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Chinese protesting more as social problems grow
Beijing may find it hard to retake reins
Kathleen E. McLaughlin, Chronicle Foreign Service
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Shanghai -- Anti-Japanese demonstrators who drew
global attention as they marched -- and sometimes
rampaged -- in China's large cities in recent weeks
are part of a growing climate of dissent in the
country, analysts say.
Despite its rising prosperity, China has seen a
dramatic increase in public demonstrations after
several years of nervous quiet followed the violent
government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square
demonstrations in 1989. The number of protests grew to
more than 58,000 in 2003, when an estimated 3 million
Chinese took to the streets to air their grievances,
said Scot Tanner, senior China analyst with Rand,
citing police statistics.
While more recent figures are not yet available,
Tanner and other analysts agree that spreading civil
unrest presents a striking challenge to the Communist
"For the past 10 years, this has been going up every
single year and it is, by all accounts, driven not by
one type of problem or two or three types but by a
dozen different types of sparking problems," Tanner
said. "There are clearly a number of much bigger
forces that are propelling unrest in this society."
For example, even as 20,000 anti-Japanese protesters
who massed in Shanghai on April 16 made headlines
worldwide, a larger and far more volatile crowd staged
an uprising in Huaxi, a village in coastal Zhejiang
province a few hours south of Shanghai. Upset over
environmental contamination from local chemical
plants, 30,000 residents demonstrated in the streets,
clashing with police after authorities tried to stop
their peaceful protest and seizing control of the
Though journalists have since been barred from the
town, reports that trickled out painted a scene of
chaos. A reporter for the Hong Kong-based South China
Morning Post described the riot as a "melee of epic
Meanwhile, smaller protests are becoming almost
"In a lot of ways, what we're hearing about in
Zhejiang is more typical of what is happening all over
China," Tanner said. "They have more problems than
they have money and political systems to cure them."
Those problems include unfunded government pensions,
corruption, environmental degradation, property
seizures by the government and a growing gap between
rich and poor. In addition, migrant workers who
operate what has become a factory to the world are
often unpaid for months, struggling to provide basics
like education for their children.
As an illustration of rising labor protests, Stephen
Frost, Asian labor researcher at the City University
of Hong Kong, cited an action last week, unrelated to
recent anti-Japan rallies, in which all 20,000 workers
walked off the job to demand better pay and a labor
union at the Shenzhen phone factory of Japanese-owned
Uniden Corp. Other examples abound across China. In
the southwest, environmental activists have managed to
stave off major hydropower projects through huge
protests. Elderly army pensioners staged a
demonstration outside government headquarters in
Beijing recently to protest their meager living
allowances, and Shanghai residents have taken to the
streets dozens of times in the past several years to
decry the city's demolition of old neighborhoods.
In this atmosphere, critics say the government took a
big gamble with its generally hands-off approach to
the raucous anti-Japan protests, setting a precedent
that will not go unnoticed on the streets.
"Activists are slowly starting to link up, creating a
rights-defenders network that reaches across regions
and issues," said Sara Davis, China researcher at New
York-based Human Rights Watch.
Indeed, Tanner said he was impressed with the way
protest organizers in Beijing and Shanghai used the
Internet and other technology to draw in supporters,
organizing marches via e-mails and phone text
"Four hours before the protests, I knew here in
Rockville (Md.) where they were going to meet," Tanner
said. "That is just astounding."
The government's laissez-faire attitude toward three
weeks of angry Japan protests was apparent in major
Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing
and the special administrative region of Hong Kong.
Law enforcement officials shepherded demonstrators
rather than cracking down on them, even though such
public gatherings are illegal in China without a
permit. In Shanghai, police escorts cheerfully
surrounded thousands of marchers as they made their
way across the downtown. Officers then formed a
barrier around the Japanese consulate but did not stop
demonstrators from vandalizing the structure.
Many analysts believe Beijing's hands-off strategy was
intended, in part, to allow protesters fed up with
their own government to blow off steam at another
target. It's a strategy that could easily backfire.
"Everyone knows they are playing with fire," Davis
said. "Mass anger continues to bubble up from below,
and it could boil over at any time.''
Beijing may be getting the message. In the past week,
authorities have cracked down on nationalist
demonstrators, arresting more than three dozen in
Shanghai for vandalism, closing down activists' Web
sites and issuing warnings about organizing protests
via the Internet and cell phone text messages. Earlier
last week, the Liberation Daily of Shanghai called the
demonstrations part of "an evil plot" to undermine the
But some observers say it may be difficult for Beijing
to put the genie back in the bottle. Activists are
already threatening more protests for May 4, the
anniversary of a nationalistic student uprising in
1919 sparked by a proposal in the Treaty of Versailles
to award land in China to Japan.
"The question the government faces now and whenever
they start to allow mass protests is whether they'll
be able to put the lid back on," Davis said. "Unless
there is real systemic change that gives ordinary
people access to justice, the day will come when the
lid won't fit."
Blair still best choice for PM, say voters
Labour holds a three-point lead over the Conservatives, according to a
The YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph has Labour on 36 per cent,
with the Tories on 33 and the Liberal Democrats on 24.
In terms of who would make the best premier, 37 per cent of
respondents opted for Tony Blair, roughly a quarter (24 per cent)
chose Michael Howard and 18 per cent backed Charles Kennedy.
YouGov asked 1,309 online voters across the UK between April 29th and
Should the survey reflect results at the election, Labour would win a
third term office with a majority of 92 seats, down on its current
number of 161.
Ahead of Thursday's vote, Labour starts the week focussing on 100
marginal constituencies where opposition parties may take advantage of
low voter turnout and simmering anti-Iraq war sentiment.
The party is concerned the Lib Dems - who have shown consistent
opposition to the 2003 Iraq war - could win seats and slim Labour's
majority in the Commons.
Mr Kennedy yesterday blasted Mr Blair's "failed premiership" and
described the prime minister as a "lame duck" leader.
Mr Blair warned yesterday that Lib Dem voters could not hand Mr
Kennedy the keys to Downing Street they could let the Tories in.
The poll comes after the Sunday Times published a top secret
memorandum showing Mr Blair mooted the possibility of regime change as
early as July 2002 with Cabinet ministers, prompting the leader to
make yet another intervention over the rationale for the US-led war.
© 1998-2005 DeHavilland Information Services plc. All rights reserved.
I sent this story earlier in the day but I think it
never went through, so sorry if you get it twice.
Iraq expects foreign troops to pull out mid-2006
01 May 2005 18:31:19 GMT
WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. and other foreign
troops in Iraq will likely start pulling out in large
numbers by the middle of next year, Iraq's national
security advisor said on Sunday.
"I will be very surprised if they (U.S. and other
foreign troops) don't think very seriously of starting
pulling out probably by the end of the first half of
next year," said Iraqi national security adviser
Mowaffak Al-Rubaie in an interview with CNN's "Late
When pressed on exact numbers expected to leave,
Al-Rubaie said this depended on how quickly Iraqi
troops could be trained and armed to take over.
Twenty-five months after the invasion to topple Saddam
Hussein, the United States has 138,000 troops in Iraq
battling a relentless insurgency and training Iraqi
The United States has not given a timetable for
withdrawing its troops and U.S. President George W.
Bush has said repeatedly that U.S. soldiers will leave
only when their job is finished and Iraqi forces can
Last week, America's top general, Air Force Gen.
Richard Myers, said rebels were attacking 50 or 60
times a day in Iraq -- about the same as a year ago.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber killed 15 people at a
funeral procession at the northern Iraqi town of
Al-Rubaie said the new Iraqi government was determined
to quell violence in Iraq by the end of this year.
"I think we are winning -- on the winning course,
there is no doubt about it. The level of violence is
not measured only by the number of explosions every
day, or the number of casualties," he said.
He added: "There is no shadow of doubt in my mind,
that by the end of the year, we would have achieved a
lot, and probably the back of the insurgency has
already been broken."
And of course Kinky Friedman has hired Jesse Ventura's
former campaign manager.
April 30, 2005, 9:40PM
Slaughter of reform will heat primary
By RICK CASEY
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
The bloody slaughtering of a campaign-finance reform
bill on the floor of the Texas House of
Representatives last week could add considerable
sizzle to a potential gubernatorial primary fight
between Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey
Hutchison next spring.
The assassination of the bill, which was cosponsored
by 93 of the House's 150 members, was hardly a
The bill would have barred secret corporate money from
being used in the last days of an election to attack
one candidate or praise another.
As I reported in an earlier column, the chairman of
the House Elections Committee, Rep. Mary Denny,
benefited from just such corporate money in a tough
race in 2002.
So, hugely, had House Speaker Tom Craddick. Millions
in undisclosed corporate contributions were used to
help elect members who would secure him the
speakership. That machinery, and Craddick's connection
to it, is under grand jury investigation.
Bold try for direct vote
Denny had stalled the bill into a coma until some
backers boldly tried to directly vote it out onto the
Suffice it to say that if Craddick wanted a bill
cosponsored by nearly two-thirds of the House to come
to the floor for a vote, it would have come to the
floor for a vote.
But now it is dead, which has me rooting for a
Hutchison/Perry contest if only for the entertainment
value. Consider the likely players.
•Dave Carney is Perry's chief political consultant. He
is also head of Americans for Job Security, a
Virginia-based conservative group that has spent
millions for misleading "issues ads" in races all over
One was a special election last year to replace Mount
Pleasant State Sen. Bill Ratliff, who retired from the
AJS ran a barrage of ads in the days leading up to the
election. They accused Republican State Rep. Tommy
Merritt of supporting a sales tax hike. What they
didn't say was that the proposed hike was to be used
to lower school property taxes — exactly the scheme
being pushed by the Republican leadership in both
houses. Merritt lost but retained his House seat.
As the member who made the motion to bring the
campaign-reform bill to the House floor Thursday, he
can expect a primary opponent with more secret
corporate money behind him or her.
Secret corporate millions
•Mike Toomey is Perry's former chief of staff.
Previously he played the lead role in doling out $2.1
million in undisclosed corporate cash raised by the
Texas Association of Businesses for the 2002 election.
Some of it went for mailings praising Chairman Denny
sent in the heat of the campaign only to frequent
TAB says the corporate expenditures were legal because
they didn't explicitly urge a vote for Denny, but they
clearly were campaign mailings.
So Perry can expect to have two men on his side with
considerable experience in using secret corporate
millions to help favored candidates and hurt those
who, like Merritt, won't play along.
But, I'm happy to say, Hutchison won't be entering the
fray without a hatchet. She has hired Terry Sullivan,
who last year directed a bare-knuckled primary
(against a former governor) and November campaigns to
elect Republican U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint to the U.S.
Senate from South Carolina.
A factor credited in the victory was an ad against
DeMint's Democratic opponent, for the way she spent
money as state superintendent of schools.
It was run by Carney's shadowy Americans for Job
So Sullivan clearly knows what he will be up against
in a race against Perry. Expect him to be prepared.
Now that the Democrats can no longer provide any
fireworks, it's good to know that we can rub two
Republicans together and get ignition.
Italy media reveals Iraq details
By David Willey
BBC News in Rome
Italian media have published classified sections of an
official US military inquiry into the accidental
killing of an Italian agent in Baghdad.
The 40-page report was censored by the Pentagon before
being officially published on Saturday.
Italy has refused to accept the US report's findings
and is to publish its own version of events later this
Details of the official report were published in
newspapers on Sunday with censored material restored
A Greek medical student at Bologna University who was
surfing the web early on Sunday found that with two
simple clicks of his computer mouse he could restore
censored portions of the report.
He passed the details to Italian newspapers which
immediately put out the full text on their own
The missing text contains the names and ranks of all
of the American military personnel involved in the
killing of Nicola Calipari, the Italian agent who was
given a state funeral and awarded Italy's highest
medal of valour.
It also reveals the rules of engagement in operation
at the military checkpoint near Baghdad airport which
have been contested by the Italian authorities.
The censored sections include recommendations that the
American military modify their checkpoint procedures
to give better and clearer warning signs to
The official Italian report on the incident expected
to be published this week will accuse the American
military of tampering with evidence at the scene of
The Americans invited two Italians to join in their
inquiry, but the Italian representatives protested at
what they claimed was lack of objectivity in
presenting the evidence and returned to Rome.
Relations between Rome and Washington remain tense.
Navajo president vetoes measure against same-sex
May 2, 2005
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) - Navajo President Joe Shirley
Jr. has vetoed a measure that would have outlawed
same-sex marriage on the Indian reservation that
reaches into New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
"Same-sex marriage is a non-issue on Navajoland,"
Shirley said in vetoing the measure Sunday. "So why
waste time and resources on it? We have more important
issues to address."
If members of the Navajo Nation wish to define
marriage or take a position for or against same-sex
unions, Shirley said he would support their decision
to do that through an initiative rather than a Tribal
The Tribal Council voted unanimously last month in
favor of the Dine Marriage Act of 2005. Dine is the
Navajos' name for themselves.
The act would have restricted a recognized union to a
relationship between a man and a woman and prohibited
plural marriages as well as any marriage between
parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren,
brothers and sisters and other close relatives.
There was no answer at the Tribal Council speaker's
office Sunday night.
Supporters have said the goal was to promote Navajo
family values and preserve marriage as a sacred union
between a man and a woman.
Shirley said in a prepared statement released on
Sunday that he strongly supports and encourages family
stability and the need for Navajo husbands and wives
to love and support each other and their children.
However, the proposed measure said nothing about
domestic violence, sexual assault and gangs on the
Navajo Nation. Problems Shirley said were rampant.
The law focused on a problem that doesn't exist and
would only generate disharmony and disunity among the
Navajo people, he said.
The measure also goes against the Navajo teaching of
nondiscrimination and doing no psychological or
physical harm to others, according to Shirley.
Other critics of the legislation had said its sponsor,
Delegate Larry Anderson of Fort Defiance, was
attempting to rewrite cultural history to parallel
conservative Christian backlash against gay rights
across the United States.
Same-sex marriages became a national issue last year,
starting Feb. 12 in San Francisco when Mayor Gavin
Newsom opened the city's wedding registry to gays
couples. The debate reached New Mexico later that
month when the Sandoval County clerk issued licenses
to about 60 same-sex couples, but the state attorney
general quickly settled the matter by advising that
the licenses were illegal.
Last August, the Cherokee National Tribal Council in
Oklahoma voted to clearly define marriage as between a
man and a woman.
Even if Labour Wins, Blair Faces Battle
By ED JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 29
Tony Blair is favored to win a third term in
Thursday's elections — but his ability to survive for
long as prime minister will rest on the margin of
victory by the Labour Party, which includes strong
opponents of his
Iraq war policy.
If Blair's now solid lead in the House of Commons
slips, he could face a struggle to control those in
his party who are disillusioned with him, not only
over the war but over economic policies they consider
too conservative. Senior members might then challenge
him for leadership.
"The election has become a referendum on Blair, and a
small margin will be viewed as a negative, showing him
the door," said Bill Jones, a political analyst at
The unhappiness showed up Tuesday when families of
some British soldiers killed in Iraq marched on
Blair's office to demand a public inquiry into the
legality of the war.
A voter angry about the war also challenged the prime
minister at one of his campaign stops. Blair repeated
his position that it was a difficult decision to send
troops to Iraq, but he did what he felt was right.
"I think what you have got to ask yourself in the end
is ... what is going to determine the future of this
country, and I believe it is the economy, the health
service and schools and law and order," he said.
Blair revitalized his party and led it to landslide
election victories in 1997 and 2001 after 17 years of
Conservative Party rule, and he held a huge majority
in the just dissolved House of Commons — about 150
seats more than the combined opposition in the
Few analysts expect another landslide, so the question
has turned to how far Labour could fall.
A majority of 100 for Labour would be comfortable,
said Phil Cowley, a political analyst at Nottingham
University. But at results below that, it will become
increasingly tougher to control a rebellious group of
some 50 Labour legislators who have persistently voted
against the government's policies.
Many of those are angry about Britain's involvement in
Iraq, as are other Labour members who felt compelled
to support Blair on the war. Many of the rebels also
are unhappy that Blair dumped much of the party's
socialist ethos and feel he is aping the free market
policies championed by former Conservative Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Blair's government only narrowly defeated Labour
revolts in the last parliament, including the crucial
vote to go to war in Iraq and legislation to introduce
tuition fees for university students, allow more
private funding for state-run hospitals and toughen
With a smaller majority, Blair could find himself
losing votes in the Commons — throwing his future as
Labour leader and prime minister into doubt.
"Between 80 and 100, Blair has a cushion, but falling
below that it will be awkward and embarrassing and he
will struggle to govern," Cowley said.
If Labour's majority slips to 40 or below, analysts
say Blair's days as prime minister would probably be
numbered, although governing would not be impossible.
Thatcher won with a majority of 43 in 1979. Her
successor, John Major, struggled along with a majority
of 21, which shrank toward zero at the end of his
five-year term in 1997.
But for Blair's lead to slip so drastically would be a
striking sign of unpopularity.
He has already announced he plans to step down after
serving another full term as prime minister — usually
four or five years. But a weakened majority could
bring a leadership challenge sooner.
Treasury chief Gordon Brown, widely respected for his
stewardship of Britain's economy, is popular in the
party and considered a likely successor.
"The smaller the majority, the more vulnerable he will
be during the course of the Parliament to adverse
events or declining popularity," said John Curtice, a
political analyst at Strathclyde University.
Despite simmering anger over the war and general
grumbling about the 8-year-old government, most
analysts say Labour is assured a victory Thursday.
A MORI survey for the Financial Times published
Tuesday put Labour at 39 percent support among likely
voters, well ahead of the main opposition
Conservatives at 29 percent and the Liberal Democrats,
the only major party to oppose the war, at 22 percent.
"If money talks, then the Labour Party is past the
post already," said Simon Clare, spokesman for the
Coral betting shops, which rate a Tory victory as a
20-1 long shot.
Berlusconi's US relationship becomes less special
Tue May 3, 2005 7:45 PM BST
By Phil Stewart
ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, long proud of having friends in high
places, has seen the limitations of his rapport with
Washington after a public falling-out over the killing
of an Italian agent in Iraq.
With the United States refusing to accept any blame,
Italy issued a 52-page report on Monday criticising
U.S. roadblock procedures and inexperienced, stressed
U.S. soldiers who shot intelligence agent Nicola
Calipari last March.
While showing Berlusconi is willing to stand up to the
world superpower, the episode nonetheless tarnishes
his cherished claims to a cozy friendship with
Washington and will embolden critics of his unpopular
decision to send troops to Iraq.
"Berlusconi was trumpeting his special relationship
with President George Bush and the United States, and
gets a slap in the face," said Jason Walston, director
of international relations at the American University
"It's not a body-blow, but it is a weapon that will be
used against Berlusconi ... You sacrifice our hero,
and you don't even get an apology when they kill him,"
he told Reuters.
Berlusconi, who faces a general election next year,
will address parliament on Thursday about the incident
and is likely to insist that U.S.-Italian ties remain
His decision to start bringing troops home from Iraq
in September is also not expected to be brought
Intent on preserving ties, Berlusconi reportedly
delayed the release of final report several hours to
assure its tone was technical -- and not political --
to avoid exacerbating the row.
"Berlusconi does not want to take the conflict over
Calipari's death to extreme lengths," an unidentified
Berlusconi advisor was quoted as saying in Il
"He has no intention of breaking ties of friendship
built over these years, at great sacrifice, with
But he will not be allowed to forget that on the night
Calipari died, he summoned U.S. ambassador Mel Sembler
and told him that someone had to "take responsibility"
for the killing.
"We have lost one of our best men and we cannot afford
to be either intransigent or accommodating," Italian
Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione said on Tuesday.
"The government has no dignity," said Communist party
leader Oliviero Diliberto.
U.S. Secretary State Condoleezza Rice said in a
telephone call on Tuesday with her Italian
counterpart, Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, that
she was "sorry" the two countries could not agree on
the shooting, Italy's foreign ministry said.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher said the United States was closely reading
Italy's report but stood by its own account. "The
reports do differ in some ways but they are not
diametrically opposed, I think."
"We maintain very strong bilateral relationships and
we will continue working together, including our
commitment that we both have to the people of Iraq,"
Boucher told a news briefing.
Since his election in 2001, Berlusconi has ordered a
sea-change in Italian foreign policy -- shifting focus
away from "Old Europe" allies France and Germany and
toward a close transatlantic alliance with the United
States and Britain.
Bush has repeatedly thanked Berlusconi for his support
and the two men have held numerous, back-slapping
But previous cases have underlined the Pentagon's
reluctance to bow to outside pressure in internal
In 1998, a U.S. Marines jet -- flying recklessly low
-- cut an Italian ski lift cable, killing 20 people.
To the outrage of many Italians, the pilot was later
cleared of manslaughter.
In the Iraq incident, the U.S. exonerated its soldiers
of blame. For many ordinary Italians, the message was
"I think one of the sides lied, knowing that they are
lying. The Italians seem to have acted in good faith.
The Americans - I am not sure", said Roman Giorgio
Maggi, on his way to work.
> "If money talks, then the Labour Party is past the
> post already," said Simon Clare, spokesman for the
> Coral betting shops, which rate a Tory victory as a
> 20-1 long shot.
Has anyone ever expected the Conservatives to win to begin with?
'Tory KO'd in Labour scrap'
By Kiran Randhawa, Evening Standard
5 May 2005
Four Tory activists today claimed they were punched,
kicked and verbally abused in a clash with Labour
rivals while canvassing commuters.
One supporter of Romford Conservative candidate Andrew
Rosindell was knocked unconscious and taken to
The fracas took place outside Romford rail station
during rush hour yesterday evening as Labour and Tory
campaigners leafleted commuters. According to
witnesses the two camps traded insults before coming
Mr Rosindell said one of his supporters, Romford
student Robert Benham, 23, was hit first after
exchanging angry words with a Labour supporter.
Tory activists said they were punched when they tried
to intervene. Police and an ambulance were called and
Mr Benham was taken to Old Church Hospital, Romford,
where he was being treated for minor head injuries.
Mr Rosindell said: "As soon as the punching began, a
Labour supporter walked towards me. I was pulled away
by one of my campaigners and ran into the station
behind a barrier. It was very scary. They just went
berserk." Tory campaigner Peter Marks, 16, said:
"About four Labour supporters grabbed Robert by the
throat. A couple of us jumped in to help and were
attacked. I took a picture with my phone for police
"Three guys punched me in the stomach twice, shouting,
'Give up the phone.' They grabbed it and deleted my
pictures. I'm shaken and shocked."
Tim Schmidt, 20, an American student intern at Mr
Rosindell's office, said: "One [Labour activist] had a
loudspeaker and was insulting Andrew. He leaped on one
of our campaigners and started choking him. I was
punched in the face twice by another man."
Romford police later released a man without charge in
relation to the attack. Labour party officials in the
area were unavailable for comment.
Minutemen bordering on chaos
Web Posted: 05/06/2005 12:00 AM CDT
Express-News Immigration Writer
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of activists could be
watching the banks of the Rio Grande this fall if a
controversial movement meant to halt illegal
immigration successfully expands to South Texas.
Backers of the Minuteman Project, an unprecedented
civilian border-watch group that attracted hundreds of
volunteers from across the country to Arizona last
month, claim the success of that first mission will
ensure its eventual omnipresence along the entire
But the promised expansion is being accompanied by
built-up internal strife.
The movement's two top leaders are working separately
with splinter groups, and not all of the groups
necessarily embrace the strict controls on volunteers
established by Minuteman organizers.
The U.S. Border Patrol and community leaders in South
Texas say they don't want the help, while civil rights
groups pledged to continue monitoring the activities
for possible legal violations.
There's little doubt the Minuteman Project in Arizona
has made its mark. The effort garnered national and
international headlines and adherents are poised to
spread similar missions in other border areas.
A group in California, Friends of the Border Patrol,
is organizing a monthlong "border watch" in San Diego
It remains to be seen if future projects will be as
effective as the first. Insiders say the group's two
attention-grabbing leaders have parted ways.
Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and former Marine
from California, originated the idea and handled
recruiting through his Web site. He then tapped Chris
Simcox, who already had been leading small civilian
border patrol groups in Arizona for two years.
But differences between them grew throughout the
month. It's not clear whether future Minuteman efforts
will be led by Gilchrist or Simcox or if they will
organize or support simultaneous but separate efforts.
"There are no ties," Gilchrist said this week. "If we
did anything else together, it would be as allies, not
partners. I support his goals, but I'm weary of his
Numerous Arizona participants, including organizers,
said Simcox's dictatorial ways — he became known as
"The Little Prince" and "The Little Hitler" — angered
countless volunteers, prompting many to quit.
"He just pissed everybody off," said Jim Chase, who
held several leadership positions during the mission,
including security director. "It was ridiculous, going
behind everyone's back. I'm never working with him
Simcox said he was unaware of any criticism and
dismissed the notion that the group was falling apart.
He and Gilchrist still maintain frequent contact and
consult with each other on decisions, he said.
They decided to let Simcox handle all future
border-watch efforts while Gilchrist would start a
side project investigating U.S. employers who
willingly hire undocumented workers, Simcox said.
Confusion over who's in charge has left nascent
Minuteman offshoots in other border states tapping
both for help.
The head-scratching already is visible in South Texas.
Wanda Schultz, a volunteer with Houston-based
Americans For Zero Immigration, was told by Simcox's
office to gear up for a monthlong mission in
Brownsville starting Oct. 1. Simcox said he'll be
dispatching an organizer to Houston next week.
But others who also volunteered in Arizona have
started planning "Minutemen Texas." Its steering
committee hasn't yet picked specific dates and places,
but is aiming for October between Brownsville and
Laredo, said Sandra Beene of Dallas.
Just as in Arizona, volunteers won't make contact with
crossers, but simply watch and report sightings to the
Border Patrol, she said. While details remain to be
worked out, committee members already have reached one
"We're completely separate from Chris Simcox and we
intend to keep it that way," Beene said.
The Houston group's founder, John Hernández, said his
volunteers would follow the same rules that prevailed
in Arizona, but he wouldn't rule out the possibility
of contact between them and crossers.
"I don't see myself letting them run all over me," he
said. "If they initiate something, you have to take
action. You can't let them hit you in the head or
Kerry Morales, who runs an 80-acre ranch in
Hebbronville, said arranging the project in Texas will
be tricky. Unlike Arizona, where much of the land
along the border is public, the Texas boundary is
mostly held by private landowners.
Some ranchers already have offered their properties
and the group hopes others will also jump on board,
Morales said. So there could be several "roving"
groups, as opposed to one fixed stretch of border.
While many Arizonans readily embraced the Minuteman
cause, more resistance is expected in Texas.
"We all know the Rio Grande Valley is
illegal-friendly," Morales said. "A lot of people make
money from smuggling illegals across the border, and
they wouldn't want us taking their paychecks away."
It wouldn't be just smugglers that would pull the
welcome mat in South Texas.
The Border Patrol remains steadfast in its disapproval
of civilian border patrols. And community leaders said
they have no need and no desire for outsiders who are
clueless about long-standing Texas border culture.
"We don't need 'em," Laredo Mayor Betty Flores said.
"They want to help? Great. Send us a check."
Assuming volunteers do eventually set up camp in South
Texas, immigrant advocacy groups are gearing up for a
Mariana Bustamante with the American Civil Liberties
Union's immigrant rights project said the group is
mobilizing its resources in Texas to monitor Minuteman
Just as in Arizona, she said, "legal observers" would
camp out nearby and report any abuses or violations to
Mexican law enforcement agencies also are keeping tabs
and will continue efforts to dissuade migrants from
crossing in Minuteman-patrolled areas.
Yet despite strong opposition and likely overlapping
effort among several groups, volunteers said the
concept already has proven it can work and needs to be
"I think it's great if people want to start their own
groups," Morales said. "I just hope they don't do
something stupid — that'd make all of us look bad."
--- Julie Keller <jakeller@...> wrote:
> To: email@example.com
> From: "Julie Keller" <jakeller@...>
> Date: Fri, 06 May 2005 16:13:11 -0000
> Subject: [utepprogressives] As always, the Python
> has the last (and best) word ...
> Vote Draino
> There is only one party I could bring myself to
> Terry Jones
> Thursday May 5, 2005
> The Guardian
> Personally, I'm voting Draino, the only party that
> promises to get
> people's drains unblocked within four calendar years
> of the blockage
> being reported. The Slightly Nazi (SN) party has
> heaped ridicule on
> the Drainos and claim it is impossible to unblock
> anyone's drains
> that quickly without increasing taxes and opening
> the floodgates to
> hordes of Aids-ridden, black Asian pederasts that
> want to work in our
> hospitals for nothing.
> The Forget the Illegal Bombing (FIB) party has
> pledged to unblock
> everybody's drains by next weekend, give or take a
> decade, with more
> power for parents. Some analysts thought the FIB
> party's electoral
> chances might have been dented by its responsibility
> in murdering
> 100,000 citizens of another country that was no
> threat. But the SNs
> endorsed the policy, and the Nice But Damp (NBD)
> party, while it
> originally opposed the idea, now thinks British
> troops ought to carry
> on occupying their territory.
> The mass killing of foreigners has little electoral
> impact compared
> with unblocking drains. "The average Joe wants to
> get away from all
> that gloomy stuff," the leader of the FIB party
> said. "What the
> British people want to know is who is going to
> unblock their drains,
> when, and how much mess it will make. Killing all
> those foreigners in
> a country that is no concern of ours won't get
> people into the ballot
> Of course, the whole nature of the campaign has
> changed since the
> publication of the attorney general's full legal
> advice. And yet the
> clear evidence that the leader of the FIB party lied
> in order to get
> parliament to agree to bombing Iraq doesn't seem to
> have done him
> much harm.
> "You see," explained the FIB leader, "if I keep my
> eyes wide open
> without blinking, and use my really sincere voice,
> people will
> believe whatever I say... so long as I stick to
> I put it to him that his policy had been a disaster.
> "You said you
> were bombing Iraq to make Britain safer," I said,
> "and yet the only
> terrorist threat to the UK now comes from those in
> the Islamic world
> who object to you bombing Iraq."
> "On the contrary!" he exclaimed. "The policy has
> been a tremendous
> success! Saddam Hussein is no longer killing his
> "But the US and the UK are doing all that for him."
> "Look, I respect your position. All I ask is that
> you respect mine, I
> had to make a decision, I believed it was the right
> one. Look into my
> eyes, see how they don't blink, and listen to my
> voice... think about
> drains... Remember that is what counts."
> "Here! Here!" said the SN leader."Who wants to
> listen to all that
> negative stuff when there's an election coming up?
> Let's talk about
> "I agree," said the NBD leader. "Have I said the
> right thing?"
> Of course the attempt by all three main parties not
> to talk about
> anything except drains has led to rampant voter
> apathy. And that's
> why I'm voting Draino. At least it doesn't claim to
> be able to run
> the country. All it claims to do is to unblock
> drains and where
> better to start than in the House of Commons?
> · Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python.
May 7, 2005
The men who would be Iran's president
By Bill Samii
Iran's next president will play a key role in shaping
the country's domestic political climate as well as
its relationship with the rest of the world. Will
incumbent Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami's successor be
a conservative isolationist? A conservative who favors
some liberalization of foreign policy while loosening
the social reins? Or will the next president be a
reformer eager to ease social restrictions and
accelerate Iranian involvement with the rest of the
Registration of prospective candidates for Iran's
presidential election is scheduled to begin on Tuesday
and continue for five days. The Interior Ministry will
then forward this information to the Guardians
Council, which will screen the applications until May
24. Individuals whose candidacies are accepted can
campaign from May 27 until 24 hours before election
day on June 17.
An applicant's biggest initial hurdle is the Guardians
Council. It accepted just four of the more than 200
applicants in 1997, and in 2001 it accepted only 10 of
According to Article 115 of the Iranian constitution,
a presidential candidate must be of Iranian origin and
have Iranian nationality, must be a resourceful
administrator, have a good record, be trustworthy and
pious, and believe in the Islamic Republic's system
and its fundamental principles. A more controversial
aspect of the article on presidential qualifications
is its assertion that the president must be a
religious-political individual (rejal-i
mazhabi-siasi). This vague clause leads to questions
of whether or not the president should be a clergyman
and also leaves it unclear as to whether or not a
woman may serve as president.
The most controversial candidate is arguably Ayatollah
Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who has yet to confirm
his intention to run. The 70-year-old Rafsanjani was
born to a pistachio-farming family in the village of
Bahraman, and while studying in Qom he developed a
close relationship with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,
the leading of the Islamic revolution in 1979 .
Rafsanjani has served in most of the Islamic
Republic's top jobs - he was the parliamentary speaker
and then the president (1989-97). He currently chairs
the Expediency Council, which has powerful oversight
authority over legislation, and is deputy head of the
Assembly of Experts. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei reportedly opposes a new Hashemi-Rafsanjani
bid for the presidency.
Rafsanjani hinted in a recent interview with USA Today
that he could restore Iran-US relations, but in
interviews with Iranian media he has been highly
critical of the United States. In the 1980s, he
advocated Iran's use of weapons of mass destruction,
although he has since modified his comments on the
issue and now says Iran has a right to use nuclear
energy peacefully. He defends Iran's support for the
Lebanese Hezbollah and similar organizations, is
hostile to Israel and backs "martyrdom operations"
(suicide bombings) against the Israeli occupation of
According to a more recent report quoting an anonymous
source close to Rafsanjani, he has a plan for
restoring relations with the United States. He also is
said to have plans to support the Arab-Israeli peace
plan proposed by Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdallah bin
Abdul Aziz. Rafsanjani reportedly intends to pursue
Khatami's reforms, which encountered opposition from
entrenched conservative elements, and he reportedly
wants to eliminate the system of vilayat-i faqih (rule
of the supreme jurisprudent).
Furthermore, Rafsanjani purportedly wants to cooperate
with the heretofore-shunned nationalist-religious
forces in an effort to counter "an internal coup by
some [Islamic Revolution Guards Corps] generals,
radical commanders in the intelligence apparatus, and
the religious seminary in Qom". Rafsanjani allegedly
was prompted to act when he learned of a plan to
destroy the centrist Executives of Construction Party
- which has voiced support for his presidential bid -
as well as reformist leaders, and his extended family.
There are two prospective candidates backed by the
reformist mainstream: Hojatoleslam Mehdi
Mahdavi-Karrubi and Mustafa Moin. Karrubi was born in
1937 in Aligudarz, Luristan province. He is currently
a member of the Expediency Council and an adviser to
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Karrubi was
parliamentary speaker from 1990-92 and again from
2000-04. He also has headed the Imam Khomeini Relief
Committee and the Martyr's Foundation.
Karrubi is a founding member of the Militant Clerics
Association and is currently its secretary general.
Discussing the possibility of relations with the US,
he said: "We can enjoy relations with all countries of
the world, apart from Israel, of course" (Aftab-i
Yazd, April 21). He continued: "With regards to
America, I must say that the American statesmen should
stop their current ways of interaction and approach
vis-a-vis Iran. If this happens, then I will not be
opposed to relations with America."
Moin was born in 1951 in Najafabad, Isfahan province,
and holds a doctorate in medicine. He served as
chancellor of Shiraz University from 1981-82 and has
served on the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council
since 1983. Moin has served a number of terms in the
parliament (1982-84, 1988-89, and 1997-2001). He was
the culture and higher education minister from 1989-93
and served as higher education minister from
His candidacy is backed by the Islamic Iran
Participation Front and the mujahideen of the Islamic
Revolution Organization. Asked about his stance on
relations with Washington, Moin said he advocates
dialogue with the world, and the US is a member of
that community (Sharq, March 10). "We consider our
national interests as the main basis, and we can have
interactions with America as equals, and without any
imposed preconditions, and while safeguarding our
national rights and power," Moin said. He added that
the US must apologize to Iran and then offer
compensation for "the moral, spiritual, and material
damage they have inflicted on us".
Other prospective reformist candidates are Ebrahim
Asqarzadeh, Mustafa Kavakebian and Mohsen
Mehralizadeh. Asqarzadeh was one of the students who
stormed the US Embassy in 1979. Currently the head of
the Solidarity Party, Asqarzadeh announced on April 22
that he intends to be a candidate and expressed
concern about public apathy and silence, as well as
the appearance of "widespread militaristic ideas", the
Iranian Labor News Agency reported. "I wouldn't have
entered a situation that I clearly know its outcome
were I not alarmed by the participation of military
men and those in jackboots [in the presidential
race]," said Asqarzadeh. "My motive for speaking to
you and announcing my candidacy does not stem from my
desire for power, but it is due to my concern for the
current dangerous situation." Asqarzadeh also said
boycotting elections is pointless.
Asqarzadeh's recent efforts to secure elected office
have been largely unsuccessful. The Guardians Council
rejected him as a candidate for the 1998 Assembly of
Experts election, the 2001 presidential election, and
the 2004 parliamentary elections. He was elected to
the Tehran municipal council in 1999, but the
Guardians Council does not vet candidates in council
Democracy Party Secretary General Mostafa Kavakebian
has suggested that nepotism is rife in the country's
leadership and that senior posts should be opened to
outsiders such as himself. "I, as a little man among
the nation's children, intend to propound the new
discourse, meaning that the elite have been kept
outside the bounds of power for 26 years and feel
compassion for the system [and] should find their
place within the ranks of those in power," Kavakebian
said recently (Mardom Salari, March 12). Kavakebian
said the country's senior leaders come from a group of
just 2,700 people, and he noted that some officials
have seven or eight different positions. Kavakebian
said the government is inefficient because many of
those in positions of power get there through
"nepotism, cliques and windfall-seeking". He said Iran
has not fully realized "all aspects of religious
government and Islamic values".
Prospective candidate Mehralizadeh was born in
Maragheh, East Azerbaijan province, in 1956 and holds
a doctorate in economics. He was a founder of the
Construction Jihad and in 1979-81 served as a regional
commander in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.
Mehralizadeh served within the Ministry of Heavy
Industries from 1985-90, was managing director of the
Kish Island Development Organization from 1990-92,
deputy for power plants at the Atomic Energy
Organization of Iran from 1993-95, and served as
managing director of the Shahed Investment Company
from 1995-97. Mehralizadeh was governor general of
Khorasan province from 1997-2001, and he has served as
vice president and head of the national Physical
Education Organization since 2001.
Mehralizadeh's spokesman said on April 26 that the
former has decided to be a candidate and will begin
campaigning soon (Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA,
April 26). He had said months earlier that he would
withdraw from the race only if the reformists settle
on a joint candidate (Farhang-i Ashti, January 10).
There are several prospective conservative candidates,
a development that reflects age-based and ideological
divisions among this group.
The Coordination Council of Islamic Revolution Forces
named Ali Larijani as its candidate in April, and
parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Bahonar said the
coordination council hopes to discourage
Hashemi-Rafsanjani from seeking the presidency (Sharq,
April 28). Larijani headed Islamic Republic of Iran
Broadcasting from 1994-2004 and also has served as
minister of Islamic culture and guidance and as an
official in the Islamic Revolution Guards Ministry. He
currently serves as the supreme leader's
representative to the Supreme National Security
Council. His father was a prominent apolitical cleric,
and his brothers are politically active.
Larijani said on March 31 that he believes the US
wants to reopen its embassy in Tehran and that Iran
should be careful, Fars News Agency reported.
"America's threats are serious, though its
war-mongering language is not real," he said in an
earlier speech (Iranian Student's News Agency, ISNA,
March 26). "They want to weaken the Iranian government
and wish to influence the will of the nation and our
officials, so that we ourselves would satisfy their
needs." In a March 9 speech in Kashan, Larijani argued
that "making any concession on nuclear technology is
tantamount to the biggest treason," Fars News Agency
reported. He previously dismissed an Iran-EU agreement
on the suspension of uranium enrichment as amounting
to the exchange of a "pearl" for a "bonbon".
Many of the more traditional conservatives back Ali
Akbar Velayati, who was born in Tehran in 1945.
Velayati is a physician who was foreign minister from
1981-97 and currently serves as an adviser to the
Supreme Leader. He also is a member of the Expediency
Council. Velayati has pledged to withdraw from the
race if Rafsanjani enters the field.
In 1997, a German court found Velayati, Khamenei,
Rafsanjani and Intelligence and Security Minister
Ali-Akbar Fallahian guilty for their roles in the 1992
assassinations of Iranian dissidents in Germany.
Referring to that case - as well as to the 1991
assassination of former prime minister Shahpour
Bakhtiar - in a 2005 interview, Velayati blamed
unnamed parties who were trying to damage Iran-Europe
relations (Etemad, May 1). With respect to current
Tehran-London relations, he said, "Britain's role in
the European Union is mainly as America's agent."
Younger conservatives are divided among their
preferred potential candidates: Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad,
Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Mohsen Rezai.
Ahmadi-Nejad became mayor of Tehran in April 2003. He
is widely regarded as "unassuming and simple", as well
as straight-talking - perceptions that have made him
popular (Sharq, June 8, 2004). Ahmadi-Nejad's
political activism commenced shortly after Iran's 1979
revolution, with the Office for Strengthening Unity.
He served as governor general of Ardabil province
during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. Ahmadi-Nejad is now
a member of the conservative Association of Engineers
and a member of the central council of the Society of
the Devotees of the Islamic Revolution. He said on
April 28 that he will his announce his decision on his
candidacy on registration day, IRNA reported.
The 43-year-old Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf headed the
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) air force
until June 2000, when he was selected to be chief of
the national police force. Qalibaf is one of the 24
IRGC commanders who, in July 1999, sent a letter to
President Mohammad Khatami warning that if he did not
act to quell student unrest, they would not stand by
idly and would take matters into their own hands.
Under his command, the previously unpopular police
force improved its reputation by implementing the 110
rapid-reaction system, which made the force operate
more efficiently; he also has made progress in
eliminating the influence of political factions in the
police. Qalibaf resigned from the police leadership in
In a March 12 speech, Qalibaf identified three areas
on which he would focus: the economy, foreign affairs
and "social capital". Referring to the economy, he
said, "The people's buying power has not seen suitable
growth; we have even seen stagnation in certain
areas." Turning to foreign affairs, he said, "Given
Iran's outstanding geopolitical weight and the role
which the country can play at the regional and global
level, we have not properly tapped these capacities."
And regarding the issue of "social capital", Qalibaf
said, "In the area of protecting our social capital,
we face challenges which make us lose our productive
role in the fields of science, politics, economy, and
wealth as well as our social identity."
Born in 1954 in Masjid-i Suleiman, Mohsen Rezai headed
the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps from 1981-97, and
now serves as secretary of the Expediency Council. He
has promoted himself as an independent conservative
candidate. "I consider myself a new rightist and even
more rightist than many colleagues," he said (IRNA,
March 26). He has dismissed concern about his military
background, suggesting that his critics are prejudiced
or ignorant (ISNA, April 13). "My political ideas are
rooted in my deep belief in democracy, and I left the
military when I decided to take part in political
activities," he said.
During the campaign, Rezai has been subdued on
foreign-policy issues, but he has expressed concern
about US regional ambitions since September 11, 2001.
He also supports Iranian diplomatic efforts on the
nuclear issue but has expressed concern that Iran is
conceding too much to Europe. Rezai said Iranian
diplomacy during President Khatami's second term
(which started in 2001) has been marked by submissive
diplomacy, missed opportunities, and unilateral
concessions in exchange for minimal financial returns
(Entekhab, April 27, 2003). However, Rezai has
represented Iran in track-two diplomatic meetings in
Seyyed Reza Zavarei announced on December 12 that he
would stand as an independent in the 2005 race, ISNA
reported. A conservative, the 67-year-old Zavarei ran
for president in 1997. He has served as a lawyer on
the Guardians Council, served in the Interior
Ministry, served two terms in the legislature, and
headed the deeds registration organization. Zavarei
gave as reasons for his decision to run "God's will",
the "country's conditions", and the need to resolve
society's problems. If elected, according to Zavarei,
his cabinet will not be chosen on factional grounds.
Honesty and competence will be the determining
factors, he has vowed. Zavarei said Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini did not rule out relations with the United
States and that Iran is not hostile to the American
people but added, "We cannot have relations with
America because their leaders have made the world hate
America" (Mardom Salari, January 25). He continued,
"The problem is that they want to rule the world.
Under such conditions we will not be blackmailed."
Two women have expressed interest in bids for the
presidency. Zanjan parliamentary representative Rafat
Bayat declared in March that she wants to be an
independent presidential candidate. Bayat expressed
confidence that the Guardians Council will approve a
female candidate once a woman with the necessary
managerial and executive qualities comes forward.
Bayat decried the impact of factionalism on the
political process and said student groups and
independent figures urged her to run. Islamic
Revolution's Women Society Secretary General Azam
Taleqani announced on April 30 that she is considering
entering the presidential race, IRNA reported. Her
previous attempt to run for president was cut short
when the Guardians Council rejected her candidacy.
Hojatoleslam Hassan Rohani, a former vice president
and five-term legislator who was born in Semnan in
1948, is secretary of the Supreme National Security
Council and also serves on the Expediency Council. His
position on the security council has given him a
prominent role in Iran's nuclear negotiations with
other countries. A conservative figure and member of
the Tehran Militant Clergy Association, he is
identified with Hashemi-Rafsanjani and does not appear
to have an independent political base. Some observers
see Rohani, who has been labeled a pragmatic
conservative, as the choice of the moderate right. He
has indicated little interest in running for the
The Guardians Council's strategy on approving
candidates remains a mystery. In some cases, it has
chosen to limit public choice: In February 2004, it
disqualified some 44% of prospective parliamentary
candidates; in the 2001 presidential election,
however, it allowed many candidates in an effort to
encourage voter participation. (This also served to
dilute the reformist vote and reduce the eventual
There is also a possibility that if Rafsanjani does
enter the race, no candidate will secure the required
majority of the vote. This would require a second
round of voting.
India Mulls Intervention
Nepal on the brink
5 May, 2005
There is a growing possibility of direct Indian
intervention in Nepal, the impoverished Himalayan
state of some 27 million people to its north.
The subject came up privately in recent talks between
China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his Indian
opposite number, Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
China has in the past quietly helped the Maoist
insurgents that have challenged the country's
autocratic King Gyanendra as a means of maintaining
pressure on India, its traditional Asian geopolitical
But Beijing is now alarmed by the possibility that a
radical and murderous Pol Pot-style insurgency could
gain power in Kathmandu which might radicalise
elements of Chinese politics.
China is now ready to accept that Nepal lies in
India's sphere of influence just as the Indians now
privately accept China's domination of Tibet.
The possibility of Indian military intervention arises
from the growing alarm in New Delhi about three
developments in the mountain kingdom:
The increasing strength of the insurgents
The decision in February by the unpopular King to sack
the Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, dissolve
parliament and declare martial law Links between
Nepal's Maoists and insurgent groups in some Indian
New Delhi has very little faith in Gyanendra's ability
to control the insurgency.
His decision to lift the three-month-old state of
emergency this week is more of a bow to international
pressure than a sign of strength.
The Maoists are likely to step up their attacks.
India fears that the King has lost the support he
needs to dominate the rebels. Nearly half Nepal's
population already supports Marxist parties, albeit of
a more moderate hue than the insurgents.
The Indians, along with the United States and the
British, have been the main providers of military aid
to Nepal, helping to build up the army from 45,00 to
78,000. The expansion is causing widespread problems
indiscipline owing to a shortage of trained officers.
The insurgent forces have grown to around 12,000
They control huge swathes of the countryside and have
turned other areas into a no-man's land where they
roam at will, attacking isolated police and government
posts and kidnapping tens of thousands of children -
last year alone. These young people are forced into
indoctrination camps with a view to making them
Around 11,000 people have died in the confrontation.
The new US ambassador in Kathmandu, James Moriarty,
believes there is a real possibility that a Maoist
government will take over.
Equipped with a primitive leveller creed, the Maoists
are brutal in the extreme and would undoubtedly
enforce harsh totalitarian rule.
This is not a prospect which either India or the
United States can tolerate.
King Gyanendra, who took power after the massacre of
the royal family in June 2001 by the drunken and
crazed Crown Prince, hardly seems the man to defeat
His seizure of power this spring - the second in two
years after he was forced to reappoint the Prime
Minister - was designed to give him a free hand in
what he says will be a three-year campaign to defeat
the rebels and restore democracy.
He has viciously cracked down on the press and
political opponents and broken up peaceful
Some 1,200 people have "disappeared", according to the
Nepal Human Rights Commission - the real figure is
believed to be much higher.
Arbitrary arrests and torture are common.
India denounced the February coup as a serious setback
to the cause of
democracy, and suspended military aid, as did Britain.
Washington is calling for a return to constitutional
rule, but has
continued supplying weaponry.
There are few signs that the Kingâ€™s policy of
fighting terror with terror is stopping the rebel
advance â€“ while alienating the population.
Nor does he seem much concerned with the fundamental
problem of poverty - four-fifths of the people live
off the land and average income is $130 a year. Nearly
half the population is below the poverty line.
The Indian government looks likely to give Gyanendra
only a few months to show if he can resolve the Maoist
problem through military means and repression.
If he fails, New Delhi will envisage:
installing a more moderate member of the depleted
royal family (Gyanendra's son and heir apparent is
widely disliked for his thuggish nature) or ousting
the monarchy altogether, though that will be
a country where the King is revered by many as the
incarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu god of protection.
Washington might view Indian intervention favourably,
as they are lukewarm supporters of the King and are
concerned that human rights abuses will make backing
the monarchy against the guerrillas more difficult.
The intervention of effective Indian army units in
place of the often ill-trained Nepalese army might
quickly turn the tables on the Maoists.
But New Delhi would have to pledge to respect Nepal's
independence. Otherwise many nationalistic Nepalese
could be driven into the arms of the guerrillas.
The Indians still hope to avoid direct involvement.
But neither they nor the Americans are prepared to
tolerate a Maoist take-over.
Britain's military aid is conditional on respect for
If Beijing turns a blind eye, India may engage in a
limited campaign to defeat the guerrillas, and restore
democracy and constitutional order.
They would then hope to be able to withdraw reasonably
quickly, being seen as restorers of peace.
Concern mounts over North Korea
Asian and European foreign ministers have urged North
Korea to rejoin talks on its nuclear programme amid
fears it is about to test a nuclear bomb.
The ministers expressed "deep concern" about
Pyongyang's claim to have developed nuclear weapons.
Their statement, from a summit in Japan, came a day
after US intelligence reports that a test was being
The UN's atomic watchdog has appealed to world leaders
to do their utmost to prevent such a test from
A joint statement issued at the 38-nation Asia-Europe
Meeting (ASEM), called on Pyongyang to rejoin talks on
its nuclear programme.
"The ministers strongly urged the DPRK [North Korea]
to return to the negotiating table of the six-party
talks without any further delay and to make a
strategic decision so as to achieve the
denuclearisation of the peninsula in a peaceful manner
through dialogue," it said.
Pyongyang has shunned the multilateral discussion of
its nuclear activities for almost a year.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN's atomic
watchdog, has warned a test would have "disastrous
political and environmental consequences".
Satellite images inconclusive
Recent images taken by US spy satellites reportedly
show activity at a suspected North Korean test site at
Gilju, in the north-east of the country.
The images show excavation and some construction
which, a US defence official told the BBC, could be
preparations for an underground nuclear test.
But the official also warned that the US intelligence
community had not concluded that a nuclear test was
Instead, the official said, it could simply be a ruse
by North Korea to strengthen its bargaining power with
The BBC's Jonathan Head in Kyoto says China's Foreign
Minister Li Zhaoxing is likely to come under pressure
to show more willingness to try to bring North Korea
back to the talks.
But he says there is disagreement on how to persuade
Pyongyang to return to the six-party negotiations,
involving the two Koreas, Russia, China, the US and
Japan, he says, supports the threat of UN Security
Council sanctions whereas China and South Korea
believe this approach to be too provocative.
Complicating these differences, our correspondent
adds, is the mistrust and rivalry which surfaced
recently between Japan and China which is preventing
Asia's most powerful countries from presenting a
united front against North Korea.
May. 7, 2005 17:25
Lebanon Gen. Michel Aoun comes home
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Lebanese Gen. Michel Aoun, Lebanon's most prominent
anti-Syrian politician, returned to his homeland
Saturday after 14 years of exile in France.
Aoun boarded a special Middle East Airlines flight
along with about 100 members of his political
entourage who accompanied him to Lebanon.
Aoun decided to return home after Syrian troops
completed their pullout following 29 years of
"It's a big emotion, you know, to meet with the
Lebanese people after this long time and this long
struggle for independence and the sovereignty of our
country," Aoun told Associated Press Television News
as he left his Paris home.
Aoun's return is being heralded by supporters - mostly
Christians - and opponents alike who see his comeback
as Lebanon's latest step on the road toward democratic
Aoun told Radio France Internationale that he is
returning home to join a reform movement - possibly
including Hizbullah - and isn't ruling out a run for
"Let's say I'm not a candidate, but if I'm chosen, I
will accept my responsibilities," Aoun said.
Lebanon has scheduled crucial parliamentary elections
starting May 29, and Aoun said it was up to the new
legislature to decide when presidential elections
might be planned.
Referring to the possibility of political cooperation
with the Hizbullah, Aoun said:
"These are honest, straightforward people, and they
are not particularly affected by corruption and can
easily abide by a reform plan," he said.
As for relations with Israel, Aoun said the two
countries had more to focus on than each other for
"Israel is preoccupied with talks with Palestinians,
then with the Syrians," he said. "We are preoccupied
with the consolidation of our country, with the
changes after the departure of the Syrians."
"So what matters to us first is the stability of the
borders," Aoun said. "We will talk about peace with
Israel after dealing with other problems."
This seems to me like a possibly foolish promise. When
I read about Georgia's seperatist conflicts, they seem
as unsolvable as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
often seems. And anything the U.S. does in regard to
the Georgian conflict will likely enrage the Russian
government, though I doubt Bush really cares about
that. What do you all think? (I'm mainly asking the
people on the Central_Asia_Now list, but of course I'd
like to hear responses from people on the other lists
I send this to).
US ready to help in Georgia's separatist conflicts -
TBILISI, Georgia, May 10, 2005 (AFX-UK via COMTEX) --
The US is ready to help Georgia resolve its separatist
conflicts on the mountainous border with Russia, US
president George Bush said, speaking from the Georgian
Georgia "can solve them peacefully with our help,"
Bush told journalists, following talks with President
Bush said: "The United States cannot impose a
solution, nor would you want us to, but what we can do
is work with international bodies, work with the UN
for example... But this is an issue that will be
resolved by the duly elected government of Georgia and
the folks in the separatist regions," the US president
Bush and Saakashvili had earlier discussed the
long-running conflicts between Georgia and
Russian-linked separatists in the Abkhazia and South
Bush's visit to the ex-Soviet republic is the first by
a US president.
Found this interesting and so I pass the link along to you.
The Jimmy Carter Oral History is one of several presidential oral
histories conducted by the Miller Center of Public Affairs, a
nonpartisan and nonprofit research center at the University of Virginia
whose mission is to study and inform the national and international
policies of the United States, with a special emphasis on the American
You all might be interested in this group
--- FDRSociety@yahoogroups.com wrote:
> Date: 11 May 2005 08:35:44 -0000
> From: FDRSociety@yahoogroups.com
> To: FDRSociety@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [FDRSociety] Digest Number 13
> ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
> Take a look at donorschoose.org, an excellent
> charitable web site for
> anyone who cares about public education!
> There is 1 message in this issue.
> Topics in this digest:
> 1. New Harry Truman Yahoo Group
> From: "Hank" <hankpiano@...>
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 00:40:06 -0000
> From: "Hank" <hankpiano@...>
> Subject: New Harry Truman Yahoo Group
> I've created a new Yahoo group for FDR's successor,
> Harry S Truman. If
> you're interested in joining, the link is below.
> Hank Drake
> Yahoo! Groups Links
SORTED ALPHABETICALLY: APPROVAL RATINGS FOR ALL 50 GOVERNORS AS OF
# State Governor Party Approve Disapprove
1 Alabama Robert Riley R 36% 52%
2 Alaska Frank Murkowski R 27% 66%
3 Arizona Janet Napolitano D 59% 32%
4 Arkansas Mike Huckabee R 51% 41%
5 California Arnold Schwarzenegger R 40% 56%
6 Colorado Bill Owens R 54% 38%
7 Connecticut Jodi Rell R 66% 23%
8 Delaware Ruth Ann Minner D 40% 51%
9 Florida Jeb Bush R 49% 46%
10 Georgia Sonny Perdue R 47% 40%
11 Hawaii Linda Lingle R 59% 27%
12 Idaho Dirk Kempthorne R 54% 33%
13 Illinois Rod Blagojevich D 36% 54%
14 Indiana Mitch Daniels R 42% 49%
15 Iowa Thomas Vilsack D 50% 39%
16 Kansas Kathleen Sebelius D 54% 34%
17 Kentucky Ernie Fletcher R 36% 50%
18 Louisiana Kathleen Blanco D 55% 36%
19 Maine John Baldacci D 37% 55%
20 Maryland Robert Ehrlich R 46% 43%
21 Massachusetts Mitt Romney R 41% 51%
22 Michigan Jennifer Granholm D 36% 57%
23 Minnesota Tim Pawlenty R 54% 38%
24 Mississippi Haley Barbour R 37% 55%
25 Missouri Matt Blunt R 33% 57%
26 Montana Brian Schweitzer D 58% 27%
27 Nebraska Dave Heineman R 54% 20%
28 Nevada Kenny Guinn R 54% 34%
29 New Hampshire John Lynch D 50% 29%
30 New Jersey Richard Codey D 41% 40%
31 New Mexico Bill Richardson D 54% 39%
32 New York George Pataki R 36% 56%
33 North Carolina Michael Easley D 52% 34%
34 North Dakota John Hoeven R 71% 20%
35 Ohio Bob Taft R 19% 74%
36 Oklahoma Brad Henry D 59% 30%
37 Oregon Ted Kulongoski D 36% 48%
38 Pennsylvania Edward Rendell D 48% 43%
39 Rhode Island Don Carcieri R 50% 39%
40 South Carolina Mark Sanford R 53% 35%
41 South Dakota Mike Rounds R 70% 19%
42 Tennessee Phil Bredesen D 52% 40%
43 Texas Rick Perry R 38% 48%
44 Utah Jon Huntsman R 64% 21%
45 Vermont Jim Douglas R 60% 27%
46 Virginia Mark Warner D 55% 31%
47 Washington Christine Gregoire D 34% 58%
48 West Virginia Joe Manchin D 64% 24%
49 Wisconsin Jim Doyle D 41% 49%
50 Wyoming Dave Freudenthal D 67% 20%
Avg 48% 41%
SORTED FROM HIGHEST RATED TO LOWEST: APPROVAL RATINGS FOR ALL 50
GOVERNORS AS OF 05/10/05
# State Governor Party Approve Disapprove
1 North Dakota John Hoeven R 71% 20%
2 South Dakota Mike Rounds R 70% 19%
3 Wyoming Dave Freudenthal D 67% 20%
4 Connecticut Jodi Rell R 66% 23%
5 Utah Jon Huntsman R 64% 21%
6 West Virginia Joe Manchin D 64% 24%
7 Vermont Jim Douglas R 60% 27%
8 Arizona Janet Napolitano D 59% 32%
9 Hawaii Linda Lingle R 59% 27%
10 Oklahoma Brad Henry D 59% 30%
11 Montana Brian Schweitzer D 58% 27%
12 Louisiana Kathleen Blanco D 55% 36%
13 Virginia Mark Warner D 55% 31%
14 Colorado Bill Owens R 54% 38%
15 Idaho Dirk Kempthorne R 54% 33%
16 Kansas Kathleen Sebelius D 54% 34%
17 Minnesota Tim Pawlenty R 54% 38%
18 Nebraska Dave Heineman R 54% 20%
19 Nevada Kenny Guinn R 54% 34%
20 New Mexico Bill Richardson D 54% 39%
21 South Carolina Mark Sanford R 53% 35%
22 North Carolina Michael Easley D 52% 34%
23 Tennessee Phil Bredesen D 52% 40%
24 Arkansas Mike Huckabee R 51% 41%
25 Iowa Thomas Vilsack D 50% 39%
26 New Hampshire John Lynch D 50% 29%
27 Rhode Island Don Carcieri R 50% 39%
28 Florida Jeb Bush R 49% 46%
29 Pennsylvania Edward Rendell D 48% 43%
30 Georgia Sonny Perdue R 47% 40%
31 Maryland Robert Ehrlich R 46% 43%
32 Indiana Mitch Daniels R 42% 49%
33 Massachusetts Mitt Romney R 41% 51%
34 New Jersey Richard Codey D 41% 40%
35 Wisconsin Jim Doyle D 41% 49%
36 California Arnold Schwarzenegger R 40% 56%
37 Delaware Ruth Ann Minner D 40% 51%
38 Texas Rick Perry R 38% 48%
39 Maine John Baldacci D 37% 55%
40 Mississippi Haley Barbour R 37% 55%
41 Alabama Robert Riley R 36% 52%
42 Illinois Rod Blagojevich D 36% 54%
43 Kentucky Ernie Fletcher R 36% 50%
44 Michigan Jennifer Granholm D 36% 57%
45 New York George Pataki R 36% 56%
46 Oregon Ted Kulongoski D 36% 48%
47 Washington Christine Gregoire D 34% 58%
48 Missouri Matt Blunt R 33% 57%
49 Alaska Frank Murkowski R 27% 66%
50 Ohio Bob Taft R 19% 74%
Avg 48% 41%
© 2005 SurveyUSA, Verona NJ 1-800-786-8000
Thanks Gregory! This vintage interview was conducted when I was just
more than 2 months old! I will print it out and get a chance to read
it during my summer travels. (His Sharing Good Times is currently what
I listening to when I'm driving in my car.)
And speaking of Plains, Georgia, Jesse and I actually went to that
peanuts town during last Christmas. It's a lovely place to visit.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Gregory" <greggolopry@c...>
> From CSPAN
> Found this interesting and so I pass the link along to you.
> The Jimmy Carter Oral History is one of several presidential oral
> histories conducted by the Miller Center of Public Affairs, a
> nonpartisan and nonprofit research center at the University of Virginia
> whose mission is to study and inform the national and international
> policies of the United States, with a special emphasis on the American
> 50 Ohio Bob Taft R 19% 74%
Whoa, nuff said. The stigma of the Tafts.
Russia fears foreign Belarus plot
Foreign pro-democracy activists are secretly plotting
revolution in Belarus, Russia's spy chief has said.
Nikolai Patrushev, head of the FSB security service,
said foreign NGOs had been working covertly to help
unseat President Alexander Lukashenko.
The US has called Belarus, a close ally of Russia and
President Vladimir Putin, "Europe's last
Speaking to Russia's parliament, Mr Patrushev accused
US, British, Kuwaiti and Saudi NGOs of spying.
Mr Patrushev, considered an ally of Mr Putin, said
that at least $5m (£2.6m) has been funnelled to
opposition groups in Belarus for 2005. He did not
specify who he suspects of providing the money.
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, who was
re-elected in 2004 in elections widely criticised by
international observers, recently said that foreign
efforts to impose democracy or end his alliance with
Russia would fail.
Mr Patrushev said that foreign intelligence services
were actively working to repeat the success of
Ukraine's "Orange Revolution".
"Our opponents are steadily and persistently trying to
weaken Russian influence in the Commonwealth of
Independent States and the international arena as a
whole," Mr Patrushev said.
"The latest events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan
unambiguously confirm this."
An uprising in Kyrgyzstan in March forced long-serving
President Askar Akayev into exile in Moscow.
Earlier this week US President George W Bush spoke to
huge crowds in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, praising
the peaceful "Rose revolution" that installed Mikhail
Saakashvili as president in 2003.
A day earlier, Mr Bush stood alongside Mr Putin in
Moscow at ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of
the Allied victory in Europe in World War II.
"Plans are being drawn up to involve Ukrainian
'orange' officials to carry out a similar revolution
in Belarus," Mr Patrushev said in Moscow.
"Foreign secret services are more actively using
unconventional methods in their work and are using the
teaching programmes of various NGOs to promote their
The FSB chief singled out the US Peace Corps, which
pulled out of Russia in 2002 amid spying allegations,
British medical group Merlin, the Saudi Red Crescent
and a Kuwaiti group called the Society of Social Reforms.
Nine killed as Uzbeks revolt
Friday May 13, 2005
At least nine people have been killed in Uzbekistan
after demonstrators clashed with security forces and
freed prison inmates in protest at the trial of 23
local Muslim businessmen.
The Uzbek president, Islam Karimov, blocked foreign
news broadcasts as the country appeared to plunge into
chaos. Armed crowds had surrounded police officers in
parts of the eastern city of Andijan and talks were
under way to free them, Mr Karimov's office said.
The government said it remained in control of Andijan
as Mr Karimov and other top officials rushed to the
In the capital, Tashkent, a man described as a suicide
bomber was shot and killed outside the Israeli embassy
this morning, according to the US embassy. However, an
Uzbek police official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said the man had been carrying only wooden
objects that appeared to be explosives. No other
casualties were reported in the incident.
The clashes in Andijan had killed nine people and
wounded at least 34, Mr Karimov's office said. Armed
protesters had tried, unsuccessfully, to attack the
local security forces' office and local administration
building, it added. Witnesses said security forces had
fired in the air as thousands of activists rallied to
protest the trial of the Muslim businessmen, who are
charged with extremism.
"The people have risen," said Valijon Atakhonjonov,
the brother of one of the defendants in the trial in
Andijan. He said several thousand people were rallying
outside the local administration building and that
their demands were economic: more jobs and a general
improvement in the regional and national economies. No
police or other officials could be seen, he said.
Mr Atakhonjonov described chaos in the streets of
Andijan in the early morning, with shots being fired
into the air and thousands of people massing in front
of the local administration building. However, a
government spokesman in Andijan said city and regional
administrative buildings remained under government
The city was surrounded by new police checkpoints, and
parked trucks filled with sand blocked all approaches.
By mid-morning, the streets were largely empty outside
the city centre except for soldiers and armoured
Mr Karimov and other leaders were in Andijan, the
president's office said. Police and government
officials said the defence ministry was holding an
urgent meeting in Tashkent.
Officials cut all foreign TV news programming,
including CNN and the BBC, replacing it with Uzbek and
foreign entertainment channels.
Armed demonstrators had gone to a prison to free
inmates overnight, Mr Atakhonjonov said. The 23
defendants in the trial are charged with
anti-constitutional activity and forming a criminal
and extremist organisation. Rights activists, however,
say the case is part of a broad government crackdown
on religious dissent. All of the defendants pleaded
not guilty at their trial, which opened February 10.
Several thousand people joined a protest on Wednesday
demanding that the 23 men be freed in one of the
largest recent public shows of mounting anger over
alleged rights abuses by the former Soviet republic's
The men, arrested in June, are accused of being
members of the Akramia religious group and having
contacts with the outlawed radical Islamic party
Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The authorities accuse Hizb-ut-Tahrir
of inspiring terror attacks in Uzbekistan last year
that killed more than 50 people. The group denied
Akramia unites followers of the jailed Uzbek Islamic
dissident Akram Yuldashev, who was accused of calling
for the overthrow of the country's secular government,
an accusation he denies. The group's members are
considered the backbone of Andijan's small business
community, giving employment to thousands of people in
the impoverished and densely populated Fergana Valley.
Anger as US backs brutal regime
Human rights concerns as troops put down uprising in
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday May 15, 2005
Heated criticism was growing last night over 'double
standards' by Washington over human rights, democracy
and 'freedom' as fresh evidence emerged of just how
brutally Uzbekistan, a US ally in the 'war on terror',
put down Friday's unrest in the east of the country.
Outrage among human rights groups followed claims by
the White House on Friday that appeared designed to
justify the violence of the regime of President Islam
Karimov, claiming - as Karimov has - that 'terrorist
groups' may have been involved in the uprising.
Critics said the US was prepared to support
pro-democracy unrest in some states, but condemn it in
others where such policies were inconvenient.
Witnesses and analysts familiar with the region said
most protesters were complaining about government
corruption and poverty, not espousing Islamic
The US comments were seized on by Karimov, who said
yesterday that the protests were organised by Hizb
ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group often accused by Tashkent
of seditious extremism. Yet Washington, which has
expressed concern over the group's often hardline
message, has yet to designate it a terrorist group.
Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, tried to
deflect accusations of the contradictory stance when
he said it was clear the 'people of Uzbekistan want to
see a more representative and democratic government.
But that should come through peaceful means, not
Washington has often been accused of being involved in
a conspiracy of silence over Uzbekistan's human rights
record since that country was declared an ally in the
'war on terror' in 2001.
Uzbekistan is believed to be one of the destination
countries for the highly secretive 'renditions
programme', whereby the CIA ships terrorist suspects
to third-party countries where torture is used that
cannot be employed in the US. Newspaper reports in
America say dozens of suspects have been transferred
to Uzbek jails.
The CIA has never officially commented on the
programme. But flight logs obtained by the New York
Times earlier this month show CIA-linked planes
landing in Tashkent with the same serial numbers as
jets used to transfer prisoners around the world. The
logs show at least seven flights from 2002 to late
2003, originating from destinations in the Middle East
Other countries used in the programme include Egypt,
Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Morocco. A handful of
prisoners' accounts - including that of Canadian Maher
Arar - that emerged after release show they were
tortured and abused in custody.
Critics say the US double standards are evident on the
State Department website, which accuses Uzbek police
and security services of using 'torture as a routine
investigation technique' while giving the same law
enforcement services $79 million in aid in 2002. The
department says officers who receive training are
vetted to ensure they have not tortured anyone.
The aid paradox was highlighted by the former British
Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who criticised
coalition support for Uzbekistan when they were
planning invading Iraq, using similar abuses as
Murray said yesterday: 'The US will claim that they
are teaching the Uzbeks less repressive interrogation
techniques, but that is basically not true. They help
fund the budget of the Uzbek security services and
give tens of millions of dollars in military support.
It is a sweetener in the agreement over which they get
their air base.'
Murray said that during a series of suicide bombings
in Tashkent in March 2004, before he was sacked as UK
ambassador, he was shown transcripts of telephone
intercepts in which known al-Qaeda representatives
were asking each other 'what the hell was going on.
But then Colin Powell came out and said that al-Qaeda
were behind the blasts. I don't think the US even
believe their own propaganda.'
The support continues, seen by many as a 'pay-off' for
the Khanabad base. The US Embassy website says
Uzbekistan got $10m for 'security and law enforcement
support' in 2004.
Last year Human Rights Watch released a 319-page
report detailing the use of torture by Uzbekistan's
security services. It said the government was carrying
out a campaign of torture and intimidation against
Muslims that had seen 7,000 people imprisoned, and
documented at least 10 deaths, including Muzafar
Avozov, who was boiled to death in 2002.
'Torture is rampant,' the reported concluded. Human
Rights Watch called for the US and its allies to
condemn Uzbekistan's tactics.
Democrats Consider Revamping Primaries
Sunday May 15, 2005 2:46 AM
By MIKE GLOVER
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO (AP) - Democrats, looking to reverse their
fortunes after two straight White House defeats, met
Saturday to hear competing proposals to revamp the
election calendar used to choose a presidential
nominee every four years.
The three major proposals would focus on regional
primaries. Two of those proposals would allow Iowa and
New Hampshire to retain their leadoff roles in the
candidate selection process.
A third plan, offered by Michigan Democrats, would
create a rotating series of six regional primaries. A
different region would launch each presidential
That plan would allow single-state contests to begin
the process, but those states would be rotated.
``Share the wealth,'' said Michigan Sen. Carl Levin.
``I would not lock in specific states.''
Activists from Iowa and New Hampshire vowed to
fiercely defend their leadoff status, and said the
problem the party faces is excessive
``front-loading.'' In 2004, 30 states had held
delegate selection contests by mid-March.
Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen argued that
the crush of early states takes influence away from
voters in later states.
``I think front-loading is one of the issues we want
to address,'' said Shaheen.
Tina Abbott of the Michigan Democratic Party argued
that the leadoff roles of Iowa and New Hampshire give
two tiny and unrepresentative states disproportionate
influence on whom the party picks.
``This must be changed,'' said Abbott. ``Under the
current system, millions of votes in later states
count for nothing.''
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin defended his state's position.
``It emphasizes face-to-face politics, not big
money,'' he said. ``There should be a role in the
beginning of our process for the party faithful.''
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch argued: ``With 85 years
of ingrained tradition, the New Hampshire primary
forces candidates to answer questions. Having that
opportunity not only makes them better candidates, it
makes them better presidents.''
Levin, however, said, ``What's at stake here is
nothing less than a struggle for political equality
and political relevance.'' He blasted ``this perpetual
privilege that two states have.''
The proposals were made before a special commission
selected by the Democratic National Committee.
Leslie Reynolds of the National Association of
Secretaries of State said her group favored a plan
that divided the country into four regions, which
would hold rotating primaries. Those elections would
follow Iowa's leadoff caucuses and New Hampshire's
``Iowa and New Hampshire have both tradition and
success,'' Reynolds said.
A group called Democrats for the West pushed for an
early primary group of eight interior western states,
but they would also vote after Iowa and New Hampshire.
Brian Kuehl of that group said the region is the
fastest growing in the nation, and represents prime
areas where Democrats can gain.
``We believe that with coordinated regional party
building efforts and concerted attention from the
Democratic presidential candidates, many western
states will endorse the Democratic nominee in 2008,''
The commission will debate the various proposals in
October. In December it will recommend any changes, if
any, to be made to the primary calendar.
Republicans are already planning to launch their 2008
nominating process in Iowa and New Hampshire, and
potential candidates have begun the painstaking
process of courting key activists.
If there's ever a real 50-state strategy, they MUST hold at least ONE
concurrent primary in the South with Iowa and New Hampshire. (The
Democrats would possibly have nominated Wes Clark/John Edwards instead.)
--- In email@example.com, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@y...>
> Democrats Consider Revamping Primaries
> Sunday May 15, 2005 2:46 AM
> By MIKE GLOVER
> Associated Press Writer
> CHICAGO (AP) - Democrats, looking to reverse their
> fortunes after two straight White House defeats, met
> Saturday to hear competing proposals to revamp the
> election calendar used to choose a presidential
> nominee every four years.
> The three major proposals would focus on regional
> primaries. Two of those proposals would allow Iowa and
> New Hampshire to retain their leadoff roles in the
> candidate selection process.
> A third plan, offered by Michigan Democrats, would
> create a rotating series of six regional primaries. A
> different region would launch each presidential
> nominating season.
> That plan would allow single-state contests to begin
> the process, but those states would be rotated.
> ``Share the wealth,'' said Michigan Sen. Carl Levin.
> ``I would not lock in specific states.''
> Activists from Iowa and New Hampshire vowed to
> fiercely defend their leadoff status, and said the
> problem the party faces is excessive
> ``front-loading.'' In 2004, 30 states had held
> delegate selection contests by mid-March.
> Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen argued that
> the crush of early states takes influence away from
> voters in later states.
> ``I think front-loading is one of the issues we want
> to address,'' said Shaheen.
> Tina Abbott of the Michigan Democratic Party argued
> that the leadoff roles of Iowa and New Hampshire give
> two tiny and unrepresentative states disproportionate
> influence on whom the party picks.
> ``This must be changed,'' said Abbott. ``Under the
> current system, millions of votes in later states
> count for nothing.''
> Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin defended his state's position.
> ``It emphasizes face-to-face politics, not big
> money,'' he said. ``There should be a role in the
> beginning of our process for the party faithful.''
> New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch argued: ``With 85 years
> of ingrained tradition, the New Hampshire primary
> forces candidates to answer questions. Having that
> opportunity not only makes them better candidates, it
> makes them better presidents.''
> Levin, however, said, ``What's at stake here is
> nothing less than a struggle for political equality
> and political relevance.'' He blasted ``this perpetual
> privilege that two states have.''
> The proposals were made before a special commission
> selected by the Democratic National Committee.
> Leslie Reynolds of the National Association of
> Secretaries of State said her group favored a plan
> that divided the country into four regions, which
> would hold rotating primaries. Those elections would
> follow Iowa's leadoff caucuses and New Hampshire's
> opening primary.
> ``Iowa and New Hampshire have both tradition and
> success,'' Reynolds said.
> A group called Democrats for the West pushed for an
> early primary group of eight interior western states,
> but they would also vote after Iowa and New Hampshire.
> Brian Kuehl of that group said the region is the
> fastest growing in the nation, and represents prime
> areas where Democrats can gain.
> ``We believe that with coordinated regional party
> building efforts and concerted attention from the
> Democratic presidential candidates, many western
> states will endorse the Democratic nominee in 2008,''
> said Kuehl.
> The commission will debate the various proposals in
> October. In December it will recommend any changes, if
> any, to be made to the primary calendar.
> Republicans are already planning to launch their 2008
> nominating process in Iowa and New Hampshire, and
> potential candidates have begun the painstaking
> process of courting key activists.
US to India plus 3: want seat, forget veto
Posted online: Monday, May 16, 2005 at 0131 hours IST
WASHINGTON, MAY 15: The United States has warned four
nations campaigning jointly for permanent seats on the
UN Security Council that Washington will not support
their cause unless they agree not to ask for the veto
power that the five current permanent council members
hold, senior diplomats and administration officials
The four nations—Brazil, India, Germany and Japan—are
unhappy about that position. ‘‘The Security Council is
not like an aircraft, with first-class, business and
economy seats,’’ said Ryozo Kato, Japan’s Ambassador
to the United States.
The four are plunging ahead with an ambitious
worldwide lobbying campaign. Japan has summoned more
than 100 ambassadors and chiefs of mission from its
embassies around the world to a rally of sorts next
week in Tokyo, where Foreign Minister Nobutaka
Machimura will press them to lobby their host
governments for support.
Wolfgang Ischinger, the German Ambassador to
Washington, said, “I’m sure we are doing the same
thing, making sure every one of us knows how we can
move this forward.”
Ronaldo Sardenberg, the Brazilian Ambassador to the
United Nations, said, “Our whole diplomatic
establishment is mobilised for this.”
Speaking to reporters on his flight home from Moscow
last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it was
“very important for the United States, given its
importance in world affairs, to be supportive of
Brazil’s Sardenberg said his country would propose
that the four nations be granted veto power that they
could not use for 15 years. In 2020, he said, the
United Nations could hold a conference to decide
whether to lift the ban on the use of veto power.
The four need the support of 128 nations, two-thirds
of the United Nations’ 191 members, to amend the UN
charter. They plan to make their case in the capitals
of virtually every nation before the issue is
scheduled to come up for a vote during the September
meeting of the General Assembly, which will attract
more than 100 world leaders.
Besides the four countries pooling their efforts,
three African nations—Egypt, Nigeria and South
Africa—are conducting vigorous individual campaigns
for some of the six new permanent seats proposed in
March by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The purpose of
the change is to have the council reflect the current
balance of global power better than is the case with
the original five permanent members—Britain, China,
France, Russia and the United States—and 10 members
elected to two-year terms.
The proposal Annan offered the General Assembly would
expand the 15-member council to 24 members, with the
six new permanent members not having vetoes, and three
new two-year spots for rotating members.
As part of the four nations’ campaign, presidents,
prime ministers, foreign ministers and other senior
officials are travelling the world, visiting nations
and regions far outside their normal orbits—sometimes
seeming to make bargains.
A Brazilian delegation, asking for support during a
visit to Sudan in February, told Foreign Minister
Mustafa Osman Ismail that Brazil opposed the
imposition of UN sanctions on his country, where the
United States says genocide is under way.
A senior Japanese envoy was in Ethiopia last month.
Joschka Fisher, the German Foreign Minister, visited
Central America in November and East Timor in
In Yemen in March, Gerhard Schroeder, the German
Chancellor, offered support for Yemen’s application
for membership in the World Trade Organisation. Ali
Abdullah Saleh, the Yemen President, said he supported
Germany’s campaign for a seat on the Security Council.
Shyam Saran, the Indian Foreign Secretary, plans to
visit Washington next week, in part to lobby for
support, ahead of Prime Minister Singh’s visit in
July. A senior Indian diplomat just returned from
One reason these leaders and diplomats may be
campaigning on the other side of the world is that, in
this effort, no nation can count on its neighbours.
Argentina and Mexico oppose Brazil. Japan is facing
serious opposition from North and South Korea, as well
as from China, where tens of thousands of protesters
took part in angry anti-Japan demonstrations last
Italy opposes Germany, while Pakistan is trying to
block India. And those two countries in opposition,
along with South Korea, are leading a counter-lobby
pushing a proposal that would not award new permanent
seats to anyone.
Still, the four nations have found distant friends.
Guinea and Ukraine have offered support for Brazil.
Vietnam and China appear to support Germany.
So far, by some estimates, the group has recruited the
support of as many as 100 nations—though ambassadors
and others say the number is soft.
The United States’ view on the group’s effort remains
uncertain, leading some diplomats to worry that
Washington may actually oppose expanding the Security
Council because it would dilute American power.
Fuelling that view, Shirin Tahir-Kheli, a special
advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on UN
reform, told the General Assembly last month that the
United States “would like to move forward on the basis
of broad consensus.” But predicating anything at the
United Nations on such a consensus can be read as a
formula for inaction.
The one clear statement to come from Washington is the
warning about veto power. Administration officials
said they were opposed to giving new members veto
power, out of concern that it might paralyse the
Ambassador Ischinger of Germany said he was told of
the American demand and added, “My country would like
to have equal status; that would be preferred. But if
there is to be a different status, we would certainly
look at it.”
On the broader question of US support, Rice has sent
conflicting signals. On one hand, during a visit to
Tokyo in March she said, “the United States
unambiguously supports a permanent seat for Japan on
the United Nations Security Council.” But when asked
about seats for India and Brazil during visits there,
she offered statements nearly identical to each other
in their evasiveness.
“We will look at the issue of Security Council reform,
but it should not get separated out from broad UN
reform, because we want this institution to be as
strong as possible, and you are not going to get as
strong as possible an institution unless you
restrengthen all parts of it,” she said in Brasilia
The Bush administration’s ability to block the four
nations is indirect. If 128 Assembly members vote to
allow them to join the Security Council, council
members must accept that decision. But then they must
submit the revised charter to their governments for
ratification. The Bush administration could simply
withhold the treaty from the Senate, meaning it would
not take effect.
Most of the diplomats say they think none of the five
permanent Security Council members would be willing to
defy the view of two-thirds of the world. Still,
leaders of the four nations say they remain only
cautiously optimistic of their ultimate success.
“There are many problems on the way,” Manmohan Singh
said. “I think I would not minimise the difficulties.”
—NEW YORK TIMES
I think your idea sounds better than the current
system. The party's wondering how to attract more
votes in the south, and giving us a say in the
nomination might help a bit. I don't know when
Georgia's primary date is, but in Texas we all know
that the nomination's been decided long before our
primary (in March), so few people vote in primaries
(presidential primaries anyway). The Michigan group's
idea of "a rotating series of six regional primaries"
sounds good to me, though there might be potential
problems that I don't foresee. What do you think?
--- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
> If there's ever a real 50-state strategy, they MUST
> hold at least ONE
> concurrent primary in the South with Iowa and New
> Hampshire. (The
> Democrats would possibly have nominated Wes
> Clark/John Edwards instead.)
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Greg Cannon
> > Democrats Consider Revamping Primaries
> > Sunday May 15, 2005 2:46 AM
> > By MIKE GLOVER
> > Associated Press Writer
> > CHICAGO (AP) - Democrats, looking to reverse their
> > fortunes after two straight White House defeats,
> > Saturday to hear competing proposals to revamp the
> > election calendar used to choose a presidential
> > nominee every four years.
> > The three major proposals would focus on regional
> > primaries. Two of those proposals would allow Iowa
> > New Hampshire to retain their leadoff roles in the
> > candidate selection process.
> > A third plan, offered by Michigan Democrats, would
> > create a rotating series of six regional
> primaries. A
> > different region would launch each presidential
> > nominating season.
> > That plan would allow single-state contests to
> > the process, but those states would be rotated.
> > ``Share the wealth,'' said Michigan Sen. Carl
> > ``I would not lock in specific states.''
> > Activists from Iowa and New Hampshire vowed to
> > fiercely defend their leadoff status, and said the
> > problem the party faces is excessive
> > ``front-loading.'' In 2004, 30 states had held
> > delegate selection contests by mid-March.
> > Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen argued
> > the crush of early states takes influence away
> > voters in later states.
> > ``I think front-loading is one of the issues we
> > to address,'' said Shaheen.
> > Tina Abbott of the Michigan Democratic Party
> > that the leadoff roles of Iowa and New Hampshire
> > two tiny and unrepresentative states
> > influence on whom the party picks.
> > ``This must be changed,'' said Abbott. ``Under the
> > current system, millions of votes in later states
> > count for nothing.''
> > Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin defended his state's
> > ``It emphasizes face-to-face politics, not big
> > money,'' he said. ``There should be a role in the
> > beginning of our process for the party faithful.''
> > New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch argued: ``With 85
> > of ingrained tradition, the New Hampshire primary
> > forces candidates to answer questions. Having that
> > opportunity not only makes them better candidates,
> > makes them better presidents.''
> > Levin, however, said, ``What's at stake here is
> > nothing less than a struggle for political
> > and political relevance.'' He blasted ``this
> > privilege that two states have.''
> > The proposals were made before a special
> > selected by the Democratic National Committee.
> > Leslie Reynolds of the National Association of
> > Secretaries of State said her group favored a plan
> > that divided the country into four regions, which
> > would hold rotating primaries. Those elections
> > follow Iowa's leadoff caucuses and New Hampshire's
> > opening primary.
> > ``Iowa and New Hampshire have both tradition and
> > success,'' Reynolds said.
> > A group called Democrats for the West pushed for
> > early primary group of eight interior western
> > but they would also vote after Iowa and New
> > Brian Kuehl of that group said the region is the
> > fastest growing in the nation, and represents
> > areas where Democrats can gain.
> > ``We believe that with coordinated regional party
> > building efforts and concerted attention from the
> > Democratic presidential candidates, many western
> > states will endorse the Democratic nominee in
> > said Kuehl.
> > The commission will debate the various proposals
> > October. In December it will recommend any
> changes, if
> > any, to be made to the primary calendar.
> > Republicans are already planning to launch their
> > nominating process in Iowa and New Hampshire, and
> > potential candidates have begun the painstaking
> > process of courting key activists.
The Michigan plan makes a lot of sense also. I just don't think the
current system even works anymore. Iowa, the first state to pick
Kerry, ended up voting for Bush last time. It's obvious enough that
a stronger concensus must be made at about the same time before we
rule out the chances of other candidates.
--- In email@example.com, Greg Cannon
> I think your idea sounds better than the current
> system. The party's wondering how to attract more
> votes in the south, and giving us a say in the
> nomination might help a bit. I don't know when
> Georgia's primary date is, but in Texas we all know
> that the nomination's been decided long before our
> primary (in March), so few people vote in primaries
> (presidential primaries anyway). The Michigan group's
> idea of "a rotating series of six regional primaries"
> sounds good to me, though there might be potential
> problems that I don't foresee. What do you think?
> --- Ram Lau <ramlau@y...> wrote:
> > If there's ever a real 50-state strategy, they MUST
> > hold at least ONE
> > concurrent primary in the South with Iowa and New
> > Hampshire. (The
> > Democrats would possibly have nominated Wes
> > Clark/John Edwards instead.)
> > Ram
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Greg Cannon
> > <gregcannon1@y...>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Democrats Consider Revamping Primaries
> > >
> > > Sunday May 15, 2005 2:46 AM
> > >
> > > By MIKE GLOVER
> > >
> > > Associated Press Writer
> > >
> > > CHICAGO (AP) - Democrats, looking to reverse their
> > > fortunes after two straight White House defeats,
> > met
> > > Saturday to hear competing proposals to revamp the
> > > election calendar used to choose a presidential
> > > nominee every four years.
> > >
> > > The three major proposals would focus on regional
> > > primaries. Two of those proposals would allow Iowa
> > and
> > > New Hampshire to retain their leadoff roles in the
> > > candidate selection process.
> > >
> > > A third plan, offered by Michigan Democrats, would
> > > create a rotating series of six regional
> > primaries. A
> > > different region would launch each presidential
> > > nominating season.
> > >
> > > That plan would allow single-state contests to
> > begin
> > > the process, but those states would be rotated.
> > > ``Share the wealth,'' said Michigan Sen. Carl
> > Levin.
> > > ``I would not lock in specific states.''
> > >
> > > Activists from Iowa and New Hampshire vowed to
> > > fiercely defend their leadoff status, and said the
> > > problem the party faces is excessive
> > > ``front-loading.'' In 2004, 30 states had held
> > > delegate selection contests by mid-March.
> > >
> > > Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen argued
> > that
> > > the crush of early states takes influence away
> > from
> > > voters in later states.
> > >
> > > ``I think front-loading is one of the issues we
> > want
> > > to address,'' said Shaheen.
> > >
> > > Tina Abbott of the Michigan Democratic Party
> > argued
> > > that the leadoff roles of Iowa and New Hampshire
> > give
> > > two tiny and unrepresentative states
> > disproportionate
> > > influence on whom the party picks.
> > >
> > > ``This must be changed,'' said Abbott. ``Under the
> > > current system, millions of votes in later states
> > > count for nothing.''
> > >
> > > Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin defended his state's
> > position.
> > > ``It emphasizes face-to-face politics, not big
> > > money,'' he said. ``There should be a role in the
> > > beginning of our process for the party faithful.''
> > >
> > > New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch argued: ``With 85
> > years
> > > of ingrained tradition, the New Hampshire primary
> > > forces candidates to answer questions. Having that
> > > opportunity not only makes them better candidates,
> > it
> > > makes them better presidents.''
> > >
> > > Levin, however, said, ``What's at stake here is
> > > nothing less than a struggle for political
> > equality
> > > and political relevance.'' He blasted ``this
> > perpetual
> > > privilege that two states have.''
> > >
> > > The proposals were made before a special
> > commission
> > > selected by the Democratic National Committee.
> > >
> > > Leslie Reynolds of the National Association of
> > > Secretaries of State said her group favored a plan
> > > that divided the country into four regions, which
> > > would hold rotating primaries. Those elections
> > would
> > > follow Iowa's leadoff caucuses and New Hampshire's
> > > opening primary.
> > >
> > > ``Iowa and New Hampshire have both tradition and
> > > success,'' Reynolds said.
> > >
> > > A group called Democrats for the West pushed for
> > an
> > > early primary group of eight interior western
> > states,
> > > but they would also vote after Iowa and New
> > Hampshire.
> > >
> > > Brian Kuehl of that group said the region is the
> > > fastest growing in the nation, and represents
> > prime
> > > areas where Democrats can gain.
> > >
> > > ``We believe that with coordinated regional party
> > > building efforts and concerted attention from the
> > > Democratic presidential candidates, many western
> > > states will endorse the Democratic nominee in
> > 2008,''
> > > said Kuehl.
> > >
> > > The commission will debate the various proposals
> > in
> > > October. In December it will recommend any
> > changes, if
> > > any, to be made to the primary calendar.
> > >
> > > Republicans are already planning to launch their
> > 2008
> > > nominating process in Iowa and New Hampshire, and
> > > potential candidates have begun the painstaking
> > > process of courting key activists.
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