campaign spending too high? No. In 2000, all campaigns -- including state
and local elections and ballot referendums -- cost about $3.9 billion,
according to the forthcoming book Financing the 2000 Election from the
Brookings Institution. This is less than four one-hundredths of 1 percent
of our national income. It's less than Americans spend annually on flowers
($6.6 billion in 1997)."
The $321 million raised in 2001 for federal
campaigns, which Schieffer found so disturbing, is less than ten percent
of how much is spent buying flowers each year.
the effectiveness of new campaign finance laws. We donít even punish the
violators of current ones. Columnist Michelle Malkin discovered -- in a
development that I and the MRC analysts have not seen reported anywhere
else -- that Maria Hsia, the woman who used Buddhist monks to funnel
illegal foreign money to Al Goreís campaign, received a very light
sentence last week.
The MRCís Rich Noyes alerted me to
Malkinís February 13 column as posted on TownHall.com. An excerpt:
Newsflash: The woman who helped launder Al Gore's Buddhist temple money
has not served a single day in jail. And she probably never will. The
hidden story of how funny money honey Maria Hsia escaped any meaningful
punishment for corrupting our election system shows just how empty all of
this week's sound and fury over campaign finance reform really is.
In the spring of 2000, Hsia was convicted by a federal jury in
Washington, D.C., of five felony counts related to more than $100,000 in
illegal contributions to Democratic candidates. The stash included $65,000
in straw donations, which Hsia had funneled through clueless,
non-English-speaking monks and nuns the day after Vice President Al Gore's
1996 visit to the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Southern California. Hsia, a
Taiwan-born immigration consultant, faced up to 25 years in prison for
causing false statements about the pass-through contributions to be made
in Federal Election Commission reports.
That was two years ago. Where is Hsia now?
Here's the rest of the story that the mainstream media has yet to
report. On Feb. 6, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman finally handed
Hsia her sentence: a puny 90 days of home detention and three years of
probation, along with a fine and assessment of $5,300.
Judge Friedman's slap on the wrist is no surprise. A Clinton appointee,
he was assigned to the Hsia case by Norma Holloway Johnson -- another
Clinton appointee who serves as the chief judge of the U.S. District Court
in Washington, D.C. Johnson bypassed the court's usual computer-randomized
assignment system and somehow miraculously ended up assigning fellow
Clinton judicial appointees to oversee six criminal cases involving
Democratic fund-raisers and Clinton crony Webster Hubbell.
When he first got the Hsia case, Judge Friedman immediately dismissed
all but one felony count against the Clinton-Gore rainmaker. A higher
appeals court overruled him. Then, during trial, he disallowed crucial
grand-jury testimony to be introduced. After the jury reached its guilty
verdict, he dallied before entering a judgment of conviction (which
usually follows a verdict immediately). And according to the BNA Money
& Politics Report, a D.C.-based daily newsletter that first reported
news of Hsia's reduced sentence, Friedman blocked prosecutors from
securing tougher penalties....
END of Excerpt
To read Malkinís entire column, go to:
The TownHall Web site: http://www.townhall.com
MTVís forum with Secretary of State Colin Powell aired Thursday night he
was hit with several questions from an anti-U.S., far-left perspective
posed by young adults around the world. "How do you feel about
representing a country commonly perceived as the Satan of contemporary
politics," wondered a woman in London.
A man in Cairo demanded: "How can you
explain to us, the youth of Egypt, that you are punishing regime but
killing thousands of Iraqi children by depriving them of food and
aid?" In the one and only e-mail MTV chose to read to Powell the
writer wanted to know "what is being done to address the root causes
of terrorism and anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world, such as
poverty, lack of education...?"
Another woman in London challenged Powell:
"Do you not think itís hypocritical to refuse prisoners of war the
same rights that the Al Qaeda fighters donít have while expecting U.S.
personnel to be covered under the Geneva conference?"
A woman in Milan wanted to know how AIDS can
be prevented when the Catholic Church opposes condom use and a woman in
Sao Paolo demanded to know why the "U.S. is more interested in
protecting patents" of makers of AIDS drugs "than the lives of
those who canít afford these drugs?"
The 90-minute MTV program, Be Heard: A Global
Discussion with Colin Powell, was taped Thursday morning before an
audience in Washington, DC with groups of young adults contributing
questions from studios in six other capitals: London, Sao Paolo, Moscow,
Milan, Cairo and New Delhi. MTV aired the show from 8 to 9:30pm EST and
will run it three more times.
Interspersed with the anti-U.S. questions were
some more reasonable ones, though some also had an edge. The event started
with a Muslim woman in the DC studio upset by anti-Muslim discrimination
in the U.S. Other questioners wanted Powell to define terrorism, an Afghan
man in New Delhi wished to know why before September 11 the U.S. didnít
pay attention to Afghanistan?; a Swedish woman in London wondered if the
U.S. would go it alone on Iraq; a Palestinian women in Cairo wanted to
know why her people had no "right to return" to Israeli land;
and an Israeli woman in London talked about the fear of terrorism her
nation must endure every day.
Plus, a man in New Delhi noted that 35,000
have been killed in the battle over Kashmir, yet the U.S. asks India to
show restraint when the U.S. did not when far fewer were killed in the
U.S.; a woman in the same studio wished to know why is U.S. is "hand
and glove with the military dictatorship" of Pakistan and doesnít
that mean the U.S. placing self interest ahead of its values?; a woman in
Brazil feared her country will be left out of the battle against poverty
because it has nothing to do with terrorism; and the show ended with a
woman in DC wanting to know what Powell meant when he once said of
himself: "I ainít that black"?
Now to the hostile anti-American questions
that MTV showcased. All quotes are accurate, even though they sometimes
ainít no good like English -- either because the questioners do not have
English as a first language or because the question went through an
-- A woman from Norway, named something like
"Ada," asked from the London studio: "Hi, hello Mr.
Secretary. Iím wondering, when I talk to my friends about the U.S., we
think about how do you feel about representing a country commonly
perceived as the Satan of contemporary politics."
To be fair to the young lady, it was a bit
unclear whether she thinks the U.S. is Satan or if sheís genuinely
soliciting a retort she could use when she hears that line of thinking
from her fellow Europeans.
Either way, Powell delivered his best response
of the night: "Well I reject the characterization. Quite the
contrary. I think the American people, the United States of America,
presents a values system to the rest of the world that is based on
democracy, based on economic freedom, based on the individual rights of
men and women. Thatís what has fueled this country of ours for the last
225 years. I think thatís what makes us such a draw for nations around
the world. People come to the United States, they come to be educated,
they come to become Americans. We are a country of countries and we touch
every country and every country in the world touches us. So far from being
the Great Satan I would say that we are the great protector. We have sent
men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of
the world throughout the last century to put down oppression. We defeated
fascism, we defeated communism, we saved Europe in World War One and World
Powell proceeded to note that the U.S. did not
stay and conquer Japan or German. Instead we built them up and gave them
democratic systems. Powell added: "Did we ask for any land? No, the
only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. Thatís the
kind of nation we are."
-- A man in Cairo, through an interpreter:
"What are the evidence that the U.S. government hold against bin
Laden and Al Qaeda and that makes bin Laden and Al Qaeda the first
suspects after the September 11th attacks?"
-- Another man in Cairo, through an
interpreter: "Mr. Secretary, it is against the principles in
international community, how can you explain to us, the youth of Egypt,
that you are punishing regime but killing thousands of Iraqi children by
depriving them of food and aid?"
-- An e-mail from Logan in Washington State,
the single e-mail inquiry MTV decided to pose to Powell: "Beyond
military action, what is being done to address the root causes of
terrorism and anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world, such as
poverty, lack of education, lack of economic opportunity, and the absence
Here, Powell gave his worst answer as he
didnít question the premise also espoused by Ted Turner: "I truly
fully believe that the root cause of terrorism does come from situations
where there is poverty, where there is ignorance, where people see no hope
in their lives and we understand that."
-- A Canadian women in London: "Given
that the U.S. supports Saudi Arabia while it condemns the Taliban for the
same actions against human rights, do you not think itís hypocritical to
refuse prisoners of war the same rights that the Al Qaeda fighters donít
have while expecting U.S. personnel to be covered under the Geneva
-- A young lady in Milan, through an
interpreter, referring to AIDS: "Hi to everyone. My name is Daniella.
As a young Catholic woman, I would like to know from the Secretary of
State what he thinks of the Catholic positions on condoms, which is
prohibited, and, therefore, this condemns anyone who might be exposed to
-- A woman in Sao Paolo Brazil, through an
interpreter: "Iíve actually been HIV positive for nine years. And
for almost six years Iíve been in daily treatment with the so-called
AIDS drug cocktail. But Iím very proud to be from a country bold enough
to break the patent stranglehold for AIDS medications. And Iíd like to
know why is the U.S. more interested in protecting patents than the lives
of those who canít afford these drugs?"
-- A dude, and youíll soon understand why I
used that term, in the Washington, DC studio: "My question is, do you
think the attacks on September 11th are being trivialized by government
propaganda campaigns, like those commercials during the Super Bowl, which
blamed drug users for funding terrorist operations?"
All brought to you by Viacom, part of the
media empire which also owns CBS News.
If you want to watch the 90-minute MTV forum
with Powell yourself, it is scheduled to air three more times, all times
EST as listed on the MTV Web site:
-- Today, Friday February 15 at 11am
Another episode of Now, the weekly PBS
showcase of the liberal whinings of Moyers, airs tonight at 9pm EST/PST,
8pm CST/MST on most PBS stations.