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To: KLP who wrote (151419)12/17/2005 4:23:54 AM
From: KLP
   of 661206
It sounds like Rush was REALLY upset about this: NY Times Lies to Undermine War on Terror,
Bush Didn't "Secretly" Allow Spying on Anyone

December 16, 2005


RUSH: What has been reported today by the New York Times is outrageous. It is false. It is misleading. It is deceitful -- and it is part of an ongoing effort within our country at the highest levels of the Democratic Party and the American media to destroy our ability to wage war against this enemy.

I don't know if you've seen it. You probably have heard about it. Here's the headline of the story: "Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in the United States After 9/11, Officials Say." Bush secretly lifted some limits on spying in the United States after 9/11? The story is about how the National Security Agency was secretly told by George W. Bush to go ahead and start spying on domestic Americans as they made international phone calls and sent and received international e-mails. The only problem with the story is that Bush didn't do anything "secretly." There were all kinds of people in on this, including members of Congress and the special secret court that gets involved in these kinds of things. If you read very carefully, there's a couple of key paragraphs in this story. Here's one of them -- and, by the way, let me say this.

By the way, there are a lot of details about this. The writer of the story is James Risen. James Risen has a book coming out! The New York Times in this story claims that the White House asked them not to print this and that they held off for a year. They held off for a year out of concerns for the White House. That's absolute bunk. It is BS. They've been sitting on this story for a year. James Risen, the author of the story, has a book coming out. This is part of his book. The book is published by Simon & Schuster, the same editor that Richard Clarke's books have been published by and edited, Hillary's publisher -- and of course there will be a 60 Minutes appearance by Mr. Risen when his book comes out because Viacom owns both CBS and Simon & Schuster.

So we've got the same synergy that we had during the 9/11 Commission hearings and that aftermath. So they haven't been sitting on this because of the White House. They've been sitting on it to promo a book. They've been sitting on it for a year. Why does it come out today? Because they want to cover up the great news that happened in Iraq yesterday. They want this and the Patriot Act and McCain's torture bill to be the subjects on the Sunday shows.

They're trying to switch the template here and take the great news happening in Iraq off everybody's mind, off the front page, and instead, focus efforts on the secret dealings of George W. Bush. Well, try this paragraph: "According to those officials and others, reservations about aspects of the program have also been expressed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a judge presiding over a secret court that oversees intelligence matters. Some of the questions about the agency's new powers led the administration to temporarily suspend the operation last year and impose more restrictions, the officials said."

Well, how in the world can this be secret if Rockefeller knew about it and if the special court and the judge presiding over it -- it's the FISA court, by the way -- how can it possibly have been secret? It wasn't secret. The lead of this story starts this way: "Months after the September 11th attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the US to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying."

Bush did no such thing. He did nothing secretly. Rockefeller knew about it. The special judge and all kinds of members of Congress knew about it. Try this paragraph: "The officials said the administration had briefed congressional leaders about the program and notified the judge in charge of the foreign intelligence surveillance court, the secret Washington court that deals with national security issues." How in the name of heaven can this be secret when the -- and this is from the story. The story headlined "Bush secretly lifted," and then the opening sentence, "President Bush secretly authorized," and then later on in this story, we learn that Rockefeller knew about it! That means a lot of members of Congress did, and that officials said the administration had briefed congressional leaders about the program. There was nothing secret about this. It was after 9/11, for crying out loud. I am telling you there is an organized effort within our country at the highest levels of the Democratic Party and their media accomplices to destroy our ability to wage war against this enemy. Can I tell you how this story would have been written, had this happened during the Clinton administration, assuming it would have been written at all?

Let me tell you how it would have been written: "Months after the September 11th attacks, the government authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the US to search for evidence of terrorist activity in order to ensure that another 9/11 attack doesn't happen," thereby approving the whole thing because the key words would have been "the government authorized the National Security Agency." In this case, the government didn't do diddlysquat, see?
According to the New York Times George Bush -- the evil George Bush – secretly, secretly, called the NSA and said, "I want you to start spying on Americans. They're the real problem here." This is so bogus; this is so outrageous; it is so irresponsible, and it is so indicative of the absolute fear that the left finds itself in today. They cannot succeed and triumph in an up-and-up, open-and-honest debate about anything. They have to deceive. They have to lie. They have to twist. They have to turn. They can't even stand the good news that came out of Iraq yesterday. No, no, no, no, no! Not at all!

They have to try to cover that up and make it sound like this country, this administration, is spying on you. You're the enemy. Then we got McCain's idiotic, foolish, stupid, dangerous torture bill to deal with, and that will be on the news all weekend long. I'm telling you, folks, this is getting serious. It's not just so much that the left imploding, which is a sure sign of what this is, but the bottom line is this is an all-out effort to tie our hands in dealing with this enemy. It is exactly what this is. I read this last night and I saw it being blurbed all over everywhere and I said, "Ah, jeez! Would people read the story. Stop just reading the headlines and read the story!" (interruption). Well, I know your pot (interruption). Did your pot boil when you (interruption). Livid at what, though? Snerdley's (interruption). Well, I'm going to get to that in a second.

I'm going to get to that. Snerdley is upset about the people that leaked this stuff, and you know something? This is putting the silliness and the absolute irrelevance and the childishness of this Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson thing in perspective. If we need a special counsel, if we need an independent prosecutor, we need to find out who in the hell it is that is leaking this rot-gut lying, stinking garbage to the newspaper of the Democrat National Committee, the New York bleeping Times -- and we need to find out where they are and we need to find out who they are and we need to stop this. The CIA needs to call for one of these referrals to the justice department, and we need to find out who's leaking automatic this rot-gut, folks. The Valerie Plame stuff is still in the minds of the media and of the Democrats much bigger than any of this. I have to take a quick break but I want to expand on all of the incestuous, synergistic, maniacal ties that exist between this story, major publishing, a major network, CBS, and the Democratic Party.


RUSH: You notice also in this New York Times story, "Bush secretly lifted some limits on spying," and I want to make another point about this. Bush did not "secretly" do anything. All kinds of people knew about it, as this story later on in its content alludes to and mentions. Bush alerted Congressional leaders. Jay Rockefeller knew about it. The special court, the FISA court, the judge there knew. But we're not told who the judge is, and there's no reporting at all on when Rockefeller knew about this or what other members of the Senate knew about it, or who the judge was. There's no curiosity at all about the involvement of others in this program on the part of Mr. Risen at the New York Times.

In fact, they gloss over all of that in order to protect those people, to protect members of Congress, to protect Rockefeller, and focus all attention on Bush -- and I can't help but remind you again of this lead. Just to show you the difference and to illustrate it, this lead starts this way: "Months after the September 11th attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop."

Had this been written during the Clinton administration, there's some question in my mind whether the story would have been written at all, but had it been, it would have been written in a way as to applaud the Clinton administration. It would have been written this way: "Months after..." "Only months" -- to imply quickness and concern. "Only months after the September 11th attacks, the government secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on potential terror suspects in America." That's how it would have been written, to support the Clinton administration. It wouldn't have said "the Clinton administration," wouldn't have said Bill Clinton personally. It would have said "the government," because the government is good! The government is the be-all-end-all. Government is daddy and mommy and nanny and everybody. The government is Santa Claus. Well, you can't say Santa Claus. They don't like Christmas. So that's how it would have been written, had it been written at all -- and today we had this little conference at the White House. They had McCain up there, President of the Media, and Vice President of the Media Lindsey Graham. All these senators and they were asked about this and McCain's on there, "Well, you know, I'm very troubled by this."

Let me tell you what's going to happen here. Bush has led the nation into a great geopolitical victory, and right now John McCain is getting all the attention. The "torture" issue is the top issue. Bush is attacked with this phony story about secretly spying on Americans. The book that is tied to this, James Risen, the same guy that wrote the story has got a book coming out. This is just part of a book. They've been holding it for a year. Why publish it today? They say in the story, "The government asked us to hold it." BS! This is the New York Times. It just recently ran a fake story about forged ballots getting into Iraq prior to the election. It's the same New York Times of Jayson Blair and Maureen Dowd, the same New York Times of Howell Raines, the New York Times of "Pinch" Sulzberger. The New York Times that ran a bogus year-old story on the Monday prior to the election, a week before the election last year, in order to indicate that Bush was incompetent in disarming terrorists in Iraq. So we find out this book has the same editor as Richard Clarke, somebody at Simon & Schuster which is part of Viacom, which is part of CBS.

So we know what's coming. We have the usual route. It appears in the New York Times, and then there will be a 60 Minutes interview, and a big focus on the book when it comes out -- and then Congress will pretend that they didn't know anything about it. Then they will demand investigations led by, no doubt, the President of the Media, Senator McCain, even though the story makes it perfectly clear that members of Congress were told by President Bush and the administration about the program. This whole thing is cast as a story with grave, grave concerns about civil liberties and privacy and that's not at all what this story is. This is an assassination. This is a journalistic assassination, the latest of many attempts against George W. Bush and his efforts to win this war against this current enemy. The reference to Rockefeller and the FISA judge and court makes clear that the other branches of the government were in on this. What we need to know is a lot of things that the Times story conceals, that the Times story doesn't say. The Times story doesn't say that this is a chapter in a book.

The Times story doesn't admit that it's a year old. The Times story doesn't say that all this is, is an attempt to promote a book. We need to know what kind of book deal Mr. Risen has. We'd like to know how much money he's been paid to write the book. We hear that about every other author, what's the advance? Will he be investigated the way other reporters have for receiving leaks of national security information? Was Senator Rockefeller told, and when, and what was he told, and what were the other senators told, and who were they? Who leaked the information presented to this secret FISA court?

Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, should take this opportunity right now. It's time to fight back against these people instead of bowing over and letting McCain have what he wants and so forth. It's time to fight back on this stuff. Gonzales needs to take this opportunity to expand the jurisdiction of Patrick Fitzgerald, the independent counsel. He's investigating CIA leaks. Well, hey, there's a whole boatload of them that have unfolded here that make the Valerie Plame leak look like Romper Room in a sandbox!

So Fitzgerald's jurisdiction needs to be expanded to include this leak, and all the other leaks. The secret prisons, you name it. He is, after all, "a prosecutor's prosecutor." He's beloved by the media -- when he's chasing Rove, anyway, when he's chasing Libby. Well, let him chase some legitimate leaks! Let him chase some legitimate, damaging-to-our-national security leaks. Whatever happened with Valerie Plame there was not a national security concern there. Our national security, folks, has become completely politicized, completely politicized now by Democrats, by Senator McCain, and a handful of gadfly Republicans, too.

From the Patriot Act to dumbing down the definitions of "torture" to open borders that allow anybody to pile into this country at any time they want. It's a disgrace what's going on. Any Republican who thinks that he's going to win an election to any office on this agenda is sadly mistaken. If there's any of you Republicans out there thinking that you are going to win a national election or a big election by saying you were for sabotaging the Patriot Act, that you were for McCain's new definitions of torture, that you were for all of these things, open borders that allow any number of people to come into this country, if you think that's a winning agenda, then you go ahead and run on it and you see what's going to happen to you.

The Democrats are voting and the New York Times is publishing purely to embarrass Bush, and their purpose is to attempt to derail everything that he is doing, even as commander-in-chief. In my mind, they are loathsome. They are beneath contempt. But the Republicans who help them out are much worse, because we know who the Democrats are. We expect this from them. We expect the Democrats to be lower than low. When they look up, they see the gutter. We know what they're all about now. They've made it clear. We once had higher expectations of the press, but we no longer do. We know who they are, but the Republicans are another story. These gadfly Republicans signing on to all this -- and in some cases, like Senator McCain, leading all this -- need to be sent a message.

Look what's happened this week. The greatest election we've had in Iraq after three in a row that have been successful, a stupendous story, and in the midst of all of it Congress passes a Bill of Rights for al-Qaeda: the McCain anti-torture bill, a Bill of Rights for al-Qaeda. Now they're weakening Patriot Act protections, and now we come out with a story that's designed to totally eliminate our ability and destroy our ability to conduct war and national defense against this enemy.


RUSH: The Senate Democrats today attempted to filibuster an extension of the Patriot Act. It's sort of a complicated thing. There was an offer to extend the current Patriot Act by three months, since they couldn't come to an agreement on reauthorizing it. That was rejected. There was no filibuster. They didn't succeed with that. The vote was 52 to something to defeat the revision to the Patriot Act, but here's the bottom line. I mean, this is what you need to know. The bottom line is that as of December 31st, the Gorelick wall comes back up as strong as ever. If nothing is done -- and it doesn't look like it will be -- the Patriot Act is dead. The Gorelick wall will come right back up and we're back to where we were before 9/11, and Durbin and Schumer in citing the reason for their votes on the floor of the Senate cited this bogus New York Times story today as the reason why.

So we have a multiple-purpose story. Destroy Bush, destroy our ability to wage war against this enemy, and destroy the Patriot Act -- and all of it comes under the umbrella of simply destroying this administration and anything it's done and anything it stands for, and this is what the Democrats think is going to launch them back to power.<>/b> They have another think coming. All this is doing is making George W. Bush look all the more heroic. It is making it obvious to the people paying attention just who he's up against. He's got foreign enemies and he's got domestic enemies, and the domestic enemies have ties to the foreign enemies. They are invested in our defeat.

I know this may sound a little bit harsh to some of you, but they have invested in our defeat. They've been out there for the last three weeks saying, "We can't win. Bring the troops home. It's hopeless. Bush has screwed it up." Don't try to tell me that they're not invested in defeat.

So if they're invested in defeat, and so are the terrorists -- the foreign enemies we have -- then there is a congruence there. There is an alignment. I'm not saying that there is an association. I'm saying that there is an alignment on policy and position. The Democrats have chosen sides and it's not their president. The Democrats have chosen sides and it's not their country, and that's where we are today after this successful election yesterday.

There's also something out there called the Barrett Report, folks. We've talked to you about the Barrett Report. Independent counsel that started with Henry Cisneros and it blossomed and it apparently contains bombshell after bombshell after bombshell about the Clinton administration's abuse of the IRS in going after political enemies and other things and we know that the release of the Barrett report's being covered up by Senate Democrats, led by Byron Dorgan and others -- and as I say, the information that has been gleaned in whatever ways possible includes details about the Clinton administration's abuse of the IRS.

Now, I don't recall once seeing the New York Times express any interest in the Barrett report and I don't recall much of the rest of the media doing so either. Doesn't this involve civil liberties? If an administration is using the IRS to abuse citizens, isn't that the abuse of civil liberties?

You're going to sit out there and you're going to be all worried your phone calls and your e-mails that are sent and received internationally are being inspected by the National Security Agency, or monitored and you're going to be all worried about that. "I can't have that!" But you don't care the IRS might be abusing you or an administration might be using it to target its political enemies? That's a civil rights issue as well, but seems like the people who profess to be so concerned about all this have little or no concern about it in truth.

We know how the New York Times acts. Patriotic senators could not break the filibuster of the watered down version of the Patriot Act. It's going to lapse on December 31st at midnight, which means we have to hold accountable every senator who voted against allowing an up or down vote on the act, because the Jamie Gorelick wall is back now in full force.

This New York Times story, I'm not through with this, because I really believe that Gonzales needs to expand Pat Fitzgerald's jurisdiction to include this leak and find out what has gone on. We have a completely politicized national security now. The Democrats, voting purely to embarrass Bush, are trying to derail everything that he's doing. Republicans -- some Republicans -- are helping out. We have Congress passing the Bill of Rights for al-Qaeda in McCain's torture bill, now weakening the Patriot Act and now putting out this bogus story that led, in part, to this disastrous Patriot Act vote today, but a bogus story!

By the way, the James Risen book is due in three months. I just found out the Risen book is due to hit in three months. So this is all part of a synergy here. Of course, the news today is all McCain all the time. Not the election, not Bush's tremendous leadership, but McCain. McCain saving the day here; McCain saving the day there. Speaking of that, there's a story here in the Los Angeles Times: "McCain Held All The Cards so Bush Folded." This is about the torture bill.

McCain held all the cards so Bush folded, and the theory behind this is: Well, McCain had the sense to attach this to the defense appropriations bill, and Bush couldn't afford to veto that because that would be de-funding the troops at the end of this year. The troops wouldn't have had any money, and the story says -- and this is a quote from Marshall Whitman, who is a former McCain aide, who is now "a senior fellow at the centrist Democrat Leadership Council." (Choking back laughter) There's nothing centrist about a Democrat today! I don't care who you're talking about. Maybe Lieberman now and then but the rest of them, forget that.

But anyway, Marshall Whitman used to work for McCain, and is now at the Democrat Leadership Council and here's what he said: "When John McCain feels passionately about an issue, there are very few forces, if any, that can stop him, including the White House." Well, I'll tell you how he could have been stopped. The president could have stopped him by saying this:

"Congress today did something I never thought it would do. It attached an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that weakens our ability to interrogate al-Qaeda terrorists and stop attacks on our homeland, and they told me to either sign this bill with this provision or our armed forces on the battlefield will go without funding. This is utterly irresponsible. I cannot, as president, allow this kind of recklessness, so I will veto this bill and ask Congress to come back and fund our military." Do it and let the chips fall.

Put the pressure on these clowns in Congress to come back and fund the military. Don't fall for this kind of stuff. It's absolutely absurd. There was a way to stop this. It's called a veto. My buddy, Andy McCarthy, National Review Online today, wait 'til you hear this. "Politicizing defense appropriations? Why, that's disgusting. Why did Senator McCain have so much leverage as he imposed on the president his al-Qaeda Bill of Rights? Because he succeeded in attaching it to the defense appropriations bill, meaning a veto would have slashed provisions for our troops in wartime.

"Well, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who chairs the appropriations committee, obviously sees this as a pretty effective tactic. So Stevens is now attaching to the defense appropriations bill his own amendment to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. What does McCain think of this? Well, from today's Washington Post: 'Senator McCain sharply criticized Stevens' effort as "disgusting," but how he would vote on such a bill, McCain said, "That's the dilemma. I'd have to look at the whole bill. I think it's disgraceful I have to be put in that position,"' unquote. It's disgraceful. Poor little John McCain has to be put in this position when that is precisely what he did to George W. Bush.

He attached his own personal selfish little amendment, redefining torture to include practically any of you who have gone through a security line and waited for an airplane for over an hour at an airport anywhere in this country. Standing around, being sniffed by dogs. This is how McCain defines torture."

Max Boot had a great piece on this in the LA Times this week and I'm going to get to that in mere moments to put this McCain torture bill, the al-Qaeda Bill of Rights, in perspective. So Ted Stevens sees what McCain did. "Hey, I want drilling in my state. I'm going to attach that to this bill. The president just showed me he isn't going to veto this." McCain says, "The position this has put me in, it's disgraceful! It's disgraceful to be put in this position. I -- I -- I don't know what I'm going to do!" It's Twilight Zone time. I mean, it's utterly Twilight Zone time. It's insane asylum time. We are commenting here on people that are nuts or so egomaniacal that they do not realize how absolutely confoundingly selfish and egotistical they sound. It's got to be one or the other.


RUSH: I erred. The Risen book was turned in three months ago. It's even better than this. The Risen book comes out in 10 days.

This bogus, phony, fraudulent, plastic banana good-time rock n' roller, dope-smoking FM type of a story is a precursor for the guy's book that comes out in 10 days, ladies and gentlemen. Shortly after that, we will have the interview on 60 Minutes, and then all the synergy will be -- and then Congress will demand hearings. Congress has already cited this bogus story as a reason for voting against the Patriot Act today, and now Arlen Specter has called for a probe of spying by the National Security Agency.

Well, you better go talk to your buddy Jay Rockefeller and you better go talk to the FISA judge, whoever the hell he is, and the court and find out everybody else who knew about this. The real thing you should do, Senator Specter, is find out who the hell is leaking all of this. Now, it's completely predictable, completely contemptible. Specter is swallowing it all up, reacting to the liberal media, doesn't get any facts, can't resist having his name in print.

Press Secretary McClellan is being grilled on the New York Times story today. The entire election yesterday is already old news. Replaced with the media's priorities and it's time to be blunt. If we are hit again, we know now who to hold responsible, folks. The senators who voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act. The senators who voted to dumb down the definition of torture.

We know who you are and you are on record, and we are going to never let anybody forget who you are. This absolute joke of a torture bill, the al-Qaeda Bill of Rights, now this Patriot Act snafu today. Wait 'til you hear. There are 16 provisions, essentially, of the Patriot Act that expire December 31st because they were not renewed today, and when I have time in the next hour I'm going to go through these 16, or some of them. It's welcome back Jamie Gorelick's wall, essentially. So apparently we have reached a point in our country where the routine and continual violation of our national security secrets by the New York Times Corporation, is acceptable to Americans in the middle of a war.

Is that what we're to assume here? Are we to assume here that Americans in the middle of a war are fully in compliance and accepting of the routine and continual violation of our national security secrets by the New York Times organization, corporate and occasionally the Washington Post? Is that where we are? I ask this because, my friends, every damned one of these leaks is intended to harm our ability to win. When is the last time you heard of a positive leak? When's the last time you read of or heard a leak that was positive about our effort, about our troops, about our ongoing effort to defeat this enemy? I ask you, is the New York Times really any different from Al-Jazeera at this point? Are they? It's not a propaganda outlet for the enemy, is it? It certainly seems like it is to me. New York Times may as well be called the DNC Times. It has become a propaganda outlet for the enemy. You know, we need to build another prison. I don't think we have enough prisons.

I know the Reverend Jackson and all these people say we got too many prisons. We got too many people in them. We got too many CIA prisons. We need to shut these prisons down, shut down Abu Ghraib, shut down Club G'itmo. We need to build another prison and this one doesn't need to be secret, and you know who needs to go in it? Every damned one of the leakers who reveal real national security secrets. I don't care if they are members of Congress. I don't care if they are CIA officials. I don't care if they are officials of the justice department. I don't care if they are members of the administration who have an ax to grind for some stupid reason. We need a prison and we need to name it the serial leakers prison and detention center. We will put the serial leakers who are systematically undermining our war effort in this prison after they are duly convicted, after the ongoing investigation by the prosecutor's prosecutor, Pat Fitzgerald, who is investigating CIA leaks.

It's time for another prison, and it's time to demand a federal investigation into all of these leaks now. This is the last straw. This is the bottom line, because this is bogus to begin with. This is a fraudulent story. It's deceitful. It is not published honestly. It's not described honestly. The author is not portrayed honestly. Why would it be? It's the New York Times.

The precedent has been set to look into CIA leaks. We have it. It's out there. It's ongoing. The phony little Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson case, a couple of irrelevant schlubs when it comes to all of this stuff that really matters. The Plame leak, cocktail circuit entertainment for the media -- these leaks endanger the country and the New York Times cannot set national security policy for this country. They must not be allowed to do so, and they only are allowed to do so with the incessant disgruntled members of Congress, Justice, CIA, State Department, wherever the hell these people are. The New York Times is a willing receptacle for them. The New York Times is trying to set national security policy and it's time to find out who is leaking to them, and build that prison and put these people in it.

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To: Nadine Carroll who wrote (151397)12/17/2005 4:43:57 AM
From: KLP
   of 661206
On a lighter note: Mayday! It's the Dave Barry Gift Guide
By Dave Barry

Friday, December 16, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Knight Ridder Newspapers


Sinking Titanic Model: We bet the lucky youngster who gets this gift will play with it for hours, and ultimately need therapy. Does not come with a tiny nonfloating replica of Leonardo DiCaprio.

Kiss Celebriducks, a set of four rubber ducks shaped vaguely like the members of Kiss. They make a fun and educational toy for anybody except children younger than 21.

It's the Animated Stress Turtle, and it crawls across your desk and sings "You gotta slow down." If you're having a stressful day at the office, all you have to do is activate your stress turtle, and before you know it, one of your co-workers will smash it with a chair.

Hark! Do you hear that sound? It's "Frosty the Snowman." For the eighth or ninth time today! And that thud? Why, that's Dad, falling off the ladder. And if you listen really, really hard, you can hear, softly in the distance, the sounds of shoppers trading punches over parking spots at the mall.

No doubt about it: The holidays are here!

This is not your ordinary gift guide, the kind that features gifts that somebody might actually want or use. These gifts were selected because they meet a very strict criterion, which is that when we saw the item advertised, we said to ourselves: "Are they SERIOUS?"

Every item here is a real product. We have purchased all of them and subjected them to our rigorous field-testing procedure, which consists of giving them to Raul the photographer and sending him out to take funny pictures of them. After that, we don't know what happens to them, and we don't care.


$39.95 plus shipping/handling from Transportation Hobby Collectibles Online/Singular Selections E-Stores, 800-372-7299,

What is more fun for a youngster than playing with a toy ship in a bathtub or pool? Playing with a toy ship that realistically simulates the sinking of an ocean liner resulting in more than a thousand deaths! You touch a button, and a big iceberg gash opens up in the hull, and down she goes!

Dave Barry has been on sabbatical this year, but that hasn't stopped him from producing his annual gift guide. Look for his year-in-review column Jan. 2 in Living.

Ha ha! We bet the lucky youngster who gets this gift will play with it for hours, and ultimately need therapy. Does not come with a tiny nonfloating replica of Leonardo DiCaprio.


$24.95 plus shipping/handling (H&S)from The KISS Museum,

Sometimes two things come together to form something new and wonderful. Peanut butter and jelly. Abbott and Costello. Peanut butter and Costello.

This gift concept is another example of this phenomenon. What probably happened was this: Some marketing people were sitting around and they got into an argument. On one side was a guy saying, "We need to put out a product that would appeal to fans of the legendary rock band Kiss." On the other side was a guy saying, "No! We need to put out a product that can be used as a bath toy!"

The result is the Kiss Celebriducks, a set of four rubber ducks shaped vaguely like the members of Kiss. They make a fun and educational toy for anybody except children younger than 21.


NOTE: We just found out that this item has been discontinued. But trust us, you wouldn't have wanted it anyway.

Remember a few years ago, when there was a big fad involving a fake trophy bass that sang "Take Me To the River?"

Well, guess what?

We now reached an even lower point. It's the Animated Stress Turtle, and it crawls across your desk and sings "You gotta slow down." If you're having a stressful day at the office, all you have to do is activate your stress turtle, and before you know it, one of your co-workers will smash it with a chair. You might even be fired! That will definitely cut down on your work-related stress.


$39.99 plus S&H from Collector Bookstore, 913-651-0600,

Every year, except when we forget, we include literature in the gift guide. This year's is "Switch Blades of Italy," a book guaranteed to be of great interest to anybody interested in Italian switchblades.

If you're a guy, and you're looking for a romantic gift for that "special lady" on your list, this book is it.


$13.99 plus S&H from Amazon,

This is a CD for dogs. According to the advertisement on the Internet — and if we cannot trust advertisements on the Internet, what CAN we trust? — this is, quote, "the first qualitatively and quantitatively researched musical CD, based upon 200 canine participants' decisions as to what THEY would like to hear in songs!"

You read that correctly: This has been researched qualitatively AND quantitatively. Just try to find another selection of songs for dogs that can make that claim.

We here at the gift guide are not, personally, a dog, but we did listen to several of the songs, including "Squeaky Deaky," in which a man sings about a squeaky toy, which can be heard squeaking rhythmically.

But this is not about us. This is about what musical gift to give your dog. We recommend Ray Charles.


$129.95 plus S&H from Hammacher Schlemmer, 800-321-1484,

Cats and small dogs make wonderful pets, but they are not so great at walking. They mostly want to lie around and have things brought to them. That's why this pet stroller is such a terrific idea. Instead of forcing your pet to perform the tiresome chore of walking, you push it where it needs to go.

This stroller is also a good way to walk pets that otherwise might be housebound, such as squid.


$12.99-$19.99 plus S/H, 877-560-6222,

Each Forest Face is a set of facial features that you attach to a tree, thus transforming it from a boring, lifeless lump of wood like Al Gore into a tree with a vibrant personality, like the ones that threw apples at Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz."


$18.99-$24.99 plus S&H from Care-A-Lot Pet Supply, 800-343-7680,

For years now, thoughtful dog owners have been putting sweaters and coats on their dogs for outdoor wear. But what about indoor wear? What about BEDTIME wear? Every night, all over this so-called "caring" nation, literally millions of dogs go to bed naked. For these unfortunate animals, there are these quality dog pajamas, in a variety of "fun" prints. We guarantee that when you put these PJs on your dog, he's going to give you a special look — a look that says, "Some night, when you least expect it, I will rip out your throat."


$9.85 plus S&H from PetVetDirect, 888-738-8383,

It's a problem every dog owner faces: What do you do when your dog deposits a massive steaming pile on the sidewalk?

The right thing to do is of course to look around in a furtive manner, then sprint away.

No! Sorry! The right thing to do is clean up after your dog. And here's a product designed to help. Poop-Freeze, according to the manufacturer, is "a specially formulated aerosol freeze spray that, upon contact, forms a frosty film on dog poop (or cat poop) to harden the surface for easy pick-up."

Easy ... and fun!


$12.95 plus S&H from Sprayonmud Limited,

Millions of Americans own SUVs with rugged "off-road" capabilities, as illustrated in TV commercials wherein these vehicles climb mountains, ford rivers, run down and kill wildebeests, etc. Unfortunately, most SUV-owning Americans live in the suburbs, so if they ever actually drove off-road, they'd be on somebody's lawn.

What these people need is Spray-on Mud, in a convenient can. Now, when you return home with your car all muddied up, your neighbors will think you were in rugged backcountry, even though you were actually at Mattress World.


$29.99 plus S&H from Brain Buster Enterprises,

Men, ask yourself this question: How does actor Brad Pitt manage to hook up with so many fine ladies? What does he have that YOU don't have? The answer is: a scrolling electronic belt buckle. Brad, and so many other guys who "score" with the babes, would not go anywhere, including the beach, without first strapping on this product. It can be programmed to display a scrolling message, such as "CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT KIND OF PATHETIC LOSER WOULD ACTUALLY WEAR THIS?"


$19.95 plus S&H from Bodyperks,

Ladies, let's talk about your nipples. Men think about them a lot.

Unfortunately, there may be times when men are NOT thinking about your nipples, such as during a terrorist attack, or when you are wearing garments that do not permit nipple pokage. During such times, you need Bodyperks brand artificial nipples, which can poke out through just about anything, including body armor. We understand that Madonna buys these things by the gross.


$19.95 plus S&H from, 877-785-3914,

Roasted marshmallows are a fun treat and an important nutritional source of sugar. The problem is the backbreaking labor involved. You barely have enough strength to raise your Hershey bar to your lips.

But not any more. This device harnesses the amazing power of AA batteries to drive an electric motor that turns your marshmallows for you. That's right, we said "marshmallows," plural, because this baby can rotate THREE marshmallows at a time. Also we are pretty sure it could be used to kill a bear, although this is not explicitly stated in the instructions.


$5.95 per flavor plus S&H from David Burke's Flavor Spray Diet, 718-793-7772,

Why do we eat fattening foods? Because they taste good. This is why we never, ever, while watching football on a Sunday afternoon, say: "Let's call up Celery Hut and have a big bunch of celery delivered!"

No, we want pizza, because pizza is dripping with fat. And that's the problem: If you want flavor, you have to eat food that makes YOU fat. Until now! Flavor Spray contains no calories, no carbohydrates and no fat, and comes in many flavors, including chocolate fudge, bacon, marshmallow and teriyaki.

With Flavor Spray, you can make anything taste good! You could have a meal consisting entirely of cardboard! (Not recommended.) You can even eat nothing at all, and simply spray flavor directly into your mouth. Raul the photographer tried this, and, weeks later, his mouth STILL tastes like bacon.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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To: bela_ghoulashi who wrote (151405)12/17/2005 5:36:28 AM
From: Maurice Winn
   of 661206
BBM, is somebody paying you to reply to PB's posts days after he writes them? <Is someone paying you to respond to my posts days after I write them?>

You asked that a whole 3 days later, which, oddly, and very suspiciously, is how many days after his post that you asked him that question. Are you he?

I suspect people in black hats and black helicopters are posting for you both, and neither of you really exist.,


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From: LindyBill12/17/2005 5:36:40 AM
   of 661206
At Inland Base, Scientologists Trained Top Gun
# Tom Cruise studied intensively at the remote compound near Hemet while becoming a passionate messenger for the church.

By Claire Hoffman and Kim Christensen, LA Times Staff Writers

GILMAN HOT SPRINGS — Nearly 30 years ago, the Church of Scientology bought a dilapidated and bankrupt resort here and turned the erstwhile haven for Hollywood moguls and starlets into a retreat for L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer who founded the religion.

Today, the out-of-the-way 500-acre compound near Hemet has quietly grown into one of Scientology's major bases of operation, with thriving video and recording studios, elaborate offices and a multimillion-dollar mansion that former members say was built for the eventual return of "LRH," who died in 1986.

Like the previous owners, the church also has used the property as a sanctuary for its own stable of stars. It is here, ex-members say, that Hollywood's most bankable actor, Tom Cruise, was assiduously courted for the cause by Scientology's most powerful leader, David Miscavige.

Scientology has long recruited Hollywood luminaries. But the close friendship of these two men for nearly 20 years and their mutual devotion to Hubbard help explain Cruise's transformation from just another celebrity adherent into the public face of the church.

The bond between the star and his spiritual leader was evident last year when the two traded effusive words and crisp salutes at a Scientology gala in England. Calling Cruise "the most dedicated Scientologist I know," Miscavige presented him with the church's first Freedom Medal of Valor.

"Thank you for your trust, thank you for your confidence in me," Cruise replied, according to Scientology's Impact magazine. "I have never met a more competent, a more intelligent, a more tolerant, a more compassionate being outside of what I have experienced from LRH. And I've met the leaders of leaders. I've met them all."

Founded in 1954, Scientology is a religion without a deity. It teaches that "spiritual release and freedom" from life's problems can be achieved through one-on-one counseling called auditing, during which members' responses are monitored on an "e-meter," similar to a polygraph. This process, along with a series of training courses, can cost Scientologists many tens of thousands of dollars.

As Scientology's highest-ranking figure, Miscavige, 45, has found in Cruise, 43, not just a fervent and famous believer but an effective messenger whose passion the church has harnessed to help fuel its worldwide growth.

"Across 90 nations, 5,000 people hear his word of Scientology — every hour," International Scientology News proclaimed last year. "Every minute of every hour someone reaches for LRH technology ... simply because they know Tom Cruise is a Scientologist."

Cruise and Miscavige declined requests for interviews.

A Scientology spokesman, Mike Rinder, called them the "best of friends," men who've achieved great success through "their force of personality and their drive to excel."

At the same time that Cruise's increasingly vocal advocacy of Scientology has drawn attention to his faith, it has collided with his career. While promoting "War of the Worlds" this year, the film's director, Steven Spielberg, grew concerned that Cruise was talking too little about the movie and too much about Scientology and his wide-eyed-in-love fiancee, Katie Holmes, who turns 27 today.

Their romance generated even more buzz when Holmes was seen in the nearly constant company of Jessica Rodriguez, who is from a prominent family of Scientologists. Holmes, who said after becoming engaged to Cruise that she was embracing Scientology, described Rodriguez as a close friend, though she was widely seen as a church-appointed companion.

Unlike Holmes' embrace of the church, Cruise's is not new. Long before he sprang onto Oprah's couch, jabbed an accusing finger at Matt Lauer and blasted Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants, Cruise undertook intensive Scientology study and counseling at the church's compound, according to current and former Scientologists.

The vast majority of Scientologists train at the church's better-known facilities, including those in Hollywood and Clearwater, Fla. Cruise also has trained at those locations, but for much of his studies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he headed to Gilman Hot Springs.

He stayed for weeks at a time, arriving by car or helicopter, according to ex-Scientologists who saw him there on repeated occasions. The former resort, 90 miles east of Los Angeles, was an ideal place for Cruise to get out of the spotlight while focusing on his Scientology training, ex-members say.

Described by ex-members as the church's international nerve center, the property is largely concealed from outsiders by tall hedges and high walls. The complex's barbed-wired perimeter and driveways are monitored by video cameras, and motion sensors are placed around the property to detect intruders, ex-members say. Some also remember a perch high in the hills, dubbed "Eagle," where staffers with telescopes jotted down license plate numbers of any vehicle that lingered too long near the compound.

Behind the compound's guarded gates, Cruise had a personal supervisor to oversee his studies in a private course room, ex-members say. He was unique among celebrities in the amount of time he spent at the base. Others visited, they said, but only Cruise took up temporary residence.

"I was there for eight years and nobody stayed long at all, except for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman during that period," said Bruce Hines, who clashed with Miscavige and left Scientology in 2001 after three decades in the group.

He said he once provided spiritual counseling to the actress before she and Cruise divorced. Kidman, who had taken Scientology courses, has largely remained silent about the group in recent years.

While at the complex, Cruise stayed in a renovated bungalow near a golf course on the property.

"It was sort of like an upscale country place," said Karen Schless Pressley, a former Scientology "image officer," whose duties included interior design and creating military-style uniforms for Scientology staffers.

While hardly palatial, the guest digs where Cruise stayed were luxurious compared with the drab apartments in Hemet, where Schless Pressley and hundreds of other base staffers lived, with few amenities and almost no privacy.

She said she and her ex-husband shared a two-bedroom unit with another couple and were not allowed to make personal phone calls. Schless Pressley said she left the church because of what she alleged were invasions of members' privacy and other deprivations— a claim church officials say is unfounded.

At the same time, she and other former members say, Miscavige was seeing to Cruise's every need, assigning a special staff to prepare his meals, do his laundry and handle a variety of other tasks, some of which required around-the-clock work.

Maureen Bolstad, who was at the base for 17 years and left after a falling-out with the church, recalled a rainy night 15 years ago when a couple of dozen Scientologists scrambled to deal with "an all-hands situation" that kept them working through dawn. The emergency, she said: planting a meadow of wildflowers for Cruise to romp through with his new love, Kidman.

"We were told that we needed to plant a field and that it was to help Tom impress Nicole," said Bolstad, who said she spent the night pulling up sod so the ground could be seeded in the morning.

The flowers eventually bloomed, Bolstad said, "but for some mysterious reason it wasn't considered acceptable by Mr. Miscavige. So the project was rejected and they redid it."

Other ex-members say it wasn't the only time that Miscavige put them to work to please Cruise.

Miscavige, a firearms enthusiast, introduced Cruise to skeet shooting at the compound, according to an ex-member who said the actor was so grateful that he sent an automated clay-pigeon launcher to replace an older, hand-pulled model. With Cruise due to return in a few days, Miscavige again ordered all hands on deck, this time to renovate the base's skeet range, the ex-member said.

Dozens worked around the clock for three days "just so Tom Cruise would be impressed," the ex-member said.

Rinder, head of Scientology International's Office of Special Affairs, said such accounts were fabricated by "apostates," members who had abandoned the religion.

He said he knew nothing about the skeet range incident. The wildflower planting never occurred and might be a confused version of repairs done after a 1990 mudslide, he said, adding that he couldn't account for ex-members' detailed recollections, including those of Bolstad, whom he specifically described as not credible.

"I don't know exactly how to explain every one of these bizarro stories that you hear," he said.

Rinder also disputed the contention by numerous ex-members that Cruise's stays at the facility were exceptional, saying that many celebrity Scientologists had stayed there.

Cruise has made no extended visits to the complex since the early 1990s and has done 95% of his religious training elsewhere, Rinder said. Miscavige, he said, spends only a fraction of his time there and divides the rest of his time among offices in Los Angeles, Clearwater and Britain. He also stays aboard the Freewinds, Scientology's 440-foot ship based in Curacao in the Caribbean, Rinder said.

However, voter registration records list the Gilman Hot Springs complex as Miscavige's residence since the early 1990s and as recently as the 2004 general election. Rinder said the church leader simply had not updated his registration. Miscavige's wife, father, stepmother and siblings also have resided at the complex, according to voting records and interviews.

The base has changed significantly in the years since Cruise spent long days in intensive training, from which he would occasionally take time out to ride dirt bikes or go sky diving with Miscavige, ex-members said.

For years, the property has been home to Golden Era Productions, where Scientologists work around the clock producing videos, audio recordings and e-meters, to be sold to church members. Rinder said nearly all of the members at Golden Era have signed billion-year contracts to serve the church.

Since 1998, the church has poured at least $45 million into expanding the facility and has bought dozens of nearby homes and vacant lots, public records show. The additions include an $18.5-million, 45,000-square-foot management building with a wing of offices for Miscavige.

The most striking building is a mansion that sits on a hill — uninhabited. Dubbed "Bonnie View," ex-members say, it was built for the church founder, who died in secrecy on a ranch near San Luis Obispo amid a federal tax investigation that was dropped after his death. The mansion has a lap pool and a movie theater and was completed in 2000 at a cost of nearly $9.4 million, property records show.

"It's high-end beautiful but not ostentatious," decorated with Craftsman furniture, and draperies and other items that were designed to be changed with the seasons, Schless Pressley said.

Former members say they were told the mansion was built for Hubbard's return.

"The whole theory of that house was that before Hubbard died in 1986, David Miscavige told us, Hubbard told him he was going to come back and make himself visible within 13 years," Schless Pressley said.

The mansion, Rinder said, is merely a museum that contains most of Hubbard's belongings.

"It's preserved because the life of L. Ron Hubbard is extremely important to Scientologists," he said.

Miscavige, who spent his teenage years as one of Hubbard's cadre of young aides, rose to the head of Scientology after the founder's death. Little known outside the organization, Miscavige in the early 1990s succeeded in gaining tax-exempt status for the church after he and another Scientology official personally approached the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to negotiate a settlement.

As chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center, which holds the lucrative rights to the Scientology and Dianetics trademarks, he is the church's ultimate authority — and is treated as such.

Miscavige's living quarters and offices in renovated bungalows were modest compared with Bonnie View but reflected his taste for the best of the best, including state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, said ex-members who viewed the accommodations.

"He's about five-seven and everything was built in proportion to his body size," Schless Pressley said. "And everything was the best. You know how everybody has a pen cup on his desk? His pen cup had about 20 Montblanc pens in it."

Shelly Britt, who joined Scientology at 17, said she was at the base for nearly 20 years before leaving the church in 2002. She said she worked directly with Miscavige much of that time. She recalled a Beverly Hills tailor visiting to measure Miscavige for his suits, and said moldings of his feet were taken and sent to London for custom-made shoes.

"His lifestyle so far exceeds anyone else's. He had his own personal staff to handle his food and his room and his clothes and his ironing and his dogs," she said. "His uniforms were specially tailored and he had, like, Egyptian cotton shirts, special pants, special shoes, special everything. And it was all of the highest quality."

Although Hines, Britt and other ex-members describe Miscavige as extremely demanding of those under his command, they say he treated Cruise "like a king." Among other things, Britt said, Miscavige and his wife attended the star's 1990 wedding to Kidman in Colorado and then followed up with frequent gifts.

"They don't do that for every celebrity," she said. "I remember one time I had to go pick up one of those big fancy picnic baskets and china and silver and take it out to Burbank to Tom's pilot. I even took pictures of it so Dave and his wife could see I took it out to the plane."

Rinder said that Cruise was treated no differently from other members and that his highly public support of Scientology came straight from his heart.

"It's a reflection of his own decisions and personal conviction," Rinder said.

The church's belief in the power of celebrity to promote Scientology dates to its earliest days when, in 1955, the church issued "Project Celebrity," a call to arms for Scientologists to recruit show business "quarry" such as Walt Disney, Liberace and Greta Garbo to help expand the religion's reach.

Although the church failed to enlist those famous figures, it has been successful in attracting many others in addition to Cruise, including John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Anne Archer, Jenna Elfman, Beck and Chick Corea.

More than any other celebrity, Cruise has helped fuel the growth of the church, which claims a worldwide membership of 10 million and in the last two years has opened major centers in South Africa, Russia, Britain and Venezuela. Cruise joined Miscavige last year for the opening of a church in Madrid.

In his own spiritual life, Cruise has continued to climb the "Bridge to Total Freedom," Scientology's path to enlightenment. International Scientology News, a church magazine, reported last year that the actor had embarked on one of the highest levels of training, "OT VII" — for Operating Thetan VII.

At these higher levels — and at a potential cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars — Scientologists learn Hubbard's secret theory of human suffering, which he traces to a galactic battle waged 75 million years ago by an evil tyrant named Xenu.

According to court documents made public by The Times in the 1980s, Hubbard espoused the belief that Xenu captured the souls, or thetans, of enemies and electronically implanted false concepts in them to keep them confused about his dirty work. The goal of these advanced courses is to become aware of the trauma and free of its effects.

At Cruise's high level of training, ex-members say, devotees also are charged with actively spreading the organization's less secretive beliefs and advancing its crusades, including Hubbard's deep disdain for psychiatry, a profession that once dismissed his teachings as quackery.

"When you hear Tom Cruise talking about psychiatrists and drugs," said one prominent former Scientologist who knows Cruise, "you are hearing from the grave the voice of L. Ron Hubbard speaking."

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From: LindyBill12/17/2005 5:47:46 AM
   of 661206
House OKs Border Bill Without a Guest Plan
Battle lines are drawn over temporarily legalizing the status of millions of workers.
By Mary Curtius
December 17, 2005

WASHINGTON — Ignoring President Bush's call for a guest-worker program, the House passed legislation Friday that would tighten border security and impose new penalties on those who enter illegally and those who hire them.

The bill was approved, 239 to 182, despite opposition from most Democrats and some Republicans, who said that for the measure to be effective, it needed a plan to allow millions of illegal workers to temporarily legalize their status in the U.S.

The measure's passage gives Republicans, who are struggling on other legislative fronts as Congress prepares to adjourn for several weeks, an accomplishment to take back to their districts and a chance to argue that Democrats refused to get tough on illegal immigration.

But debate on the bill also exposed deep fissures in the GOP over how to deal with the nation's immigration problems, pitting those who want to legalize millions of workers against those who believe anyone who entered the United States illegally should be denied even temporary legal status.

The legislation's fate in the Senate, which plans to take up immigration issues in February, is uncertain. Several senators from both parties have put forth plans for guest-worker programs, and the argument in that chamber seems centered on whether such a program should allow workers to earn citizenship.

One of the most controversial provisions of the House bill would make what is now a civil offense — illegal presence in the United States — a felony. Critics have objected that the measure would criminalize the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

The bill also would require every employer in the nation to check all workers' legal status with the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the provision, saying its six-year phase-in would not be long enough to implement such a massive program.

Another provision would authorize construction of about 700 miles of security fencing along the border with Mexico and let the secretary of Homeland Security study building a fence along the Canadian border.

The measure also would increase the penalties for smuggling people across the borders.

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) decried the lack of a guest-worker program, saying: "Basically, what we have here is enforcement, but none of the compassion that President Bush has been speaking about. We're going to create fear and confusion."

Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, issued a statement opposing the bill, saying: "Behind these punitive provisions are people and families who will suffer needlessly. Immigrants — even those without legal status — are not criminals."

But Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who heads a group of several dozen lawmakers advocating a crackdown on illegal immigration, hailed the bill, saying: "It begins for the first time to actually deal with a problem in a comprehensive way."

The legislation, Tancredo said, addresses the "supply side" of illegal immigration by authorizing a wall along the southwest border and the "demand side" by penalizing employers who hire illegal workers.

Bush has repeatedly called for an immigration bill that includes a temporary-worker program. Such a program, he has said, would give illegal immigrants an incentive to come forward and ensure that U.S. employers can find workers for jobs that many Americans are reluctant to fill.

But his public position has shifted as some Republicans' opposition to guest-worker plans has mounted.

Recently, Bush has emphasized the need to beef up border security. On Thursday, the White House budget office issued a statement saying it strongly supported the House legislation.

The House Republican leadership tried to maintain party unity by restricting its immigration legislation to border security and law enforcement.

Still, the effort was nearly derailed Thursday. GOP leaders blocked a bid for a nonbinding resolution supporting a guest-worker program and refused demands by the anti-illegalimmigrant faction for debate on an amendment to ban automatic citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.

Supporters of a guest-worker program are now counting on the Senate to include a temporary-worker plan in the immigration package that Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has said the Senate will take up in February.

"We're not so much making policy as making a statement here" that the nation's laws must be enforced and that the flow of illegal immigrants must be staunched before any guest-worker program is created, said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who advocated the nonbinding guest-worker resolution.

"The hope is that the Senate now will have a vehicle — however flawed — that they can attach a guest-worker program to," Flake said.

Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village) said the House bill was "either an insult to our intelligence or a con on the American people" that would be transformed by the Senate into a bill with a guest-worker program or allowed to quietly die.

Berman strongly supports creating a guest-worker program that would include a path for eventual citizenship.

But Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) said a guest-worker program would reward those who entered the country illegally. "They come here for one reason: a job. A guest-worker plan that lets illegals keep their jobs is amnesty," he said.

Three of the 17 Republicans who voted against the bill were from California: Devin Nunes of Visalia, George P. Radanovich of Mariposa and Bill Thomas of Bakersfield. None of the 36 Democrats who backed it were from California. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Norwalk) did not vote.

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From: LindyBill12/17/2005 5:49:59 AM
   of 661206
Yes, We Have Bananas. We Just Can't Ship Them.
The New York Times
December 16, 2005
Op-Ed Contributor


AT this week's ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong, negotiators have once again hit an impasse over how and when to open the rich world's agricultural markets to farmers in the poorest countries. What few people have realized, however, is that poor countries don't have to wait for the World Trade Organization. There is plenty that they can and should do to help their own farmers to trade.

Imagine a dream scenario in which the trade ministers emerge from their negotiations this weekend holding hands and proclaiming an end to all agricultural protectionism. What then?

For, say, a banana picker in the Central African Republic, not a lot. The trade barriers at the borders of the rich world may have disappeared, but if our picker wants to sell his bananas abroad he first has to get them onto a ship bound for America or Europe. That takes 116 days, and an incredible 38 signatures - each one an opportunity for some official to collect a bribe. Something is rotten here, and not just the bananas.

Sub-Saharan African exporters face, on average, delays of nearly 50 days for each shipment. They must get roughly 20 signatures on eight or nine separate customs forms. (These figures are all documented in "Doing Business in 2006: Creating Jobs," a report released in September by the World Bank. A disclosure: I was an adviser to the report team.)

Part of the problem, of course, is that landlocked African countries are linked to the outside world by long, decrepit roads and underdeveloped ports in neighboring countries. But determined growers can move bananas along even lousy roads. The real problem is elsewhere: three-quarters of delays are the result of red tape, not port handling or inland transport. These delays, caused by senseless bureaucracy, unnecessary forms and archaic inspection practices, can often be eliminated with a stroke of a pen by a country's chief executive. Even the more sophisticated reforms, like introducing electronic filing, or using software to guide sensible risk-based customs inspections, require only small outlays. What's more, such reforms increase the interception of smuggled goods and discourage corrupt customs officials.

The Group of 20, composed of developing countries like Argentina, Brazil, China and India, has been pushing hardest of all for an end to rich countries' agricultural subsidies and tariffs. Paradoxically, some of the most vocal members of the group impose regulatory barriers that are just as crippling to exporters in their own countries. India's commerce minister, Kamal Nath, has called for rich countries to "eliminate export subsidies as fast as possible." And so they should, but Mr. Nath might take note that an Indian exporter needs to collect 22 signatures on 10 documents - that puts India in the bottom 20 countries in the world for letting its own entrepreneurs trade across borders. Celso Amorim, Brazil's foreign minister, has condemned farming subsidies as "the most harmful single piece of commerce." The subsidies are indeed repugnant, but Brazilian exporters need 39 days to get their produce onto a ship, too long for some agricultural goods.

It doesn't have to be that way. China can get exports moving in 20 days, the United States in nine days. Danish exporters can ship in five days.

We should wish the trade ministers well in their negotiations, because agricultural protectionism hurts consumers in the developed world as well as farmers in the poorest countries. But governments of poor countries must do far more to help their own citizens by reforming the Byzantine obstacles that stand in their way. One day rich countries may finally allow poor farmers to sell them beef, sugar or rice. It would be a disaster if their own governments prevented those poor farmers from taking full advantage of that opportunity.

Tim Harford, the author of "The Undercover Economist," is a columnist for The Financial Times.

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To: Maurice Winn who wrote (151423)12/17/2005 5:50:20 AM
From: The Pre Beakerite
   of 661206
-LOL-. I am looking out my window right now, and sure enough there is a black helicopter circling around our area in town. It's probably BBM's buddies keeping an eye on things.

Really, not joking, there is a black helicopter up there. Anyone know what BBM looks like? I am just going to get my binoculars -g-

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To: The Pre Beakerite who wrote (151427)12/17/2005 5:52:36 AM
From: LindyBill
   of 661206

Really, not joking, there is a black helicopter up there.

As I recall, you live in Britain, doen't you?

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From: LindyBill12/17/2005 5:55:21 AM
   of 661206
Democrats: Vote For Us, We're Clueless
Tim Hartford blog
By Paul

Geeze... Do the Democrats even TRY to win elections any more?;
Pelosi Hails Democrats' Diverse War Stances

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday that Democrats should not seek a unified position on an exit strategy in Iraq, calling the war a matter of individual conscience and saying differing positions within the caucus are a source of strength for the party.

Pelosi said Democrats will produce an issue agenda for the 2006 elections but it will not include a position on Iraq. There is consensus within the party that President Bush has mismanaged the war and that a new course is needed, but House Democrats should be free to take individual positions, she sad.

That is SURE to be a hit in November... "The other guy is an idiot but we have no clue what do in Iraq... but vote for us would ya?"

I could deconstruct it 10 ways from Sunday... Suffice it to say Howlin' Howard Dean has a better chance of getting elected than this nonsense. Americans WILL NOT vote for a party that admits they have no freaking clue what they are doing.

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To: LindyBill who wrote (151428)12/17/2005 5:56:07 AM
From: The Pre Beakerite
   of 661206
yes, and you live in Hawaii correct?

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