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CATO Institute lambastes President Bush
CATO Institute ^ | July 31, 2003 | Veronique de Rugy and Tad DeHaven

Posted on 08/01/2003 6:05:23 PM PDT by Harlequin

The Bush administration's newly released budget projections reveal an anticipated budget deficit of $450 billion for the current fiscal year, up another $151 billion since February. Supporters and critics of the administration are tripping over themselves to blame the deficit on tax cuts, the war, and a slow economy. But the fact is we have mounting deficits because George W. Bush is the most gratuitous big spender to occupy the White House since Jimmy Carter. One could say that he has become the "Mother of All Big Spenders."

The new estimates show that, under Bush, total outlays will have risen $408 billion in just three years to $2.272 trillion: an enormous increase in federal spending of 22 percent. Administration officials privately admit that spending is too high. Yet they argue that deficits are appropriate in times of war and recession. So, is it true that the war on terrorism has resulted in an increase in defense spending? Yes. And, is it also true that a slow economy has meant a decreased stream of tax revenues to pay for government? Yes again.

But the real truth is that national defense is far from being responsible for all of the spending increases. According to the new numbers, defense spending will have risen by about 34 percent since Bush came into office. But, at the same time, non-defense discretionary spending will have skyrocketed by almost 28 percent. Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.

Now, most rational people would cut back on their spending if they knew their income was going to be reduced in the near future. Any smart company would look to cut costs should the business climate take a turn for the worse. But the administration has been free spending into the face of a recessionary economy from day one without making any serious attempt to reduce costs.

The White House spinmeisters insist that we keep the size of the deficit "in perspective." Sure it's appropriate that the budget deficit should be measured against the relative size of the economy. Today, the projected budget deficit represents 4.2 percent of the nation's GDP. Thus the folks in the Bush administration pat themselves on the back while they remind us that in the 1980s the economy handled deficits of 6 percent. So what? Apparently this administration seems to think that achieving low standards instead of the lowest is supposed to be comforting.

That the nation's budgetary situation continues to deteriorate is because the administration's fiscal policy has been decidedly more about politics than policy. Even the tax cuts, which happened to be good policy, were still political in nature considering their appeal to the Republican's conservative base. At the same time, the politicos running the Bush reelection machine have consistently tried to placate or silence the liberals and special interests by throwing money at their every whim and desire. In mathematical terms, the administration calculates that satiated conservatives plus silenced liberals equals reelection.

How else can one explain the administration publishing a glossy report criticizing farm programs and then proceeding to sign a farm bill that expands those same programs? How else can one explain the administration acknowledging that entitlements are going to bankrupt the nation if left unreformed yet pushing the largest historical expansion in Medicare one year before the election? Such blatant political maneuvering can only be described as Clintonian.

But perhaps we are being unfair to former President Clinton. After all, in inflation-adjusted terms, Clinton had overseen a total spending increase of only 3.5 percent at the same point in his administration. More importantly, after his first three years in office, non-defense discretionary spending actually went down by 0.7 percent. This is contrasted by Bush's three-year total spending increase of 15.6 percent and a 20.8 percent explosion in non-defense discretionary spending.

Sadly, the Bush administration has consistently sacrificed sound policy to the god of political expediency. From farm subsidies to Medicare expansion, purchasing reelection votes has consistently trumped principle. In fact, what we have now is a president who spends like Carter and panders like Clinton. Our only hope is that the exploding deficit will finally cause the administration to get serious about controlling spending.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cato; conservative; economic; libertarians
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To: DoughtyOne
"I am so sick of this political game plan I could scream."

Then leave the field.

51 posted on 08/01/2003 7:02:16 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: AntiGuv
Ah yes, I forget the cold war when Soviets were crashing airliners into our cities. And then he sent all those troops into two Soviet countries to round up their leaders, with no support from his NATO allies whatsoever. And our relations with the U.N. during his tenure were never worse...then Dorthy clicked her heels three times and was back in Kansas.
52 posted on 08/01/2003 7:02:29 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: CWOJackson
No sure if you remember - but Reagan did handle terroist attacks, have a hostile UN, a congress that was under split control.

It's called leader ship - instead we have Bush following every demographic poll.

53 posted on 08/01/2003 7:03:39 PM PDT by paulk
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Reagan was an adult, not a child. His playbook is available for anyone who wants to dredge themselves out of the memory hole. Review the history of 1981 to 1984 and the answers are readily available...
54 posted on 08/01/2003 7:03:41 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
There is a plan, you just don't like it.
55 posted on 08/01/2003 7:03:56 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
No Luis I'm not going to be run off this forum by the likes of you.
56 posted on 08/01/2003 7:04:20 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: paulk
You're right, I don't remember anything like this during the Reagan years.
57 posted on 08/01/2003 7:04:28 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
"When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn't like it. "Compromise" was a dirty word to them and they wouldn't face the fact that we couldn't get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don't get it all, some said, don't take anything. "I'd learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: 'I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.'

"If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that's what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it.

~~ Ronald Reagan, in his autobiography, An American Life
58 posted on 08/01/2003 7:05:04 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: paulk
The Dems ARE out of power! Yet it is Dem policies that are getting implemented - tax refunds to non tax payers, expansion of medicare

I know. I agree. Make them lose serious seats in 2k04 and lawmaking will be less, uh, Demmish.

59 posted on 08/01/2003 7:06:42 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: studly hungwell
Here in California, we are recalling a governor for his wasteful spending, which led to a record budget shortfall ...?

DITTOS...

60 posted on 08/01/2003 7:06:45 PM PDT by tubebender (FReepin Awesome...)
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To: CWOJackson
What on earth are you trying to say? If you're trying to say that the Bush budget has increased due to heightened military spending, both Reagan and Bush had to increase military spending about 22%. The figures above show how Bush is increasing discretionary pork and welfare which hasn't even the dimmest relation to the WoT. Why don't you explain how crashing airliners induce prescription drug entitlements, bloated farm subsidies, massive federal education funding, and so on.

PS. If you are suggesting that the threat from terrorists lurking in caves is greater than the threat from 7000 ICBMs and an evil ideology, then I won't respond to that because I'd get myself banned...

How old are you anyhow? 15?
61 posted on 08/01/2003 7:06:56 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: DoughtyOne
Did I say that you should leave the forum?

This is a forum, this is not political reality.

But if you can't stand FOR someone, then sit down and we will carry on.
62 posted on 08/01/2003 7:06:56 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
What is it?
63 posted on 08/01/2003 7:07:29 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
15, heavens no. Although I'm sure I seems so to an 8 year old. But I must remember, I'm on a CATO thread.
64 posted on 08/01/2003 7:08:36 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: DoughtyOne
Big Gov't is here to stay and will never go away, so why can't you try to face that fact and work to ameliorate its effects at the margins? Tax cuts, sunseting regulations and having sensible tort reform coupled with a centrist based judiciary is the best you can expect.The nirvanna of a Goldwater rollback in government is, well, foolish.

That fight was lost decades ago.Lost, it's over.But cutting taxes goes on...
65 posted on 08/01/2003 7:10:08 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: CWOJackson
Oh, how ever so delightfully witty of you! Now, are you ready to answer the question of how crashing airliners induce prescription drug entitlements, bloated farm subsidies, massive federal education funding, and so on?
66 posted on 08/01/2003 7:10:09 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
"If you are suggesting that the threat from terrorists lurking in caves is greater than the threat from 7000 ICBMs and an evil ideology, then I won't respond to that because I'd get myself banned..."

Here's your chance Bucky. How many American citizens were killed in American citizens by those ICBMs? How many were killed by what you term terrorists lurking in caves?

Should I put up a chart for you?

67 posted on 08/01/2003 7:10:11 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
Hmmm, during the cold war you equate to the terrorists today we actual deployed tactical nuclear weapons in NATO nations, we had the full and complete support of NATO. And how much NATO support have we received in Iraq?
68 posted on 08/01/2003 7:11:49 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
Reagan came into power after one of the most embarrasing Democrats in the history of the DNC, a president who had been held by the short hairs by Iran and Cuba, not in the shadow of one of the most popular leftists in years.

Reagan did not have to contend to the sort of stark reality of what our world has become in the aftermath of 9/11.

Reagan lived in a much cleare world, with a clearly defined enemy.

That was then, this is now.

69 posted on 08/01/2003 7:12:01 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: paulk
LOL, you've just been approached by one of the two stupidest people on this forum.

Reagan took over a budget in a complete shambles.  The prime rate was in excess of 20%.  The military had been gutted by Carter.  His little raid into Iran was aborted because of equipment failure.  We couldn't even field a small contingent.

Reagan rebuilt the military to a 600 ship Navy and a military superpower whose existance convinced Moscow it could never prevail.

Regan had extreme budgetary problems.  When he cut taxes, people on both sides of the isle chastized him.  Despite their concerns, revenues doubled under Reagan.  Sadly expenditures more than doubled.

Don't let this nincompoop bother you.

70 posted on 08/01/2003 7:12:14 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
Stand your ground. I think this kind of irresponsible spending is ... well, not good.
71 posted on 08/01/2003 7:13:23 PM PDT by Harlequin (the difference between theory and practice is bigger in practice than in theory)
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To: AntiGuv
Reagan's budgets were being compared versus Bush's budgets. I don't understand what you're failing to understand about that....

I don't think so. This seems to be some meaningless statistic comparing Reagans%change from Carter with some sort of projected GWB's%change from Clinton when it comes to "discretionary" spending. To me, this is a meaningless statistic, unless it is presented with a great deal more context.

72 posted on 08/01/2003 7:13:36 PM PDT by Mudbug
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To: DoughtyOne
"Don't let this nincompoop bother you."

Good advice, I never let the nincompoops bother me.

73 posted on 08/01/2003 7:13:48 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
I'll be more than happy to support a conservative when one is eventually lofted for us to support again. Until then I'll keep reminding you that leftists are not conservative.
74 posted on 08/01/2003 7:14:12 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: paulk
If you can't spot that Bush is a superb leader, you never will spot in anyone else.He is a giant, the best leader to come down the pipe since Reagan, and no lightweight could have accomplished what he has in two years without an exceptional talent to lead.

Your issues are irrelevant in today's world, chum.They don't count when waging a global war on terror, and that's what these times are about.Bush cut your taxes and for that you ought to be a Bushbot.HE CUT TAXES!! But, but, he's...not doing enough....
75 posted on 08/01/2003 7:14:27 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: CWOJackson
Korean War: 33,651
Vietnam War: 58,168

WTC 9/11: 2,792
76 posted on 08/01/2003 7:17:01 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: CWOJackson
Small wonder. Compared to you there are no nincompoops.
77 posted on 08/01/2003 7:17:26 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: AntiGuv
The plan is what it always has been, neutralize the enemy, so that you can rule the field.

How is the DNC doing these days?
78 posted on 08/01/2003 7:18:06 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: CWOJackson
third parties

What do you mean third party - that would suggest that there is some difference between the Dems and Republicans bigger than a 15 year time shift.

The Republican Party no longer stands for restraining the growth of government, nor fiscal responsibility.

The Republicans voted (minus 2) to call a welfare grant of taxpayer money a tax refund.

They are now getting ready to socialize retirement drug care.

The majority of the excessive government growth has not been in defense or anti terrorism (hey, but what a good excuse).

Tell me honestly – did we move towards Socialism as fast under Clinton as we are under GWB? (And I think Clinton should probably be in jail).

The problem is that the rank and file Republicans want hand-outs and when the government starts handing it out, we all lose. We are losing ground pretty fast for controlling the house – Senate and Executive.

79 posted on 08/01/2003 7:18:21 PM PDT by paulk
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To: AntiGuv
Wow, Reagan was President for both the Korean War and Vietnam?

You might want to try a little remedical history.

80 posted on 08/01/2003 7:18:43 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: DoughtyOne
Said this on another thread:

I love the vote-GOP-no-matter-what Catch 22:

"You didn't vote for Bush? Then you have no room to complain."

"You knew what he stood for when you voted for him. You have no room to complain."

That means, stop complaining D1! The only way to get rid of the Dems big government is to support the GOP's less-big government.
81 posted on 08/01/2003 7:20:27 PM PDT by Sir Gawain (Every Jedi has a semi-retarded twin -- http://www.jedimaster.net)
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To: CWOJackson
There's little point to bother with you any further, but I've made clear that Reagan won the Cold War against the Communist ideology in its totality. The War on Terror will not end on the day Bush goes out of office. The comparison you made was that between the Soviet threat and the current threat from Islamist terrorists.
82 posted on 08/01/2003 7:20:46 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: DoughtyOne
Of course not, and there isn't a conservative in the Presidency right now either. It's all a matter of perspective. Most people consider President Bush to be conservative, and well...they would consider you to be a nincompoop.

I'm fine with that.

83 posted on 08/01/2003 7:21:08 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: habs4ever
For crying out loud, the man cut taxes and waged a war on terror. Give the man credit were do, but it's simply preposterous to state that is the full body of his work.

Our borders are open and our guard is down. We have foreign nations setting our identification policies regarding foreign nationals. We still allow immigration from terrorist states.

In 2.5 years Bush has raised the DoE (a department that is so bad folks are keeping their kids home from school) budget by 70%. Geez Louise. His next big plan is foist off a trillion dollar medican package on us.

Leadership? This man has Republican Senate and House.
84 posted on 08/01/2003 7:21:44 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: habs4ever
He is a giant, the best leader

Okay, but not all the things he has done are good.

What is the problem with recognizing the things that have been done that are not good? How can we get better results if we ignore them?

85 posted on 08/01/2003 7:21:48 PM PDT by RJCogburn ("You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect."......Lawyer J. Noble Daggett)
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To: zchip
I think this article amounts to piling on. If Republicans want to jump ship, we got Dr. Dean to look forward to. Great! I need a travel agent.
86 posted on 08/01/2003 7:22:29 PM PDT by faithincowboys
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To: DoughtyOne
Translation: I'll whine and complain and hold my breath until someone else brings me a solution in a silver platter.

By the way, if that type of a conservative reaches the level of national recognition that a political candidate needs to have in order to stand a chance at winning, who do you think will get him there?

You won't, you just said that you will do nothing until he shows up.

We will.

Funny thing is, at that point you'll jump up put of the sofa and claim title to that victory.
87 posted on 08/01/2003 7:22:50 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: zchip
Fears about the deficit are well-placed, but unnecessary, in my opinion.

The 9/11 attacks, the War On Terror, and the recession Bush inherited are the primary factors in creating the deficit; not Bush's proposed increased spending outside of these problems.

What would these supposed "hawks" have the government do: not spend money--even if that means spending more than it is taking in--on responding to 9/11, the Global Threat of Terrorism and the dip in business activity? That would be literal and political suicide. In short, it would be stupid.

This President is doing a fine job, despite the handwringing at CATO and among others here.

88 posted on 08/01/2003 7:24:42 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: AntiGuv
You've only made your opinion clear, which is pretty flawed when you can't recognize the differences between a cold war where we had NATO backing and today's conflict where we pretty much stand alone.

I know that recognizing the impact of a standing war might distract from your Bush is doing nothing whine but thats reality. The President, unlike some talking heads at CATO, has a lot on his plate.

89 posted on 08/01/2003 7:24:52 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: Mudbug
Umm.. No, it's not some hypothetical "projected" budget. The GWB budget being compared is the one the White House presented to the Congress and that the Congress is currently voting on. If you have some problem with the idea of budget projections, then you may feel free to substitute: the amount which George W. Bush wants to spend in 2004.

From the Office of Management and Budget:

The 2004 Budget was transmitted to Congress on February 3, 2003 and covers the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2003.

BTW, these figures do not include the prescription drug entitlement currently pending in conference committee - the same entitlement Bush demanded during his press conference yesterday that the Congress finalize and send for signature. The actual 2004 budget spending expansion will prove far higher...

90 posted on 08/01/2003 7:25:23 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: DoughtyOne
Jesus, man, he's got bigger things to fry than YOUR pet issues, which resonate with a whole...1% of the electorate.So, you want him to divert his energies to make you happy, when he's got a war on terror and a hostile Democratic Party to contend with?

Your expectations are ridiculous.He has to focus on the BIG things, not your things.
91 posted on 08/01/2003 7:26:38 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: Recovering_Democrat
This is the kind of thing that the folks over at Constipated And Ticked Off write all the time.
92 posted on 08/01/2003 7:26:42 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: CWOJackson
Cool deal. Now, are you ready to answer the question of how crashing airliners induce prescription drug entitlements, bloated farm subsidies, massive federal education funding, and so on?
93 posted on 08/01/2003 7:26:52 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
Being compared with what?
94 posted on 08/01/2003 7:27:08 PM PDT by Mudbug
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To: AntiGuv
I'm still waiting for you to answer your own question.
95 posted on 08/01/2003 7:27:36 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
"If you are suggesting that the threat from terrorists lurking in caves is greater than the threat from 7000 ICBMs and an evil ideology, then I won't respond to that because I'd get myself banned..."

Yes, I do. And how isn't it?

96 posted on 08/01/2003 7:28:27 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
the adults will be voting for Bush.

And the adults will elect the Republican president that lead us into our socialist downfall.

A lot of things may happen between now and then - and I hope we have a better choice than we did last election -- An election between two BOYS who were dressed up in their father’s clothes. Neither one of them made it on their own. Bush wasn't as bad as Gore - but as a businessman I KNOW there is better talent in this country than GWB.

Give me someone who is just 60% of Reagan!!

( Sadly, I would put GWB at 5%)

97 posted on 08/01/2003 7:29:18 PM PDT by paulk
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To: RJCogburn
As if it matters, really? These are extraordinary times, not like say.. Jimmy Carter's tenure in office, and you want him to be God and do everything.He has to focus on 1-2 things max, and he cut taxes and he is waging war and WINNING.Go Bush Go!

I don't expect anymore than that, and if he can get some conservatives on the benches, hooray! If not, he'll have another term to work at it.
98 posted on 08/01/2003 7:30:07 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: Recovering_Democrat
What would these supposed "hawks" have the government do: not spend money

Education bill, farm bill, Medicare bill......

99 posted on 08/01/2003 7:30:21 PM PDT by RJCogburn ("You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect."......Lawyer J. Noble Daggett)
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To: CWOJackson
Cool deal. Now, are you ready to answer the question of how crashing airliners induce prescription drug entitlements, bloated farm subsidies, massive federal education funding, and so on?
100 posted on 08/01/2003 7:30:31 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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