Politics: June 2003 Archives

Or is it a question of digging our own grave? In any event, this is just not worthy of a great nation, or of a people who think they are a part of a great nation.

French wine didn't make us stupid. French wine didn't make us do wretched things to people we know nothing about. French wine didn't make us greedy and provincial and it did not endow us with a dangerous sense of moral superiority over the entire world. French wine didn't make us cowards. French wine did not turn the world against us.

French wine will not end the "American century."

We're going to do it on our own.

We've been told all year that Americans want to punish France for showing good sense lately in its foreign policy, but I wasn't ready to take the story seriously - until now.

The usual contingent of American wine merchants were mostly absent [from France's largest wine fair this week in Bordeaux], confirming to many at the fair that American ill will over France's opposition to the war in Iraq bruised more than egos.

French wine sales to the United States, once French winemakers' most promising market and now one of their greatest competitors, are going down the drain.

Up to now I had actually thought this nonsense would blow away quickly and that we would soon be directing our anger to the right target: the entire American media and political establishment. In fact it’s clear we haven’t learned a thing, and the result will not be disaster just for certain French industries.

French wine, and perhaps the French aeronautical industry and many others as well, may never recover from American fear and stupidity, but in the end the real victim will be America and everything that a wise and generous America could have been for itself and for the world.

In the meantime, chez nous, we enjoyed a magnificent bottle of French wine last night. The entree was a plate of sauteed sea scallops on a bed of wilted frisee tossed with sauteed shallots, chanterelle and balsamic vinegar. The wine was a Muscat 1992 Grand Cru Goldert Domaine Zind Humbrecht, and the recipe was that of Mario Batalli. An odd combination, but I think "surf and turf" always requires imagination when matching wine and food. Besides, the Zind was getting antsy sitting in the rack here.

Vive la France!

All this is coming from the second most powerful person in the country (third, if we have to count Bush in addition to Cheney):

[Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist said he feared that the ruling on the Texas sodomy law could lead to a situation "where criminal activity within the home would in some way be condoned."

"And I'm thinking of, whether it's prostitution or illegal commercial drug activity in the home, and to have the courts come in, in this zone of privacy, and begin to define it gives me some concern," Frist said.

No, the problem is as usual that he's not thinking. The ideologue was speaking in the context of his announcement today of support for a constitutional amendment which would ban gay marriage, because
"I very much feel that marriage is a sacrament, and that sacrament should extend and can extend to that legal entity of a union between, what is traditionally in our Western values has been defined, as between a man and a woman."
So, now the Radical Right, which has always said it is opposed to any extension of federal power, thinks the federal government should be given final authority over religious rites.

On some level I cannot get too enthused about the latest sodomy decision of the Supreme Court. I did not receive a gift last week. The justices did not give me the right to be me or the right to fuck. The rights were always mine, whether those people recognized them or not.

What has changed is the official opinion of 5 or 6 judges, and with much work that change will come to mean much more. [And we must not forget that the strategic appoinment by this administration of just 2 replacements could reverse the decision.] But Frist reminds us that the country itself hasn't been changed overnight by Lawrence and Garner vs. the State of Texas. Opinion and behavior is not the direct product of the judicial system. The opposite may be closer to real experience, but there too it's the lags and the snags which are always so painful.

I'm really an optimist, in spite of these musings. I just hate to see decent people take these things for granted. The malevolent ones never do. Also, like so much that has advanced humanity in the past, whether material or ethical and cultural, we must not think that there was anything inevitable about progress, or that only ordinary, individual mortals were responsible for it, or that we could start from scratch tomorrow and do it over. There are giants and saints, and they've been working at these things for a very long time. Sometimes they get a lot of help.

Thanks LAMBDA and so many other wonderworkers.

The AP reports,

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says Thurmond showed what one person can do by living life to the fullest.

Sometimes even an atheist likes to think about an afterlife. I would really like to think that Strom Thurmond could look at the NYTimes front page this morning. At the top is a banner headline reporting the Court's legalization of gay sex, and it rests above a large photo of the two defendents embracing yesterday. For those who notice these things, the couple is mixed-race. Near the bottom of the page is a small-ish headline, "Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100." The photo is also rather small. Justice, but with more than a touch of wit.

Strom's gone. Good.

Maureen Dowd's just about had it with affirmative action!

Justice Thomas's dissent in the 5-4 decision preserving affirmative action in university admissions has persuaded me that affirmative action is not the way to go.

The dissent is a clinical study of a man who has been driven barking mad by the beneficial treatment he has received.

It's poignant, really. It makes him crazy that people think he is where he is because of his race, but he is where he is because of his race.

She reminds herself that
. . . he got into Yale Law School and got picked for the Supreme Court thanks to his race.

. . . .

He is at the pinnacle, an African-American who succeeded in getting past the Anita Hill sexual harassment scandal by playing the race card, calling the hearing "a high-tech lynching," and who got a $1.5 million advance to write his African-American Horatio Alger story, "From Pin Point to Points After."

Dowd is further disgusted by the affirmative action program which brought us George Bush,
the Yale legacy who also disdains affirmative action, is playing affirmative action politics in the preliminary vetting of a prospective Supreme Court nominee, Alberto Gonzales. No doubt Bush 43 will call Mr. Gonzales the best qualified man for the job, rather than the one best qualified to help harvest the 2004 Hispanic vote. [Bush 41 nominated Thomas with the preposterous claim that he was "the best qualified" man for the job.]

President Bush and Justice Thomas have brought me around. I don't want affirmative action. I want whatever they got.

Something's fucked-up about the way we depend upon the narrowly-argued politically-subjective legal-precedent search exercises of nine lifetime appointees (arbitrary lifespans, arbitrary appointments) in order to advance (or, in recent years much more likely, retreat) on social issues.

Other nations normally use a legislative reponse to meet changes in the demands and needs of an enlightened, maturing (maybe that's the problem) population, but our own legislators have nullified themselves through corporate subsidies and their fear of being identified with actual issues.

Examples? Just three for now: Abortion rights, queer rights, information rights.

Today information rights are in the news. Yesterday the Supreme Court not-so-narrowly (6-3) ruled that the nation's libraries must use Internet "pornography filters" if they accept federal financial support. In 2001 Congress had passed the statute upheld yesterday, titled "The Children's Internet Protection Act." The actual employment of the act had been blocked until now by a lower court ruling.

What this means is that the American Radical Right, which has dominated public policy for years, has scored another victory. A majority of Justices is now on record in believing that porn is only for the decadent rich (much in the way safe abortion and easy homosex has always been available for those same fortunates - and will continue to be, even if the Court moves to restrict these rights further).

Often overlooked in the discussion of Internet censorship is the fact that these "filters" do not tell us anything about what is being filtered out (what is it that is being kept from us?) and the fact that these systems simply don't work.

Both sides in the debate did appear to agree on one thing: the software that the government is requiring is far from perfect.

"Filters don't work," said Maurice J. Freedman, director of the Westchester Library System in the suburbs of New York City and president of the American Library Association. "And they're not going to work any better because the Supreme Court says libraries have to install them."

He cited a number of cases in which filters have blocked inoffensive information because search terms set off the protective software, including references to the poet Anne Sexton, Super Bowl XXX and Dick Armey, the former House majority leader.

My partner Barry, using an analogy, asked how anyone would accept a filter which might eliminate your email spam but also destroy a good percentage of your legitimate incoming messages at the same time. You wouldn't, you don't, and libraries shouldn't either.

Early reaction from librarians and others is pretty revealing.

On the one side there are the courageous custodians of all of human experience, like Emily Sheketoff, who will maintain their integrity even in an era of severe budget cuts.

Some libraries may decide to forgo federal financing if the alternative is filtering, said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the Washington office of the American Library Association. "Some library boards have already decided that they are not going to offer their library patrons second-rate information," she said. `They are going to make sure that their library patrons get access to the same quality of information that rich people get at home."
On the other side, there are those who wish to keep the world in the dark. Representative Ernest J. Istook, a Republican of Oklahoma who was an author of the bill, enthused,
"The Supreme Court upheld the thrust of the law." Because of the decision, Mr. Istook said, "libraries can still be safe places for parents to drop off their kids."
In the middle, but because of its source, perhaps even more digusting than Istook's statement, is the quote from Ginnie Cooper, the executive director of the Brooklyn Public Library:
"The real goal is for the people who use the library to get what they want and need, and not be getting what they don't need [my italics]," Ms. Cooper said. "We'll do our best to find, within this new rule, how it is that we can do that."
Who is it who tells people who don't have their own computers "what they don't need"?

Finally, but something more that a postscript, this note: While under the federal act an adult can ask the librarian to turn off the "filtering" software, as at least some supporters, and even some opponents, of the law point out, that means that library patron Doe must explicitly ask to see the "Adult" version of the Internet - not an easy step for many people around the country.

Yesterday was the 19th of June - "Juneteenth," but this is not yesterday's story.

The social and political geography may sound strange, but I first heard about this holiday while working in Boston 25 years ago. Barbara was a very strong and very generous white woman from El Paso, and she made the story very real for all of her office mates. I seriously envied her for experiences which seemed awfully exotic to a painfully-white midwestern male.

Only with the understanding gained from my own experiences since then have I been able to begin to understand that the announcement of June 19, 1865, was premature, and that it remains so today.

This Common Dreams/San Francisco Chronicle article by Joseph "Jazz" Hayden describes only one obstacle to liberation, but it's one which is just plain wrong, and it could be completely eliminated easily and quickly.

Today, many African Americans celebrate Juneteenth, the bittersweet anniversary of June 19, 1865, when the last remaining slaves were freed.

Some people assume that slavery in America died with President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But Lincoln lacked the power to enforce his edict in the Confederate-controlled South, and slaveholders in remote states such as Texas continued to exploit their human chattel. For two and a half years, no one told the slaves that they were no longer a white man's property. Only when a regiment of Union soldiers arrived in Texas with news of slavery's demise -- and the power to back it up -- did Lincoln's promise to African Americans come true.

While this 138-year-old tale might at first seem like ancient history, echoes of Juneteenth resonate in the struggles people of color face today. Getting rights on paper, Juneteenth reminds us, is a far cry from getting them in practice.

That's what makes Juneteenth such a bittersweet holiday. On the one hand, it honors a great advance for African Americans -- gaining the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote. But it also marks the beginning of an era in which whites imposed countless discriminatory laws, such as poll taxes, literacy tests and grandfather clauses, meant to keep blacks powerless.

Many of these overtly discriminatory state laws have been called out as racist and unconstitutional, and have been wiped from the books. But there is at least one notable exception: felony disenfranchisement laws.

The remainder of the piece describes the history and the narrow, racist application of these laws, which deprive 4.65 millions Americans of the right to vote.
Today, our "tough on crime" policies -- especially our draconian drug laws -- disproportionately target people of color. Only 14 percent of illegal drug users are black, but blacks make up 74 percent of those sentenced for drug possession. One in three black men will be jailed at some point.

This translates directly into loss of political power. Blacks are denied the vote because of criminal records five times more often than whites. Thirteen percent of African American men are permanently disenfranchised, and many more have temporarily lost their voting rights. Latinos are also disproportionately affected, given that 16 percent of Latino men will enter prison in their lifetime. This leaves communities of color vastly underrepresented in the political process.

Note that while in this article Hayden regularly refers to southern racism, the note at the bottom of the Common Dreams page shows that he is currently the chief plaintiff in a New York State civil lawsuit challenging felon disenfranchisement in my own, very northern jurisdiction.

Half a century ago today, and only 8 years after the end of the Nazi regime, long-suffering workers in east Berlin decided they had had enough. Because of Russian tanks however, it would be almost another 4 decades before the revolt against dictatorship begun that day would succeed.

Some of the earliest activists are still around to talk about it today.

The longtime main goal for Paul Werner Wagner, who was 5 years old in 1953 when he marched beside his father in the first workers' uprising in Soviet-controlled Central Europe, has been to make sure that the men and women who suffered and went to prison at that time not be forgotten.

"At 17," he recalled today, "I founded a party. It was the Progressive German Freedom Party. We published a 14-point program that was inspired by the 10-point program of June 17, 1953. For that, I spent a year and a half in the Red Ox Prison in Halle.

"So for me, June 17 is a symbol of hope, and the people who undertook the events of June 17 must not be forgotten."

Mr. Wagner was talking, though, about an event that has been largely forgotten outside of Germany. It has been obscured by subsequent heroic actions, like the Hungarian uprising of 1956, the Prague Spring of 1968 and the Solidarity trade union movement in Poland of the 1980's, which led, ultimately, to the fall of Communism all over Eastern Europe.

But 50 years ago this Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets in 272 cities and towns across what was then the German Democratic Republic, the eastern half of divided Germany.

Within the space of that single day, they raided jails to release political prisoners, made and listened to speeches outlining a possible better future, issued manifestos calling for both democracy and better conditions for themselves and threw a scare into the East German leadership from which it never completely recovered.

At the end of the day, Soviet troops and the East German police, backed by tanks, put down demonstrations and arrested many of the movement's leaders. A number of people were killed in the process, estimated at between 25 and 300. Brief as it was, the June 17 uprising remained a treasured and inspiring memory for thousands, for whom, when East Germany finally did die in 1989, it seemed a precursor, a herald of what was to come.

Sadly, and for less than honorable reasons, at least until very recently the events of that June have been largely ignored in the West. Apparently I haven't been the only one who has been bothered by the strange silence which began decades ago. In commemorations today the politicians tried to make amends for past neglect.
"There are so many days in our history associated with defeats or mistakes," President Johannes Rau told a special session of parliament in Berlin. "June 17 is one of the proud days in German history."
In the socialist East, there were certainly many idealists who had not supported the 1953 uprising, but in the West the lack of support, even shortly after the events, was and remains so much less understandable.*
Germany lost interest in the uprising during more than 40 years of Cold War separation that led to a gradual accommodation with the communist German state.

"Let's be honest: For one reason or another, June 17 had become a nuisance to many of us," Rau said.

The uprising began with a protest by East Berlin construction laborers over higher work quotas as Germany rebuilt after World War II. It evolved into broad unrest with calls for free elections and German unity.

Protesters stormed public buildings and, in some cities outside Berlin, set up strike committees with the aim of wresting power from the communists.

East German propaganda and schoolbooks portrayed the protesters as fascist Western agents until the country collapsed in the wake of huge peaceful pro-democracy protests in 1989.

West Germany had a June 17 annual memorial day. But after reunification, it was replaced by Oct. 3, the date on which the east rejoined the larger west in 1990.

Well, they seem to be working out a lot of stuff right now; maybe the holiday thing can get resolved too. Happy anniversary to a free people who understand what it takes.

For more, from witnesses and from today's youth, "And now they can be proud of it," see the BBC story and the video linked there.


* The CIA site admits the U.S. was both surprised and disinterested.

The Berlin uprising was a spontaneous action that took American intelligence officers by surprise. Although the United States had waged an active propaganda campaign that encouraged dissatisfaction with the Communist regime, it had not worked directly to foster open rebellion and had no mechanism in place to exploit the situation when it arose. US authorities in Berlin thus had no alternative but to adopt an attitude of strict neutrality.1 Many East Germans nonetheless expected the United States to intervene. These expectations persisted, unintentionally fueled by a US-sponsored food-distribution program that began on 1 July and lasted until the East Berlin government put an end to it in August.2

The Segway is supposed to be foolproof - "A two-wheeled, intuitive personal transportation device that won't fall. This super-smart, computer chip-laden machine won't topple with a driver's clumsiness."

This week our very own chief fool showed this to be just plain wrong.

US President George Bush has been photographed falling off a high-tech scooter near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

A sequence of photos show President Bush stepping onto a two-wheeled high-tech scooter and then lurching forward before recovering his balance.

John Dean (remember John Dean?) suggests that lying about the reason for war is an impeachable offense. My first thought is how could Americans think it's worse than fibbing about a blow job, but Dean argues that the NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman may have been right when he said "the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history - worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra."

President George W. Bush has got a very serious problem. Before asking Congress for a Joint Resolution authorizing the use of American military forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake - acts of war against another nation.

Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past, Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this under the carpet, and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) go away - unless, perhaps, they start another war.

. . . .

Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison.

. . . .

To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."

Yeah, sure, but this is the entertainment-news, born-again and ADD America. Where's the sex?

Ellis Henican writes in today's New York Newsday:

The Martha Stewart case isn't exactly Enron, where thousands of workers saw their whole life savings vaporized.

Martha isn't WorldCom, where the three-card-monte accounting reached $9 billion high.

She isn't even Arthur Andersen, where 28,000 employees were blithely sacrificed on the altar of executive greed.

Henican observes from the courthouse:
Despite the delicious embarrassment of a prim perfectionist extraordinaire, two things were hard to deny yesterday:

1. If Martha weren't famous, we wouldn't be here.

2. And neither would she.

In spite of the big media fuss, the criminal charges against her are not for insider trading (the evidence was found to be too flimsy), but rather for lying.
Martha's lawyers, Bob Morvillo and John Tigue, kind of had a point when they emphasize the absence of the underlying charge. "It is most ironic," they said in their statement, "that Ms. Stewart faces criminal charges for obstructing an investigation which established her innocence."

Why? they asked.

"Is it for publicity purposes because Martha Stewart is a celebrity? Is it because she is a woman who has successfully competed in a man's business world by virtue of her talent, hard work and demanding standards? Is it because the government would like to be able to define securities fraud as whatever it wants it to be? Or is it because the Department of Justice is attempting to divert the public's attention from its failure to charge the politically connected managers of Enron and WorldCom who may have fleeced the public out of billions of dollars?"

There's a difference, it's been said, between insider traders and the rest of us. The difference is the quality of their tips.

A Palestinian friend in East Jerusalem sent this email on Tuesday to me and to a number of others. I have not altered a single letter. These words do not come from another planet or another time - they describe our own world, today.

Hi friends, I just finished having lunch and felt a strong urge to write this. With us today at the lunch table was Um Mazen, a woman from a West Bank peasant community God knows where. She's been working for us for years now. She comes and helps my mom with cleaning the house once a week. She comes around 8 and leaves after lunch. Today was sort of different. Earlier, some British reporter interviewed Um Mazen. My mom, who runs a charity society that helps poor Palestinians, was receiving him upstairs in her little office when she mentioned Um Mazen's stories of hardship. He was interested in learning more about this woman, and asked to come downstairs to meet her. This happened while I was trying to prolong my sleep. (I went to bed after 4 am this morning.) My mom and her secretary translated the Brit's questions, and Um Mazen told her stories. I was not there to hear what she said, but I can guess what stories because I know about Um Mazen. Stories about waking up at 4 to bake bread which she brings us some of every week; about her good-for-nothing husband who smokes a lot and does nothing; about supporting her ten or so children and how they support her; about walking hours at dawn around checkpoints to reach the Jerusalem households she works for; about having done this work for years; about staying overnight yesterday in Jerusalem because all roads (I should say dirt-roads, trails, Torra-Borras) back to her town were closed or patrolled by soldiers; about how other things in her life are unbearable and how she deals with them. I heard them moving around outside my door at the end of their talk. The reporter took a picture of Um Mazen to take home. Back to lunch which just finished. Mom was telling Dad and I about the brief interview. Then Um Mazen said what she said. "You think he believed and was convinced?" It broke me to hear those words out of her mouth. This is a 40-something woman who was worried perhaps she didn't appear convincing to this Westerner. That perhaps her stories sounded too far fetched. That it must be that Westerners don't believe our stories and that's why they don't help us; because if that was not the case then how can it be that they don't do anything to help us? Because if that was not the case then why would someone interview her when her story is repeated thousands of times a day? Isn't it to make sure it's true? This woman, whose life is totally dictated by the sum of all the forcefields of oppression in our region, thinks that she has a credibility problem. All this was not alone in keeping me from sleep. There was also a bulldozer outside my bedroom window busy terracing land for the upcoming attraction to our neighbourhood: an overhead road that winds its way between houses to serve a nearby Israeli settlement (by connecting it with another). Looking at a plan for this road obtained from our local council one wonders what the hell made it necessary. It is completely redundant. But we know why it will be built. Because: the world believes them and not us.

[many thanks to Anees]

I know Paul Krugman shows up a lot in this space, but he's almost the only, and certainly the most visible, major media reporter we have who has both a head and the courage to display it.

Today his paper reports and editorializes on the fact that the Justice Department has turned our justice system upside down since September 11. This attention is given to the subject now only because the latest news comes from a unit of the Bush administration itself, the inspector general of the Justice Department.

But Krugman is still the only one who will write about the full scale and the broader significance of this gang's crimes against us all, crimes of lies and deceit, and in the same edition of the NYTimes this morning he lets it fly.

It's long past time for this administration to be held accountable. Over the last two years we've become accustomed to the pattern. Each time the administration comes up with another whopper, partisan supporters — a group that includes a large segment of the news media — obediently insist that black is white and up is down. Meanwhile the "liberal" media report only that some people say that black is black and up is up. And some Democratic politicians offer the administration invaluable cover by making excuses and playing down the extent of the lies.

If this same lack of accountability extends to matters of war and peace, we're in very deep trouble. The British seem to understand this: Max Hastings, the veteran war correspondent — who supported Britain's participation in the war — writes that "the prime minister committed British troops and sacrificed British lives on the basis of a deceit, and it stinks."

It's no answer to say that Saddam was a murderous tyrant. I could point out that many of the neoconservatives who fomented this war were nonchalant, or worse, about mass murders by Central American death squads in the 1980's. But the important point is that this isn't about Saddam: it's about us. The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat. If that claim was fraudulent, the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history — worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra. Indeed, the idea that we were deceived into war makes many commentators so uncomfortable that they refuse to admit the possibility.

But here's the thought that should make those commentators really uncomfortable. Suppose that this administration did con us into war. And suppose that it is not held accountable for its deceptions, so Mr. Bush can fight what Mr. Hastings calls a "khaki election"* next year. In that case, our political system has become utterly, and perhaps irrevocably, corrupted.

The "Khaki Election"
At the turn of the century, British politics was dominated by the war in South Africa. The Conservatives ("Tories") fought the general election of 1900 on this single issue, and won a landslide victory on a mandate to end the war in South Africa successfully.

[thanks to the British Public Record Office]

The U.S. has just passed Russia in the percent of its citizens it keeps behind bars.

"Why, in the land of the free, should 2 million men, women and children be locked up?" asks Andrew Coyle, director of the International Centre for Prison Studies at the University of London and a leading authority on incarceration.

When he discusses crime and punishment with foreign colleagues, Coyle says, the United States is such an anomaly that it must often be left out of the discussion. "People say, 'Well, that's the United States.' They see the U.S. as standing entirely on its own," he says.

. . . .

Today the United States imprisons at a far greater rate not only than other developed Western nations do, but also than impoverished and authoritarian countries do.

On a per capita basis, according to the best available figures, the United States has three times more prisoners than Iran, four times more than Poland, five times more than Tanzania and seven times more than Germany. Maryland has more citizens in prison and jail (an estimated 35,200) than all of Canada (31,600), though Canada's population is six times greater.

To me this suggests something's just not right. This being America however, not everyone is disturbed by these numbers, and in fact for some they're not good enough.
"If you put someone in prison, you can be sure they're not going to rob you," says David B. Muhlhausen, a policy analyst at the [right-wing] Heritage Foundation. "Quality research shows that ... increasing incarceration decreases crime." Considering that there are still about 12 million serious crimes a year, Muhlhausen says, "maybe we're not incarcerating enough people."
The article by Scott Shane, which appears in today's Baltimore Sun, is a good mini-primer on the subject of how America deals with those it regards as wrongdoers.

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from June 2003.

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