bizarre.  They will also likely point out that District 25 is over 75% minority, which is more than necessary for voters to elect the candidate of their choice.

Proponents will likely argue that race can be considered in drawing districts so long as it is not the dominant factor.  They will argue that the high percentage of minorities in District 25 is due to the existing populations in the counties comprising the district.  Furthermore, they will argue that politics, not race, was the driving force in shaping the new districts. Thus, the map is not illegal.

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act

The crux of the Democratic Plaintiffs' lawsuit is that it violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because the map has a discriminatory effect.  Unlike Section 5, which deals with voter retrogression, Section 2 deals with diluting minority votes. In other words, Section 2 looks at the "results" of the changes.   There are certain preconditions the Plaintiffs must meet in order for the three-judge panel to do a "totality of the circumstances" analysis.

Proponents will argue that the plan does not have a discriminatory effect and that the Plaintiffs cannot point out a Section 2 violation. Furthermore, they may point out that a similar challenge to the court drawn plan failed in 2001.   

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November 5, 2003
Wednesday 9:38:34 P.M. CST

78th Legislature House Interim Charges

To view the interim charges, click here.

To read Speaker Tom Craddick's statement, click here.

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September 7, 2003
Sunday 9:47:10 P.M. CST

Full Text of President Bush's Speech on Campaign Against Terrorism

Good evening. I have asked for this time to keep you informed of America's actions in the war on terror.

Nearly two years ago, following deadly attacks on our country, we began a systematic campaign against terrorism. These months have been a time of new responsibilities, and sacrifice, and national resolve and great progress.

America and a broad coalition acted first in Afghanistan, by destroying the training camps of terror, and removing the regime that harbored al Qaeda. In a series of raids and actions around the world, nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed, and we continue on al Qaeda's trail. We have exposed terrorist front groups, seized terrorist accounts, taken new measures to protect our homeland, and uncovered sleeper cells inside the United States. And we acted in Iraq, where the former regime sponsored terror, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, and for 12 years defied the clear demands of the United Nations Security Council. Our coalition enforced these international demands in one of the swiftest and most humane military campaigns in history.

For a generation leading up to September the 11th, 2001, terrorists and their radical allies attacked innocent people in the Middle East and beyond, without facing a sustained and serious response. The terrorists became convinced that free nations were decadent and weak. And they grew bolder, believing that history was on their side. Since America put out the fires of September the 11th, and mourned our dead, and went to war, history has taken a different turn. We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power.

This work continues. In Iraq, we are helping the long suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East. Together we are transforming a place of torture chambers and mass graves into a nation of laws and free institutions. This undertaking is difficult and costly -- yet worthy of our country, and critical to our security.

The Middle East will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will be an exporter of violence and terror that takes more lives in America and in other free nations. The triumph of democracy and tolerance in Iraq, in Afghanistan and beyond would be a grave setback for international terrorism. The terrorists thrive on the support of tyrants and the resentments of oppressed peoples. When tyrants fall, and resentment gives way to hope, men and women in every culture reject the ideologies of terror, and turn to the pursuits of peace. Everywhere that freedom takes hold, terror will retreat.

Our enemies understand this. They know that a free Iraq will be free of them -- free of assassins, and torturers, and secret police. They know that as democracy rises in Iraq, all of their hateful ambitions will fall like the statues of the former dictator. And that is why, five months after we liberated Iraq, a collection of killers is desperately trying to undermine Iraq's progress and throw the country into chaos.

Some of the attackers are members of the old Saddam regime, who fled the battlefield and now fight in the shadows. Some of the attackers are foreign terrorists, who have come to Iraq to pursue their war on America and other free nations. We cannot be certain to what extent these groups work together. We do know they have a common goal -- reclaiming Iraq for tyranny.

Most, but not all, of these killers operate in one area of the country. The attacks you have heard and read about in the last few weeks have occurred predominantly in the central region of Iraq, between Baghdad and Tikrit -- Saddam Hussein's former stronghold. The north of Iraq is generally stable and is moving forward with reconstruction and self-government. The same trends are evident in the south, despite recent attacks by terrorist groups.

Though their attacks are localized, the terrorists and Saddam loyalists have done great harm. They have ambushed American and British service members -- who stand for freedom and order. They have killed civilian aid workers of the United Nations -- who represent the compassion and generosity of the world. They have bombed the Jordanian embassy -- the symbol of a peaceful Arab country. And last week they murdered a respected cleric and over a hundred Muslims at prayer -- bombing a holy shrine and a symbol of Islam's peaceful teachings.

This violence is directed not only against our coalition, but against anyone in Iraq who stands for decency, and freedom and progress.

There is more at work in these attacks than blind rage. The terrorists have a strategic goal. They want us to leave Iraq before our work is done. They want to shake the will of the civilized world. In the past, the terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans, we will run from a challenge. In this, they are mistaken.

Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there -- and there they must be defeated. This will take time and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our own nation more secure.

America has done this kind of work before. Following World War II, we lifted up the defeated nations of Japan and Germany, and stood with them as they built representative governments. We committed years and resources to this cause. And that effort has been repaid many times over in three generations of friendship and peace. America today accepts the challenge of helping Iraq in the same spirit -- for their sake, and our own.

Our strategy in Iraq has three objectives: destroying the terrorists, enlisting the support of other nations for a free Iraq and helping Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense and their own future.

First, we are taking direct action against the terrorists in the Iraqi theater, which is the surest way to prevent future attacks on coalition forces and the Iraqi people. We are staying on the offensive, with a series of precise strikes against enemy targets increasingly guided by intelligence given to us by Iraqi citizens.

Since the end of major combat operations, we have conducted raids seizing many caches of enemy weapons and massive amounts of ammunition, and we have captured or killed hundreds of Saddam loyalists and terrorists. So far, of the 55 most wanted former Iraqi leaders, 42 are dead or in custody. We are sending a clear message: anyone who seeks to harm our soldiers can know that our soldiers are hunting for them.

Second, we are committed to expanding international cooperation in the reconstruction and security of Iraq, just as we are in Afghanistan. Our military commanders in Iraq advise me that the current number of American troops -- nearly 130,000 -- is appropriate to their mission. They are joined by over 20,000 service members from 29 other countries. Two multinational divisions, led by the British and the Poles, are serving alongside our forces -- and in order to share the burden more broadly, our commanders have requested a third multinational division to serve in Iraq.

Some countries have requested an explicit authorization of the United Nations Security Council before committing troops to Iraq. I have directed Secretary of State Colin Powell to introduce a new Security Council resolution, which would authorize the creation of a multinational force in Iraq, to be led by America.

I recognize that not all of our friends agreed with our decision to enforce the Security Council resolutions and remove Saddam Hussein from power. Yet we cannot let past differences interfere with present duties. Terrorists in Iraq have attacked representatives of the civilized world, and opposing them must be the cause of the civilized world. Members of the United Nations now have an opportunity -- and the responsibility -- to assume a broader role in assuring that Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation.

Third, we are encouraging the orderly transfer of sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi people. Our coalition came to Iraq as liberators and we will depart as liberators. Right now Iraq has its own Governing Council, comprised of 25 leaders representing Iraq's diverse people. The Governing Council recently appointed cabinet ministers to run government departments. Already more than 90 percent of towns and cities have functioning local governments, which are restoring basic services. We're helping to train civil defense forces to keep order, and an Iraqi police service to enforce the law, a facilities protection service, Iraqi border guards to help secure the borders, and a new Iraqi army. In all these roles, there are now some 60,000 Iraqi citizens under arms, defending the security of their own country, and we are accelerating the training of more.

Iraq is ready to take the next steps toward self-government. The Security Council resolution we introduce will encourage Iraq's Governing Council to submit a plan and a timetable for the drafting of a constitution and for free elections. From the outset, I have expressed confidence in the ability of the Iraqi people to govern themselves. Now they must rise to the responsibilities of a free people and secure the blessings of their own liberty.

Our strategy in Iraq will require new resources. We have conducted a thorough assessment of our military and reconstruction needs in Iraq, and also in Afghanistan. I will soon submit to Congress a request for $87 billion. The request will cover ongoing military and intelligence operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, which we expect will cost $66 billion over the next year. This budget request will also support our commitment to helping the Iraqi and Afghan people rebuild their own nations, after decades of oppression and mismanagement. We will provide funds to help them improve security. And we will help them to restore basic services, such as electricity and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics. This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore, to our own security. Now and in the future, we will support our troops and we will keep our word to the more than 50 million people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Later this month, Secretary Powell will meet with representatives of many nations to discuss their financial contributions to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Next month, he will hold a similar funding conference for the reconstruction of Iraq. Europe, Japan and states in the Middle East all will benefit from the success of freedom in these two countries, and they should contribute to that success.

The people of Iraq are emerging from a long trial. For them, there will be no going back to the days of the dictator, to the miseries and humiliation he inflicted on that good country. For the Middle East and the world, there will be no going back to the days of fear, when a brutal and aggressive tyrant possessed terrible weapons. And for America, there will be no going back to the era before September the 11th, 2001 -- to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.

The heaviest burdens in our war on terror fall, as always, on the men and women of our Armed Forces and our intelligence services. They have removed gathering threats to America and our friends, and this nation takes great pride in their incredible achievements. We are grateful for their skill and courage, and for their acts of decency, which have shown America's character to the world. We honor the sacrifice of their families. And we mourn every American who has died so bravely, so far from home.

The Americans who assume great risk overseas understand the great cause they are in. Not long ago I received a letter from a captain in the 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad. He wrote about his pride in serving a just cause, and about the deep desire of Iraqis for liberty. "I see it," he said, "in the eyes of a hungry people every day here. They are starved for freedom and opportunity." And he concluded, "I just thought you'd like a note from the 'front lines of freedom.'" That Army captain, and all of our men and women serving in the war on terror, are on the front lines of freedom. And I want each of them to know, your country thanks you, and your country supports you.

Fellow citizens: We've been tested these past 24 months, and the dangers have not passed. Yet Americans are responding with courage and confidence. We accept the duties of our generation. We are active and resolute in our own defense. We are serving in freedom's cause -- and that is the cause of all mankind.

Thank you, and may God continue to bless America.

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August 24, 2003
Sunday 4:37:22 P.M. CST

Third Time Was Not Charm for Texas GOP

Congressional redistricting in Texas will officially die for the third time on Tuesday, August 26th.  

Without the Texas 11, who are temporarily exiled in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Texas Senate could not act on any legislation, including redistricting. Texas Governor Rick Perry has already indicated that he plans to call a third special session on congressional redistricting, but he hasn't said when. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst would like to take a break to refine any final redistricting plans and await a federal court's ruling on the lawsuit filed by the Senate Democrats in Laredo, Texas. A hearing on crucial motions in the case will be held this upcoming Wednesday, August 27th. The court's rulings could affect the political and legal strategies of the Texas 11 and Republican leadership.

Even if the federal court does not rule in their favor, the Texas 11 have vowed to stay in New Mexico to delay a vote on any congressional redistricting plan.  Without a vote in the Texas Senate, the State of Texas cannot submit a redistricting plan which reflects the policy choices of the body to the U.S. Department of Justice for pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  Pre-clearance of any new map is required because of the Texas' history of discrimination against minority groups. The U.S. Department of Justice is required to pre-clear a map within 60 days of receiving it; however, if the Department requests additional information from the State of Texas within the 60 days period (and they probably will in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Georgia v. Ashcroft), the deadline is extended by an additional 60 days.  Thus, the pre-clearance process can take up to 120 days (4 months).  Alternatively, the State of Texas may file a lawsuit in a district court in the District of Columbia for approval of the map rather than go through the U.S. Department of Justice.  There is no guarantee that a lawsuit will expedite the approval process.   

Time is of the essence for the Republican leadership if a new plan is to be in place for the March primary and 2004 General Election. Filing for the primary begins on December 3rd, unless the date is moved by the Secretary of State.  A new congressional map must be pre-cleared and all legal challenges addressed before that date.  If a new congressional map is not pre-cleared by the time filing begins, any private citizen can go to a federal court and get a temporary restraining order to prevent the new map from being used.  Without a new map, the current congressional map could be used for the March 2004 primary, which will maintain the status quo of 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans in the congressional delegation.

© Copyright 2001-2003 Public Trends. All rights reserved.
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July 12, 2003
Saturday 11:26:25 A.M. CST

CIA Accepts Responsibility for State of the Union Claim

The Central Intelligence Agency issued a statement yesterday acknowledging responsibility for a false statement in President Bush's State of the Union address.  The White House has publicly admitted that it could not substantiate a claim that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium in Africa.  The British government had originally made the claim of Iraq's attempts.   

The Washington Post reported that the CIA had told the British government that the statement was false and that U.S. intelligence officials were aware that the information was not reliable.  Even after having doubts, the statement was still included in the State of the Union speech.  

Yesterday, President George W. Bush placed the blame on George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, for approving the speech with the false statement.

Tenet accepted responsibility and issued the following official statement:


Legitimate questions have arisen about how remarks on alleged Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa made it into the President's State of the Union speech. Let me be clear about several things right up front. First, CIA approved the President's State of the Union address before it was delivered. Second, I am responsible for the approval process in my Agency. And third, the President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound. These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President.

For perspective, a little history is in order.
There was fragmentary intelligence gathered in late 2001 and early 2002 on the allegations of Saddam’s efforts to obtain additional raw uranium from Africa, beyond the 550 metric tons already in Iraq. In an effort to inquire about certain reports involving Niger, CIA’s counter-proliferation experts, on their own initiative, asked an individual with ties to the region to make a visit to see what he could learn. He reported back to us that one of the former Nigerian officials he met stated that he was unaware of any contract being signed between Niger and rogue states for the sale of uranium during his tenure in office. The same former official also said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss “expanding commercial relations” between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales. The former officials also offered details regarding Niger’s processes for monitoring and transporting uranium that suggested it would be very unlikely that material could be illicitly diverted. There was no mention in the report of forged documents -- or any suggestion of the existence of documents at all.
Because this report, in our view, did not resolve whether Iraq was or was not seeking uranium from abroad, it was given a normal and wide distribution, but we did not brief it to the President, Vice-president or other senior Administration officials. We also had to consider that the former Nigerian officials knew that what they were saying would reach the U.S. government and that this might have influenced what they said.

In the fall of 2002, my Deputy and I briefed hundreds of members of Congress on Iraq. We did not brief the uranium acquisition story.

Also in the fall of 2002, our British colleagues told us they were planning to publish an unclassified dossier that mentioned reports of Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa. Because we viewed the reporting on such acquisition attempts to be inconclusive, we expressed reservations about its inclusion but our colleagues said they were confident in their reports and left it in their document.

In September and October 2002 before Senate Committees, senior intelligence officials in response to questions told members of Congress that we differed with the British dossier on the reliability of the uranium reporting.
In October, the Intelligence Community (IC) produced a classified, 90 page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq’s WMD programs. There is a lengthy section in which most agencies of the Intelligence Community judged that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Let me emphasize, the NIE’s Key Judgments cited six reasons for this assessment; the African uranium issue was not one of them.
But in the interest of completeness, the report contained three paragraphs that discuss Iraq's significant 550-metric ton uranium stockpile and how it could be diverted while under IAEA safeguard. These paragraphs also cited reports that Iraq began “vigorously trying to procure” more uranium from Niger and two other African countries, which would shorten the time Baghdad needed to produce nuclear weapons. The NIE states: “A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of pure “uranium” (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out the arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake.” The Estimate also states: “We do not know the status of this arrangement.” With regard to reports that Iraq had sought uranium from two other countries, the Estimate says: “We cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore and/or yellowcake from these sources.” Much later in the NIE text, in presenting an alternate view on another matter, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research included a sentence that states: “Finally, the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR’s assessment, highly dubious.”

An unclassified CIA White Paper in October made no mention of the issue, again because it was not fundamental to the judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, and because we had questions about some of the reporting. For the same reasons, the subject was not included in many public speeches, Congressional testimony and the Secretary of State’s United Nations presentation in early 2003.
The background above makes it even more troubling that the 16 words eventually made it into the State of the Union speech. This was a mistake.

Portions of the State of the Union speech draft came to the CIA for comment shortly before the speech was given. Various parts were shared with cognizant elements of the Agency for review. Although the documents related to the alleged Niger-Iraqi uranium deal had not yet been determined to be forgeries, officials who were reviewing the draft remarks on uranium raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence with National Security Council colleagues. Some of the language was changed. From what we know now, Agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct - i.e. that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. This should not have been the test for clearing a Presidential address. This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for Presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed.

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June 15, 2003
Sunday 10:54:35 P.M. CST

U.S. Supreme Court Update

Stay tuned for an analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action in higher education.

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April 20, 2003
Sunday 12:00:00 A.M. CST

Strayhorn's Golden Egg

It's Easter in Texas and the Texas Legislature is praying for a magical golden egg that can solve Texas' economic woes. Unlike previous legislative sessions, the legislative egg Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn will deliver to the Texas Legislature later this month or early May will be less than golden. If all economic indicators are correct, it will probably be a little bit rotten.

Before the Texas Legislature finalizes the budget each legislative session, the Comptroller revises her revenue estimate to provide lawmakers with a true picture of Texas' economic condition.  Comptroller Strayhorn has already promised to “tell it like it is” and urged lawmakers to tighten another notch in the legislative belt.   In the past, lawmakers relied on a positive revenue estimate to fund special projects in the Texas budget.  However, this year, the decline in sales tax revenue, the sputtering economy and limited consumer spending has created a recipe for a deficit disaster.

Some lawmakers anticipate that the deficit is more than the $9.9 billion Strayhorn anticipated earlier this year.  The true deficit, according to some capitol insiders, is between $12 and $15 billion.  The Texas House of Representatives has already passed a budget prioritizing spending on the assumption that the deficit is $9.9 billion.  The Texas Senate has yet to vote on a budget.  In all likelihood, the Senate budget will not mirror the one passed in the House.  A conference committee of Senate and House members will make the final revisions and produce a budget before June 2nd, if there are no last minute surprises.  An announcement by Strayhorn that the deficit is worse than originally thought could complicate matters for Texas lawmakers who are trying to avoid a special session on the budget.

Before any budget is implemented, Strayhorn has a constitutional duty to certify the amount of revenue available.  If lawmakers do not produce a budget that addresses the true deficit, Strayhorn may oppose it and lawmakers will be back in Austin debating cuts in services, employee layoffs and non-tax revenue options.  Because of her authority, Strayhorn is in a position to influence the final budget.

Strayhorn has already told lawmakers that the $1 billion Rainy Day Fund is off limits, even though some lawmakers feel that Texas is facing a monsoon and the money must be used.  Without new revenue sources, creative accounting techniques may be used to create a perception that the budget has been balanced in the Lone Star State.  Texas Governor Rick Perry has already said he opposes “sleights of hand” to balance the budget.  Instead, the Governor feels that the anticipated revenue stream is enough to meet the basic needs of Texans.  Special interest groups for the poor, elderly, and disabled beg to differ.

Texas' toughest grandma has not set a date for her announcement.  When she does, all of Texas may be in for a big surprise.

God Bless Texas!

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March 30, 2003
Sunday 10:00:15 P.M. CST

Affirmative Action or Affirmative Access?:  Equal Opportunity in 21st Century America

There will be no jokes on April Fool's Day for the proponents and opponents of affirmative action.  On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the admissions policies at the University of Michigan are constitutional or a mere guise for racial quotas.  The Supreme Court will revisit its Bakke decision which set the boundaries for the consideration of race in higher education admissions.  Even though there was no majority opinion in Bakke, university officials have considered race as a factor in university admissions.  In Bakke, the Court did not specifically say how much weight should be given to race in higher education admissions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued recent rulings on affirmative action, but not in the context of higher education.  Thus, this is the most significant and controversial affirmative action case to be considered by the Court.  President George W. Bush opposes the Michigan program because it leads to racial quotas.  However, he has not said that race should never be considered in higher education.  Not everyone in The White House agrees. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice said she supports the consideration of race as does Secretary of State Colin Powell. President Bush supports a concept called “affirmative access,” a term which has not been clearly defined by The White House.  

The U.S. Department of Justice filed briefs opposing the undergraduate and law school admissions program at the University of Michigan.  The briefs did not call for an outright ban on the consideration of race.  Instead, the government is urging the consideration on non-racial alternatives to diversify a student body.  Various corporations, political and military leaders have urged the Supreme Court not to dismantle affirmative action.

In anticipation of the arguments this Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education released a report on non-racial alternatives to achieve diversity in higher education.  The report places emphasis on socio-economic status.  The report, however, makes no mention of legacy admissions, a practice which many proponents of affirmative action argue benefits white students.

The concept of diversity in the classroom is not what causes controversy.  It is the means used to achieve it.  Proponents believe that affirmative action achieves diversity by considering the same factor which was used to exclude minorities in higher education admissions.  Opponents believe that affirmative action is “reverse discrimination” and that it stigmatizes racial minorities because they were not selected on merit.  They point to non-racial alternatives such as the 10 Percent Plan in Texas as viable alternatives.

President George W. Bush has praised the 10 Percent Plan in Texas as an example of affirmative access.  The plan does not consider race.  Instead, it guarantees undergraduate admissions to the top ten percent of high school graduates to Texas' universities.  The bill was authored by the late State Representative Irma Rangel in response to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Hopwood decision that dismantled affirmative action in Texas.  President Bush signed the bill when he was Governor of Texas even though only a handful of Republicans supported it in the Texas House of Representatives.  Critics say that the plan has not had uniform success and that affirmative action is needed to achieve Pre-Hopwood numbers.      

The arguments before the Supreme Court are likely to be spirited and a 5-4 decision is expected.  Court observers note that the future of affirmative action in higher education lies in the hands Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.  O'Connor is a former mentee of the late Justice Powell, who wrote the opinion which many universities have cited to justify the use of race in college admissions.  Observers speculate that because O'Connor considered Powell a man of respect and honor, she is unlikely to completely dismantle affirmative action in higher education. Instead, they note, she will refine Powell's Bakke opinion and hold that diversity is a compelling governmental interest in higher education.

While no one really knows how she will rule, her comment in “The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice,” an upcoming memoir about the U.S. Supreme Court, sheds some light on her personal philosophy.  In the book she said, "Diversity is its strength, just as it is the strength of America itself."  

A decision is expected by late June.

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March 10, 2003
Monday 10:00:43 P.M. CST

Miguel Estrada and Dan Morales:  A Different Shade of Crimson

Miguel Estrada and Dan Morales share a common bond.  They both went to Harvard Law School.  They both overcame adversity to achieve their goals.  They both have been criticized for not acknowledging their Hispanic heritage. They both have been recently indicted - one political, one criminal.

Miguel Estrada is well qualified to serve as a federal judge.  The American Bar Association, which traditionally screens judicial nominees, approved of his nomination and praised him for his legal credentials.  Conservatives like him because he embodies the American Dream and will not be a judicial activist.  The League of United Latin American Citizens, a civil rights organization, supports him because Hispanics lack representation in the federal courts.   

Opponents of Estrada beg to differ.

They view Estrada as a scion of the Honduran aristocracy whose only link to Hispanics is a breakfast taquito.  Even the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has joined the bandwagon in opposing his nomination. Last week, U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), amid protesters waving “Viva La Filibuster”, said that Estrada is “not the type of person who represents the Latino community.”  Rather, Estrada is viewed by his critics as a pure blood, a Hispanic whose European genome was not intermingled with the gene pool of the indigenous people in Latin America.  Critics say that Estrada is not Hispanic enough and fails to identify with issues that affect Hispanic Americans. Furthermore, Estrada is viewed as a stealth conservative who will vote to dismantle programs that have traditionally benefited Hispanics.

Last week, Estrada's opponents won a preliminary battle.  U.S. Senate Republicans invoked cloture to end the filibuster over his nomination.  60 votes are needed to end a filibuster.  55 Republicans voted for cloture and 44 opposed.  Republicans fell 5 votes short.  President George W. Bush called the vote a “disgrace”.

To political insiders, the vote sent a strong message: “Hasta La Vista Miguel!”  Republicans did not concede defeat and vowed to salvage the nomination.   The White House offered to help, but with a war looming with Iraq, his nomination may take the back seat.  The vote by the U.S. Senate was a political indictment that not even Karl Rove, the President's chief political adviser, could overcome.  

Former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales knows how thankless public service can be.  Instead of receiving accolades for bringing the State of Texas the biggest tobacco settlement in history, Morales got indicted.  Morales has been charged with using campaign contributions for personal use, backdating contracts to help a friend get $520 million out of the tobacco settlement, tax evasion, and mail fraud. Morales denies all the charges and vows to prevail in a jury trial.  However, the “success tax” has been levied and Morales could soon be joining his brother in prison. Morales vows never to seek public office again.  

Like Estrada, Morales has his detractors.  After he wrote a 1997 opinion which essentially banned all affirmative action programs in Texas, Morales became a pariah among minority groups.  Even though the 1997 opinion was symbolically rescinded in 1999 by now U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Morales is still viewed by some as the architect of disaster of higher education in Texas.

Despite the odds, Estrada and Morales may actually prevail in the end.  Estrada may be confirmed as a federal judge and Morales may be acquitted of all charges.  For now, both men are relying on their alma matter's motto- Veritas (Truth)-to guide them through their perilous journeys.

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FEBRUARY 24, 2003
Monday 11:24:10 P.M. CST

Text of New U.S.-British-Spanish U.N. Resolution on Iraq

Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, and 1441 (2002) of 8 November all the relevant statements of its president,

Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the council declared that a cease-fire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein;

Recalling that its resolution 1441 (2002), while acknowledging that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations, afforded Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions,

Recalling that in its resolution 1441 (2002) the council decided that false statements or omissions in the declaration submitted by Iraq pursuant to that resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of, that resolution, would constitute a further material breach,

Noting, that in that context, that in its resolution 1441 (2002), the council recalled that it has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations,

Noting that Iraq has submitted a declaration pursuant to its resolution 1441 (2002) containing false statements and omissions and has failed to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, that resolution,

Reaffirming the commitment of all member states to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Kuwait, and the neighboring states,

Mindful of its primary responsibility under the charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Recognizing the threat Iraq's noncompliance with council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,

Determined to secure full compliance with its decisions and to restore international peace and security in the area,

Acting under Chapter VII of the charter of the United Nations,

Decides that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in resolution 1441 (2002).

Decides to remain seized of the matter.

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FEBRUARY 24, 2003
Monday 11:23:40 P.M. CST

French-Russian-German Memorandum on Iraq

1. Full and effective disarmament in accordance with the relevant (U.N. Security Council) resolutions remains the imperative objective of the international community. Our priority should be to achieve this peacefully through the inspection regime. The military option should only be a last resort. So far, the conditions for using force against Iraq are not fulfilled:

-- While suspicions remain, no evidence has been given that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction or capabilities in this field;

-- Inspections have just reached their full pace; they are functioning without hindrance; they have already produced results;

-- While not yet fully satisfactory, Iraqi cooperation is improving, as mentioned by the chief inspectors in their last report.

2. The Security Council must step up its efforts to give a real chance to the peaceful settlement of the crisis. In this context, the following conditions are of paramount importance;

-- The unity of the Security Council must be preserved;

-- The pressure that is put on Iraq must be increased.

3. These conditions can be met, and our common objective -- the verifiable disarmament of Iraq -- can be reached through the implementation of the following proposals:

A. Clear program of action for the inspections:

According to resolution 1284, UNMOVIC and IAEA have to submit their program of work for approval of the Council. The presentation of this program of work should be speeded up, in particular the key remaining disarmament tasks to be completed by Iraq pursuant to its obligations to comply with the disarmament requirements of resolution 687 (1991) and other related resolutions.

The key remaining tasks shall be defined according to their degree of priority. What is required of Iraq for implementation of each task shall be clearly defined and precise.

Such a clear identification of tasks to be completed will oblige Iraq to cooperate more actively. It will also provide a clear means for the Council to assess the cooperation of Iraq.

B. Reinforced inspections:

Resolution 1441 established an intrusive and reinforced system of inspections. In this regard, all possibilities have not yet been explored. Further measures to strengthen inspections could include, as exemplified in the French non-paper previously communicated to the chief inspectors, the following: increase and diversification of staff and expertise; establishment of mobile units designed in particular to check on trucks; completion of the new system of aerial surveillance; systematic processing of data provided by the newly established system of aerial surveillance.

C. Timelines for inspections and assessment:

Within the framework of resolution 1284 and 1441, the implementation of the program of work shall be sequenced according to a realistic and rigorous timeline:

-- The inspectors should be asked to submit the program of work outlining the key substantive tasks for Iraq to accomplish, including missiles/delivery systems, chemical weapons/precursors, biological weapons/material and nuclear weapons in the context of the report due March 1;

-- The chief inspectors shall report to the Council on implementation of the program of work on a regular basis (every three weeks);

-- A report of UNMOVIC and IAEA assessing the progress made in completing the tasks shall be submitted by the inspectors 120 days after the adoption of the program of work according to resolution 1284;

-- At any time, according to paragraph 11 of resolution 1441, the executive chairman of UNMOVIC and the director general of the IAEA shall report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspections activities as well as failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations;

-- At any time, additional meetings of the Security Council could be decided, including at high level.

To render possible a peaceful solution, inspections should be given the necessary time and resources. However, they cannot continue indefinitely. Iraq must disarm. Its full and active cooperation is necessary. This must include the provision of all the additional and specific information on issues raised by the inspectors as well as compliance with their requests, as expressed in particular in Mr. Blix' letter of Feb. 21, 2003. The combination of a clear program of action, reinforced inspections, a clear timeline and the military build up provide a realistic means to reunite the Security Council and to exert maximum pressure on Iraq.

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JANUARY 28, 2003
Tuesday 8:54:13 P.M. CST

Text of President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Speech

Note:  The following text was provided by The White House.

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, fellow citizens:
Every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union. This year, we gather in this chamber deeply aware of decisive days that lie ahead.

You and I serve our country in a time of great consequence. During this session of Congress, we have the duty to reform domestic programs vital to our country … and we have the opportunity to save millions of lives abroad from a terrible disease. We will work for a prosperity that is broadly shared … and we will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people.

In all these days of promise and days of reckoning, we can be confident. In a whirlwind of change, and hope, and peril, our faith is sure, our resolve is firm, and our union is strong.

This country has many challenges. We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, other presidents, and other generations. We will confront them with focus, and clarity, and courage.

During the last two years, we have seen what can be accomplished when we work together. To lift the standards of our public schools, we achieved historic education reform - which must now be carried out in every school, and every classroom, so that every child in America can read, and learn, and succeed in life. To protect our country, we reorganized our government and created the Department of Homeland Security - which is mobilizing against the threats of a new era. To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation. To insist on integrity in American business, we passed tough reforms, and we are holding corporate criminals to account.

Some might call this a good record. I call it a good start. Tonight I ask the House and Senate to join me in the next bold steps to serve our fellow citizens.

Our first goal is clear: We must have an economy that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks a job.
After recession, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals, and stock market declines, our economy is recovering - yet it is not growing fast enough, or strongly enough. With unemployment rising, our Nation needs more small businesses to open, more companies to invest and expand, more employers to put up the sign that says, "Help Wanted."

Jobs are created when the economy grows; the economy grows when Americans have more money to spend and invest; and the best, fairest way to make sure Americans have that money is not to tax it away in the first place.
I am proposing that all the income tax reductions set for 2004 and 2006 be made permanent and effective this year. And under my plan, as soon as I have signed the bill, this extra money will start showing up in workers' paychecks. Instead of gradually reducing the marriage penalty, we should do it now. Instead of slowly raising the child credit to a thousand dollars, we should send the checks to American families now.

This tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes - and it will help our economy immediately. Ninety-two million Americans will keep - this year - an average of almost 1,100 dollars more of their own money. A family of four with an income of 40,000 dollars would see their federal income taxes fall from 1,178 dollars to 45 dollars per year. And our plan will improve the bottom line for more than 23 million small businesses.

You, the Congress, have already passed all these reductions, and promised them for future years. If this tax relief is good for Americans three, or five, or seven years from now, it is even better for Americans today.

We also strengthen the economy by treating investors equally in our tax laws. It is fair to tax a company's profits. It is not fair to again tax the shareholder on the same profits. To boost investor confidence, and to help the nearly 10 million seniors who receive dividend income, I ask you to end the unfair double taxation of dividends.

Lower taxes and greater investment will help this economy expand. More jobs mean more taxpayers - and higher revenues to our government. The best way to address the deficit and move toward a balanced budget is to encourage economic growth - and to show some spending discipline in Washington, D.C. We must work together to fund only our most important priorities. I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by four percent next year - about as much as the average family's income is expected to grow. And that is a good benchmark for us: Federal spending should not rise any faster than the paychecks of American families.

A growing economy, and a focus on essential priorities, will also be crucial to the future of Social Security. As we continue to work together to keep Social Security sound and reliable, we must offer younger workers a chance to invest in retirement accounts that they will control and they will own.

Our second goal is high quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

The American system of medicine is a model of skill and innovation - with a pace of discovery that is adding good years to our lives. Yet for many people, medical care costs too much - and many have no coverage at all. These problems will not be solved with a nationalized health care system that dictates coverage and rations care. Instead, we must work toward a system in which all Americans have a good insurance policy … choose their own doctors … and seniors and low-income Americans receive the help they need. Instead of bureaucrats, and trial lawyers, and HMOs, we must put doctors, and nurses, and patients back in charge of American medicine.

Health care reform must begin with Medicare, because Medicare is the binding commitment of a caring society. We must renew that commitment by giving seniors access to the preventive medicine and new drugs that are transforming health care in America.

Seniors happy with the current Medicare system should be able to keep their coverage just the way it is. And just like you, the members of Congress, members of your staffs, and other federal employees, all seniors should have the choice of a health care plan that provides prescription drugs. My budget will commit an additional 400 billion dollars over the next decade to reform and strengthen Medicare. Leaders of both political parties have talked for years about strengthening Medicare - I urge the members of this new Congress to act this year.

To improve our health care system, we must address one of the prime causes of higher costs - the constant threat that physicians and hospitals will be unfairly sued. Because of excessive litigation, everybody pays more for health care - and many parts of America are losing fine doctors. No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit - and I urge the Congress to pass medical liability reform.

Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment.
I have sent you a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy efficiency and conservation, to develop cleaner technology, and to produce more energy at home. I have sent you Clear Skies legislation that mandates a 70 percent cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years. I have sent you a Healthy Forests Initiative, to help prevent the catastrophic fires that devastate communities, kill wildlife, and burn away millions of acres of treasured forest.

I urge you to pass these measures, for the good of both our environment and our economy. Even more, I ask you to take a crucial step, and protect our environment in ways that generations before us could not have imagined. In this century, the greatest environmental progress will come about, not through endless lawsuits or command and control regulations, but through technology and innovation. Tonight I am proposing 1.2 billion dollars in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles.

A simple chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a car - producing only water, not exhaust fumes. With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom - so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free. Join me in this important innovation - to make our air significantly cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

Our fourth goal is to apply the compassion of America to the deepest problems of America. For so many in our country - the homeless, the fatherless, the addicted - the need is great. Yet there is power - wonder-working power - in the goodness, and idealism, and faith of the American people.

Americans are doing the work of compassion every day - visiting prisoners, providing shelter to battered women, bringing companionship to lonely seniors. These good works deserve our praise … they deserve our personal support … and, when appropriate, they deserve the assistance of our government. I urge you to pass both my faith-based initiative and the Citizen Service Act - to encourage acts of compassion that can transform America, one heart and one soul at a time.

Last year, I called on my fellow citizens to participate in USA Freedom Corps, which is enlisting tens of thousands of new volunteers across America. Tonight I ask Congress and the American people to focus the spirit of service and the resources of government on the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens - boys and girls trying to grow up without guidance and attention … and children who have to go through a prison gate to be hugged by their mom or dad. I propose a 450 million dollar initiative to bring mentors to more than a million disadvantaged junior high students and children of prisoners. Government will support the training and recruiting of mentors, yet it is the men and women of America who will fill the need. One mentor, one person, can change a life forever - and I urge you to be that one person.

Another cause of hopelessness is addiction to drugs. Addiction crowds out friendship, ambition, moral conviction, and reduces all the richness of life to a single destructive desire. As a government, we are fighting illegal drugs by cutting off supplies, and reducing demand through anti-drug education programs. Yet for those already addicted, the fight against drugs is a fight for their own lives.

Too many Americans in search of treatment cannot get it. So tonight I propose a new 600 million dollar program to help an additional 300,000 Americans receive treatment over the next three years.
Our Nation is blessed with recovery programs that do amazing work. One of them is found at the Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A man in the program said, "God does miracles in people's lives, and you never think it could be you." Tonight, let us bring to all Americans who struggle with drug addiction this message of hope: The miracle of recovery is possible, and it could be you.

By caring for children who need mentors, and for addicted men and women who need treatment, we are building a more welcoming society - a culture that values every life. And in this work we must not overlook the weakest among us. I ask you to protect infants at the very hour of birth, and end the practice of partial-birth abortion. And because no human life should be started or ended as the object of an experiment, I ask you to set a high standard for humanity and pass a law against all human cloning.

The qualities of courage and compassion that we strive for in America also determine our conduct abroad. The American flag stands for more than our power and our interests. Our Founders dedicated this country to the cause of human dignity - the rights of every person and the possibilities of every life. This conviction leads us into the world to help the afflicted, and defend the peace, and confound the designs of evil men. In Afghanistan, we helped to liberate an oppressed people … and we will continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society, and educate all their children - boys and girls. In the Middle East, we will continue to seek peace between a secure Israel and a democratic Palestine. Across the earth, America is feeding the hungry; more than 60 percent of international food aid comes as a gift from the people of the United States.

As our Nation moves troops and builds alliances to make our world safer, we must also remember our calling, as a blessed country, to make this world better. Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus - including three million children under the age of 15. There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection. More than four million require immediate drug treatment. Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims - only 50,000 - are receiving the medicine they need.

Because the AIDS diagnosis is considered a death sentence, many do not seek treatment. Almost all who do are turned away. A doctor in rural South Africa describes his frustration. He says, "We have no medicines … many hospitals tell [people], 'You've got AIDS. We can't help you. Go home and die.'"

In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words. AIDS can be prevented. Anti-retroviral drugs can extend life for many years. And the cost of those drugs has dropped from 12,000 dollars a year to under 300 dollars a year - which places a tremendous possibility within our grasp.

Ladies and gentlemen, seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many. We have confronted, and will continue to confront, HIV/AIDS in our own country. And to meet a severe and urgent crisis abroad, tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief - a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa. This comprehensive plan will prevent seven million new AIDS infections … treat at least two million people with life-extending drugs … and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS, and for children orphaned by AIDS. I ask the Congress to commit 15 billion dollars over the next five years, including nearly ten billion dollars in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.

This Nation can lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature. And this Nation is leading the world in confronting and defeating the man-made evil of international terrorism.

There are days when the American people do not hear news about the war on terror. There is never a day when I do not learn of another threat, or receive reports of operations in progress, or give an order in this global war against a scattered network of killers. The war goes on, and we are winning.

To date we have arrested, or otherwise dealt with, many key commanders of al-Qaida. They include a man who directed logistics and funding for the September 11th attacks … the chief of al-Qaida operations in the Persian Gulf who planned the bombings of our embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole … an al-Qaida operations chief from Southeast Asia … a former director of al-Qaida's training camps in Afghanistan … a key al-Qaida operative in Europe … and a major al-Qaida leader in Yemen. All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. They are no longer a problem for the United States and our friends and allies.

We are working closely with other nations to prevent further attacks. America and coalition countries have uncovered and stopped terrorist conspiracies targeting the American embassy in Yemen… the American embassy in Singapore… a Saudi military base … and ships in the straits of Hormuz, and the straits of Gibraltar. We have broken al-Qaida cells in Hamburg, and Milan, and Madrid, and London, and Paris- as well as Buffalo, New York.

We have the terrorists on the run, and we are keeping them on the run. One by one, the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice
As we fight this war, we will remember where it began - here, in our own country. This government is taking unprecedented measures to protect our people and defend our homeland. We have intensified security at the borders and ports of entry … posted more than 50,000 newly trained federal screeners in airports … begun inoculating troops and first responders against smallpox … and are deploying the Nation's first early warning network of sensors to detect biological attack. And this year, for the first time, we are beginning to field a defense to protect this Nation against ballistic missiles.
I thank the Congress for supporting these measures. I ask you tonight to add to our future security with a major research and production effort to guard our people against bio-terrorism, called Project Bioshield. The budget I send you will propose almost six billion dollars to quickly make available effective vaccines and treatments against agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ebola, and plague. We must assume that our enemies would use these diseases as weapons, and we must act before the dangers are upon us.

Since September 11th, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have worked more closely than ever to track and disrupt the terrorists. The FBI is improving its ability to analyze intelligence, and transforming itself to meet new threats. And tonight, I am instructing the leaders of the FBI, Central Intelligence, Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location. Our government must have the very best information possible, and we will use it to make sure the right people are in the right places to protect our citizens.

Our war against terror is a contest of will, in which perseverance is power. In the ruins of two towers, at the western wall of the Pentagon, on a field in Pennsylvania, this Nation made a pledge, and we renew that pledge tonight: Whatever the duration of this struggle, and whatever the difficulties, we will not permit the triumph of violence in the affairs of men - free people will set the course of history.

Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror … the gravest danger facing America and the world … is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to their terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

This threat is new; America's duty is familiar. Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations … built armies and arsenals … and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world. In each case, their ambitions of cruelty and murder had no limit. In each case, the ambitions of Hitlerism, militarism, and communism were defeated by the will of free peoples, by the strength of great alliances, and by the might of the United States of America. Now, in this century, the ideology of power and domination has appeared again, and seeks to gain the ultimate weapons of terror. Once again, this Nation and our friends are all that stand between a world at peace, and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people, and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility.
America is making a broad and determined effort to confront these dangers. We have called on the United Nations to fulfill its charter, and stand by its demand that Iraq disarm. We are strongly supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency in its mission to track and control nuclear materials around the world. We are working with other governments to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, and to strengthen global treaties banning the production and shipment of missile technologies and weapons of mass destruction.

In all of these efforts, however, America's purpose is more than to follow a process - it is to achieve a result: the end of terrible threats to the civilized world. All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attack. We are asking them to join us, and many are doing so. Yet the course of this Nation does not depend on the decisions of others. Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, I will defend the freedom and security of the American people.
Different threats require different strategies. In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction, and supports terror. We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty, human rights, and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny - and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.

On the Korean peninsula, an oppressive regime rules a people living in fear and starvation. Throughout the 1990s, the United States relied on a negotiated framework to keep North Korea from gaining nuclear weapons. We now know that the regime was deceiving the world, and developing those weapons all along. And today the North Korean regime is using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek concessions. America and the world will not be blackmailed. America is working with the countries of the region - South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia- to find a peaceful solution, and to show the North Korean government that nuclear weapons will bring only isolation, economic stagnation, and continued hardship. The North Korean regime will find respect in the world, and revival for its people, only when it turns away from its nuclear ambitions.

Our Nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean peninsula, and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression … with ties to terrorism … with great potential wealth … will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States.

Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons - not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities. Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead his utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world.

The 108 UN weapons inspectors were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq's regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons … lay those weapons out for the world to see … and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.

The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax - enough doses to kill several million people. He has not accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin - enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He has not accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents also could kill untold thousands. He has not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them, despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon, and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

The dictator of Iraqis not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving. From intelligence sources, we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the UN inspectors - sanitizing inspection sites, and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses. Iraqis blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the United Nations. Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as the scientists inspectors are supposed to interview. Real scientists have been coached by Iraqi officials on what to say. And intelligence sources indicate that Saddam Hussein has ordered that scientists who cooperate with UN inspectors in disarming Iraq will be killed, along with their families.

Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks, to build and keep weapons of mass destruction - but why? The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack. With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East, and create deadly havoc in the region. And this Congress and the American people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody, reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaida. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

Before September 11, 2001, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents and lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons, and other plans - this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that day never comes.

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

This dictator, who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons, has already used them on whole villages - leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained - by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape.

If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country - your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, our friends, and our allies. The United States will ask the UN Security Council to convene on February 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraq's illegal weapons programs; its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors; and its links to terrorist groups. We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

Tonight I also have a message for the men and women who will keep the peace, members of the American Armed Forces: Many of you are assembling in and near the Middle East, and some crucial hours may lie ahead. In those hours, the success of our cause will depend on you. Your training has prepared you. Your honor will guide you. You believe in America, and America believes in you.

Sending Americans into battle is the most profound decision a president can make. The technologies of war have changed. The risks and suffering of war have not. For the brave Americans who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow. This Nation fights reluctantly, because we know the cost, and we dread the days of mourning that always come.

We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended. A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all. If war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause and by just means - sparing, in every way we can, the innocent. And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military - and we will prevail. And as we and our coalition partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food, and medicines, and supplies … and freedom.

Many challenges, abroad and at home, have arrived in a single season. In two years, America has gone from a sense of invulnerability to an awareness of peril … from bitter division in small matters to calm unity in great causes. And we go forward with confidence, because this call of history has come to the right country.
Americans are a resolute people, who have risen to every test of our time. Adversity has revealed the character of our country, to the world, and to ourselves.

America is a strong Nation, and honorable in the use of our strength. We exercise power without conquest, and sacrifice for the liberty of strangers.

Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.

We Americans have faith in ourselves - but not in ourselves alone. We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history.

May He guide us now, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Thank you.

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The contents in this website are protected by the
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 JANUARY 22, 2003
Wednesday 10:15:03 P.M. CST

How Lobbyists R.A.I.D. the Texas Legislature

It happens every session.  Lobbyists are ridiculed as lobsters, fat cats, and influence peddlers for engaging in a constitutionally protected activity. They have been ranked just above attorneys for their values and ethics, an oxymoron to some who closely follow the legislative process. However, the “Third House,” as the Texas lobby is commonly referred to in the Texas Legislature, wields tremendous power and plays an important role in the lawmaking process.

Former lawmakers, legislative staff and well connected individuals comprise the Third House.  During the legislative session, lobbyists roam around the Capitol looking for opportunities to further their client's interests. It is a job that requires skill and talent.  The most effective lobbyists are the ones who know how to R.A.I.D. the Texas Legislature.


Chase Manhattan Bank says it best: The right relationship is everything.

This is very true for lobbyists.  Relationships with lawmakers are directly related to a lobbyist's marketability and credibility.   In the “It's Who You Know, Not What You Know” world of the lobby, a relationship with a key lawmaker or a member of the executive staff can open the doors of influence.

Good relationships and trust are essential to maintaining the legislative symbiosis that exists between lawmakers and lobbyists.  Lobbyists need lawmakers to protect their clients interests and lawmakers need lobbyists to assist them with their reelection campaigns.    

A smart lobbyist recognizes that good relationships can lead to what is crucial in the lobby business - access.


Access is the bread and butter (or the steak and ale) of a lobbyist. Without it, there is no meal to eat.

Clients hire lobbyists who have access to lawmakers and legislative staff and who will influence their particular interest. The more access a lobbyist has to an influential lawmaker, the greater marketability. The law of supply and demand determines the lobbyist's fee.  The more demand and less supply the higher the fee.

A lobbyist's word is the key to access in the Texas Legislature.  If a lobbyist lies or deceives a lawmaker or staff, access will be denied.  Being truthful, no matter the consequences, will increase a lobbyist's credibility.


In the Texas Legislature, scientia est propentia.

Information is the bloodline in the Texas Legislature.  It is the commodity that lobbyists offer lawmakers and clients.  On any particular issue, lobbyists will promote information that is beneficial to their client's interest.  It's a “half picture” approach that can be very successful.  

Lobbyists who have information can have a great impact on the process.  However, a lobbyist who conveys the perception that he knows something important even though he does not can also be very influential.  

While a lobbyist can provide information, it is ultimately the manipulation of information that drives the legislative engine.


The goal of a lobbyist is to get a favorable commitment from a lawmaker. A lobbyist must deliver for the client.  If a favorable decision cannot be reached, a lobbyist has failed to properly R.A.I.D. the Texas Legislature.

© Copyright 2001-2003 Public Trends. All rights reserved.
The contents in this website are protected by the
Federal Copyright Act and shall not be duplicated,
published, edited, broadcast, modified, rewritten,
or redistributed without the express written
permission of Public Trends.  

DECEMBER 17, 2002
Tuesday 9:30:29 P.M. CST

Lott of Change Ahead for GOP

When controversies arise, silence from the White House can be a politician's worst nightmare.  By not publicly endorsing U.S. Senator Trent Lott as the next majority leader of the U.S. Senate, President George W. Bush has hastened Lott's inevitable demise. With each passing day, Lott is sinking deeper into the political quicksand that he created by making comments that purported to support segregation. Even though Lott has apologized and asked for forgiveness, the damage has been done.  

Karl Rove, the President's chief political adviser, considers Lott to be a political liability.  Rove believes that the Republican Party must reach out to African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans to shed the party's image of a "whites only" party.  Having Lott as the senate majority leader provides Democrats with ammunition that could shoot down Rove's plans to diversify and help the President's re-election efforts with minorities.  

Lott is a political pariah within his own party.  His comments have opened a Pandora's box that has placed the President's agenda in jeopardy.  As the new session of Congress approaches, Republicans cannot afford to be labeled anything other than compassionate conservatives.

A Republican conference to discuss Lott's future has been set for January 6.  However, political observers predict that Lott may step aside this weekend.  Lott is not expected to resign from the U.S. Senate.  If he does, Mississippi's Governor Ronnie Musgrove may appoint former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, an African American, as the next U.S. Senator. The power split would then be 50-50.

As former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole noted, "I think it's way out of control.  I think Senator Lott did a good job as majority leader."    

© Copyright 2001-2002 Public Trends. All rights reserved.
The contents in this website are protected by the
Federal Copyright Act and shall not be duplicated,
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NOVEMBER 24, 2002
Sunday 12:44:19 P.M. CST

Osama Bin Laden Letter to the United States of America

The United States has spent billions of dollars trying to find Osama Bin Laden, the notorious and elusive Al Qaida leader. Once believed dead, he is alive and well and has sent the following letter explaining his actions.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,
"Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory" [Quran 22:39]
"Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah e.g. Satan). So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan."[Quran 4:76]
Some American writers have published articles under the title 'On what basis are we fighting?' These articles have generated a number of responses, some of which adhered to the truth and were based on Islamic Law, and others which have not. Here we wanted to outline the truth - as an explanation and warning - hoping for Allah's reward, seeking success and support from Him.
While seeking Allah's help, we form our reply based on two questions directed at the Americans:
(Q1) Why are we fighting and opposing you?
(Q2)What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:

(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.
a) You attacked us in Palestine:
(i) Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its*price, and pay for it heavily.
(ii) It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah. Anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti-semitism. This is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history. The people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites. It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. Muslims believe in all of the Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. If the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this.

When the Muslims conquered Palestine and drove out the Romans, Palestine and Jerusalem returned to Islaam, the religion of all the Prophets peace be upon them. Therefore, the call to a historical right to Palestine cannot be raised against the Islamic Ummah that believes in all the Prophets of Allah (peace and blessings be upon them) - and we make no distinction between them.
(iii) The blood pouring out of Palestine must be equally revenged. You must know that the Palestinians do not cry alone; their women are not widowed alone; their sons are not orphaned alone.
(b) You attacked us in Somalia; you supported the Russian atrocities against us in Chechnya, the Indian oppression against us in Kashmir, and the Jewish aggression against us in Lebanon.
(c) Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis;
(i) These governments prevent our people from establishing the Islamic Shariah, using violence and lies to do so.
(ii) These governments give us a taste of humiliation, and places us in a large prison of fear and subdual.
(iii) These governments steal our Ummah's wealth and sell them to you at a paltry price.
(iv) These governments have surrendered to the Jews, and handed them most of Palestine, acknowledging the existence of their state over the dismembered limbs of their own people.
(v) The removal of these governments is an obligation upon us, and a necessary step to free the Ummah, to make the Shariah the supreme law and to regain Palestine. And our fight against these governments is not separate from out fight against you.

(d) You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.
(e) Your forces occupy our countries; you spread your military bases throughout them; you corrupt our lands, and you besiege our sanctities, to protect the security of the Jews and to ensure the continuity of your pillage of our treasures.
(f) You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day. It is a wonder that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, and you did not show concern. Yet when 3000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.
(g) You have supported the Jews in their idea that Jerusalem is their eternal capital, and agreed to move your embassy there. With your help and under your protection, the Israelis are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Under the protection of your weapons, Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa mosque, to pollute it as a preparation to capture and destroy it.
(2) These tragedies and calamities are only a few examples of your oppression and aggression against us. It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression. Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge. Is it in any way rational to expect that after America has attacked us for more than half a century, that we will then leave her to live in security and peace?!!

(3) You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:
(a) This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.
(b) The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.
(c) Also the American army is part of the American people. It is this very same people who are shamelessly helping the Jews fight against us.
(d) The American people are the ones who employ both their men and their women in the American Forces which attack us.

(e) This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.
(f) Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.
The American Government and press still refuses to answer the question:
Why did they attack us in New York and Washington?
If Sharon is a man of peace in the eyes of Bush, then we are also men of peace!!! America does not understand the language of manners and principles, so we are addressing it using the language it understands.
(Q2) As for the second question that we want to answer: What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?
(1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.
(a) The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him, and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted; of complete submission to His Laws; and of the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the religion of all the prophets, and makes no distinction between them - peace be upon them all.
It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions. It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety. It is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights, and defending the oppressed and the persecuted. It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah's Word and religion reign Supreme. And it is the religion of unity and agreement on the obedience to Allah, and total equality between all people, without regarding their colour, sex, or language.

(b) It is the religion whose book - the Quran - will remained preserved and unchanged, after the other Divine books and messages have been changed. The Quran is the miracle until the Day of Judgment. Allah has challenged anyone to bring a book like the Quran or even ten verses like it.
(2) The second thing we call you to, is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you.
(a) We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling's, and trading with interest.

We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.
(b) It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind:

(i) You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives?

(ii) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.
(iii) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.
(iv) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.
Who can forget your President Clinton's immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he 'made a mistake', after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?
(v) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. The companies practice this as well, resulting in the investments becoming active and the criminals becoming rich.

(vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.
(vii) You are a nation that practices the trade of sex in all its forms, directly and indirectly. Giant corporations and establishments are established on this, under the name of art, entertainment, tourism and freedom, and other deceptive names you attribute to it.

(viii) And because of all this, you have been described in history as a nation that spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past. Go ahead and boast to the nations of man, that you brought them AIDS as a Satanic American Invention.

(xi) You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and*industries.

(x) Your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people, who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stand the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy.

(xi) That which you are singled out for in the history of mankind, is that you have used your force to destroy mankind more than any other nation in history; not to defend principles and values, but to hasten to secure your interests and profits. You who dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan, even though Japan was ready to negotiate an end to the war. How many acts of oppression, tyranny and injustice have you carried out, O callers to freedom?
(xii) Let us not forget one of your major characteristics: your duality in both manners and values; your hypocrisy in manners and principles. All*manners, principles and values have two scales: one for you and one for the others.
(a)The freedom and democracy that you call to is for yourselves and for white race only; as for the rest of the world, you impose upon them your monstrous, destructive policies and Governments, which you call the 'American friends'. Yet you prevent them from establishing democracies. When the Islamic party in Algeria wanted to practice democracy and they won the election, you unleashed your agents in the Algerian army onto them, and to attack them with tanks and guns, to imprison them and torture them - a new lesson from the 'American book of democracy'!!!

(b)Your policy on prohibiting and forcibly removing weapons of mass destruction to ensure world peace: it only applies to those countries which you do not permit to possess such weapons. As for the countries you consent to, such as Israel, then they are allowed to keep and use such weapons to defend their security. Anyone else who you suspect might be manufacturing or keeping these kinds of weapons, you call them criminals and you take military action against them.

(c)You are the last ones to respect the resolutions and policies of International Law, yet you claim to want to selectively punish anyone else who does the same. Israel has for more than 50 years been pushing UN resolutions and rules against the wall with the full support of America.
(d)As for the war criminals which you censure and form criminal courts for - you shamelessly ask that your own are granted immunity!! However, history will not forget the war crimes that you committed against the Muslims and the rest of the world; those you have killed in Japan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq will remain a shame that you will never be able to escape. It will suffice to remind you of your latest war crimes in Afghanistan, in which densely populated innocent civilian villages were destroyed, bombs were dropped on mosques causing the roof of the mosque to come crashing down on the heads of the Muslims praying inside. You are the ones who broke the agreement with the Mujahideen when they left Qunduz, bombing them in Jangi fort, and killing more than 1,000 of your prisoners through suffocation and thirst. Allah alone knows how many people have died by torture at the hands of you and your agents. Your planes remain in the Afghan skies, looking for anyone remotely suspicious.
(e)You have claimed to be the vanguards of Human Rights, and your Ministry of Foreign affairs issues annual reports containing statistics of those countries that violate any Human Rights. However, all these things vanished when the Mujahideen hit you, and you then implemented the methods of the same documented governments that you used to curse. In America, you captured thousands the Muslims and Arabs, took them into custody with neither reason, court trial, nor even disclosing their names. You issued newer, harsher laws.
What happens in Guatanamo is a historical embarrassment to America and its values, and it screams into your faces - you hypocrites, "What is the value of your signature on any agreement or treaty?"
(3) What we call you to thirdly is to take an honest stance with yourselves - and I doubt you will do so - to discover that you are a nation without principles or manners, and that the values and principles to you are something which you merely demand from others, not that which you yourself must adhere to.
(4) We also advise you to stop supporting Israel, and to end your support of the Indians in Kashmir, the Russians against the Chechens and to also cease supporting the Manila Government against the Muslims in Southern Philippines.

(5) We also advise you to pack your luggage and get out of our lands. We desire for your goodness, guidance, and righteousness, so do not force us to send you back as cargo in coffins.
(6) Sixthly, we call upon you to end your support of the corrupt leaders in our countries. Do not interfere in our politics and method of education. Leave us alone, or else expect us in New York and Washington.

(7) We also call you to deal with us and interact with us on the basis of mutual interests and benefits, rather than the policies of sub dual, theft and occupation, and not to continue your policy of supporting the Jews because this will result in more disasters for you.
If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation. The Nation of Monotheism, that puts complete trust on Allah and fears none other than Him. The Nation which is addressed by its Quran with the words: "Do you fear them? Allah has more right that you should fear Him if you are believers. Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of believing people. And remove the anger of their (believers') hearts. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise." [Quran9:13-1]

The Nation of honour and respect:
"But honour, power and glory belong to Allah, and to His Messenger (Muhammad- peace be upon him) and to the believers." [Quran 63:8]

"So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be*superior ( in victory )if you are indeed (true) believers" [Quran 3:139]

The Nation of Martyrdom; the Nation that desires death more than you desire life:

"Think not of those who are killed in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive with their Lord, and they are being provided for. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them from His bounty and rejoice for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice in a grace and a bounty from Allah, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers." [Quran 3:169-171]

The Nation of victory and success that Allah has promised:

"It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it victorious over all other religions even though the Polytheists hate it." [Quran 61:9]

"Allah has decreed that 'Verily it is I and My Messengers who shall be victorious.' Verily Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty." [Quran 58:21]

The Islamic Nation that was able to dismiss and destroy the previous evil Empires like yourself; the Nation that rejects your attacks, wishes to remove your evils, and is prepared to fight you. You are well aware that the Islamic Nation, from the very core of its soul, despises your haughtiness and arrogance.
If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

This is our message to the Americans, as an answer to theirs. Do they now know why we fight them and over which form of ignorance, by the permission of Allah, we shall be victorious?

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NOVEMBER 9, 2002
Saturday  8:44:20 A.M. CST

Text of New United Nations Resolution on Iraq

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, and all the relevant statements of its President,
Recalling also its resolution 1382 (2001) of 29 November 2001 and its intention to implement it fully,
Recognizing the threat Iraq's noncompliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,
Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area,
Further recalling that its resolution 687 (1991) imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for achievement of its stated objective of restoring international peace and security in the area,

Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to nuclear-weapons-usable material,
Deploring further that Iraq repeatedly obstructed immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to sites designated by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), failed to cooperate fully and unconditionally with UNSCOM and IAEA weapons inspectors, as required by resolution 687 (1991), and ultimately ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in 1998,
Deploring the absence, since December 1998, in Iraq of international monitoring, inspection, and verification, as required by relevant resolutions, of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, in spite of the Council's repeated demands that Iraq provide immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), established in resolution 1284 (1999) as the successor organization to UNSCOM, and the IAEA, and regretting the consequent prolonging of the crisis in the region and the suffering of the Iraqi people,
Deploring also that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) with regard to terrorism, pursuant to resolution 688 (1991) to end repression of its civilian population and to provide access by international humanitarian organizations to all those in need of assistance in Iraq, and pursuant to resolutions 686 (1991), 687 (1991), and 1284 (1999) to return or cooperate in accounting for Kuwaiti and third country nationals wrongfully detained by Iraq, or to return Kuwaiti property wrongfully seized by Iraq,

Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein,
Determined to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions and recalling that the resolutions of the Council constitute the governing standard of Iraqi compliance,
Recalling that the effective operation of UNMOVIC, as the successor organization to the Special Commission, and the IAEA is essential for the implementation of resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions,
Noting the letter dated 16 September 2002 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq addressed to the Secretary General is a necessary first step toward rectifying Iraq's continued failure to comply with relevant Council resolutions,
Noting further the letter dated 8 October 2002 from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to General Al-Saadi of the Government of Iraq laying out the practical arrangements, as a follow-up to their meeting in Vienna, that are prerequisites for the resumption of inspections in Iraq by UNMOVIC and the IAEA, and expressing the gravest concern at the continued failure by the Government of Iraq to provide confirmation of the arrangements as laid out in that letter,
Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Kuwait, and the neighbouring States,
Commending the Secretary General and members of the League of Arab States and its Secretary General for their efforts in this regard,

Determined to secure full compliance with its decisions,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq's failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);
2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council;
3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;
4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and or 12 below;
5. Decides that Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect, as well as immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted, and private access to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview in the mode or location of UNMOVIC's or the IAEA's choice pursuant to any aspect of their mandates; further decides that UNMOVIC and the IAEA may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and that, at the sole discretion of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, such interviews may occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi government; and instructs UNMOVIC and requests the IAEA to resume inspections no later than 45 days following adoption of this resolution and to update the Council 60 days thereafter;
6. Endorses the 8 October 2002 letter from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to General Al-Saadi of the Government of Iraq, which is annexed hereto, and decides that the contents of the letter shall be binding upon Iraq;
7. Decides further that, in view of the prolonged interruption by Iraq of the presence of UNMOVIC and the IAEA and in order for them to accomplish the tasks set forth in this resolution and all previous relevant resolutions and notwithstanding prior understandings, the Council hereby establishes the following revised or additional authorities, which shall be binding upon Iraq , to facilitate their work in Iraq:
-- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall determine the composition of their inspection teams and ensure that these teams are composed of the most qualified and experienced experts available;
-- All UNMOVIC and IAEA personnel shall enjoy the privileges and immunities, corresponding to those of experts on mission, provided in the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA ;

-- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have unrestricted rights of entry into and out of Iraq, the right to free, unrestricted, and immediate movement to and from inspection sites, and the right to inspect any sites and buildings, including immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to Presidential Sites equal to that at other sites, notwithstanding the provisions of resolution 1154 (1998);
-- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to be provided by Iraq the names of all personnel currently and formerly associated with Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile programmes and the associated research, development, and production facilities;
-- Security of UNMOVIC and IAEA facilities shall be ensured by sufficient UN security guards;
-- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to declare, for the purposes of freezing a site to be inspected, exclusion zones, including surrounding areas and transit corridors, in which Iraq will suspend ground and aerial movement so that nothing is changed in or taken out of a site being inspected;
-- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing of fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, including manned and unmanned reconnaissance vehicles;
-- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right at their sole discretion verifiably to remove, destroy, or render harmless all prohibited weapons, subsystems, components, records, materials, and other related items, and the right to impound or close any facilities or equipment for the production thereof; and

-- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to free import and use of equipment or materials for inspections and to seize and export any equipment, materials, or documents taken during inspections, without search of UNMOVIC or IAEA personnel or official or personal baggage;

8. Decides further that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution;
9. Requests the Secretary General immediately to notify Iraq of this resolution, which is binding on Iraq; demands that Iraq confirm within seven days of that notification its intention to comply fully with this resolution; and demands further that Iraq cooperate immediately, unconditionally, and actively with UNMOVIC and the IAEA;
10. Requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates, including on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews, and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by UNMOVIC and the IAEA;
11. Directs the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;
12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;
13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;
14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

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October 19, 2002
Saturday  1:12:23 P.M. CST

President Bush's Remarks to U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Earlier this week, President George W. Bush addressed the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce via satellite. In his remarks, he mentioned his commitment to Hispanic Americans and his continued support for judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. At the end of his remarks, the President once again demonstrated his comfort with the Spanish language.  His Spanish remarks are italicized and have been translated by

The text of his remarks are as follows:

Thank you all. I appreciate those kind remarks, Rosario. You're a gran amiga. Buenos dias. I wish I could be with you in person today as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce salutes Hispanic businesswomen.
The USHCC is one of this country's great business organizations. America's more than 1.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses are transforming our economy, and transforming our country. I'm particularly glad that the USHCC is paying tribute to Hispanic businesswomen. After all, the Hispanic businesswomen are emerging leaders of the American economy. Their success is creating jobs, building communities, and making our nation more open and more inclusive. I am grateful, and America is grateful for the accomplishments of these Hispanic businesswomen.

I appreciate so very much the chair of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I appreciate so very much the President and CEO. I'm honored that you all would invite me. I want you to know that I'm a strong believer in small business because I know that small businesses are the pathway to advancement and success for many Americans, especially women and new arrivals to our country, and to minorities. I believe in small business because I know that two-thirds of all new jobs created in America every year come from small businesses. More than 1 million small businesses are owned by Hispanic Americans. And women-owned small businesses are growing twice as fast as all other United States firms. And this is good news for America.

Small businesses are a great equalizer. The only connections you really need to succeed are happy customers. The only credentials you really need are good products. The only values you need are a willingness to work hard and take risks.
Running a business also brings many personal rewards -- you enjoy the freedom and pride that comes from being your own boss. You achieve success based upon your own abilities. You're helping others to achieve success by providing them with jobs.
Workers and entrepreneurs create the wealth of America; not government. The government does have a responsibility to create an environment where small businesses can grow and prosper. Small businesses grow when taxes are low -- when taxes are low for workers and when taxes are low for entrepreneurs. Low taxes mean more money in the pockets of the people who are building America.
Small businesses grow when the government considers the impact of its regulations, the impact those regulations will have particularly on small employers. We must avoid burdening our entrepreneurs with unnecessary rules and procedures. Small businesses grow when the government's contracting policies encourage competition and don't unfairly favor large businesses at the expense of smaller firms.
And small businesses grow when entrepreneurs can build their businesses without the fear of falling prey to frivolous lawsuits, all designed to make trial lawyers even wealthier.
Our nation has a responsibility to create an environment where the talents of men and women of every origin and background are recognized and rewarded.

Rosario mentioned my appointments to my government. I am proud to serve many, many exceptional Hispanic Americans. One of my jobs is to put the best people in the right jobs in every branch of government. I've done so in the Executive Branch, and I'll do so in the Judiciary Branch, as well. Right now the Senate Judiciary Committee is now considering a friend of mine, a guy named Mike -- Miguel Estrada. He's my nominee for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. If confirmed, he'll be the first Hispanic ever to serve on this important court.
No one can deny that he's well-qualified. No one can deny he's a great lawyer and that he's highly skilled. Yet, unfortunately, there are senators who play politics with Miguel Estrada's nomination. There are senators searching for any reason to defeat him.
I call upon the Senate leadership to treat Miguel Estrada with dignity and respect, and to bring his nomination up for the full Senate to confirm him before they adjourn.
He's an American success story. He's an inspiration to many Americans. And he'll be an outstanding judge.
And so I appreciate all of you all who are there today. I appreciate so very much Elizabeth and George, and the many of you there today to bear witness to the great opportunities found in this country. Opportunities borne of freedom and equality. These values make us strong, and we will defend them, no matter how long it takes.

Gracias por su dedicacion a la excelencia. Gracias por demostrar que el sueno Americano es posible para todos los que lo desean en su corazon. Y aprecio su amor por esta gran nacion. Y Dios los bendiga a todos y que Dios los bendiga a Los Estados Unidos.

Translation:  Thank you for your dedication to excellence.  Thank you for demonstrating that the American Dream is possible to all who desire it in their heart.  And I appreciate your love for this great nation.  And may God Bless You all and may God Bless the United States.

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August 10, 2002
Saturday  9:32:23 P.M. CST

Bush Administration Proposal for Medical Privacy

Note:  The following fact sheet was prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Overview: The Department of Health and Human Services on August 14th will publish final modifications to the Privacy Rule to ensure that the Rule provides strong privacy protection without hindering access to quality health care. President Bush and Secretary Thompson are committed to maintaining protections for the privacy of individually identifiable health information. Based on the comments received on the notice of proposed rulemaking, the Department modified a number of provisions of the Privacy Rule.

The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (the Privacy Rule) took effect on April 14, 2001. The Privacy Rule creates national standards to protect individuals' personal health information and gives patients increased access to their medical records. As required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the Privacy Rule covers health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers who conduct certain financial and administrative transactions electronically. Most covered entities must comply with the Privacy Rule by April 14, 2003. Small health plans have until April 14, 2004 to comply with the Rule.

Final Modifications:

Marketing -- The final Rule requires a covered entity to obtain an individual's prior written authorization to use his or her protected health information for marketing purposes except for a face-to-face encounter or a communication involving a promotional gift of nominal value. The Department defines marketing to distinguish between the types of communications that are and are not marketing, and makes clear that a covered entity is prohibited from selling lists of patients and enrollees to third parties or from disclosing protected health information to a third party for the marketing activities of the third party, without the individual's authorization. The Rule clarifies that doctors and other covered entities communicating with patients about treatment options or the covered entity's own health-related products and services are not considered marketing. For example, health care plans can inform patients of additional health plan coverage and value-added items and services, such as discounts for prescription drugs or eyeglasses.

Consent and Notice -- The Department makes changes to protect privacy while eliminating barriers to treatment by strengthening the notice requirement and making consent for routine health care delivery purposes (known as treatment, payment, and health care operations) optional. The Rule requires covered entities to provide patients with notice of the patient's privacy rights and the privacy practices of the covered entity. The strengthened notice requires direct treatment providers to make a good faith effort to obtain patient's written acknowledgement of the notice of privacy rights and practices. The final Rule promotes access to care by removing mandatory consent requirements that would inhibit patient access to health care while providing covered entities with the option of developing a consent process that works for that entity. The Rule also allows consent requirements already in place to continue.

Uses and Disclosures Regarding Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-Regulated Products and Activities -- The final Rule permits covered entities to disclose protected health information, without authorization, to a person subject to the jurisdiction of the FDA for public health purposes related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of FDA-regulated products or activities such as collecting or reporting adverse events, dangerous products, and defects or problems with FDA-regulated products. This assures that information will continue to be available to protect public health and safety, as it is today.

Incidental Use and Disclosure -- The final Rule acknowledges that uses or disclosures that are incidental to an otherwise permitted use or disclosure may occur. Such incidental uses or disclosures are not considered a violation of the Rule provided that the covered entity has met the reasonable safeguards and minimum necessary requirements. For example, if these requirements are met, doctors' offices may use waiting room sign-in sheets, hospitals may keep patient charts at bedside, doctors can talk to patients in semi-private rooms, and doctors can confer at nurse's stations without fear of violating the rule if overheard by a passerby.

Authorization -- The final Rule clarifies the authorization requirements to the Privacy Rule to, among other things, eliminate separate authorization requirements for covered entities. Patients will have to grant permission in advance for each type of non-routine use or disclosure, but providers will not have to use different types of forms. These modifications also consolidate and streamline core elements and notification requirements.

Minimum Necessary -- The final Rule exempts from the minimum necessary standards any uses or disclosures for which the covered entity has received an authorization. The Rule previously exempted only certain types of authorizations from the minimum necessary requirement, but since the rule will only have one type of authorization, the exemption is now applied to all authorizations. Minimum necessary requirements are still in effect to ensure an individual's privacy for most other uses and disclosures.

The Department clarifies in the preamble that the minimum necessary standard is not intended to impede disclosures necessary for workers' compensation programs. The Department will actively monitor to ensure that worker's compensation programs are not unduly affected by the Rule.
Parents and Minors -- The final Rule clarifies that state law, or other applicable law, governs in the area of parents and minors. Generally, the Privacy Rule provides parents with new rights to control the health information about their minor children, with limited exceptions that are based on state or other applicable law and professional practice. For example, where a state has explicitly addressed disclosure of a minor's health information to a parent, or access to a child's medical record by a parent, the final Rule clarifies that state law governs. In addition, the final Rule clarifies that, in the special cases in which the minor controls his or her own health information under such law and that law does not define the parents' ability to access the child's health information a licensed health care provider continues to be able to exercise discretion to grant or deny such access as long as that decision is consistent with the state or other applicable law.

Business Associates -- The final Rule gives covered entities (except small health plans) up to an additional year to change existing written contracts to come into compliance with the business associate requirements. The additional time will ease the burden of covered entities renegotiating contracts all at once. The Department has also provided sample business associate contract provisions.

Research -- The final Rule facilitates researchers' use of a single combined form to obtain informed consent for the research and authorization to use or disclose protected health information for such research. The final Rule also clarifies the requirements relating to a researcher obtaining an IRB or Privacy Board waiver of authorization by streamlining the privacy waiver criteria to more closely follow the requirement of the "Common Rule," which governs federally funded research. The transition provisions have been expanded to prevent needless interruption of ongoing research.

Limited Data Set -- The final Rule permits the creation and dissemination of a limited data set (that does not include directly identifiable information) for research, public health, and health care operations. In addition, to further protect privacy, the final Rule conditions disclosure of the limited data set on a covered entity and the recipient entering into a data use agreement, in which the recipient would agree to limit the use of the data set for the purposes for which it was given, and to ensure the security of the data, as well as not to identify the information or use it to contact any individual.
Other provisions:

Hybrid Entities -- The final Rule permits any entity that performs covered and non-covered functions to elect to use the hybrid entity provisions and provides the entity additional discretion in designating its health care components.

Health Care Operations: Changes in Legal Ownership -- The final Rule clarifies the definition of "health care operations" to allow a covered entity who sells or transfers assets to, or consolidates or merges with, an entity who is, or will be, a covered entity upon completion of the transaction, to use and disclose protected health information in connection with such transaction, which include due diligence and transferring records containing protected health information as part of the transaction.

Group Health Plan Disclosures of Enrollment and Disenrollment Information -- The final Rule allows a group health plan, a health insurance issuer, or HMO acting for a group health plan to disclose to a plan sponsor, such as an employer, information on whether the individual is enrolled in or has disenrolled from a plan offered by the sponsor without amending the plan documents.

Accounting of Disclosures -- The final Rule exempts disclosures made pursuant to an authorization from the accounting requirements. The authorization process itself adequately protects individual privacy by assuring that the individual's permission is given both knowingly and voluntarily. The final Rule also exempts from the accounting requirements incidental disclosures, and disclosures that are part of a limited data set. The Rule provides a simplified alternative approach for accounting for multiple research disclosures that includes providing a description of the research for which an individual's protected health information may have been disclosed and contact information.

Disclosure for Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations of Another Entity- The final Rule clarifies that covered entities can disclose protected health information for the treatment and payment activities of another covered entity or a health care provider, and for certain health care operations of another entity.

Protected Health Information: Exclusion for Employment Records - The final Rule clarifies that employment records maintained by a covered entity in its capacity as an employer are excluded from the definition of protected health information. The modifications do not change the fact that individually identifiable health information created, received, or maintained by a covered entity in its health care capacity is protected health information.

The final Rule also includes technical corrections and additional clarifications related to various sections of the existing rule. The final Rule is designed to ensure that protections for patient privacy are implemented in a manner that maximizes privacy while not compromising either the availability or the quality of medical care.
On July 6, 2001, the Department issued its first guidance to answer common questions and clarify certain of the Privacy Rule's provisions. The Department is committed to assisting covered entities come into compliance with the Rule. Therefore, the Department will update the guidance to reflect the modifications adopted in this final Rule. The revised guidance will be available on the HHS Office for Civil Rights Privacy Web site at

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July 25, 2002
Thursday  9:05:23 P.M. CST

President Bush's Framework for Improving the Medical Liability System

In a speech today, President Bush proposed a framework urgent Federal action to address the medical liability crisis.   The highlights are as follows:

National adoption of proven minimum standards to make the medical liability system more fair, predictable, and timely.   Experience in many states has demonstrated that these standards can reduce Federal government costs by $30 billion per year or more, freeing up needed funds for making health care more affordable. These standards can reduce health care costs for all Americans by $60 billion or more, and improve access to quality health care as well.
Secure the ability of injured patients to get quicker, unlimited compensation for their "economic losses," including the loss of ability to provide unpaid services like care for children or parents.
Ensure that recoveries for non-economic damages do not exceed a reasonable amount ($250,000).
Reserve punitive damages for cases where they are justified, and limit punitive damages to reasonable amounts (i.e., up to the greater of two times economic damages or $250,000).
Provide for payments of judgments over time rather than in a single lump sum, to ensure that appropriate payments are there when patients need them.
Ensure that old cases cannot be brought years after an event.
Ensure that juries are informed if a plaintiff has other sources of reimbursement for an injury.
Provide that defendants pay judgments in proportion to their fault.

Improvements in health care quality and patient safety through litigation reform.  Patients deserve high-quality health care without avoidable medical errors and complications, and the Administration is supporting many efforts to achieve this goal, through better information and other steps to improve quality. One proven approach to reducing errors and complications is patient safety and quality improvement programs implemented by doctors and health care organizations working together. By sharing information on quality problems, errors, and near-misses, health professionals can determine ways to avoid errors and complications in the first place. But these efforts are blocked by fear of litigation -- good-faith efforts to improve quality and safety result in lawsuits based on the new information about opportunities to improve care that these efforts create.
Earlier this year, the President called for legislation to give health professionals the limited liability protections necessary to implement new programs to improve quality and safety.
Bipartisan legislation is now pending in both the House and the Senate that will provide protection from use in lawsuits of new reports and efforts of Patient Safety Organizations to improve patient care.
This protection will make it possible for health professionals to work together more effectively to provide the best possible care for all patients.

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Joint Communiqué of the United States and Mexico Concerning the Water Problem in the Rio Grande

June 29, 2002

Following is the text of a joint communiqué released today by the United States and Mexico following the conclusion of an agreement concerning the United States Allocation of Rio Grande Waters During the Last Year of the Current Water Accounting Cycle under the 1944 Waters Treaty.

The United States and Mexican Governments reached an agreement with respect to management of the international waters of the Rio Grande valley. This agreement maintains the balance between meeting the water supply needs of the border communities and farmers, as well as fulfilling the obligations established between both countries under the 1944 Treaty Relating to the Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande.

This agreement demonstrates, once again, the candor and high quality of the political dialogue that exists between the two governments, as well as their capacity to deal with the full range of issues in the bilateral agenda on a basis of cooperation and understanding.

The agreement reached contributes to resolving the water problems along the border taking into account immediate needs, as well as concrete actions to be taken in the medium and long term. In this way, both Governments will assure more efficient use of water in Rio Grande basin, which will permit guaranteed supply for Mexican users, and compliance with the obligations established under the 1944 Treaty for the benefit of U.S. users.

The principal elements of this agreement are as follows:

Modernization of the hydrological infrastructure, with the goal of achieving greater efficiency in water use.
The endorsement of a binational financial package dedicated to water conservation initiatives. This is the first time that the Governments of the United States and Mexico intend to invest jointly in measures for water conservation, sustainability and efficiency in the region.
The assignment on a contingency basis by Mexico to the United States of 90,000 acre-feet of water from international storage.
The reiterated commitment of both governments to implement the reform of NADBank and BECC, as agreed to by the two Presidents in Monterrey in March, 2002, so that these institutions may better respond to the interests of our border communities in financing water projects.

The two Governments agree on the great importance of this effort to meet the immediate needs along their common border, as well as to establish a basis for mutual trust that will facilitate the development of those measures necessary to achieve a fundamental and lasting solution to this sensitive issue. The work carried out by the technical teams and negotiators of the two countries highlights the priority assigned by Presidents Bush and Fox to this issue demonstrates—once again—the excellent atmosphere that exists in the cooperative relationship between the United States and Mexico.

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Text of President George Bush's Speech on New Palestinian State and Leadership

June 24, 2002

For too long, the citizens of the Middle East have lived in the midst of death and fear. The hatred of a few holds the hopes of many hostage. The forces of extremism and terror are attempting to kill progress and peace by killing the innocent. And this casts a dark shadow over an entire region. For the sake of all humanity, things must change in the Middle East.

It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation. And the current situation offers no prospect that life will improve. Israeli citizens will continue to be victimized by terrorists, and so Israel will continue to defend herself.

In the situation the Palestinian people will grow more and more miserable. My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security. There is simply no way to achieve that peace until all parties fight terror. Yet, at this critical moment, if all parties will break with the past and set out on a new path, we can overcome the darkness with the light of hope. Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born.

I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.

And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East.

In the work ahead, we all have responsibilities. The Palestinian people are gifted and capable, and I am confident they can achieve a new birth for their nation. A Palestinian state will never be created by terror -- it will be built through reform. And reform must be more than cosmetic change, or veiled attempt to preserve the status quo. True reform will require entirely new political and economic institutions, based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism.

Today, the elected Palestinian legislature has no authority, and power is concentrated in the hands of an unaccountable few. A Palestinian state can only serve its citizens with a new constitution which separates the powers of government. The Palestinian parliament should have the full authority of a legislative body. Local officials and government ministers need authority of their own and the independence to govern effectively.

The United States, along with the European Union and Arab states, will work with Palestinian leaders to create a new constitutional framework, and a working democracy for the Palestinian people. And the United States, along with others in the international community will help the Palestinians organize and monitor fair, multi-party local elections by the end of the year, with national elections to follow.

Today, the Palestinian people live in economic stagnation, made worse by official corruption. A Palestinian state will require a vibrant economy, where honest enterprise is encouraged by honest government. The United States, the international donor community and the World Bank stand ready to work with Palestinians on a major project of economic reform and development. The United States, the EU, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund are willing to oversee reforms in Palestinian finances, encouraging transparency and independent auditing.

And the United States, along with our partners in the developed world, will increase our humanitarian assistance to relieve Palestinian suffering. Today, the Palestinian people lack effective courts of law and have no means to defend and vindicate their rights. A Palestinian state will require a system of reliable justice to punish those who prey on the innocent. The United States and members of the international community stand ready to work with Palestinian leaders to establish finance -- establish finance and monitor a truly independent judiciary.

Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. This will require an externally supervised effort to rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services. The security system must have clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command.

America is pursuing this reform along with key regional states. The world is prepared to help, yet ultimately these steps toward statehood depend on the Palestinian people and their leaders. If they energetically take the path of reform, the rewards can come quickly. If Palestinians embrace democracy, confront corruption and firmly reject terror, they can count on American support for the creation of a provisional state of Palestine.
With a dedicated effort, this state could rise rapidly, as it comes to terms with Israel, Egypt and Jordan on practical issues, such as security. The final borders, the capital and other aspects of this state's sovereignty will be negotiated between the parties, as part of a final settlement. Arab states have offered their help in this process, and their help is needed.
I've said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror. To be counted on the side of peace, nations must act. Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel -- including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations.

Leaders who want to be included in the peace process must show by their deeds an undivided support for peace. And as we move toward a peaceful solution, Arab states will be expected to build closer ties of diplomacy and commerce with Israel, leading to full normalization of relations between Israel and the entire Arab world.

Israel also has a large stake in the success of a democratic Palestine. Permanent occupation threatens Israel's identity and democracy. A stable, peaceful Palestinian state is necessary to achieve the security that Israel longs for. So I challenge Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state.

As we make progress towards security, Israel forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September 28, 2000. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.

The Palestinian economy must be allowed to develop. As violence subsides, freedom of movement should be restored, permitting innocent Palestinians to resume work and normal life. Palestinian legislators and officials, humanitarian and international workers, must be allowed to go about the business of building a better future. And Israel should release frozen Palestinian revenues into honest, accountable hands.

I've asked Secretary Powell to work intensively with Middle Eastern and international leaders to realize the vision of a Palestinian state, focusing them on a comprehensive plan to support Palestinian reform and institution-building.

Ultimately, Israelis and Palestinians must address the core issues that divide them if there is to be a real peace, resolving all claims and ending the conflict between them. This means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties, based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognize borders.

We must also resolve questions concerning Jerusalem, the plight and future of Palestinian refugees, and a final peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and a Syria that supports peace and fights terror.

All who are familiar with the history of the Middle East realize that there may be setbacks in this process. Trained and determined killers, as we have seen, want to stop it. Yet the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties with Israel remind us that with determined and responsible leadership progress can come quickly.

As new Palestinian institutions and new leaders emerge, demonstrating real performance on security and reform, I expect Israel to respond and work toward a final status agreement. With intensive effort by all, this agreement could be reached within three years from now. And I and my country will actively lead toward that goal.

I can understand the deep anger and anguish of the Israeli people. You've lived too long with fear and funerals, having to avoid markets and public transportation, and forced to put armed guards in kindergarten classrooms. The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offer at hand, and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security; and I deeply believe that you need a reformed, responsible Palestinian partner to achieve that security.
I can understand the deep anger and despair of the Palestinian people. For decades you've been treated as pawns in the Middle East conflict. Your interests have been held hostage to a comprehensive peace agreement that never seems to come, as your lives get worse year by year. You deserve democracy and the rule of law. You deserve an open society and a thriving economy. You deserve a life of hope for your children. An end to occupation and a peaceful democratic Palestinian state may seem distant, but America and our partners throughout the world stand ready to help, help you make them possible as soon as possible.

If liberty can blossom in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions of men and women around the globe who are equally weary of poverty and oppression, equally entitled to the benefits of democratic government.

I have a hope for the people of Muslim countries. Your commitments to morality, and learning, and tolerance led to great historical achievements. And those values are alive in the Islamic world today. You have a rich culture, and you share the aspirations of men and women in every culture. Prosperity and freedom and dignity are not just American hopes, or Western hopes. They are universal, human hopes. And even in the violence and turmoil of the Middle East, America believes those hopes have the power to transform lives and nations.

This moment is both an opportunity and a test for all parties in the Middle East: an opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace; a test to show who is serious about peace and who is not. The choice here is stark and simple. The Bible says, "I have set before you life and death; therefore, choose life." The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace, and hope, and life.

Thank you very much.

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Attorney General Transcript
News Conference - SEVIS
May 10, 2002
DOJ Conference Center

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Good afternoon. The United States of America is unique among the nations of the world for the welcome that we extend. We accommodate generously those who wish to work here, to study here, those who wish someday to become citizens. And we place only limited conditions on our welcome, that those who come to America to share in our desire to breath freely, to live peacefully, to respect the rights and the dignity of their neighbors, respect their fellow Americans -- these are the conditions we ask.

It is the responsibility of the Justice Department to guard zealously this welcome, to ensure that the United States remains a beacon of freedom and a hallmark of opportunity to the world. Part of this responsibility is to protect the nation and its citizens from those who seek to enter our country under false pretenses. The United States of America will not allow our welcome to be abused by those who disguise themselves and their intentions. We will ensure that visitors observe time limits, that students study peaceably, and that our immigration laws are accorded the same respect that we strive to extend to our guests who come to visit this country.

Today, I'm announcing a new system for tracking the more than 1 million foreign individuals who are in the United States attending our colleges, universities and trade schools.

For too long, our student visa system has been a slow, antiquated, paper-driven reporting system incapable of ensuring that those who enter the United States as students are in fact attending our educational institutions. Today, we begin the process of bringing our student visa system into the 21st century. We are taking advantage of the latest in technology to link colleges and universities to the Immigration and Naturalization Service in a centralized, rapid-access reporting system. Schools will be accountable for confirming the status of student visa holders. The Immigration and Naturalization Service will be accountable for enforcing violations of that status. And the American people will gain a measure of assurance that students visiting our country are who they purport to be.

I want to thank INS Commissioner Jim Ziglar for his personal commitment to developing and implementing these necessary reforms. And Commissioner Ziglar would have been here, but he is currently in Vermont negotiating agreements with the Canadian government regarding our northern border. I thank him for his leadership.

On April the 12th, we published a rule that prevents those who enter the United States on visitors visas from becoming students until the INS approves their change in immigration status. Today, I am submitting for public comment a new regulation that will implement the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System, or SEVIS -- S-E-V-I- S. This system has been under development by the INS for several years pursuant to a law passed in Congress in the mid-'90s. Schools are currently required to submit information to the INS to ensure that foreign students are indeed students. This information includes whether a student has enrolled; whether the student may have dropped out; or whether the student was expelled from the institution.

SEVIS will make this information available centrally to the INS in a database. And perhaps most importantly, it will allow schools to transmit the information electronically via the Internet.

Rapid access to current complete information on foreign students will improve dramatically the INS's capability to enforce immigration laws and keep track of this group of non-citizens in the United States.

We developed this rule in consultation with representatives of our colleges and universities, and we appreciate their valuable contribution and cooperation. SEVIS makes the schools our partners in preserving the integrity of our student visa system and the safety of the American people.

There are three basic problems that SEVIS will correct dramatically. First, we do not currently have a system that efficiently verifies if a student is in fact studying at an educational institution. Under the SEVIS regulations, schools will be notified when a student arrives at a port of entry and will be required to report to the INS if the student fails to appears for enrollment.

Second, under the current paper-based system, a significant time lag exists between an event taking place, such as a student dropping out of school, and the INS receiving the information.

Under the SEVIS regulations, schools are required to notify the INS electronically of such events, providing timely information on a student's status. SEVIS will also obligate school officers to report each term whether a student is still attending.

Third, SEVIS will also help to reduce visa fraud in the international student program. Under the current system, student visa forms are subject to theft and are often sold and used to support fraudulent visa applications. SEVIS will solve this problem by cancelling the unused forms and taking them out of circulation.
INS plans to begin implementation of SEVIS on a voluntary basis with institutions of learning on July 1st of this year. Under the proposed rule, participation will become mandatory by January 30th of next year.

Allowing foreign students to study here is one of the ways we convey our valuable -- values and our principles to those who will return to lead their countries. In making these reforms, we protect our commitment to welcoming and accommodating those who come to America to study in our institutions.
I thank you, and I'd be pleased to answer questions. Yes, sir?

Q Attorney General, does the department know how many of these 1 million purported students are actually going to school now? Do you have some kind of an estimate of how big of a problem it is?

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Well, I don't think I'm prepared to give you a number. What I am prepared to say is that when we have this timely reporting that can be accurately verified and measured against the visas that have been issued, the integrity of our operation will skyrocket. It will be a dramatic increase.

Q Attorney General, an official from a now-defunct Arizona flight school is saying that she called the FAA on three occasions in January or February of 2001 to express very serious concerns about Hani Hanjour, who later went on to be one of the hijackers, and that later got a call back from one of the FAA officials to say, "Your worst nightmare has been realized." Do you know anything about this incident? And what can you say about it?


Q Is it something that should be further investigated?

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: I'd be pleased to include information like this in our investigation, but it's not something with which I'm familiar.
Yes, sir.

Q With the rulings in Michigan, New Jersey and New York, I wonder if there is some concern here at the Justice Department that at least judges are beginning to believe that the Justice Department's going too far in its investigations -- that its tactics are too secretive and too aggressive and that you may be violating individual rights. Is there any feeling in the Justice Department that that's so?

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: We believe that we have conducted this investigation in complete accord with the constitutional guidelines -- obviously, the rules of the constitution, the principles of it, and within the limits and proposed guidelines in specific legislation. We believe that the position taken by the Justice Department is in each case a sound position, and there is serious and substantial legal precedent to support the procedures used by the Department.
Yes, sir.

Q Sir, you can give us an indication of the direction that the investigation is taking into the four students detained in Norfolk and the one in Northern Virginia for fraudulent English-proficiency exams? ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: We had a very substantial effort. I think it resulted in a complaint against -- with -- of about -- naming about 144 individuals for fraudulently providing a basis for certifying individuals as English-proficient so that they could gain visas as students into the country. When individuals substitute themselves for other individuals in taking tests in order to provide certification or a basis for certification, that's a serious matter. Over 60 arrests have been made, and we will continue the investigation with intensity. I'm not prepared to or (sic) should I make comments about specific cases within the framework of this investigation.

Q Mr. Hanssen was sentenced today. Do you have any final word that you'd like to share on the life sentence that was given to Mr. Hanssen in federal court today, sir?

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Robert Hanssen was trained and trusted by Americans and by our American government to sustain, support and secure the safety of America. He used the training and abused the trust in a way which threatened the safety and security of America. And I'm pleased that this chapter in American history has been closed on this day.

STAFF: Last question.

Q Do you believe that Mr. Hanssen cooperated fully with the debriefers? Did he tell them the truth?

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Mr. Hanssen's sentencing today reflects the belief of the investigating agencies that there was substantial compliance by Mr. Hanssen in his responsibility to cooperate as a part of this sentencing.

Thank you very much.

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President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
Executive Order

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to improve America's mental health service delivery system for individuals with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. There is hereby established the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (Commission).

Sec. 2. Membership. (a) The Commission's membership shall be composed of:

(i) Not more than fifteen members appointed by the President, including providers, payers, administrators, and consumers of mental health services and family members of consumers; and
(ii) Not more than seven ex officio members, four of whom shall be designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the remaining three of whom shall be designated -- one each -- by the Secretaries of the Departments of Labor, Education, and Veterans Affairs.
(b) The President shall designate a Chair from among the fifteen members of the Commission appointed by the President.
Sec. 3. Mission. The mission of the Commission shall be to conduct a comprehensive study of the United States mental health service delivery system, including public and private sector providers, and to advise the President on methods of improving the system. The Commission's goal shall be to recommend improvements to enable adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. In carrying out its mission, the Commission shall, at a minimum:
(a) Review the current quality and effectiveness of public and private providers and Federal, State, and local government involvement in the delivery of services to individuals with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances, and identify unmet needs and barriers to services.
(b) Identify innovative mental health treatments, services, and technologies that are demonstrably effective and can be widely replicated in different settings.
(c) Formulate policy options that could be implemented by public and private providers, and Federal, State, and local governments to integrate the use of effective treatments and services, improve coordination among service providers, and improve community integration for adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances.

Sec. 4. Principles. In conducting its mission, the Commission shall adhere to the following principles:
(a) The Commission shall focus on the desired outcomes of mental health care, which are to attain each individual's maximum level of employment, self-care, interpersonal relationships, and community participation;
(b) The Commission shall focus on community-level models of care that efficiently coordinate the multiple health and human service providers and public and private payers involved in mental health treatment and delivery of services;
(c) The Commission shall focus on those policies that maximize the utility of existing resources by increasing cost effectiveness and reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulatory barriers;
(d) The Commission shall consider how mental health research findings can be used most effectively to influence the delivery of services; and
(e) The Commission shall follow the principles of Federalism, and ensure that its recommendations promote innovation, flexibility, and accountability at all levels of government and respect the constitutional role of the States and Indian tribes.

Sec. 5. Administration. (a) The Department of Health and Human Services, to the extent permitted by law, shall provide funding and administrative support for the Commission.
(b) To the extent funds are available and as authorized by law for persons serving intermittently in Government service (5 U.S.C. 5701-5707), members of the Commission appointed from among private citizens of the United States may be allowed travel expenses while engaged in the work of the Commission, including per diem in lieu of subsistence. All members of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees of the United States.
(c) The Commission shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director, who shall be selected by the President. To the extent permitted by law, office space, analytical support, and additional staff support for the Commission shall be provided by executive branch departments and agencies.
(d) Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, may apply to the Commission, any functions of the President under that Act, except for those in section 6 of that Act, shall be performed by the Department of Health and Human Services, in accordance with the guidelines that have been issued by the Administrator of General Services.

Sec. 6. Reports. The Commission shall submit reports to the President as follows:
(a) Interim Report. Within 6 months from the date of this order, an interim report shall describe the extent of unmet needs and barriers to care within the mental health system and provide examples of community-based care models with success in coordination of services and providing desired outcomes.
(b) Final Report. The final report will set forth the Commission's recommendations, in accordance with its mission as stated in section 3 of this order. The submission date shall be determined by the Chair in consultation with the President.

Sec. 7. Termination. The Commission shall terminate 1 year from the date of this order, unless extended by the President prior to that date.

April 29, 2002.

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