WASHINGTON - One of the greatest myths is: The American people don't really want a tax break. Ask the hard-laborers out there in the textile and furniture industries, etc., barely making minimum wages if they want more of their hard-earned money to go to the government, (for programs that for the most part are dismal failures) or if they want more to go into their pockets? The answer is the obvious.
Under the GOP tax relief plan a comprehensive tax break relief of 792 billion would reduce income taxes by 10 percent, stretched out over the next decade, with the stipulation: progress be made to reduce the national debt. The original amount offered for consideration in the GOP plan was scaled down from 864 billion to 792 billion.
Concerns that the large tax break may consume too much of projected surpluses and efforts to bring down the 5.5 trillion national debt, created more than a few skeptics, cautious of voting for the plan, causing a marginal "by the skin of the teeth" outcome.
If the projected surplus of six trillion... is indeed more than just a "figment" of someone's imagination...well, no problem, the national debt can be paid off in about ten years with a half a trillion to boot! These "wayout" projections are really just that...no more no less. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, much less what 3,650 tomorrows will have brought... when all is said and done.
President Clinton famous for raining on the Republicans parade took the high road announcing the country cannot afford tax cuts of more than 250 billion, making some Republicans leaders and aides attempting to compromise if they could stabilize the figure in the range of 500 to 550 billion over the next decade.
Under the massive tax relief the proposal would erase the so-called marriage tax penalty, phase out the estate tax, encourage savings, offering generous deductions to defray health care and educational costs. The GOP plan would also benefit families, corporate America, capital gains tax cuts, and much needed relief for industry and agriculture.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Bill Archer Rep. Of Texas said: " American taxpayers created this surplus, and it's only fair to return it back to those who sent it here." But President Clinton had some reservations concerning the American peoples' ability to spend the returned money wisely. Sending billions of dollars to foreign countries to keep them beholden to the United States is an unwise and expensive endeavor.
Having to rebuild war-torn countries due to unwarranted NATO bombings, is another expenditure, that could and should have been avoided. Giving special attention and utilizing resources to an ordinary citizen such as John F. Kennedy Jr., above other citizens is not only expensive, but an unfair burden to the taxpayers. Considering the wealth of the Kennedys', this action is certainly questionable.
At a town hall meeting in Lansing, Michigan, Clinton vowed to veto the proposed tax bill if it made its way to his desk. The final vote rounded out to 223 to 208, staying mostly within the confines of party lines. The four Republicans who broke ranks were: Michael N. Castle (Delaware), Greg Lanske (Iowa), Constance A. Morella (Maryland), and Jack Quinn (New York). Among the six Democrats who crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans are: Virgil Goode (Virginia), Ralph M. Hall (Texas), Sanford Bishop (Georgia), Gary Condit (California), Pat Danner (Mo ), and Ken Lucas (Kentucky).
Speaking of defectors...Republican Michael Forbes is now a sanctioned moderate Democrat. But the comparison between the Republican defector pales to a record number of Democratic defectors. To date 415 Democrats all over the nation have changed parties. One of the most noted and significant defector is Kentucky state Senator Sam Seum. For the first time in the history of Kentucky's General Assembly, the Democrats are no longer the majority.
Both parties hold 19 seats and in Seum's news release he cited one of the reasons he has left the Democratic party is due to the fact, the party is not the same as when he joined it as a young man, and the party has moved to a more liberal agenda, while his heart and mind continue to hold a more conservative principle...more closely aligned with the Republican party. He ended saying: "I could not remain a part of a political party which no longer represents traditional values and principles."
Another sore spot with the American taxpayers is the fact that Congress voted to boost their salaries annually, to $4,600.00 and boost the salary of the next president from $220,000 to $400,000.00. Some people don't think the president makes enough money for what he has to do... but with the perks, expense accounts, (especially the traveling expenses of this administration) and free room and board, along with elegant meals, the cost to the taxpayers is astronomical.
With the minimum wages barely tipping the pay scale to $5.45 an hour, it would be "unwise" to ask the "ordinary" citizens... if Congressional members deserve a pay raise.
FRESNO - An El Portal motel handyman who had been dismissed as a suspect in the deaths of three sightseers last February near Yosemite National Park has confessed to the decapitation of park naturalist Joie Ruth Armstrong, 26, last week. Surprisingly, he has also admitted to three previously unsolved murder in the El Portal area, according to FBI documents on file in Fresno according to reliable information obtained from officials in the case.
Cary Stayner, 37, confessed to the killing of Armstrong, and has provided significant details about the murders according to sworn statements filed on Monday with the Federal District in Sacramento. Reliable sources indicate Stayner has now confessed to the other slayings.
Stayner worked as a janitor at the Cedar Lodge in El Portal, two miles from the Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite National Park. Three sightseers staying overnight at the Cedar Lodge in El Portal were last seen alive at the Lodge. An unnamed FBI official told reporters on Sunday that evidence obtained after Armstrong's death linked Stayner to the slayings of the three sightseers. The official said the bureau was looking for evidence to corroborate the confession.
The sightseers' disappearance from the Cedar Lodge in February set off an extensive search, national headlines and numerous arrests.
Stayner was arrested Saturday at a nudist resort near Sacramento, Calif., and charged with one count of murder in the death of Armstrong this afternoon in Federal court in Sacramento. During Stayner's arraignment he nodded in response to the Federal magistrate, Judge Peter Nowinski, asked him if he understood the charge and read him his rights. Stayner noded in the affirmative.
Stayner lived in a rented room next to the motel. He was questioned at the time of the sightseers' disappearance. Apparently Stayner was not considered a suspect because the FBI believed the slayings could not have been committed by only one person.
Stayneris believed to be ditrectly involved in the deaths of Carole Sund, 42, her daughter Juli Sund,15, and their friend Silvina Pelosso,16 according to James M. Maddock, the bureau's Special Agent in charge of of the case.
The bodies of Carole Sund and Pelosso were found in the trunk of their burned out rental car more than a month after they disappeared. Juli Sund's body was found a few days later, off a side road.
Ms. Armstrong's body was found on Thursday, one day after she was last seen near the cabin where she lived with her boyfriend and another roommate, both of whom were away. Until then, the FBI had previopusly said that all the people responsible for the Sund Pelosso deaths were in custody on unrelated charges.
Stayner was questioned about the grisley Armstrong murder on Thursday, one day after his sport utility vehicle was spotted near her cabin about the time she disappeared.
A federal hearing in the Armstrong case has been set for next week in in Fresno. Stayner's arrest has prompted sheriff's detectives in Merced County, where Stayner lived until moving to El Portal in 1997, to announce that they were looking into the 1990 death of Stayner's uncle, Jerry Stayner, who was shot to death under suspicious circumstances.
WASHINGTON - The Navy's unprecedented public expense and departure from its long established traditions in the burial at sea of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, and her sister diverted thousands of active duty military crew members and two criticaly needed Navy and Coast Guard ships to a mission never even ordered for veterans or military personnel. Only a few retired U.S.Navy & Marine veterans and their dependents are entitled to burial at sea.
For those veterans entitled to burial at sea, the request of family members for burial at sea will not be honored unless it is placed in writing by the military veteran, even when the deceased is otherwise eligible on account of honorable military service. In the long military history of the United States Navy, there is no other incident like that of the Kennedy burial at sea which took place this week.
Only a very few members of the military and their children are permitted the honor of burial at sea each year. And even in those few cases, their ashes are routinely scattered during customary naval activity. No families are ever permitted on aboard a U.S. destroyer, a Navy official admitted yesterday.
Making matters worse, the U.S. Navy disrupted its standard operating procedures taking a Navy destroyer off line in order to provide taxi service for Kennedy family members on Thursday. The civilians were then honored with a four-hour ocean cruise aboard the USS Briscoe where that ship's duty rosters and Orders of the Day were interrupted in order to scatter Kennedy's remains at sea in a private ceremony on board the destroyer. The Pentagon had previously published costs for starting-up a Navy destroyer at around $90,000. Curise time is extra. The U.S. Navy ship Briscoe was reassigned and directed to stand-off the Massachusetts coastline Wednesday night. In addition two Navy chaplains were taken away from their active duty service and re-assigned to be on hand to provide religious services to the Kennedy's aboard ship, according to Defense Secretary William S. Cohen who told reporters he had agreed to a request from Senator Edward M. Kennedy and the family of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and her sister, Lauren Bessette for the services of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
Making matters worse, the cost of the Navy's involvement then skyrocketed to more than $2 million according to a General Accounting Office report listing the additional expenses of the Kennedy soiree.
Navy spokesperson, Lt. Commander Irene Smith tried to justify the departure from standard operating procedure by making an exception to Navy regs, "Children of military personnel or other US citizens who are determined eligible due to notable service or outstanding contributions to the United States can be granted permission for burial at sea," she told reporters.
If Kennedy qualified for burial at sea under that Pentagon reasoning, it might have been because his father was a former President or because he was a World War II Navy veteran. It is laughable to justify the departure from U.S. Navy standard operating procedure on grounds that J.F. K Jr. had made notable and outstanding contributions to his country, as claimed in the Pentagon statement citing JFK Jr's part-time involvement in a nonprofit group that assists people who work with people with disabilities, and his role on the President's Commission on Mental Retardation.
The justifications were so thin that U.S. Navy officials have been unable to cite any precedent where there has been U.S.Navy participation in such a ceremony in which none of the deceased had served in the military or held elected office. U.S. Budget Analysts repoirted the Navy's role in the search and recovery of the Kennedy plane was above and beyond standard operating procedure for the U.S. Navy even when the accident involved a military plane.
Retired Admiral Eugene Carroll, who spent 37 years as a Navy pilot told reporters on Thursday, ''General aviation pilots crash all the time, and they don't go diving for submerged wrecks. That's almost unheard of. If there hadn't been direct directions from the White House, this would not have happened.''
Smith also said it was "...highly irregular for a ship's course to be altered for a funeral."
"Under normal circumstances." she said,"Navy officials will not get a ship underway just for a burial, because of fuel constraints. It takes a lot of money to get the ship underway,'' she said. ''This was a request from Senator Kennedy.''
President Clinton made a vague defense for the expenditure of public funds on the Kennedys, "Because of the role of the Kennedy family in our national lives and because of the enormous losses they have sustained in our lifetimes.''
Vice President Al Gore yesterday defended Clinton's decision to spend taxpayer's money in that way, saying, "It was appropriate given the Kennedy family's connections..."
The Pentagon admitted yesterday that Defense secretary Cohen redirected the destroyer to be used for the Kennedy funeral, and that it had an "...impact on the operational schedule of the Briscoe.'' The ship, which carries 300 sailors and 26 officers, sailed from the waters off Virginia on Wednesday afternoon.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth H. Bacon played down the added expense to accommodate the Kennedy private funeral and burial at sea. He said, "The ship had to be at sea anyway."
Whereas many veterans once received a military detail at their funerals - such as having two soldiers present to fold an American flag and a third to play ''Taps'' on the bugle - the Pentagon is now ''not able to provide full teams,'' Bacon said. Army Lieutenant Colonel Tom Begines also said it is an ''increasing strain to provide honors,'' primarily because of a lack of resources and the growing number of older veterans.
''Seeing the ship off Martha's Vineyard, that would pay for a lot of buglers for a lot of people who've done a lot more for their country,'' said John Pike, a defense analyst for the Federation of American Scientists in Washington. Pike's father, who served in World War II and the Korean war, died several weeks ago and was denied a bugle player at his funeral by the Army, he said.
There are steps which should be taken now by the The Pentagon to obtain reimbursement to U.S. government taxpayers from the Kennedy family for the expansive Navy costs of the use of its ships in the matter. It has been made known to this writer that an associate of the Kennedy family said last night that the family had not discussed paying the military, but would make a reimbursement if there is an appropriate way to do so.
[Editor's Note:The United States Code, Chapter 55, Title 10 specifies regulations for the transport of the remains of deceased military veterans and the reimbursement of the government for such costs. An alternative to burial at sea from a naval vessel is burial at sea from a Coast Guard vessel. Howard Hobbs is a retired U. S. Marine Corps officer who served in the Pacific in the Korean conflict and Cold War aftermath.]
LOS ANGELES -If you dare to raise questions about any of this, you're immediately branded a heartless, soulless, mindless cretin. However . . .
Now that John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife and sister-in-law have been buried at sea on live television--delivered there Thursday like heads of state and eulogized by somber celebrity anchors against a medley of chopper pictures from the heavens and file footage of a toddling John-John--doesn't this set a precedent?
The thunderous homage to the late Princess Diana notwithstanding, these are really uncharted waters.
It's a grim thought, and of course, here's hoping it doesn't happen. But holy hypothetical! What if Ron Reagan Jr.--son and namesake of another beloved president--should die as prematurely as John F. Kennedy Jr., and his family would want to have him buried at sea too?
Would this spectacle recur? Would we go through this again . . . and again, with the cameras, commentators and choppers on call as the occasion demands? Or would the media say no, because the Reagan family's record of suffering doesn't match the Kennedys?
In other words, this is all a bit crazy and hysterical, don't you think? To say nothing of manipulative.
Television had already explored to the hilt the Kennedys' perilous, oft-lethal encounters with flying. Now, on to something else. The sea.
"And John Kennedy Jr. goes down to the sea for the last time," concluded a Thursday profile on CNN set to melancholy music. To music.
Because their staffs have to shut their yaps once in a while, some of the networks on Thursday also reran an audiotape of John F. Kennedy Sr.'s monologue about humankind coming from the sea and "going back from whence we came." In case you didn't catch the irony--the adult son's death and burial now giving meaning to the father's words--MSNBC delivered it with a sledgehammer by simultaneously showing grainy footage of 2-year-old John-John at the wheel of a boat.
If only some of these TV people would go back from whence they came, for this was one more cheap emotional whirlpool in a sea of them.
Moments later, ever-present New York Daily News columnist Mike Barnicle, a neighbor and friend of the Kennedys--as many reporting and commenting on this story on TV appear to be--said he was sure that JFK Jr.'s uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, the senator from Massachusetts, could "hear his family's history on the wind." That is if he could hear anything above the roar of inflated rhetoric.
And you wonder why they call the Kennedys mythic.
The facts are that John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died tragically, delivering an unthinkable blow to their families and causing much of the nation to feel very sad about the loss of this trio of beautiful, accomplished 30-somethings.
It's the shameless litter of the surrounding coverage that's so maddening.
That includes TV reporters repeatedly asking the obligatory question: "Who will carry the Kennedy banner now?" As if JFK Jr. had done that. And as if his uncle's senatorial career were chopped liver.
It also includes TV dwelling on long lines of bouquet-bearing mourners sadly queuing up in long lines outside Kennedy's residence in New York's TriBeCa district. As if they represented mainstream America.
On Thursday, CNN read the signs some had brought with them, including: "John-John, God has voted you president in heaven." Now there's perspective.
You look at these long faces and see, in essence, the same worshipful pilgrims who travel annually to Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion in Memphis to tearfully light candles on the anniversary of his death. The same ones who continue to hang out at the graves of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. The ones who stand outside and shout at stars arriving for the Emmy and Oscar ceremonies. The ones who because of some internal void find meaning and personal expression only through the lives of celebrities, instead of living fully themselves.
If Kennedy was as grounded and straight-thinking as many now say he was, he would have despised all of this. That includes the relentless fawning over his image.
CNN's star reporter, Christiane Amanpour, who also works for CBS, was on "60 Minutes" Sunday, being interviewed by Mike Wallace about her close friendship with JFK Jr. since college. And her easy, relaxed way of recalling him as someone she adored, without elevating him to divinity, was not only full of intimate insights, but also departed refreshingly from the swollen verbiage of many other newscasters.
Yet her appearance also symbolized a media phenomenon of the last couple of decades that may explain some of TV's detail-by-detail obsession with JFK Jr. as a person who transcends his family's long litany of personal tragedies dating to World War II. One that transcends, also, the high ratings that this coverage is drawing.
It happens even on the lower rungs, indicated by Thursday's introduction granted Jonathan Alter, the Newsweek writer who also works for NBC and MSNBC: "You're a journalist, but you also have friends in the Kennedy family."
Meanwhile, the burial of the plane victims and journalistic standards continued. "When you think of how much the Kennedy family loves the water," a CNN anchor said gravely, "it all makes sense." Actually, none of it makes sense.
WASHINGTON - The wreckage of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s airplane was located on Wednesday. A source close to the scene said federal officials had tentatively identitified the badly mangled partial remains of John F. Kennedy still strapped into the pilot seat. There was no immediate word on his wife and her sister.
Beneath all of the media "frenzy" and "hype" this nation is plagued with yet another Kennedy public tragedy. The Kennedy family awaited news of the plight of their beloved John F. Kennedy, Jr. enroute to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port to attend his cousin Rory Kennedy's wedding, John Jr 38, his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy 33; and her sister Lauren Bessette 35, apparently went down in the chilly waters of Martha's Vineyard aboard a 300 horsepower, single engine Piper Saratoga 32, piloted by John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Since July 16th when the trio failed to show up at the expected arrival time, the United States Coast Guard after being alerted later started an extensive search and rescue effort to attempt to locate survivors. Other rescue and search groups joined in. No expenses have been spared in the all-out effort to locate the plane's wreckage in hopes of finding answers, as to why the ill-fated plane plummeted in a nose-dive, into the Atlantic Ocean.
As the nation and world were glued to their television sets, most sensed an impending disaster and hope continued to dwindle as the minutes, hours, and finally days began to fade into history with no encouraging words to indicate a miraculous rescue recovery, was underway.
Wedding days are suppose to be filled with happiness and wonderful memories, but this will not be the case for the Kennedy family. Etched forever in their minds... will be the "horror" that replaced the festivities associated with a large gathering united to extend best wishes and toasts for a long and happy life to a beaming, newlywed couple.
The political dynasty of the Kennedy family spans well over 30 years. Americans have shared the family's triumphs and grieved with them in the midst of their sorrows. While the Kennedy family is not the only family to endure hardships and tragedies, their plights are certainly the most publicized. CNN has devoted 24 hour non-stop coverage to the fallen hero. John Jr. was eulogized by news correspondents, friends, and the public long before a confirmation of his death was announced.
From the moment of his birth John F. Kennedy, Jr. was destined to be in the public eye. Many view the Kennedys' love-hate relationship with the news media as a curse. Wherever they go... whatever they do... this is considered newsworthy. Living in a fishbowl is not the most desirable place to be, but when one makes a decision and choice to enter politics or reach for stardom, that goes with the territory and goes withoutsaying.
Flight instructors are saying John Jr. lacked complete flight knowledge and training. He was still recovering from a broken ankle experienced earlier this month when he crashed his power driven parachute hang-glider.
New information describes how the Piper Saratoga 32 dropped 1,100 feet in 14 seconds, Friday evening as it approached the airport on Martha's Vineyard. A pilot shoots within the ratio of 500 to 700 feet per minute while descending... for passengers safety and comfort. Some aviation experts agree that a Piper cannot handle a descent faster than 1,500 feet per minute, although the planes gauge has a maximum of 2,000 feet capability per minute.
Taking off in the midst of hazy skies and a fast approaching sunset is not a safe and practical endeavor for an inexperienced pilot unaccustomed to handling aircraft under these conditions.
During an interview conducted by Dan Rather via phone with Mike Wallace, Wallace made the comment that almost everyone was commenting on the coincidence that the weekend marked the thirtieth anniversary of the infamous death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who perished when the automobile being driven by Ted Kennedy drove off the Chappaquiddick Bridge. Many unanswered questions "remain" surrounding the incident involving the death of the senator's campaign aid.
High profile cases bring out the skeptics and speculative minds looking for answers, but usually they are not steered in the right direction. John F. Kennedy, Jr. seemed to be unspoiled and carried himself with poise, dignity and decency... befitting an aristocratic heritage.
Friends say he may have entered the race for the U.S. Senate from New York but cooled somewhat toward such a move after First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the formation of her own exploratory committee for that Senate seat.
- OBITUARY -
John F. Kennedy Jr., 38
Heir to a Formidable Dynasty.
By Katherine Q. Seelye
NEW YORK - John F. Kennedy Jr., a scion of the nation's most celebrated political dynasty, was reported lost and presumed dead in an accident that resounded this weekend with echoes of the family's many misfortunes.
John F. Kennedy Jr. was present during a ceremony at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston last year.
Kennedy, 38, has been missing since Friday night after the plane he was flying to a cousin's wedding on Cape Cod failed to arrive on Martha's Vineyard. His disappearance in the prime of his life, like the deaths of his father, two uncles, an aunt and two cousins before him, only added to the perception that his larger-than-life family has been besieged by a near-biblical blight.
Kennedy, son of the 35th president, was touched by both the Kennedy charisma and its curse. The public ached in 1963 as it watched him, in his blue dresscoat and short pants, salute his slain father. It cheered as he emerged with his dazzling bride from their secret wedding in 1996. And as he sought a measure of privacy even while forsaking a career in law or government for a role in publishing, the public never ceased dwelling on his future and the swings of his family's fortunes between triumph and disaster.
Guiding his life was a scriptural passage, Luke 12:48, that was voiced frequently by his grandmother Rose and paraphrased by his father: "Of those to whom much is given, much is required." Kennedy taught English to underprivileged children, aided people who were homeless and disabled, and was a patron of the arts.
But like many sons of famous fathers, Kennedy still seemed to be searching for his place in the public constellation, the expectations for him as great as his father's legend was gripping. And he was conscious of his burden as an American icon.
"It's hard for me to talk about a legacy or a mystique," Kennedy said in a 1993 interview. "It's my family. The fact that there have been difficulties and hardships, or obstacles, makes us closer."
He was most recently founder and editor of George, a glossy journal of politics, but some of his family's admirers still hoped his venture into publishing was merely a prologue to a career in politics.
©The New York Times.
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) -- Two U.S. soldiers were killed and three suffered minor injuries when their armored personnel carrier overturned, a spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping force said today.
The soldiers were the first American peacekeepers to die in Kosovo. Their identities were not immediately released. Spokesman Jan Joosten said the accident Sunday occurred about two miles northeast of Gnjilane, the town where the U.S. troops, part of the international force, are based. Gnjilane is located about 20 miles southwest of Pristina, the provincial capital. Joosten said the two soldiers died of their injuries after the accident, in which the armored vehicle overturned after it lost a track.
A U.S. soldier died July 4 in a traffic accident in neighboring Macedonia, and two died in helicopter crashes in Albania while training in the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia.
MANCHESTER - In this decade, post-election analyses by politicians and the media typically have concluded that the American electorate votes for ideological moderation. The 1994 disaster for Democrats in the U.S. House, for example, was said to be a final rejection of liberalism. Republican House losses in 1996 were interpreted as punishment of Gingrich conservative extremists. And in 1998, commentators--focusing on key congressional and gubernatorial races--again made the voters' preference for moderate candidates the theme of the day.
But a closer examination reveals a quite different story. Our previous analysis of the 1994 election revealed that it was more moderate Democratic incumbents, not liberal ones, who were more likely to lose (Roll Call, 4/1/96). And, though the effect was less pronounced, conservative Republican incumbents were less likely to lose in 1996 than were moderate ones (Roll Call, 12/12/96). For 1998, we found that ideological extremists of both parties lost at the same rate as their more moderate colleagues.
Taking a still closer look at all House elections in the 1990s--the Clinton years--we decided now to ask whether incumbents only did well where their political ideology matched that of their districts. (Both incumbent ideology and district ideology were classified as either conservative, moderately conservative, moderately liberal, or liberal.)
We found that in all four categories of district, for Republicans and for Democrats, incumbents who didn't match their district ideology were no more likely to lose than those who did match (e.g., a conservative Republican running in a moderately liberal district).
The one exception to our generalization is that liberal and moderately liberal Democrats did not do as well as conservative and moderately conservative Democrats in conservative districts. These results refute another political truism, namely, that those who deviate from the ideology of their district will necessarily lose. Even though many House incumbents match their districts in ideology, that fit is not the reason for their continued success, since defeated incumbents were nearly always as likely to match their districts as were re-elected ones. Additional analyses found that level of match did have some effect upon the percentage of vote a candidate received, but rarely enough to influence the election outcome.
These findings are seen vividly when examining those incumbents who are most mismatched-- conservative Democrats and Republicans who ran in liberal districts, and liberal Democrats and Republicans who ran in conservative districts. Though these situations are limited, in the twenty-one cases of this sort from 1992-1998, such incumbents still won three quarters of the time.
These results hold for the 1992-1998 House elections combined and for each of those election years individually. Our analyses contradict (a) the truism that an incumbent's ideology must match that of his or her district, (b) the maxim that, in most cases, an incumbent's best hope for electoral success is to be a centrist, and (c) the media's mantra that elections in the 1990s mark the triumph of moderation. (As our previous work showed, an extremist advantage appears in certain contexts; while looking at the 90s as a whole and controlling for a district's ideology weakens the evidence for an extremist advantage, the study still refutes the notion of any moderate advantage.)
One can be a liberal, conservative, or moderate, and still win, typically, over 90% of the time, no matter the district. (The one exception is liberal and moderately liberal Democrats, whose success rate falls to 80-85% in moderately conservative districts, and to the 60-70% range in conservative districts.) So be wary come November 2000, if pundits again start making generalizations about the death of liberalism, conservatism, or--who knows--moderation. And since there never was a push toward moderation, the lack of bipartisanship over much of the '90s is understandable.
[Editor's Note: this study, which was conducted by three professors at Manchester College, located in North Manchester, Indiana. Neil Wollman, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, has written on the application of psychological principles to the political process. Leonard Williams, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, has published work in the areas of political ideology and campaign advertisin. And Abigail Fuller, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology, has worked in the area of social movements.]
©Copyright, 1999 The Fresno Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
BEIJING - The Cox Report is a 25,000-character article divided into eight parts. Zhao Qizheng, director of the Information Office of the State Council, further refuted the Report by the U.S. Congress with abundant facts. He said at a press conference in Beijing Thursday that to clarify the truth and air the facts, the Information Office of the State Council has conducted further investigations into the issues raised in the report.
Zhao Qizheng says that voluminous facts indicate that the conclusions drawn by the report do not hold water, and even act contrary to a general knowledge of science and technology in many aspects.
He stressed that the Cox Report's accusation that China stole secret information on the most advanced thermonuclear warheads possessed by the United States is totally groundless. It is not only a grave calumny against the Chinese people and Chinese scientists, but also a form of racial discrimination.
Zhao Qizheng noted that China mastered neutron bomb design technology and nuclear weapon miniaturization technology as early as the 1970s and 1980s.
Zhao Qizheng said the Cox Report surmised, very subjectively, that China wanted to acquire U.S. thermonuclear weapons codes so as to develop new nuclear weapons. The report even claimed that China has acquired some U.S. computer codes, including MCNPT code, the DOT3.5 code, and the NJOYC code.
The fact is that the three codes are standard ones extensively used worldwide for decades in nuclear reactor engineering design, nuclear reactor radiation shielding safety analysis, and other fields of nuclear energy research. Zhao Qizheng said they have nothing to do with the design of thermonuclear warheads.
In order to promote the development of China's nuclear power, in the early 80s China acquired the three codes gratis from the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, as did other member countries.
The research results and computer software developed by Chinese scientists have also been frequently provided to the IAEA to be shared by other member countries. The concoctors of the Cox Report slandered China for "illegally" acquiring computer software codes to develop its own nuclear weapons.
Zhao Qizheng said this simply exposes an ignorance of general scientific and technical knowledge. It is sheer nonsense that the report alleges China stole the secrets of the nuclear explosion tests of miniature fusion from the United States.
Madam Zhang Lihui is with the China Aerospace Technology Corp's Research and Development division. She said the Cox report has had a negative impact on China's aerospace industry.
Zhang Lihui says the Cox report seriously affects the good reputation and commerical interest of China's aerospace industry. A number of American satellite companies were forced to cancel contracts and agreements with China. However, she stresses that the Cox report will not be a stumbling block to China's aerospace industry. China enjoys active and extensive cooperation with other parts of the world.
Professor Zhu Zuliang is head of the Chinese Engineering and Physics Academy. He said China has carried out technical exchanges and cooperation with US institutes in a wide range of fields in recent years, including disarmament and environmental protection.
Zhu Zuliang says both Chinese and American scientists are well aware of their obligations for their own national security and interests. Therefore, they respect the nuclear secrets of their counterparts in other countries. In addition, both the US and China have tight security in their weapons laboratories, so mutual visits would not provide any chance of stealing nuclear secrets.
[Editor's Note: Qian Jun is a Current Affairs journalist for the China International Radio Service in Beijing. A press release provided by the Chinese Information Office was obtained by the DR on Thursday, titled Facts Speak Louder Than Words and Lies Will Collapse by Themselves. ]
LUND, Sweden - Now is the time to begin to reflect on what actually happened this spring in Kosovo and, thus, to the world. I believe that historians will agree that from March 24, 1999 international politics and relations as well as the global system has changed in a deep sense. Many consider NATO's intervention a moral success, a just war, a victory for democratic values.
But I believe we need to look at it from a variety of angles to understand it more deeply and to work out ideas, concepts and policies so that anything similar will never happen again elsewhere. It is indeed peculiar that this war - conducted from a moral high ground and with the aim to promote the finest ideals of Western culture - has hardly been evaluated in just such terms. I am not a philosopher of ethics, but here are some points you may use in your own thinking about contemporary history and - if it exists - 'moral foreign policy.'
A high-ideals, low-risk war. The West has many and noble ideals. But when it comes to risking Western lives for them, they crumble. Both Albanians and Serbs have proved themselves willing to pay a price for what they believe in.
David and Goliath World history's most powerful alliance attacks a small state, devastates it with 1100 planes during 79 days. NATO could do anything in Yugoslavia, but Yugoslavia had no capacity to hurt any NATO country. Whatever propensity to feel sympathy for David there may be in Christian values, it didn't surface. Explanation? Ten years of demonization.
In addition, cruise missiles are low-cost and promise destruction on the enemy's territory without human or material costs on our side. Behind NATO's boasting of success and determination hides a high-tech-based cowardice second to none.
Predominantly a war against civilians. Perhaps the biggest lie in all this was the statement that 'we are not at war with the Yugoslav people.' But NATO destroyed 300 factories and refineries, 190 educational establishments, 20 hospitals, 30 clinics, 60 bridges, 5 airports; it killed at least 2,000 civilians and wounded 6,000 and many will die and suffer because of the health infrastructure destruction. To this you may add the sanctions since 1991 and the burden of more than 700.000 refugees from other republics and now from Kosovo. Only 12-15 tanks of 300 main battle tanks and some planes were destroyed, the rest seem to have been dummies!
Selective justice - much worse conflicts and humanitarian problems are ignored. In terms of human rights violations, war-caused deaths and degree of "dictatorship," Kosovo is a minor conflict. Between November 1998 and March 1999 no evidence of systematic ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, OSCE monitors have confirmed this. Germany sent back 11,000 Kosovar refugees. No humanitarian organization present in Kosovo reported a grand plan, or signs of it, to cleanse Kosovo of its 1,5 million Albanians. Look at the 30+ conflicts and much more serious human rights violations around the world and ask: why this gigantic Western commitment here?
Collective punishment is generally accepted. The magnitude of NATO's destruction of the economy and infrastructure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with 11 million citizens - most of whom innocent - did not cause a proportionate, widespread or intensive debate in the West in general or in NATO countries in particular. There were mass protests (few shown on television) but no momentum that could have stopped the 'campaign'.
One side in a civil war was demonized, isolated, presented with a fait accompli, threatened with destruction, forced out of its sovereign territory, its people leaving the province and, apart from some humanitarian aid, the West does not intend to contribute to its reconstruction. These gross human rights violations are tacitly accepted even by many 'correct' human rights organizations and media.
Militarized rather than civilian conflict-management. After the Kosovo crisis nobody can doubt that there is ALWAYS unlimited supply of funds and personnel for military affairs, whereas the much cheaper early violence-preventive diplomacy, peaceful humanitarian intervention and postwar civilian peacekeeping consistently lack resources.
The UN, OSCE and NGOs are marginalized in the process - a rapid slide toward militarized conflict management and interventionism. This is a deliberate, moral choice made by the international 'community'.
Humanitarian concerns hardly credible.NATO's action released a humanitarian catastrophe. The international 'community' let Macedonia and Albania carry 98% of the burden, and r elieved itself of the frightening perspective of having the refugees flood EU Europe.
The US - generously - suggested that it could take 20.000 and store them on its military base...in Cuba! Today the world is struggling with finding the resources for aid and reconstruction - and will be very tempted to take it from funds earmarked for humanitarian relief where there are fewer cameras. The average Albanian refugee in Macedonia and Albania already got about 10 times more relief aid than the African - or Serb - refugee.
It could be argued that NATO or the US would be morally required to pay some compensation - if not for the overall military destruction, then for the "collateral damage": to the families of those innocent civilians who were killed and wounded, to civil facilities hit by mistake etc.
Moral foreign policy without moral responsibility. Quite a few of us were brought up with the norm that 'I am responsible for what I do.' Scores of NATO's violations of international law, the laws of war, of human rights etc. during its bombing campaign have been justified with reference to there being a grand plan of ethnic cleansing, to stopping the atrocities, to fighting a cruel dictator, and with arguments that 'if we do not counter and stop this now, it will be much worse later.' The general discussion has not focussed on the crimes committed by NATO, neither on the political legitimacy of ignoring this predictable civil war for years and wait to do something until this something 'has to be' NATO intervention.
A norm has thus been used which in effect says that 'I am not responsible for my own deeds because I am fighting someone who is worse.' Paradoxically the same norm is used by all warlords and architects of ethnic cleansing, in ex-Yugoslavia and elsewhere!
Nonviolence punished, violence rewarded. This has broad meaning. Dr. Rugova's pragmatic nonviolent line was never given any political support, legitimacy or concrete economic or other support comparable with what KLA was given by the West. The UN principle of 'peace by peaceful means' was completely ignored - as was violence-preventive diplomacy - for years by every single NATO country; the UN played and will play a marginal role. All NGOs and non-violent missions to the region, including OSCE, had to leave because of NATOs all-dominating policies in general and the bombings in particular.
The West fought Yugoslav/Serb violence in Kosovo - for good reason. It actively supported Albanian hardliners' violence, atrocities and violations of international laws, and continues to do so now as 'peace'-keeper. In politics as well as mainstream media, Serb/Yugoslav violence is the worst, then KLA, then NATO - although NATO's has killed far more people. Violence as such is never challenged.
The West supports illegal arms exports. The arming of KLA can only have taken place by violating the arms embargo against all parts of former Yugoslavia decided by the UN Security Council in 1991. Which murky organizations and intelligence agencies, which private and semi-private arms dealers made it possible - and do you think we will ever see them in the Hague?
The West supports 'terrorists'. The US and the West has no qualms by being allied with what the US envoy, Robert Gelbard, in early 1998 called a terrorist organisation, namely the KLA or UCK. It has built its military capacity on weapons, ammunition and training supplied by various Western sources; it has been given political legitimacy in Rambouillet through the embrace of the US and UK; it has served as NATO's ally on the ground during the bombardments. At the same time, the West has refused to deal with the Yugoslav government as a legitimate one which came to power through open elections - and with moderate Albanian leader Dr. Ibrahim Rugova who was the only politically legitimate representative and who dares not return to Kosovo today.
The West cooperates with war criminals. The West also happily works with a war criminal - until it doesn't need him anymore. President Milosevic is now indicted as a war criminal. But read the indictment it mentions only what he may be responsible for since January 1 this year. I guess the US/CIA and others have the files and documentation for crimes he may be directly or indirectly responsible for since 1991. But mentioning that would mean that he was a criminal also when a partner with the West, such as in Dayton in 1995. Also, indicting him for crimes committed between 1991 and 1998 would make people ask: so why not also indict presidents Izetbegovic and Tudjman?
In passing, it is interesting how much more the media has dealt with this indictment than with the indictment of NATO's leaders.
No equal recognition of the rights and sufferings of human beings. A simple ethical principle in conflict resolution - and other spheres of life - is this: recognise ALL parties' human suffering and ALL parties' human rights. This has not been practised by any of those who took the leadership in what they themselves called a humanitarian intervention.
It is often stated that the West cannot rely on Milosevic/the Serbs/Belgrade regime. True - but remember! The West supports democracy but openly and tacitly supported authoritarian regimes in Zagreb, Sarajevo and Albania (including the KLA leadership). Before Yugoslavia broke down, US foreign secretary James Baker stated that Tito's Yugoslavia was a sovereign state - a few months later the West recognized Croatia and Slovenia out of it.
The West supports multiethnic states but has, since 1991, helped the following units to appear with less multiethnicity than before the crisis: Croatia, the two parts of Bosnia and now Kosovo. Ambassador Gelbard stated in early spring 1998 that KLA/UCK was a terrorist organization - after which the US supported it. Remember when ambassador Holbrooke negotiated a deal in October with Milosevic about a civilian OSCE mission ? 70% of them had military background, consistent rumours indicate that several were intelligence people - and NATO established itself in Macedonia. So, while the West may not have much reason to trust Milosevic - does he, or Yugoslavia, have more reason to trust the West?
Lack of proportion President Clinton, in his speech of March 19, mentioned the event in Racak where some forty bodies were found and said about NATO's future airstrikes that "hesitance is a licence to kill." It did not bother him that NATO later killed 50 times more innocent people in Serbia in what was called 'collateral damage' - neither did it seem to bother the media much.
I don't think everything is morally OK with NATO. But we did stop unspeakable atrocities? Well, today between 60.000 and 80.000 people die unnecessarily around the world because the international community has still not provided clean water, houses, medicare, and other basic means for basic need satisfaction for all to just live. Study the annual UNDP Human Development Report, just out these days...It's rapidly becoming a more and more inhuman world. When shall Western leaders devote themselves as energetically to real humanitarian problems as they do to NATO-constructed crisis?
[Editor's Note: Dr. Jan Oberg is the Eastern Europe foreign correspondent to the Daily Republican Newspaper Co. He is the Director of the TFF Conflict-Mitigation team to the Balkans and Georgia.]
MANCHESTER - Britain's General Sir Michael Rose said NATO and British politicians were running a propaganda campaign to persuade people that the air war met its objectives. NATO had been forced to redefine the objectives of its air war against Yugoslavia after it "manifestly" failed to accomplish its initial aims.
In a letter to The Times newspaper published on Wednesday, Rose said NATO had defined its initial objective as the prevention of more suffering, repression and violence against Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.
"After 11 weeeks of one of the most intensive air campaigns in the history of warfare, it is clear that NATO has tragically failed to accomplish these initial objectives. For thousands of people were brutally murdered and more than a million people were driven from their homes by the Serbs," said Rose, who has retired from the British army.
NATO had therefore been forced to redefine the purpose of the war as being that of allowing Kosovo's ethnic Albanian refugees to return to their homes. "Its success in achieving this lesser task should not be allowed to obscure the fundamental message that it is not possible to safeguard a people by bombing from 15,000 feet," Rose said. He was referring to NATO's policy of not allowing its warplanes to attack from low altitude.
[Editor's Note: Stephen Abbott is the founder and coordinator of The Kosovo Facts Project organization in Manchester, NH.]
WASHINGTON - A widely publicized report circulating on the Internet since July 9, 1998 has international war crime charges being filed against President Clinton and Secretary of State, William Cohen by former Watergate Committee Counsel Jerome Zeifman. However, The Daily Republican has unearthed what has proven to be the dubious source of a bogus news release and the organization apparently responsible for the scam.
First, the United Nations has not issued any press releases on such an event. Anyone who follows The United Nations closely, would have known the International Criminal Tribunal in Yugoslavia is a Security Council agency created in 1993 by U.N. Resolution 827. The Security Council has pending indictments for 35 people, at this time. The published list does not presently cite William Jefferson Clinton nor William Cohen among them.
Officials in the Hague confirmed to the DR today, that no criminal charges and no indictments have been filed naming Mr. Clinton or Mr. Cohen in war crimes.
Claims by International Ethical Alliance, Inc. that an indictment they have drawn up has been filed with the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia by Jerome Zeifman are laughable. Why? Under state and federal statues no such organization has been authorized to draw-up indictments for filing with the United Nations. The International Ethical Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit Connecticut corporation, according to their charter. In the state of Connecticut, criminal investigations are an authorized function of state and federal Grand Jury proceedings.
The Connecticut Secretary of State's office confirms that International Ethical Alliance, Inc. is a registered tax-exempt public benefit corporation whose powers are are limited to charitable fund raising and educational activities.
In Fact, a close reading of the By-Laws obtained by the DR from state filings, shows that the International Ethical Alliance, Inc. actually claims to promote the use of the Internet and other technologies for ethical purposes and to do any and all lawful acts, including, "...promoting courts, tribunals, and on the Internet...providing free or low cost computers to needy deserving persons."
In the face of these glaring contradictions, Insight Magazine actually went to press with the following statement on its July 9, 1999 cover,"The indictment is to be electronically filed Monday with the International Criminal Tribunal in Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague after the Connecticut-based International Ethical Alliance (IEA) apparently decided behind closed doors and without benefit of constititionally protected due process rights that [President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen] should be charged as "war criminals" by the ICTY [the UN Security Council's judical arm] which recently indicted Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic.
[Editor's Note: Howard Hobbs contributed to the research on this story. Insight Magazine mentioned in the story is a weekly news sheet which appears on the Internet. It is owned and controlled by The Washington Times organization in Wash. D.C.]
MOSCOW - Motivated by NATO's bombing campaign in Yugoslavia to upgrade their national defense systems, developing nations are making a beeline for the Russian arms market. Judging from preliminary figures and visits this week by several top-ranking foreign officials from Vietnam, Syria and Iraq, this year should prove to be a promising one for Russian arms trade.
The first of the delegations to arrive was from Vietnam, last week. Defense Minister Pham van Tra, who was in town for a three-day visit, met his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev and top officials from the country's two largest arms mediators - Rosvooruzhenie, Russia's chief arms exporter, and Promexport.
He was followed by Syrian President Hafez Assad, who came Monday to try to revive military cooperation with Russia. Assad, like the Vietnamese delegation, declined to comment on the details of Syria's proposed purchase, but news agencies reported he is seeking to buy as much as $2 billion in weaponry, including Russia's new MIG-29 SMT jet fighter.
Both Syria and Vietnam are scrambling to modernize their armed forces in order to be able to repel massive air raids similar to those carried out by NATO in Yugoslavia, according to an official at Rosvooruzhenie. Russian-made fighters and air defense systems are most in demand, and their price tags - lower than western equivalents - are attractive to developing nations.
"There has been a lot of talk about how Yugoslavia could have defended itself if it had enough S-300 [air defense] systems," the official said in a recent phone interview.
In addition to the MiG-29 fighters, Syria is also considering S-300 air defense systems. Damascus is also planning to buy spare parts for its aging fleet of Soviet-made fighters and armored vehicles. Soviet and Russian-made weaponry comprise 90 percent of Syria's arsenal.
Assad was given a warm welcome in Moscow. Russian President Boris Yeltsin called him an "old friend" as top arms dealers stood by to take orders. The one potential snag in the deal is the question of Syria's $12 billion dollar debt to Russia, which dates back to Damascus' failure to pay for weapons purchased during the Soviet era. However, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov indicated this week that Mos cow is ready to put its demands for the Soviet-era debt on hold.
Indeed, Russia appears eager to take advantage of the current post-Yugoslavia momentum much this week, when he announced that Russia plans to boost its weapons exports in order to expand its global influence as well as to secure funds for its cash-strapped military.
But while officials at Rosvooruzhenie may be counting their rubles, U.S. officials are warning Russia that any weapons exports to Syria could hinder U.S. aid to the Kremlin. The United States already slapped sanctions on three Russian arms manufacturers last April for selling arms to Syria - which is included in the U.S. State Department's annual list of nations that sponsor international terrorism.
These sanctions have only angered Russia, which appears to be more than ready to cooperate with Syria.
"We view these sanctions as an infringement on freedom of trade," said one unless the United Nations decides to impose sanctions.
If the U.S. has objections to Syria, it is likely to frown even more on other potential arms deals - namely with Libya and Iraq, both of which are banned from purchasing weapons by a United Nations mandate.
Vasily Pankov, director of the Sokol aircraft plant in Nizhny Novgorod, told Interfax this week that Russia is planning to sell Libya several MiG-31 fighter planes. Russia may also modernize the 90 MiG-25s that Libya currently owns, Pankov added.
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was also in town this week seeking to break the UN-mandated ban on its weapons purchases.
"It makes no sense to fulfill our obligations when the UN Security Council is not fulfilling its [obligations]. In particular, it doesn't protect Iraq's sovereignty," the Iraqi official told reporters.
Russia's overall arms sales will grow this year to total some $3 billion, compared to $2.7 billion sold in 1998, according to Konstantin Makienko, deputy head of the Moscow-based Center For Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
The country's chief arms exporter Ros vooruzhenie alone plans to earn $2.5 billion this year, and another half billion in revenues is expected from other Russian arms dealers, Makienko said.
Rosvooruzhenie is well on its way to a profitable year, having received $1.29 billion from its foreign customers in the first six months of 1999, according to a recent Rosvooruzhenie press release. The press release said this sum is the largest that the company has earned in any similar period in the past five years.
In addition to the cheaper price tag and the Kosovo conflict, Russian arms sales are also being fueled by mass sales of less expensive, second-hand weapons, Makienko said.
The decision to sell MiG-29s at a discount came after several dozen partially assembled fighters piled up at a plant outside Moscow. The manufacturer did not sell one plane in 1996 and 1997, but it still refused to reduce its $30 million price tag.
Finally, Makienko said, they made the right choice by slashing prices down to $15 million per plane in 1998. This move clinched a contract with Bang la desh, which earlier this year signed a deal to purchase eight MiG-29s for a total of $115 million.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The St. Petersburg Times. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON - If President Clinton's extra $1 trillion in the Federal budget shows up as surplus tax revenues this writer will eat his hat at high noon at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That so-called surplus will, according to White house economists, "flood the Treasury over the ten years."
However, there is rain on this parade! Independent analysts say that Mr. Clinton is relying on highly dubious assumptions. Amitai Etzioni, the noted ethicist at George Washington University told reporters this week that the role of the economist is decreasing in banks, investment companies, and government, and that the few major economic institutions that are still dependent on academic economists, such as the World Bank, are faring poorly.
In the face of those criticisms, Clinton White House economists are now optimistically forecasting that government spending on most domestic programs will be cut by about 20 percent from current levels and remain there, freeing money for other priorities -- Medicare for Clinton, tax cuts for Republicans. Second, it assumes a decade of steady economic growth.
Because both assumptions are being openly challenged as "phony", it now appears that Mr. Clinton's $1 trillion surplus projections are mostly composed of blue smoke and mirrors, and at the very least``highly uncertain'' from an economic perspective.
Robert Reischauer, director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, told reporters Friday Mr. Clinton's assumptions were ``highly unrealistic''
Making matters worse, Atlanta Fed's Gerald Dwyer, in an interview with Investor's Business Daily, said, "The surpluses are driven by a couple of things. One is that real GDP and people's incomes are rising. So tax bills are going to rise, even in the same tax bracket. But because income is rising relatively rapidly, people get pushed into higher brackets. So the government's take increases. Federal taxes now are a higher percentage of GDP than they've been since World War II. And the OMB is projecting that going out into the future."
Recent history and current political trends in Congress support both points.
Worse yet, Mr. Clinton and congressional Republicans appear determined to spend $1 trillion anyway. They hope to cut a package deal giving each side what it wants. If they do, analysts say, odds are dangerously high that they will lock the government back into a pattern of spending that results in huge debts.
``It's a deficit hawk's nightmare,'' said Bob Bixby, policy director for the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan pressure group devoted to fiscal discipline.
First, examine the assumption that spending on most domestic programs will be cut 20 percent. Both the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget had to assume that, because the 1997 Balanced Budget Act mandates such deep cuts and both agencies must base their forecasts on existing law.
Yet Congress shows no sign of cutting domestic spending by anything close to that much; in fact, all signs point to higher spending.
Last year, Clinton and Congress evaded the 1997 law's budget caps by calling $21 billion in extra outlays ``emergency'' spending. This spring, they agreed to spend $21 billion more outside the caps as ``emergency'' outlays for the war in Kosovo and disaster relief.
Worse still, Republican leaders on both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees are insisting publicly that they cannot get majorities to pass spending bills cutting domestic programs by $25 billion below current levels, as the budget act dictates. They want to lift the 1997 law's spending caps, if not eliminate them.
Independent analysts agree that domestic spending is unlikely to be cut enough to yield a 10-year surplus of $1 trillion. It would be more realistic, they say, to assume that domestic spending will hold at 1999 levels, rising only to keep pace with inflation.
That subtracts $584 billion from the projected $1 trillion surplus, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In turn, that would reduce spending to pay off old debt, federal interest costs would rise by $152 billion over 10 years, further eroding the surplus, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research center.
In addition, if Congress spends $10 billion a year on emergency spending -- as it did on average through the 1990s -- the surplus would drop an additional $100 billion, plus $30 billion more for extra interest, the center calculates.
Add those and related costs together, and the projected $1 trillion surplus ends up being more like $99 billion, according to the center and Reischauer.
Now Clinton unconvincingly proposes to borrow from the projected surplus to cover $374 billion of his Medicare proposals through 2009.
And Republicans say the surplus will cover tax cuts of $778 billion to $1 trillion.
Both are seeking to make deals like those which resulted in the 1997 and 1998 budget. Clinton is set to play host to bipartisan leadership from Congress at the White House on Monday. He intends to announce a deal at that time.
``When you use the $1 trillion surplus, it looks like you can logroll, and there's room for everything,'' said Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. ``But when you use realistic assumptions,'' there's not much money left.
The economic assumptions behind the projected $1 trillion surplus are equally suspect, independent analysts agree.
Both the OMB and CBO project modest but steady annual growth at 2.5 to 2.7 percent through 2009.
Realistic analysts agree, Clinton's future projections are among the worst yet. His projections contain a great chance of significant error. For example, Mr. Clinton's latest figures amount to a correction from his OMB's surplus forecast which showed $1 trillion less than the present one. In other words, when Mr. Clinton told the American people he had a budget surplus of $1 trillion, he didn't know what he was talking about. Now he says his previous calculations were off by an admitted 20 percent.
Based upon Mr. Clinton's murky budget forecasting ability, it is certain that the errors contained in his five & ten year future "surplus" projections ``are absolutely immense,'' Reischauer said. Dr. Etzioni said, "We do not have the tools that allow us to manage our future...we must face reality."
[Editor's Note: Howard Hobbs Ph.D. is a 1957 Ford Fellow and a Summer 1979 Hoover Fellow.]
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON - Donald F. Kettl, a professor of public affairs and political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, contends that both journalists and academics have failed to adequately monitor the actions of the government.
He is on the right track. While journalists miss the true story in chasing scandal and sensation, academics have tuned outthe everyday realities of how government works. When it comes to what government actually does, the news media often grabs only a piece of the real story that fits conveniently into the srtategic and politically correct sound byte.
For example, remember television coverage of the crash of ValuJet Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades in 1996?
Instead of exploring both the inadegaucies in federal regulations and ValuJet's negligence, some print reporters rushed to judgment and pointedly accused the government.
University academics have given up the old-fashioned practice of observing government administration in action. Instead, they have gone to extremes in concocting new programs and designing statistical models to support thier speculations as to how such programs might work.
Those trends are dangerous to society. Negative experiences with government and its agents has come to undermine civic trust in public institutions. The morale of government workers has evaporated as the best and brightest are discouraged from seeking government careers.
[Editor's note: A related story "Why academics and journalists misunderstand government" appears in the forthcoming (print edition only) July/August issue of The Washington Monthly, by Dr. Kettl, a professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.]
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
PALO ALTO - This week George W. Bush has emerged as the California Golden Bear of conservative politics. From now on, Mr. Bush is California's phenom. He's a rising western star here.
What is even more astounding is that Mr. Bush made his first trip to the Golden State just this week. He's a hot commodity in California Silicon Valley political markets. Better still, Mr. Bush has an arrangement with The Hoover Institution for continued public policy research support.
The think tank boasts a moderate stance on current political issues.
George Schultz, is currently a Hoover Fellow. His private residence is right on the Stanford campus. The former secretary of State during President Ronald Reagan's administrsation coordinated policy discussions involving key Hoover fellows which originally explored Mr. Bush's anticipated presidential campaign.
Hoover Fellow, Martin Anderson, thinks George W. Bush is the man for this political season, at least.
Mr. Bush likes the Hoover Institution and has his own deep commitment to its tradition of intellectual rigor. He is a close friend of Hoover Fellow, Michael Boskin, the noted free-market economist.
It is unusual, though, for the Hoover Institution to find itself in the political limelight.
The Hoover was created in 1919 by former President Herbert Hoover(R)on the Stanford campus.
Hoover Fellows enjoy tremendous freedom to pursue their own research nd writing interests.
[Editor's Note: Howard Hobbs Ph.D. is a Summer 1979 Hoover Fellow.]
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
PALO ALTO - Texas governor addressed the computer industry's special concerns before 500 entrepreneurs. California trip nets his campaign $5 million. There were blue "W"2K buttons on the tables, polished cowboy boots on a smattering of feet and a whole lot of new money flowing from the technology-based New Economy into the bulging war chest of Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
Here in the cyber economy's birthplace, once the province of Bill Clinton and Al Gore but now largely up for grabs, they want their political process to move as fast as their computers. And they just can't understand why there are so many bills pending, pending, pending.
"We're very busy," said venture capitalist E. Floyd Kvamme, who brought about 500 Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to a crowded ballroom Thursday morning to hear Bush. "There are 67 bills before the House and Senate regulating the Internet. Having to negotiate bill by bill by bill, why does it have to have so much discussion? Can't we just do what we agree on and move forward?"
Bush did not disappoint them. Tort reform to unshackle innovation? Sure. Free trade? Bring it on. Legislation to decrease the liability of the computer industry in the face of Year 2000 lawsuits? Heck, he's already signed one like that back home.
"In Texas, we were one of the first states to protect the technology industry from Y2K litigation, the biggest potential ambulance chase in the millennium," Bush told the receptive crowd after noting that this was not his first trip to the Silicon Valley but it was his first "as the president of the United States--well, soon-to-be president of the United States."
Individuals in Silicon Valley poured $850,000 into Bush's coffers out of $1.7 million raised between a Wednesday night dinner in San Francisco and the Thursday quiche-and-computer extravaganza. All told, the three-day California trip that ended Thursday afternoon in with a quick $200,000 more at Pardini's in Fresno brought the campaign "$5 million and counting," according to Bush's Exploratory Committee officials.
"Silicon Valley has long been regarded as Democratic country," says Holly Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsive Politics a nonpartisan campaign finance organization. "But we've been seeing Republicans really target high-tech in recent months, saying, 'We're the party that doesn't want to regulate you.' "
To date, high-tech has donated nowhere near the amounts of such industries as banking and insurance, "but everyone wants to target Silicon Valley," she says, "because it's the industry of the future."
What is happening is "the end of the first big phase of the battle for Silicon Valley," said Wade Randlett, Democratic political director for the bipartisan organization TechNet. "This is the first time it's all-out war. It's a pretty good indication of what's to come."
The so-called Gore-Techs are not necessarily switching sides, say political and industry analysts, but new players are stepping up to the political plate. Of the host committee for the Thursday breakfast, 40% had never been involved in the political process before signing on to the Bush camp.
"Is this new political money? Very much so," Kvamme said. "I've never done this. . . . The Valley is about 15% Democratic and 10% Republican and 75% wishing government would go away."
Which might explain Bush's allure.
"He's very much focused on innovation," said Bob Herbold, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft Corp., as Bush worked the crowd, "consequently, when you look at issues like the Internet, you should be very apprehensive about doing things to constrain it when in fact it's powering an economy."
President Clinton and Vice President Gore get high marks for their early notice of Silicon Valley--the home of amazing technological advances and even more amazing disposable income--lavishing the once politically naive region with large doses of time and attention.
That concerted wooing, argue Republican operatives, allowed the Democrats to paper over serious policy differences on issues from liability in Y2K lawsuits to visas for skilled technology workers from other countries. Bush said Thursday he supports making more such visas available.
"It's only been relatively recently that Silicon Valley has realized that they don't have to choose between personal access and policy agreement," says Dan Schnur, a Republican consultant who has just signed on with the campaign of Sen. John McCain of Arizona. "What you've got now is a situation where Gore isn't the only person spending a lot of time out here."
In fact, virtually everyone who's anyone in the 2000 presidential campaign has visited the birthplace of high-tech at least once in recent months. McCain, Gore, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey and Elizabeth Hanford Dole, the former president of the American Red Cross, have visited. So has conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan.
"Part of [Bush's] appeal is that he's inclusive, and a lot of the other Republican candidates are pushing divisive issues," said Lezlee Westine, Republican political director for Palo Alto-based TechNet.
In fact, at breakfast Thursday, members of the audience went out of their way to stress to reporters that they're young, they're hip, they have little time for petty partisanship.
Bush's message on unity and inclusion, his professed willingness to educate everyone's kids and reach out to the poor are important to this largely male, largely white, entirely rich group.
"It's not Republicans versus Democrats," John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, said Thursday. "The Valley has respect for people who can make things happen. We need someone who has consistent respect for human beings, the least, the poor," Greg Slayton, president and chief executive of My Software Corp. said.
(C)Copyright, 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON - The Canadian government has for the first time acknowledged that U.S. prison blood sold to Canada in the early 1980s Arkansas Governor, William Jefferson Clinton directly led to more Canadians being infected with hepatitus C infections.
The BulldogNews.Net at Fresno State University was the first U. S. newspaper to break this story on Sunday November 15, 1998.
The statement is in a briefing note prepared for Health Minister Allan Rock and obtained by The Daily Republican Newspaper on Wednesday under a freedon of information request. It is on the subject of blood imported into Canada in the early 1980s from an Arkansas prison and made into products that were used by hemophiliacs.
Plasma from such high-risk populations may indeed have contributed to the transmission of blood diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis C," said the document, requested by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin.
Lawyers representing tainted-blood victims say this is significant, because Ottawa and the provinces have refused to compensate Canadians infected with hepatitus C before 1986, arguing that there was no government negligence. They have admitted liability from 1986 to 1990, because during that period Canada was not using a test that was in use in the United States that might have screened for the virus.
Canadians infected with the potentially debilitating liver virus between those dates have been offered more than $1.1-billion in compensation. Those infected before 1986 have been left out.
"It puts the lie to the government's statement that there was no negligence prior to 1986," said David Harvey, a lawyer representing a group of Ontario hemophiliacs who have launched a $1-billion lawsuit, saying they contracted hepatitus C because blood products they used were manufactured with the plasma of high-risk U.S. prisoners.
But a senior Health Canada official argued yesterday there is nothing new in the document and nothing that deals with the issue of negligence.
The controversy came to public attention in 1998 as questions were raised about how a U.S. firm collected tainted blood from Arkansas prison inmates and shipped it to Canada has spread to Vince Foster - U.S. President Bill Clinton's personal confidant who committed suicide in 1993.
Vincent Foster, a boyhood friend of Mr. Clinton's, was one of the president's most trusted advisers. As a corporate lawyer in Arkansas, he worked in the same law office as Hillary Rodham Clinton and became a close colleague of hers.
Back then, Mr. Clinton was governor of Arkansas, and the state contracted with Health Management Associates, to provide medical care for prisoners. Mr. Clinton permitted the Health Maganeement company to collect blood and to pay the Clinton administration in Arkanas $7 for every unit of blood obtained from Arkansas prison convicts.
Barbara Benning, associate director of the bureau of biologics, said the note is a reflection of the facts as documented by Mr. Justice Horace Krever in his inquiry into the tainted-blood tragedy.
Canada stopped collecting prison blood in 1971 because the majority of prisoners were infected with hepatitus C.
It was Ottowa judge Krever who first brought the sordid story of U.S. prison blood to light.
But he did not conclude that more Canadians got hepatitis C because of the prison blood.
The class-action lawsuit claims that a Toronto pharmaceutical company, a Montreal blood broker and Health Canada were all negligent in allowing the importation of prison blood when its use was discontinued in the United States.
The lawsuit targets Connaught Laboratories Ltd., a venerable pharmaceutical company that manufactured blood products until 1987, Continental Pharma Cryosan Ltd., a blood broker that bought plasma from U.S. sources, including prisons, and the Bureau of Biologics of Health Canada, which was responsible for monitoring the safety of the blood supply.
Connaught sold blood products to the Canadian Red Cross Society, which in turn provided them to hemophiliacs. While most of the plasma used in the manufacture of the products came from volunteers, Connaught made up for shortfalls with regular purchases from Continental Pharma.
Over the period of years 1981 to 1984 it was widely known that there was contamination of the blood supply with the AIDS virus and hepatitis C was likely to have been in blood plasma collected under the direction of then Arkansas Governor, William Jeffrson Clinton from Arkansas prisoners. Mr. Clinton was collecting and selling the tainted blood despite the fact that the United States had stopped using prison blood in 1982 because inmates are far more likely to engage in high-risk sex and drug use.
In his final report, Judge Krever quoted the testimony of senior Connaught officials who said the system they set up to inspect and improve the places they bought blood from had failed.
His report also stressed that the distribution of contaminated products was largely avoidable, and that the only reason Connaught had to buy plasma on the open market was because the domestic supply was poorly managed.
When it was purchasing prison blood, Connaught was a wholly owned unit of CDC Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Canada Development Corp., which was in turn 47-per-cent owned by the federal government. Because the Ontario government was a big booster of Connaught, it insisted that its products be distributed in the province.
Canadian hemophiliacs paid the price, and many were covered by the government's offer of compensation. But as many as 150 who are still alive were not, said Mike McCarthy, who is an Ontario hemophiliac who was left out of the legal action.
"The onus is on the government to stand up and do what they said they would always do if there was any indications of wrongdoing before 1986...You shouldn't have at this point innocent Canadians having to battle through the courts to be treated with dignity and respect.