In an outward sign of real desperation, Monica's ex boyfriend started a war. It wasn't a very big war, to be sure. And we didn't really send very many military people into the fight. Actually, we fought more or less of a mechanized war. That is, we led off with about $250-million worth of the modern equivalent of Buzz-Bombs. And, as with the old fashioned buzz-bombs, some tended to go astray.
And so began Operation Desert Fox; not to be confused with what Bill thought was a Valley Fox sent to him as an Oval Office boy-toy. It is interesting, however, that Operation Desert Fox is a direct result of Bill's involvement with his Valley fox. So say half of Congress and quite a number of political watchers, anyway.
Actually, anyone calculating the odds would know this military action is no coincidence. It's a Wag-the-Dog scenario designed to save the presidential butt. It's another method of confusing the issue, because Clinton has no defense against impeachment. It's good theater designed to change the subject; a diversion from the impeachment action. Unfortunately, it is also getting a lot of people killed.
That this little war should have been waged months ago was self-evident. Month after month, Americans watched while Saddam Hussein jerked Bill Clinton around like a cheap yo-yo with knots in the string.
That's what it looked like, anyway. But, maybe there was an ulterior motive for Clinton's seeming inaction. Perhaps Clinton was keeping this little war as a trump card to play when needed.
For instance, last week The New York Post reported that former chief U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter said U.S. officials actually prodded inspection teams to return to Iraq last month to provoke a crisis to justify bombing. "What [chief U.N. weapons inspector] Richard Butler did last week with the inspections was a set-up," Ritter told The Post. "This was designed to generate a conflict that would justify a bombing."
Ritter also told The Post that U.S. government sources told him three weeks ago when the inspections resumed that the two considerations on the horizon were Ramadan [the month-long Muslim holiday beginning this weekend] and impeachment. "You have no choice but to interpret this as 'Wag the Dog.' You have no choice," he said.
Is that a hint, or what? Let's see here... The House impeachment action starts heating up and looking ominous, so the White House prodded inspection teams to return to Iraq last month "to generate a conflict that would justify a bombing." The Monica lies start catching up with Clinton, so he adds another wild card into the mix in hopes that public support will rise enough that they won't impeach him. He used the American Military for personal gain, in other words. Which would also mean that he caused people to die for personal gain.
Which then means that, for the past year or more, Clinton has wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars moving unused military forces around like pieces on a chess board. In so doing, he also kept a number of governments agitated and made a few of them angry at us. In other words, it looks like Clinton used high-dollar foreign intrigue to help mask lies about Oval Office sexcapades and to prop up his poll ratings in the face of an impeachment action.
Hey... people who know him don't call this guy "Slick" for nothing. Clinton is like a master con artist fleecing the popular opinion of a nation. He darn near pulled it off, too.
So, by the second day of Monica's war . . . err, Desert Fox . . . they ran out of the old million dollar cruise missiles and brought in human piloted aircraft for what amounts to little more than target practice with a slight diversion. Then they received a large shipment of newer cruise missiles that cost about a million and a half bucks a shot. As part of the distraction, the Pentagon also trotted a couple of generals out before the TV cameras with some great satellite pictures to play show and tell with.
Then, as suddenly as it started, it all ended. Well, if Clinton does not need it within the next few days, it may be ended. Maybe. It all depends on how the impeachment deal with the Senate goes.
Anyway, hundreds of thousands of people were inconvenienced, a few hundred people were wounded and at least two-hundred people were killed. Saddam was spanked, the White House says. Everything will be better now, we are expected to believe.
Sure... till the Senate trial, when they'll be needing another distraction.
Whatever it takes to create a diversion. Whatever it takes.
Resolving a seven-year battle waged by two home-schooling families against Lynn Public Schools, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts was unanimous in its opinion that it is "the basic right of parents to educate their children" and that home education proposals "can be made subject only to essential and reasonable requirements."
Home inspections "are not essential," the court said.
Home-schooling advocates hailed the decision as another sign that government is beginning to validate this alternative means of educating an estimated 1.5 million students nationwide. During the 1990s, as a result of persistent lobbying efforts, home education has become legal in all 50 states -- though some have more rigid rules than others.
"It was worth waiting," said Mike Farris, president of the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, who represented the families. "What we got from the court was the most insightful opinion ever written on home schooling in terms of understanding that home schools can be excellent without adhering to the rigid formalities associated with institutional schools."
The dispute in Lynn dates to 1991, when Stephen and Lois Jeanne Pustell dutifully filed a home education plan detailing their curriculum and method of evaluation. They were told it wouldn't be approved unless they allowed school officials to periodically observe them teaching.
Both certified teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Pustell said they were confident about passing muster, but objected in principle to the visits. "Anybody can clean up their house and look good for 40 minutes," said Mr. Pustell. "It doesn't mean education is going on there."
As an evangelical Christian, Mr. Pustell, a computer analyst, feared someone "with an ax to grind" might find reasons to object to their lifestyle.
"We didn't see any need to open our home to that potential," he said.
In 1994, Michael and Virginia Brunelle, who have five children, joined the suit. During the past few years, both families have continued to educate their children at home while refusing inspections.
Lynn's new superintendent of schools, James Mazareas, who took office in August, wasn't a champion of the home visits, either.
"I saw no reason to insist," he said.
Seven years ago, when the public school committee created the policy, home schooling was still "uncharted waters," he said. "Now, everyone's talking about choices, whether vouchers, charter schools or home schooling."
Mr. Farris predicted the ruling, issued by the highest court ever to address the issue of home inspections, will have a "trend-setting effect" in other states.
Lynn was the only district in the nation that required home inspections. But other school systems have considered adding the inspections to their home- schooling policies.
In light of the ruling, they might have to think again, Mr. Farris said.
The statement on debts was adopted on the final day of the council's assembly, a 12-day gathering at the University of Zimbabwe that drew nearly 1,000 delegates from Protestant and Orthodox churches around the world. The meeting declared, "The basic human needs and rights of individuals and communities and the protection of the environment should take precedence over debt repayment."
In adopting the statement the council has aligned itself with a growing number of religious leaders and some secular groups who want to tie the millennium to the ideal of a "jubilee" year. The Book of Leviticus has a visionary description of such a period, which would occur every 49th year, in which slaves would be freed, debtors released from their obligations and land restored to its owners.
Drawing on that theme, the statement, "A Jubilee Call to End the Stranglehold of Debt on Impoverished Peoples," cites biblical passages to make the case that a special period of debt relief for the poor is "as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago."
The statement is primarily addressed to the 339 member churches, encouraging them to work for that goal, and also to the political leaders in the major industrialized nations. Although the statement is long and detailed in its description of the complicated problem of international debt, it centers on concerns that poor heavily indebted nations, whose governments borrowed freely in the 1970s and '80s, have been forced to make drastic cuts in spending for public health, education and other civic needs to service their debts.
The statement does not list countries in the category of "severely indebted, impoverished." But a member of the committee that drafted the document said discussions of the issue often cited 50 nations, 32 of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Although a number of religious organizations have long voiced similar concerns about poor countries, only recently has the idea spread of tying the call for relief to 2000.
A major voice in the effort is the Jubilee 2000 Coalition in London. Its director, Ann Pettifor, said in an interview that the group was relying for support on groups like unions, doctors' organizations and, particularly, churches, the only places, she said, where "one can have a discussion based on nonmarket values."
Others who focus on the debt problem include the Roman Catholic bishops and the Evangelical Church in Germany. They published a joint statement that quoted Pope John Paul II as having said 2000 would be "an appropriate time" for Christians to think about reducing or canceling the debt of poor countries.
A searching discussions of the issue was held two months ago at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., a conference arranged by the U.S. Catholic Conference, the social policy organization of the American bishops, and by Vatican officials. Among the attendees were James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, and Michel Camdessus, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
Personal contacts through international religious institutions, whether the Catholic Church or the World Council, have allowed religious leaders in poor nations to communicate directly with counterparts elsewhere. Among the speakers Seton Hall was Archbishop Medardo Mazombwe of Lusaka, Zambia, who said his nation owed $750 for every citizen, adults and children.
As a measure of the issue's complexity discussions of indebtedness lead to questions of how to relieve the debts and how to help those governments from borrowing heavily again. The assembly statement deals briefly and generally with the questions, calling for public debt cancellation and for churches to work for "ethical governance in all countries to eradicate corruption."
Dr. Marion Best of the United Church of Canada, who was involved in drafting the statement, said canceling a country's debt ought to include an agreement that the money saved would go to public needs. "We need to know how the savings will be used," Best said.
"We uncovered more incidents involving probable direct and deliberate obstruction of justice, witness tampering, perjury and abuse of power," Schippers said in his prepared statement to the House Judiciary Committee. But he said the Justice Department and Office of Independent Counsel had told him making it public now would compromise pending investigations.
"Because of the extremely strict time limits placed upon us, a number of very promising leads had to be abandoned," Schippers said. "We just ran out of time."
"In addition, many other allegations of possible serious wrongdoing cannot be presented publicly at this time by virtue of circumstances totally beyond our control."
Schippers, who was presenting final arguments in the impeachment case against Clinton, said he had come to the point "I prayed I would never reach."
"It is my sorrowful duty now to accuse President William Jefferson Clinton of obstruction of justice, false and deliberately misleading statements under oath, witness tampering, abuse of power and false statements to and obstruction of the Congress of the United States in the course of this very impeachment inquiry," he said.
In its December issue, the authoritative military magazine said countries such as Iran and North Korea were developing their missile technology at a rate that could allow them to launch attacks on Western Europe and parts of the United States much sooner than was previously thought.
JIR said Iran had an advanced ballistic missile research and development infrastructure and the capability to procure a 4,000-6,000 km (2,500-3,750 miles) long-range missile. It also looked set to follow North Korea's technological achievement of acquiring multi-stage rocket technology, the magazine said.
Former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told JIR that North Korea was now "only a relatively short step from a deployable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability."
JIR said barring any agreements in the U.S.-North Korean missile talks in the near future, Pyongyang would in all likelihood export this technology to supplement Iran's sophisticated missile infrastructure in return for valuable hard currency.
Iran is a long-term recipient of North Korean missile-related technology.
JIR said the exchange of missile technology among developing countries like North Korea and Iran had intensified and was more profound than U.S. intelligence reports had realised.
The threat of a missile attack has loomed ever larger since North Korea launched an extended range Taepodong-1 missile earlier this year, which flew over Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean. Recent missile firings by Iran and Pakistan have also added to concerns.
"These developments do not represent merely an enhanced capability to cause destruction but, more importantly, the ability to use force and threats to achieve political goals," the magazine said.
It said the weapons in question were not accurate or flexible enough for use against military targets, therefore their real effectiveness lay in their ability to exert terror and panic against civilian targets for political manipulation.
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