Thursday, October 21, 2004

Worried about the the federal budget deficit?
Deficit declines $100 billion
Jack Kemp
"The media and all too many political elites, it seems, never learn. For at least 20 of the past 25 years, there has been constant hand-wringing over the federal budget deficit. Well, they're at it again."
"When the federal budget deficit is measured properly as a share of the economy - 3.5 percent - at this stage of the business cycle it is absolutely nothing to worry about."
Zarqawi Is Using Hostages to Ransom Old Friends, Drs Germ and Anthrax
"The two remaining hostages, the American Jack Hensley and British Kenneth Bigley, now face the same dread fate as Armstrong within 24 hours unless Iraqi women prisoners are released from Baghdad jails.
In the White House and 10 Downing Street, president George W. Bush nor prime minister Tony Blair are holding firm against surrendering to the demands of al Qaeda’s operations chief in Iraq. But they are quietly questioning why Zarqawi attaches so much importance to securing the release of the only five Iraqi women left in American hands.
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources say the answer comes in two interrelated parts:
1. Zarqawi is smart enough not to pose wild ransom demands, such as the release of Saddam Hussein or top-flight Iraqi ex-generals like Chemical Ali Majid to buy the lives of hostages, because then, Bush and Blair’s refusal would be fully backed by Western opinion. He is therefore setting the seeming inconsequential price of five Iraqi women. He reckons that if he keeps on snatching hostages and meting out the same barbaric treatment as he did to Eugene Armstrong on a series of videotapes, public pressure will build up and force the two Western leaders to put a stop to the savage slaughter by abandoning their dogged resistance to the hostage-takers’ demands and setting the women free. Such surrender would then be hailed as a major triumph for the al Qaeda terrorist chief and augur a rising scale of increasingly steep demands.
2. The only five Iraqi women held by the Americans are a long way from being inconsequential. They include two senior scientists attached to Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program: Dr. Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as Dr. Germ, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, head of his anthrax project and member of the Baath ruling command council.
"Scott Taylor's most startling experience was being handed over by members of the US-funded, newly constituted Iraqi Police Service to his captors. A police officer at the Tal Afar checkpoint instructed him to climb into a car full of masked gunmen. Only too late, he realized they were not a special police unit but terrorists who later claimed that many of the police in Mosul donate part of their US salaries to anti-US forces."

Catholics here get controversial voters guide
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
My reply to the author was this:
Dear Mr. Townsend:
Since when does a bishop not have the right to guide his flock in moral choices? This election is a crossroads in the moral character of our nation and state. Archbishop Burke not only has the right to guide his flock, it is his duty. I've been disappointed in previous years by the silence of the shepherds, so I am one Catholic who is thrilled that Burke is finally doing the right thing. I don't think I am alone.
You imply that the pocketbook issues like workers rights, environmental issues, housing and education are more important than abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex marriage. This ignores what is at stake. Over 1.3 million babies are killed by abortion every year. How can workers rights, environmental issues, housing and education be more important than saving 1.3 million lives a year for the past 31 years and who knows how many more years to come?
The Post-Dispatch gloated over the immorality of the clergy last year. Now you blast the bishop who is acting in a moral way and encouraging Catholics to act morally? How hypocritical of you!

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