Randy Cunningham corruption investigationCunningham represents California's 50th district (CA-50), which eminent author and district resident Chalmers Johnson describes as "an oddly gerrymandered amalgam of rich (and Republican) Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla, more liberal coastal towns like the northern sections of San Diego itself, Del Mar, Encinitas, and Carlsbad, and -- inland -- Hispanic and working class Escondido and Mira Mesa." Cunningham, a representative since 1990, is facing a challenge from moderately liberal Francine Busby (who will lose a hotly disputed special election in April 2006 marred by allegations of vote fixing on behalf of her Republican opponent, Brian Bilbray). Cunningham's campaign is largely financed by defense contractors, some of which have offices and plants in his district, some do not. He is estimated to be able to outspend Busby 8 to 1, and both he and political observers consider Cunningham a virtual shoo-in. Cunningham's biggest contributors include Titan Corporation (under investigation for supplying translators to Iraq who may have engaged in torture), Lockheed Martin, MZM, SAIC, and other huge defense contractors, many of which have interests in Iraq. (In contrast, Busby's largest contribution so far is $2000 from Web design firm BlueHornet.)
Iraq war and occupationGovernment officials are just now revealing the existence and some of the content of the July NIE. The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms. "There's a significant amount of pessimism," says one government official, but he declines to discuss the key judgments -- concise, carefully written statements of intelligence analysts' conclusions -- included in the document. The intelligence estimate, the first on Iraq since October 2002, was prepared by the National Intelligence Council and was approved by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under John McLaughlin, the acting director of the CIA. Such estimates can be requested by the White House or Congress, but this one was initiated by the intelligence council under George Tenet, who stepped down as director of central intelligence on July 9.
Randy Cunningham corruption investigationAnnan adds that the decision to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein should have been made by the Security Council, not the United States and Great Britain. A former advisor to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Randy Scheunemann, says that Annan's statements are politically motivated. "I think it is outrageous for the Secretary-General, who ultimately works for the member states, to try and supplant his judgment for the judgement of the member states," Scheunemann says. "To do this 51 days before an American election reeks of political interference." Spokesmen for the British and Australian governments both say that the invasion was entirely legal. Annan also warns that unless the situation in Iraq dramatically improves between now and January, any elections held in that country will lack credibility. (BBC)
George W. Bush"I don't remember all the students in detail unless I'm prompted by something," Tsurumi says. "But I always remember two types of students. One is the very excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and intellect -- the very rare person you never forget. And then you remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite." Tsurumi, a visiting associate professor at Harvard during the 1973-74 term, is now a full professor at Baruch College. In observing students' in-class performances, Tsurumi says that "you develop pretty good ideas about what are their weaknesses and strengths in terms of thinking, analysis, their prejudices, their backgrounds and other things that students reveal." One of Tsurumi's standout students was Chris Cox, who is now the seventh-ranking member of the House Republican leadership. "I typed him as a conservative Republican with a conscience," Tsurumi says. "He never confused his own ideology with economics, and he didn't try to hide his ignorance of a subject in mumbo jumbo. He was what I call a principled conservative." Bush, by contrast, "was totally the opposite of Chris Cox. He showed pathological lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices and biases. He would even deny saying something he just said 30 seconds ago. He was famous for that. Students jumped on him; I challenged him." When asked to explain a particular comment, says Tsurumi, Bush would respond, "Oh, I never said that."
Iraq war and occupationIn response to questions about the recently revealed National Intelligence Estimate from July that portrayed three possible scenarios for the future of Iraq, ranging from a tenuous and unstable peace to all-out civil war, Bush responds, "The CIA laid out a -- several scenarios that said, life could be lousy, life could be okay, life could be better. And they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like." (Frank Rich [PDF file])