Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Logic of Rebuilding


One strange thing about the political party in control of the government, is that they seldom seem content to accept their good conditions. When Democrats held absolute control of the U.S. Government during the FDR Administration, many leading Democrats took issue with various elements of Roosevelt’s policies, sometimes for reasons which amounted to little more than personal pique.

Some Republicans are starting to do the same thing now, in Dubya’s second term. Some may be speaking out of personal ambition, or in hopes of gaining influence with the various cliques, while others may be speaking out of genuine concern for the ideal of government restraint.

The function of government should be limited, but it should also be present. George Washington said many times that he opposed the concept of a standing army in principle, but the world given to us made a standing army unavoidably necessary. So, in addition to from an ideal perspective, one must also consider tasks and duties which cannot be avoided. The discussion then should focus on the best objectives and standards.

I have always been of two minds about Franklin Roosevelt. On the one hand, his “New Deal” corrupted the role of government on all levels, increasing the federal role beyond any reasonable position, feeding the avarice of future politicians by showing how to buy votes with tax revenues, and shifting the nature of the country from self-sufficiency to an unhealthy dependence on government. On the other hand however, the United States was clearly in a Depression caused from unique factors which arguably could not be addressed without specific and significant government involvement, and which remedy depended on restoration of consumer confidence. That is, economists understand that the Depression of the 1930s was not caused so much by the ‘crash’ of the New York Stock Market, or even the failure of the banks, as it was the collapse of confidence by Americans in their infrastructure. When people lost confidence in the stock market, it crashed; when they took all their money out of banks, the banks failed; when people worried they could not afford to spend money, they closed off the flow of cash and killed the businesses in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The critical factor in recovery from any downturn is restoration of confidence, to get the money flow moving again.

The devastation from Hurricane Katrina, whatever one names for its fault, unquestionably did severe damage to dozens of towns and counties in several states. While many of the citizens and businesses could eventually recover on their own in normal conditions from a natural disaster restricted in locality, in this case major employers, credit unions and state banks, and county-level infrastructures have been destroyed, so that an individual must find someone to employ him, someone to protect his money, and someone to address his police and municipal needs. In other words, hundreds of thousands of people will need to see municipal authority re-established, after which businesses and banks need to be re-established and primed, and then people can rebuild and find new employment. The requirements are multi-dimensional, and the need for government oversight and direction is obvious. As a result, President Bush’s decision to involve the federal government at close level makes solid sense.

A fair analogy, if somewhat imperfect, would be starting up a business intended to become a major corporation. Because so many employees are needed, to serve so many customers in so many places, there needs to be substantial initial investment and detailed planning. The corporation would spend a great deal of money up front in capital expenditure, but would gain a great deal more later from the revenue driven by their planning. Better planning = better results, and that brings us to the next point about rebuilding Louisiana.

I don’t know how many of the victims of Katrina will return to New Orleans specifically, but it is reasonable to say now that (in spite of reasonable risk concerns) the city with so much historical and cultural significance will be restored, especially the French Quarter. That task must have some government control, if for no reason beyond its scope. Responsibility for that rebuilding, and no small amount of resources, may be entrusted to Local officials like Mayor Nagin, State officials like Governor Blanco, or Federal agencies. This too shows good consideration by the President.

There are hundreds of ways the rebuilding could lead to incompetence, negligence, or corruption. But if it is done correctly, the rebuilding can lead to a stronger infrastructure, more reliable and accountable government, and a much stronger economy. Obviously, the results will not be fully seen for at least a decade, but to me that just shows the foresight and serious competency of President Bush.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The NYT/CBS notion of Balance and Demographics Weighting


Tom Elia at The New Editor asks “Is the Latest NYT/CBS Poll Biased?”

Off the top of my head, the answer is ‘yes’. On reflection, ‘yes’. On prolonged consideration and after examining the evidence and history, ‘absolutely yes’.

Fortunately, as I have mentioned before, the funny thing about the NYT/CBS Poll, is that for all their arrogance and bias, they are pretty forward about presenting their numbers, which makes it possible to reverse-engineer the poll and determine a true state.

The first thing which jumps out at me comes up right on the first page of the poll results. Right under the title and date is the following note:


White N = 877
Black N = 211”

In other words, 877 of the respondents were white (~75%), 211 of the respondents were black (~18%), and another 79 respondents were neither black nor white (~7%), possibly meaning Hispanic, though the NYT/CBS does not say.

The Census reports that whites comprise about 82% of the population, blacks about 13%, and other races about 5%. This demonstrates a demographic mis-weighting by the poll.

Continuing, the overall support was 12% by blacks and 47% by whites, both well within historical norms for Dubya during his Presidency, especially in this generally sour poll. 49% of whites approve of how Bush has addressed Katrina, very respectable considering the absolute smear job against him by the MSM, and 18% of blacks agree he’s done well in responding to Katrina, which is higher than the black support in general for Bush. When the question is phrased in terms of the “people affected by Katrina”, white support climbs to 50% and black support to 23%, again both very good in the context presented.

I thought it interesting that the poll focused mainly on four questions, treating them very much as related to each other. The poll addressed the response to Katrina, the condition of the economy, and the War in Iraq. The poll also paid attention to the confirmation hearings on John Roberts, even though nearly half the respondents admit they have paid almost no attention to them.

Returning to demographics, the NYT/CBS poll states that 22% of the respondents were 18-29 years of age. The Roper Center shows that in the 2004 election, only 17% of voters were 29 years old or younger, so again there is an obvious imbalance. And as Elia noted in his column, the NYT/CBS Poll shows a 36% Democrat/26% Republican/28% Independent/9% Don’t Know breakdown, far off the 37%-37%-26% balance reflected by the Roper Exit Poll.

Also, and this is important, the NYT/CBS Poll admits that 20% of its respondents did not vote in the 2004 Election, and another 6% say they voted but don’t know whom they voted for!

So, at this point we can safely say that the NYT/CBS Poll is not, in fact, trustworthy, nor should they be believed in their claims. The poll oversamples blacks, Democrats, people under 30, and people who did not vote in the last election and who admit they are not paying close attention to what is going on in important events. In other words, just the sort of people who get their news and opinion from the New York Times or CBS News, instead of checking out the facts.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The New Asia


Bruce Kesler, writing for Democracy Project, is discussing Japan in today’s article.

He begins with this observation:

“In the 1950’s, we laughed at “Made in Japan” labels for kitsch and poor quality. In the 1970’s, we stopped laughing and panicked to catch up to Japanese quality and management focus. In the 1990’s we hoped we had gotten our money out of the Japanese stock market in time. In the 2000’s, we’ve largely just ignored Japan.”

From my perspective, we actually didn’t notice Japan until the late 1970s. During the first half of the decade, Japan stood for cheap little cars which didn’t drive well, but by 1978 and later people were worried enough about the price of gas to buy them anyway. In the 1980s, and especially after 1986, Honda and Toyota had clearly passed American-made cars in quality and performance. In the 1990s, we first worried that Japan was buying up American businesses and real estate, but by 1998 we were generally amused to discover Japan had paid far too much for the land, and in a chase for hard currency, investors were selling property back to Americans at heavy losses, which damaged the appearance of respect and cooperation; more than a few leading Japanese accused the U.S. of manipulating the market to play the Japanese for fools, or at least for unfairly taking advantage of the situation, which is ironically amusing, given Japan’s abuse of the Trade imbalance and Tariff games played so long by MITI.

Kesler used his article to reference the columns by Sol Sanders, especially the ones focusing on changes under Prime Minister Koizumi. I agree that Sanders, like Kesler, is experienced and knows his subject well, but I would also argue for the broader view, and in this point I find myself somewhat a defender of the Clinton Doctrine, insofar as Bubba ever put one together.

As a faithful husband, I have no respect for President Clinton’s personal conduct while in office at any level, and as an American, I agree with those who contend that Clinton damaged National Security by lowering the restrictions on American technology that the Chinese wanted to buy, steal, or otherwise acquire. That said however, I think Clinton had a good perception of the Asian pantheon, ironically superior than is possible from within the Pacific Rim. Also, too close a focus on any one of the Asian nations misses the balance between them.

Japan is an economic powerhouse, and many analysts believe they have the world’s third-best navy, perhaps the second-best. However, they have real issues in relations with their Asian neighbors, not only because of lingering bitterness from World War 2 (which Japan refuses to discuss in specifics), but also from trade practices which lead many nations to consider Japan unreliable. In business, you cannot succeed if you cannot be trusted.

South Korea is a growing regional power, and a true thorn in the side, and a permanent one, for Japan. Not only is SK’s industrial capacity growing to the same scale as Japan’s, their geographic location gives them comparable logistics. It is not a coincidence that DaeWoo and Hyundai are strong brands, as known for quality as they are for price.

China is still the 900-pound-gorilla in the room, but also still a very clumsy one. Until the PRC allows for independent audits and audited financial statements, they will attract some investment because of their sheer size, but will chase away plum contracts because their track record is suspect. It seems impossible to imagine a functional Chinese version of the SEC at this time, however.

Vietnam is another growing industry center, although their forte seems to be shipping, like Holland. Clever in its way, since it avoids direct competition with the neighboring countries.

And then there’s India. India is absolutely a wild card in any discussion, not only on the economic front, which is diversified and pretty complex, but also the military front, where India’s modernized navy and much more disciplined army cannot help but effect the balance of influence in the region.

And all that does not even touch the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, or the islands of Micronesia, often forgotten but still a major player in many technology contracts.

Get a scorecard; it’s not just Japan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dude, Where’s My Car? Seriously, Where Is My Car?


I like looking at statistics. Finding out I have become one is rather less intriguing.

Last night, I happened to notice my car as my wife were talking on our porch. This morning, I happened to notice that a different car was parked in the place where I left my car on Tuesday. After checking the lot to make sure I was not simply I had not simply been mistaken, I received that sick feeling in my gut, realizing that someone else liked my car as well, enough to acquire it during the night.

I did all the expected things, calling the police and insurance and the EZ-Tag people. Naturally, since my car was getting old and had a lot of miles on it, I had dropped the full coverage a couple years earlier, getting by with just Liability and UM coverage, so that means I get nothing for the loss. Just swell.

It also means that I have to keep checking my bank and credit card accounts regularly, to be sure that I didn’t accidentally leave something in the car that can come back and cause more problems. Like anyone else in this situation, I did not need this in my life, and whatever I do next, will end up being expensive and annoying. New cars are obscenely expensive, and buying a used car almost assures one of collecting a new set of less-than-appealing qualities with the car, even if one spends a great deal of car and attention trying to get the right one. And even if, by some mercy from God, I actually get my old Honda back, I have no illusions that the thieves will have been kind to it, or left everything as it should be. Worse, more than a few people have told me that my particular year and model is prized, ordinary as it looks, for its hard-to-find parts. Hardly a cheering thought.

What’s it mean? I couldn’t say just now. Maybe later I will come up with some witty insight that makes it relevant to politics or the day’s events, but for now I am focused on an immediate and personal need, and everything else must bide.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Accusation, Revealed


Over on Polipundit, I promised to name the culprit most responsible for the absolute Cluster-Fudge that was New Orleans between August 29th and September 1st. For four days, it seemed that no one was in charge, knew what to do, or cared about the more than a million people affected by Hurricane Katrina in the Southeast Louisiana area. To be sure, there were conditions no one could control, and also there is no question that certain individuals set themselves apart, but in dishonor and personal disgrace. But when one starts to sift the facts out, one man becomes clearly involved in every major blunder, every key decision involving New Orleans, and one man who had contact with every decision-maker, in many cases the man expected to tell them the conditions, needs, and options. That man did so horrible a job, that in any just universe he will face criminal charges. That man is Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, who is also the head of Louisiana's Department of Homeland Security.

As many people know, the City of New Orleans did have a hurricane preparation and response plan. The plan is aligned with the official "State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Plan, Supplement 1A".

Unfortunately, the City of New Orleans did not train for it, nor did they follow its provisions when the event happened. But that part can be discussed in another article.

The plans specified state and local actions which simply did not happen, including (City and State use identical plan references)

D1b. The Governor will, after declaring a State of Emergency, "Issue supplemental declarations and orders", to address specific needs not covered by the initial declaration. That is the part where the Governor needed to ask for troops from out-of-state, rather than assume they would just show up.

D1c. "Authorize and direct the use of State government personnel and other resources to deal with the emergency."

D1d. "Authorize and direct the authorities of non-risk parishes to coordinate the opening and operation of shelters with DSS in conjunction with ARC, and to lend all possible assistance to the evacuation and shelter effort." (DSS is the Department of Social Services, ARC is American Red Cross)

D1e. "Request federal government assistance as needed."

The Adjutant General/Director of the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness (LOEP) is charged in section D2 with the coordination of the Governor's actions and declarations, and to "keep the Governor and the Legislature informed of progress and problems in dealing with the disaster."

The Louisiana State Police are charged in D3. to "maintain order on State highways and expedite the flow of traffic from the risk to the host parishes"

The Department of Social Services is charged in D5 to "coordinate the opening of shelters in conjunction with the ARC for evacuees from the risk area."

The Department of Health and Hospitals is charged in D6 to "coordinate the evacuation and sheltering of people who have special medical and health needs".

The New Orleans plan, in section E, says that "direction and control is specified in the State Emergency Operations Plan".

That puts us back the matter of coordination. What happens, essentially, is that the Adjutant General of Louisiana‘s Department of Homeland Security (not to be confused with the U.S. DHS) is responsible for telling the Governor what ia happening and what needs to be done next. The same man is responsible for coordinating state agencies with the parishes which need help, in this case most critically with Mayor Nagin. That same man is also responsible for telling FEMA where the people fleeing the storm are going, and making sure they get the water, food, medicine, and other supplies they need. As we have seen in the actual event, none of those things were done, and they all depended on General Landreneau. It is clear from the evidence, that the man had no idea what he was doing, and lacked the sense to get out of the way until President replaced him with General Honore on Wednesday. The timeline shows that once Landreneau was replaced, the system began to work.

FEMA coordinates the actions of twenty-seven federal agencies, as explained briefly here, and in depth here.

In Section III, Roles and Responsibilities (pdf page 28 of 426), FEMA explains that the Federal government may coordinate multiple agencies under the provisions of the Stafford Act. FEMA, as its name suggests, is a Manager of Agencies, responsible for coordination, and totally dependent on information from and cooperation with local and state agencies.

The Stafford Act, in essence, manages relief resources supplied by the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Mennonite Disaster Service, "and any other relief or disaster assistance organizations" operating to assist in relief efforts. That is, FEMA's first actions are to coordinate the supplies and aid being brought in by the extant relief groups. FEMA does not establish shelters or perform evacuations, does not command police or armed forces, and must depend on the information and cooperation received from the stateÂ’s authorized commander for disaster relief. In other states, FEMA was relatively swift and effective, but in Louisiana, FEMA was obstructed by the LDHS.

Now, about General Landreneau. The first words from the General were in an August 29th press conference, where he assured the press that 200 boats were positioned to go in to rescue stranded victims, "as soon as the winds decrease". In the actual fact, far fewer boats weravailablele, and they went out much later.

On that same date, Landreneau downplayed the initial effects of Katrina, as his agency suggested the hurricane had already done its worst. "Officials originally were concerned that hurricane protection levees would be topped, but Katrina's drift to the east apparently kept that from occurring" said an article interviewing the general.

That same article quoted Landreneau as saying "there was a report that there was a breech or overtopping of a levee on the 17th Street Canal, which divides Jefferson and Orleans. Some areas had been flooded, perhaps in the Lakeview section of New Orleans." Landreneau did not understand the importance of his own information.

Confusion was evident sometimes in the very same statement. In one place, "Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, adjutant general for the Louisiana National Guard, said that the number of people taking shelter in the Superdome has risen to around 15,000 to 20,000 as search and rescue teams bring more people to the Superdome from areas hit hard by the flooding."

But the same article noted that Mayor Nagin had declared the Superdome to be a "refuge of last resort, that no food, water, or supplies would be provided. Residents who evacuated to the Superdome were warned to bring their own supplies." In this statement, the Mayor was correct under the plan described by the State, but General Landreneau appeared to be unaware of the terms of the plan, and what this meant to the people there.

This is a worrisome indicator that Landreneau underestimated the danger from Katrina, and directed his force to keep people from entering New Orleans, rather than focusing on getting people out, or making sure the people at shelters had needed supplies. This attitude also explains the reports from Major Garrett that State DHS forces commanded by Landreneau had prevented the Red Cross and Salvation Army from delivering food and water to the Superdome.

Garret said the Red Cross quoted a State official as saying to them "look, we do not want to create a magnet for more people to come to the Superdome or the convention center. We want to get them out." In plain English, Landreneau failed to tell his own agency that the Superdome, originally designated a Shelter of Last Resort, which by design do not receive food or water, had been redesignated as a major relief shelter. Small wonder; Landreneau never did any of the paperwork necessary to order that change, and did not even announce to his own deputies the change in plan.

Landreneau was mentioned in an August 31 report about a controversy around who would use a new planned airport. Landreneau's reluctance to make a clear decision, as highlighted in the article, indicates an indecision which may have played a role in the disaster response.

A Boston Globe report on August 30 noted that there was a great deal of confusion in the State response, even to the details about numbers of victims and locations of focus. Landreneau appeared to be one of many chiefs, rather than the man in charge.

Although the Shreveport Times reports that Landreneau was keeping Governor Blanco informed of events and needs, it appears that Blanco was not being told about the numbers in shelters without food or water, and was not told about the need to ask for additional National Guard support.

While it seems peculiar that Governor Blanco would not understand that her Declaration of a State of Emergency did not satisfy the conditions under Posse Comitatus necessary for out-of-state forces to assist in forceful restoration of order, it should be noted that General Landreneau never explained the requirement to her; if a State Executives should understand this, certainly her military adjutant in charge of disaster response should suggest the action. But General Landreneau never briefed Governor Blanco on Posse Comitatus, or suggested the request for federal troops in support of the LNG.

On August 30, even as the world at large began to know about the terrible conditions in the Superdome, Landreneau continued to instruct rescuers to move victims there.

"Rescue teams were still picking up people throughout the city Tuesday, leaving them on island-like highway overpasses and on a levee to wait to be moved again. Eventually, they will end up in the Superdome, where 15,000 to 20,000 people have taken already refuge, said Louisiana National Guard Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau."

Mayor Nagin depended on Landreneau to move and feed and protect the citizens of New Orleans. That did not happen. Nagin depended on Landreneau to give people good answers on how to find shelter and food. That did not happen. Governor Blanco depended on Landreneau to keep her informed on the next step to restore order and help the victims. That did not happen. Blanco depended on Landreneau to coordinate with the Red Cross and Salvation Army to get people what they needed. That did not happen. President Bush depended on Landreneau to do his job. That did not happen.

Landreneau should be fired, demoted, then arrested.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I Accuse...


OK, the rescue efforts are largely successful, the death toll appears to be significantly below the 10,000 pitched by Mayor Nagin, and since the Liberals have had their predictable flurry of attempts to pin yet another act of Nature on President Bush, it seems to me that we have finally reached the point where we can start talking about who bears the bulk of the responsibility for this disaster in New Orleans.

Bearing in mind, as always, that we are talking about an unforeseen natural disaster.

Fortunately, there has ben a great deal of information presented on the timeline and responsibilities. And in reading those documents, I have found a candidate who appears far more culpable than anyone else. Here are some hints:

[] It's not President Bush
[] It's not anyone named Clinton
[] It's not FEMA Director Michael Brown
[] It's not Louisiana Governor "Quick Decision" Blanco
[] It's not even Mayor "Calm Under Pressure" Nagin

The last two, especially, have their own responsibilities to be sure, but I found someone whose duties, as specified in the stautes in place when Katrina made landfall, makes their burden the heaviest.

I wonder who else might know the person I mean?

More to come...

Sunday, September 11, 2005


\\*// \\*//

On September 11, 2001, the Democrats were still pushing the claim that George W. Bush was not really President by right, and would not accomplish anything of significance in his office. This, even though the Democrats had tried to deny the votes of thousands of U.S. servicemen, and had attempted to subvert the Constitutions of Florida and the United States in opposing the results of the election.

RINO Jim Jeffords (Undecided) deserted the GOP in (vain) hopes of attracting Democrat support for his bills and ambition, throwing control of the U.S. Senate back to the Left.

The government of China continued to press a political advantage caused by its interception of a U.S. Navy plane over International waters in the early part of the year.

The bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, like the bombings of two U.S. Embassies, had received little overt official attention and no apparent response.

Then less than two dozen men hijacked four commercial airliners and killed around three thousand Americans, for the offense of being Americans.

The mastermind, Osama bin Laden, is either dead on continuing a multi-year campaign to discover the merits of living in caves throughout the Middle East, hoping his life won’t end in a well-deserved condemnation, especially now that six separate Muslim Imams have issued fatwas justifying his death as an apostate.

Al Qaeda has gone from an organization capable of attacking military units and changing the policies of governments, to a group unable to coordinate attacks beyond the level of ordinary gangs.

The Taliban has been thrown out of control in Afghanistan, and most of their deadership is dead, and most of the survivors are in prison.

Saddam Hussein has been deposed, found hiding in a hole, arrested, arraigned, and has confessed to the murder or thousands of innocents.

The Baath party has ceased to exist in Iraq.

Afghanistan and Iraq have held free elections.

On the encouragement from President Bush, and with mobs holding signs and banners with his name and picture, crowds of Lebanese have shamed Syrian troops into leaving Lebanon.

In fear of an Operation Libya Freedom, Moamar Qaddafi has renounced his WMD programs and promised to respect the border with Chad.

The Democrats have lost seats in both houses of Congress ever since Bush took office.

Thousands of Americans died on September 11. But not in vain. They are remembered, and the memory of their loss has fed the birth of new hope in countless places.

Walk Down Another Road


What if Al Gore had won in 2000? Looking at the actual events since that election, and changing things not very much at all from the actual events, here’s how the world might have run:

January 6 - The U.S. Congress, presided over by Vice President Al Gore as President of the Senate, certifies Gore’s controversial Electoral College victory, and thus as the winner of 2000 presidential election.

January 11 - The Federal Trade Commission approves the merger of AOL and Time Warner to form AOL Time Warner.

January 23-25 - UN war crimes prosecutor Del Ponte demands that Serbia hand over Slobodan Milošević.

February 9 - American submarine USS Greeneville accidentally strikes and sinks Japanese fishing vessel Ehime-Maru. President Gore personally apologizes and promises US reparations.

February 19 - A Oklahoma City bombing museum is dedicated at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. President Gore says America must clean its own house before looking to judge other nations about terrorism.

February 20 - FBI agent Robert Hanssen is arrested and charged with spying for Russia for 15 years.

April 1 - An EP-3E American spyplane collides with a Chinese fighter jet and is forced to make an emergency landing in Hainan, China. President Gore apologizes to the PRC and orders the U.S. Navy to pay half of a promised $75 Million penalty to the widow of Chinese pilot, Wang Wei. Gore also forbids US flights within 50 miles of the China coast without express exception. The government of Taiwan protests the action.

June 5 - Senator Jim Jeffords leaves the Republican party, an act which changes control of the United States Senate from the Republican party to the Democratic party

August 2 – Frank Lautenberg confirmed as the new FBI director.

September 6 - United States v. Microsoft: The United States Justice Department announces that it was adding additional charges, and will continue to seek harsh antitrust penalties.

September 11 - Around 3,000 killed in the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

September 17 - The New York Stock Exchange reopens following the terrorist attacks in New York.

September 18 - The 2001 anthrax attacks commence as anthrax letters are mailed from Princeton, New Jersey to ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, the New York Post, and the National Enquirer.

October 4 - First case of anthrax in the US (attack) is announced by federal officials. President Gore orders the USPS shut down “until we can restore confidence in the mail.” The Dow plunges 600 points in one day on the news.

October 5 – Bill Clinton is appointed to be the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

November 12 - In New York City, American Airlines Flight 587 crashes minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 on-board. The FAA, reportedly on orders from the White House, suspends all civilian international flights for ten days.

November 12 – Terrorists bomb the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. President Gore is outraged, but orders no retaliation.

November 13 –President Gore submits the Islam Civil Rights Bill to Congress, demanding special protection for Muslims in the United States against “the rising threat of hate crimes”.

December 2 – Dynegy offers to buy out Enron for $5.6 Billion.

December 13 – President Gore announces he is sending a delegate to sign the Kyoto Emissions Treaty in Kobe, Japan.

December 22 - A Paris-Miami flight is destroyed in mid-air by a bomb carried aboard by a terrorist, later identified as Richard Reid.

December 27 - The People's Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade status with the United States.

January 9 - The Dynegy/Enron deal falls through. Enron announces it has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. The United States Department of Justice announces it is going to pursue a criminal investigation of Enron.

January 16 – The Washington Times reveals that the White House was involved in negotiations between Dynegy and Enron, and pushed hard to make the deal go through.

January 16 - The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the Taliban.

January 22 - AOL Time Warner brings a federal suit against Microsoft seeking damages. Kmart Corp becomes the largest retailer in American history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

March 1 – China invades Pakistan, “for security of the people”. President Gore has no comment. Israel breaks relations with China

March 19 – China invades Afghanistan. France says it regrets the action. PM Tony Blair warns that NATO regards the action with “grave concern”.

May 12 - Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro's 1959 revolution. President Gore jokes “I wish I could be there with you”

July 14 - During Bastille Day celebrations, Jacques Chirac is assassinated; his murderers appear to be Arab, but are not immediately identified.

July 21 - Telecommunications giant WorldCom files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the largest such filing in United States history. The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls below 6,000. The Fed warns that the recession is becoming steeper.

September 12 – An unconfirmed report links the Gore Administration with the Enron scandal. The Gore Admnistration denies the reports, which are finding attention on the web and in the New York Times.

September 22 - The German federal election leaves Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, his Social Democrats and the Greens in power

October 2 – Terrorists bomb the family residence in Riyadh, Suadi Arabia.

October 12 - Bali bombing: Terrorists detonate massive bombs in two nightclubs in Kuta, Bali, killing 202 and injuring over 300.

October 24 - The Beltway snipers are arrested. President Gore demands stronger gun control laws. The Gore Administration repeatedly refuses to discuss the growing Enron scandal, now gaining interest in the mainstream press.

November 5 - U.S. Elections: The Republican Party maintains control of the House of Representatives and regains control of the Senate by a wide margin. The House is now 75% Republican, and 58 seats in the Senate now belong to the GOP. The Dow rallies, at 5,300 points.

November 8 - Iraq conducts manuevers, shows previously unknown troop numbers and arms. Questions rise about how and where Iraq gained these arms. China warns of a Middle East crisis.

November 21 - NATO Summit in Prague - Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia invited to become NATO members.

November 25 - President Gore signs the Homeland Savings Act into law, scaling down existing military forces and promising to “end this insane arms race”.

January 30 -The leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, and the Czech Republic release a statement, the letter of the eight, demonstrating concern of Iraq’s intentions in the Middle East.

January 30 - The Turkish parliment signs a “working agreement” with China for cooperative military exercises.

March 12 - WHO issues a global alert on SARS.

March 15 - Hu Jintao becomes president of the People's Republic of China, replacing Jiang Zemin. President Gore immediately places a congratulatory call to the new president.

March 19 – For the third time in American History, the House of Representatives impeaches a President. President Gore is impeached for alleged personal involvement in Obstruction of Justice in the Enron Scandal.

May 12 – The Senate trial of President Gore begins.

May 17 – For the first time in American History, a sitting President of the United States is convicted in an Impeachment trial, and is dismissed from office. Former Vice President Joe Lieberman is sworn in as President, immediately afterwhich Chief Justice Rehquist resigns his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in protest of Gore’s conviction. President Lieberman nominates Hillary Clinton to become Vice President.. Despite rancorous hearings, Clinton is confirmed as Vice President.

October 7 - 2003 California recall: Voters recall Governor Gray Davis from office and elect Arnold Schwarzenegger to succeed him.

October 15 - China launches Shenzhou 5, their first manned space mission.

November 15 - Two car bombs explode simultaneously in Istanbul, Turkey targeting two synagogues, killing at least 25 people and wounding more than 300; Al-Qaida claims responsibility.

December 26 - A massive earthquake devastates southeastern Iran. Over 40,000 people are reported to have been killed in the city of Bam.

December 28 – Iraq invades Iran. China mobilizes troops.

February 10 - The French National Assembly votes to pass a law banning religious items and clothing from schools.

February 12 - Same sex marriage in the United States: The City and County of San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as an act of civil disobedience. President Lieberman applauds the ruling.

February 20 – Iraq seizes Teheran. The Federation of Arab States (FAS) is announced, uniting Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon under Baath control.

March 2 – George W. Bush effectively clinches the U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination.

March 17 - Organized violence breaks out over two days in Kosovo. Nineteen people are killed, 139 Serbian homes are burned, schools and businesses are vandalized, and over 30 orthodox monasteries and churches are burned and destroyed. President Lieberman says he “deplores the violence”, but orders no retaliation.

March 29 - Largest expansion of NATO to date, allowing Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia into the organization.

April 17 - Israeli invades Lebanon. In a surprise, China commends the action, and warns Iraq against “imperialist ambitions”.

June 5 - Former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, dies at age 93.

August 3 - Statue of Liberty reopens after security improvements.

August 6 - A United Nations report that blames the government of Sudan for crimes against humanity in Darfur is released.

August 21 – terrorist kill 43 athletes and coaches at the Olympics in Athens, in a bombing attack.

September 1 - Chechen rebels take between 1,000 and 1,500 people hostage, mostly children, in a school in Beslan, Northern Ossetia. The hostage-takers demand the release of Chechen rebels imprisoned in neighbouring Ingushetia and the independence of Chechnya from Russia.

September 2 - The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 1559 calling for the removal of all foreign troops from Lebanon. This measure is largely aimed at Syrian troops.

September 3 - Russian forces end the siege at a school in Beslan, Northern Ossetia. At least 335 people (among which at least 32 of the approximately 40 hostage-takers) have been killed and at least 700 people have been injured.

November 2 - U.S. presidential election: Republican George W. Bush defeats President Joe Lieberman. Republicans make more gains in the House and Senate, controlling nearly 82% of the House, and 74% of the Senate.

December 8 - The biggest Chinese PC producer Lenovo announces its plan to purchase IBM's global PC business, making it the third largest world PC maker after Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

December 11 - Tests show that Ukrainian opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with a large dose of dioxin.

December 13 - Software giants Oracle Corporation and PeopleSoft to merge in a $10.3 billion deal, creating the second largest maker of business applications software.

January 20 - George W. Bush is inaugurated in Washington D.C. 45th President of the United States.

Some twists, but in the end, not that different. It’s not as though the events make the man, or that Americans can be fooled forever.