As the summer winds down and people prepare for August vacations, here are a few random political observations:

1) The California recall campaign is already taking shape: embattled and failed Governor Gray Davis is running against “millionaire right-wing Republicans.” Davis has used every drop of his political muscle to keep out any other Democrats and is lumping all the Republicans – Issa, Simon, Mclintock, Riordan, Huffington, Kemp and others – as ‘self-financed, right-wingers who want to undo last year’s election.’

Will this strategy work?

It all depends on who votes in the recall on October 7. The guess here is that the anti-Davis forces are more passionate about removing Davis than the pro-Davis troops are about keeping him. But, of course, the anti-Davis voters have a ‘scattered’ ballot: too many GOPers to choose from. That is what Davis has going for him.

What a zoo that race is.

2) Iraq: today the WASHINGTON POST features a story about Iraqi scientists captured or interviewed since the end of the war. Guess what? They all say there is no WMD. Yes, there used to be a WMD program but it was abandoned after 1998.

And this is coming from scientists no longer living under the thumb of Saddam. And, just to be sure there was no remaining fear factor, the US forces took several of these scientists out of Iraq to safe havens for interviews. The result? The same claim that there was no existing WMD – and no nuclear program.

This is a continuing problem for the Bush Administration. Failure to find WMD undercuts the administration’s credibility.

But the most cutting ongoing event is the almost daily death of one or more American soldiers.

During the height of Vietnam we were losing almost 500 men a week! But we did not see these deaths live on TV. (In those days there rarely was satellite capability for news stories – on tape – from the field; most stories took two days to be flown and then transmitted back to New York.)

The daily death of one soldier in Iraq is magnified by the live, ‘right from the streets of Baghdad’ capability of the three cable news networks.

And the Arabs know full well that this drip-drip-drip of daily death will slowly and surely reduce the American resolve to stay in Iraq. Thus the hopefully imminent capture or killing of Saddam may not stem the daily American casualties. Indeed, these killings may be part of an Al Qaeda or Iranian plan to infiltrate Iraq – easy to do with borders more porous than ours with Mexico – with bands of thugs tasked with the systematic and steady killing of Americans.

And the Shiites in southern Iraq haven’t yet begun to vent their fury at the Americans GI’s. When they do – and they are growing increasingly restless with our occupation – there will be even more death for our troops.

All the more reason for us to get other countries to come in now and share the burden.

3) I will be on C-SPAN tomorrow morning – Friday August 1 – on American Journal with Brian Lamb at exactly 9:15 AM New York time until 10:00 AM. The topic will be the Counter Clinton Library.


Saturday’s front page Washington Post story ‘leaking’ word that the White House would soon name former Secretary of State James. A. Baker as yet another ‘special envoy’ to Iraq to assist Paul Bremer will send shivers down the spines of every Iraqi old enough to remember the American betrayal of 12 years ago.

Right after the first Gulf War ended in March 1991 – with Saddam’s forces expelled from Kuwait – the first Bush administration made all sorts of heady promises to the Kurds in northern Iraq and the Shiites is southern Iraq about imminent American support. These Iraqis came to believe that they would be protected against Saddam’s thugs and murderers. The two no-fly zones were created in part to protect the people under them. Soon enough these anti-Saddam Iraqis felt emboldened to oppose the Baath Party hierarchy; after all the all-powerful Americans had just whipped these forces in Kuwait, devastated Baghdad’s command and control, and promised to protect those who courageously stood up to Saddam.

But guess what happened?

The Americans cut and ran.

Led by Secretary of State James Baker and President George H.W. Bush, the administration literally reneged on all our pledges of aid and protection.

And do you know what happened next?

Saddam’s butchers – personally led on the ground by his two sons – rolled north and south and conducted widespread murders, mass killings and brutal executions too gruesome to recount here.

The mass graves being uncovered almost daily by our GI’s are the result of that American abandonment.

As the Wall Street Journals’ excellent writer, Paul Gigot, points out today on a visit to Iraq, the Iraqi people he meets are not hoping for the American troops to leave soon; they are deathly afraid the troops will leave too soon.

According to Gigot, the Iraqis are scarred and traumatized by Saddam’s thirty years of brutal rule: torture, rape, murder, abductions and indiscriminate cruelty. Our wonderful American troops are the protection from that. But, fear Iraqis, what happens if the GI’s leave? Will the Baath Party thugs – perhaps under the thumb of a ‘new’ Saddam – return? Would the world allow such a regime all over again?

1991 is only 12 years ago and indeed the world – especially the Americans – stood by while the anit-Saddam uprisings were allowed to happen by the broken promises of Baker and Bush.

And now another Bush wants to send Baker back to Iraq?

This is one old Bush hand who must not be brought out of retirement.


Have you ever stopped for a minute and realized the simple things in everyday life that make each day so special?

You know the old saying “You never know how much you appreciate something until it’s gone”? Well, the following are a few of my daily events/habits that make my life so pleasurable:

1) Reading three newspapers a day – NEW YORK POST, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS and the New York Times. I love reading the latest news.

2) Breathing the summer air through my bedroom window first thing in the morning. (After 1999 sinus surgery, I can now smell cut grass and flowers for the first time in thirty years – and boy do I appreciate it!)

3) Having my cute little cat lie on my chest in the evenings while I watch the news or a ball game.

4) Driving home around 8PM on a weekday summer night after pitching well in a MSBL (Men’s Senior Baseball League) Midweek League game (this is regular hardball for men over 28). With the car windows open and feeling relaxed and sweaty, there is no better feeling.

5) Talking on the phone to my friends. I have one friend, Jim, from college days. We have talked on the phone almost every single day since 1975! And the conversation is still the same: a review of the day’s news with an emphasis on political developments.

6) Listening to good talk radio.

7) Looking at Katie Couric on the TODAY SHOW. What a great way to start the day.

8) Going to the beach with my girlfriend. Laughing, talking, reading and –again – listening to the radio while sunning and swimming. How can you beat it?

9) A good book! There are few greater pleasures!

10) Stretching my back on the floor; getting rid of that morning stiffness really energizes me for the rest of the day.

11) Good, all natural – no trans-fatty acids – peanut butter on toast for lunch.

12) Watching the New York Yankees play ball on television.

OK. Those are a few of my simple pleasures.

Why don’t you take a few minutes today and make your list?

The following Associated Press story appears on the AP wires today:

Library plans to mock Clinton

Houston businessman Richard Erickson and a former GOP congressman from New York plan to build a museum in Little Rock, Ark., that will mock Bill Clinton and his $160 million presidential library. Erickson and John LeBoutillier hope to open the so-called Counter-Clinton Library the same day the presidential library opens in November 2004, according to The Associated Press. They say they will need $5 million, but LeBoutillier will not say how much has been raised so far. They say the museum in Little Rock and one planned for Washington will look at such topics as Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, the last-minute pardons, even damaged White House furniture. Dick Morris, the Clinton strategist who resigned in a sex scandal, has pledged stacks of his insider documents, as has Gary Aldrich, the former FBI agent who wrote a best seller about Clinton's scandals. "We think people will want to come out of the Clinton Library and head immediately down the street to us to get the rest of the story," LeBoutillier says.

To learn more about the Counter Clinton Library, please visit us at www.Counterclintonlibrary.com.


This column is pure political analysis:

The G.W. Bush White House was rocked Friday afternoon with the release of the latest Zogby Poll showing that more voters want “someone new” in the White House next year (47%) than pledge to reelect President Bush (46%).

Up until Friday the general consensus had been that Bush was going to win in a cakewalk next year. True, White House spokesmen always said the ‘correct thing’: “We expect next year’s race to be extremely close.” But they didn’t believe it – not for a second. Team Bush – led by Karl Rove – has gotten so cocky that Rove even journeyed up to New Hampshire and put the word out that Howard Dean is the Democrat candidate best suited to be trounced by G.W. Bush.

But now all of that cockiness has to be thrown out the window. The political crisis enveloping this administration has seen the President’s approval rating drop from a high of 82% right after the 9/11 attacks to 53% last week. His disapproval numbers have rocketed skyward, too. From a low of 17% after 9/11, they have grown to a shocking 46%.

The Bush Descent is shockingly reminiscent of his father’s similar fate 12 years ago.

The first Bush Administration can be summed up quite succinctly:

George H.W. Bush won a war in the Gulf and had extraordinarily high poll ratings (91%). But he also had a rotten economy and credibility issues after he broke his ‘read-my-lips no new taxes’ pledge. Plus, his role in Iran Contra came back to haunt him the last week of the campaign. His 91% melted down to a paltry 37% of the vote a mere year and one half after the triumphant Gulf War victory.

Now his son, G.W. Bush, seems to falling into a similar pattern:

A seemingly successful victory in Iraq – and in Afghanistan, too – but a slow, jobless recovery from our recent recession. And, like his father, this President Bush’s credibility has been greatly damaged by the unfolding intelligence flap from the Iraq conflict.

It is shocking to see this Bush’s approval rating drop like a stone since April. Behind this plummet is the stagnant economy which – for any president – is a drag on his popularity. His Iraq intelligence problem would be less worrisome if he was presiding over a robust economy. But we all have learned that a sour economy undermines any president.

G.W. Bush well remembers 1992. He has often told friends and associates that year “was the most painful year in our family’s history.” He desperately wants to expunge that memory by running a winning reelection campaign – and thus validating the Bush family name as a winner.

But it seems the harder he tries – more tax cuts and more claims about Saddam – the more it is turning into 1992 all over again.

True, there is still some time to reverse the current downward trend. For instance, the economy could rebound. Or we could find a stash of WMD inside Iraq or capture Saddam or Osama Bin Laden.

But, in the meantime, the bloom is off the Bush rose. The media is – for the first time since before the 9/11 attacks – in shark feeding frenzy mode. They are digging for more examples of administration lies and exaggerations. And the Democrats smell blood, too.

G.W. Bush wants to avert another 1992 debacle. But, at the moment, no matter what he does his presidency appears to be on track to become a sequel of his father’s.


G.W. Bush has potential trouble brewing right under his nose. No, it’s not the economy. And no, it’s not this band of seemingly pygmy-like Democratic opponents.

President’s Bush’s problem – and one that could very well cost him a second term – is an uncontrollable intelligence apparatus that ‘runs’ him more than is run by him.

Headed by Clinton holdover George Tenet, the Bush intelligence team has damaged the President’s credibility, failed countless times to carry out our national objectives, and given Bush’s political opponents ammunition for next year’s campaign.

Here is a list of the recent embarrassments and failures:

1) Failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks despite specific intelligence that Al Qaeda planned something ‘spectacular’ involving hijacked aircraft.

2) Allowing Bin Laden family members to leave the United States right after the 9/11 attacks before the FBI could interrogate them.

3) Failure to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden and his right-hand man, Dr. B. Alzwahiri, - three times under Clinton and since the 9/11 attacks.

4) Failure to produce solid evidence of WMD in Iraq sufficient to convince doubtful allies of the necessity to remove Saddam Hussein’s government.

5) Failure during the war to kill or capture Saddam and his sons – despite two specifically publicized (by the CIA with Tenet’s direct involvement) targeted attacks – at the beginning and near the end of the combat operations.

6) Failure to find any WMD in the 2 ½ months since the war ended.

7) Failure to find Saddam and his two murderous sons since the war ended.

8) Embarrassing the President by allowing the now-infamous 16 words into the State of the Union address.

9) Stonewalling the 9/11 commission by refusing to turn over documents or allow government officials to be interviewed outside the presence of ‘minders’ – a tactic more common to communist or totalitarian governments.

There are other similarly disgraceful actions – or non-actions – by the Tenet-led intelligence community. And yet Tenet is firmly in charge; in fact, last weeks’ Niger-uranium fiasco actually has strengthened Tenet’s position. Bush really owes Tenet for taking the fall for the Bush White House staff who screwed up royally all across the board. The Africa trip’s potential domestic political benefits were diluted by the media focus on the 16 words.

When Tenet took the blame he ‘lanced the wound’ and perhaps allows Team Bush to get the focus onto something else.

Sadly, however, the Bush re-election effort will be bedeviled by the unfolding scandals and ineptitude of the CIA and its associated intelligence agencies.

G.W. Bush inherited – and refused to purge – a rotten bunch of arrogant intelligence agents who are virtually untouchable. Going back three decades to his father’s CIA tenure, these agents are running amok underneath G.W. Bush – and he is oblivious to it.

This – more than anything else – threatens his re-election next year.


Previously – in the column entitled THE TUMOR – a ‘government within our government’ was described. Specifically this ‘independent,’ unelected entity has infiltrated our intelligence-defense establishment and taken over foreign policy, perverting our constitutional system of government. It was also revealed that this cancerous entity inside our government actually spies on other parts of the government.

Two present-day examples have suddenly surfaced to reinforce this controversial observation:

1) Yesterday the two co-chairmen of the 9/11 commission – former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean and former US Congressman Lee Hamilton – held a press conference in which they charged the Executive Branch – specifically the Pentagon and Justice Departments – of stalling on the turnover of crucial documents about the 9/11 attacks.

I happen to know both men quite well. I worked for Tom Kean in New Jersey in 1976 in the Ford Re-election Campaign and I served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee with Lee Hamilton. There are few more honest and honorable people in public life today. They are also polite and gentlemanly. Their rebuke of the Administration is a serious charge.

Perhaps the more disturbing aspect of their criticism was of the new policy of the Bush Administration to require that ‘minders’ be present for all interviews with the 9/11 commission. This is smack dab right out of the Soviet Communist handbook! In communist and authoritarian countries – where the government trusts no one – they assign a ‘minder’ to sit in on all interviews. This ‘minder’ is a spy for the government!

So Kean and Hamilton in effect have confirmed a basic tenet of the first TUMOR article: this secret ‘government within a government’ spies on other parts of our government.

Please tell me how our Founding Fathers would have liked that.

2) The White House – backed into a corner over the weekend by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson – finally admitted the President was wrong when he claimed in this year’s State of the Union address that Iraq was buying enriched uranium from Niger.

Quick background summary: Wilson was sent a last year by the CIA to Niger to investigate reports that Niger had sold uranium to Saddam. He concluded that it was a totally false report. Upon returning to DC he informed the CIA and the State Department of his findings.

Nine months later President Bush claimed in his January State of the Union address that Niger was selling uranium to Iraq.

This past Sunday Wilson wrote a comprehensive New York Times Op-Ed column detailing his findings. This prompted a chagrined White House to admit late Monday night that indeed the President was wrong to have made that State of the Union accusation.

Now, the key question: how could a proven false claim make its way into the single most important speech a president delivers?

Such a speech is written by dozens of experts from each relevant department who vet each and every word.

Nine months after Wilson’s report someone took it upon himself or herself to insert this explosive sentence – even though it had been debunked. There must have been dissenters who knew the claim was false.
You can bet there are some inside the administration who were intimidated by The Tumor to shut up as this false claim was kept in the speech.

This does not pass the smell test.

Rather, it smacks of The Tumor.

It appears that this ‘government within a government’ had its own agenda – war against Iraq – and it was dead-set to include patently false information into a major presidential speech in order to incite public opinion in favor of the war.

This cannot be allowed.

We cannot have a president fed lies by underlings because it ruins the credibility of the presidency.

And for those who shrug their shoulders and say the Niger uranium incident is “relatively insignificant” let me ask a simple question: if Bill Clinton had delivered a patently false claim in order to enact a controversial government decision would conservatives shrug it off as “insignificant”?

The Tumor is a cancer on our society. When the United States of America allows itself to have a ‘government within a government’ answerable to no one, elected by no one then we are quickly descending into dangerous territory.

The Bush Administration’s biggest vulnerability may not be a weakened economy and high unemployment; instead it may be a disastrous intelligence scandal waiting to blow open.


Last Thursday’s 6.4% unemployment number is the single worst news event for the Bush re-election campaign since before the 9/11 attacks.

Such a huge and shocking rise in unemployment – especially when all experts inside and outside the government thought it would decline – may mean nothing or it may portend bad things for our economy.

Make no mistake about it: if the economy is in a sour state next year, G.W. Bush will most likely not be re-elected. Period. Conversely if the economy is ‘perceived’ to be improving, he will probably win no matter what else happens.

This disturbing 6.4% unemployment figure gives Bush’s opponents much ammunition to use in the campaign. Job losses are always unsettling – and in the two and one half years of this Bush presidency the nation has lost over 2 million jobs.

The democrats are certain to link up the overall job losses in the two Bush presidencies. Combined many millions of jobs have been lost – and this will become ready fodder for the democratic candidates from now on.

G. W. Bush, to his credit, has not followed his father’s prescription on how to deal with economic difficulties. Back in late 1991 and early 1992, as the nation entered a recession, George H.W. Bush refused to acknowledge that we were even in a recession. Painted as ‘out of touch,’ that President Bush was actually trying to use public psychology to boost the economy. His feeling was nothing works better than the Power of Positive Thinking.

Of course he was ridiculed for this seeming ignorance of the bad economy and attacked for a ‘head in the sand’ attitude.

His son – always doing the exact opposite of his father – does not shrink from these economic woes. Instead he acknowledges them and says all the right things about his ‘concern’ over job losses.

What this Bush White House must be praying for is an improving economy – with declining unemployment numbers – by this time next summer. Bush will be in good shape if the perception of the economy is that it is improving. If so, he will – correctly – take credit for the recovery, citing his two rounds of tax cuts.

But if this worrisome 6.4% number is an indicator that the economy is again stalling, then Bush and the Republicans have big trouble.

Oh, by the way, in politics there is a simple rule: what is good economics is bad politics and vice versa. Thus, a political candidate can not make this correct economic argument: one of the reasons for the increase in unemployment is the increased productivity of present American workers. In other words, fewer workers are doing more work – thus the need for fewer jobs.

But no one in the political world can dare to state that because it sounds heartless. Can’t you just see the headlines: WE DON’T NEED YOU!

The stalled job market makes it virtually impossible for the Bush White House to avoid the inevitable charge that millions of jobs have been lost on their watch. Recently it was published that 120,000 new jobs would have to be created each and every month between now and the election for us just to be back where we were when G.W. Bush took office. And no one now believes such a positive growth can happen.

Instead, the White House needs to paint a picture of an ‘improving’ economy.

You can bet that Karl Rove and his minions are deeply worried over the future perception of the economy.