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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

MEXICO VS. US IN WATER WAR I

After oil, what do you think is the most important comodity? Okay, after money, what do you think the most important comodity is? It's water. And in fact, since water is a basic neccessity of life itself, one would be inclined to believe that water is more important than oil or money. And water is a focal point of stress around the globe. For the US, it hits home when water treaties signed decades ago are said by US sources to be ignored by the Mexican government. In fact, things have gotten so heated that even foreign press has taken note.

At the web site for Scotland's National newspaper, TheScotsman.co.uk, an article was posted on June 17, 2002 referring to the situation as a "Cold War over Water". See, back in 1944 the US and Mexico signed this treaty that agreed that Mexico would pay 114 billion gallons of water to Texas a year by regulating dams on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. However, Mexico is now over 500 billion gallons in debt and after a recent spigot opening on the Mexican side of the Falcon Lake Resevoir, over 11 billion gallons have been dispensed to Mexican farmers who have been dealing with a terrible drought for the better part of a decade. This angers Texan water officials and farmers because not only is Mexico failing to use that water to pay off their debt, but the water taken from Falcon Lake will ruin the fishing situation there and farmers off the Rio Grande will have a much harder time farming at a time when they too are dealing with the same drought affecting Mexican farmers.

This situation is only made worse by the fifth placement of the Rio Grande on the 10 most endangered US waterways list compiled by American Rivers, a Washington DC-based environmental group. They point out that the Rio Grande has gotten so thin that it lacks enough water to even make it to the Gulf of Mexico.

Either way, the water situation is a serious one and unless the mainstream media starts covering it, before we know it, we'll be ill equiped to deal with a world where water is, in the short term, more important the money or oil.

Read more about the US and Mexico's "Cold War over Water" in the Scotsman by clicking "more" below and then scrolling down.

Read more about the Rio Grande being on the ten most endangered US waterways list at the Houston Chronicle website.

Read about the Falcon Lake Resevoir situation at the Valley Morning Star website and MySanAntonio.com.
Check out page 2 if any of the links have gone bad.



Originally from TheScotsman.co.uk:

Mexico and US fighting a cold war over water



Simeon Tegel in Mexico City

THE famously warm relationship between the US president, George Bush, and his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox, is coming under strain in a growing dispute over the waters of the Rio Grande.

Mr Bush is said to have twice telephoned Mr Fox recently in a cold war over water that threatens to overshadow their shared love of cowboy boots, stetsons and horseriding.

The pair discussed Mr Bush�s plea for the immediate release of billions of gallons of water from six Mexican tributaries to the Rio Grande, the fabled river that straddles the drought-stricken plains between their two countries.

Desperate farmers in Mr Bush�s home state of Texas risk losing their harvest of citrus crops and sugar cane in the next few days, it is claimed, if the water does not come.

Another round of urgent talks in Washington this month over Mexico�s growing water debt to the US failed to find a solution. Under a 1944 treaty between the two countries, Mexico is obliged to provide the US with an annual average of 114 billion gallons through the Rio Grande. But Mexico is nearly 500 billion gallons behind in its payments, thanks in part to a drought that has afflicted its northern states - and parts of the US South - for nearly a decade.

Mr Fox agrees in principle that Mexico must provide more water to Texas. But he insists none need be supplied before September, when a new five-year period begins under the treaty. He is also pleading for a loan for some �70 million to allow Mexican border farmers to set up a more efficient reservoir and irrigation system.

Many Mexicans feel their president has already gone too far in bending to various US demands, while failing to win concessions on his own agenda, such as an amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants working north of the border.

His administration has stood by while the US blocks Mexican trucks from crossing the border, claiming they are unsafe, despite the right of free passage articulated in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Nor can Mexicans understand why their country should help US agriculture, which stands to benefit from nearly $200 billion (�140 billion) of subsidies approved by Mr Bush last month, by taking water from equally parched but severely under-funded Mexican farmers in the border states of Chihuahua.

"Mexico�s priorities are ensuring enough water supplies for our border communities and honouring our international obligations," Alicia Buenrostro, Mr Fox�s spokeswoman, told The Scotsman.

She said the failed talks in Washington would resume in a matter of days but would not give details of the highly-sensitive negotiations.

The row has only been deepened by the fact that state elections are imminent on both sides of the border, including some key governors� races.

This week Patricio Mart�nez, governor of Chihuahua, publicly accused his Texas counterpart, Republican Rick Perry, of avoiding dialogue. "He has not shown that he has the will for dialogue or to see how we can solve this problem," said Mr Mart�nez.

Such discord is ominous. With its economy closely linked to Mexico�s, Texas has, ironically, been more supportive of further integration under NAFTA as well as allowing more Mexicans to work legally on Texan farms or drive their lorries over the border.

Some of the strongest opponents of such moves, by contrast, come from the US�s northern states, which actually have least contact with Mexico.

If or when the two sides reach agreement, any harmony is set to be short-lived. Mexico�s water needs are growing as rapidly as its population of 100 million and its fast-developing economy. In Baja California, there are projects to build expensive desalination plants of the type normally only used in oil emirates of the Middle East.

In Mexico City, the giant acquifer below the metropolis, over-exploited since the Spanish conquistadors destroyed the Aztecs� water system, has only 15 years of water left. Engineers are unsure how they will provide life�s most basic necessity to the city�s 22 million residents once the acquifer is gone.


From ValleyStar.Com:

Updated 04/22/2003 21:57:33 CST

Mexico gobbles up Falcon water


By SANDRA BILLINGSLEY
The Monitor

Mexico has opened Falcon Lake�s spigot and Lower Rio Grande farmers are feeling deceived.

Mexico is releasing the reservoir�s water at a rate of more than 11,600 acre-feet per day, said Sally Spener, U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission spokeswoman. One acre-foot is 325,000 gallons or enough water to cover an acre of land at a depth of 1 foot.

"That�s water that could have been used by Mexico to pay down its deficit," said Jo Jo White, Hidalgo and Cameron counties irrigation district No. 9 general manager.

"The water they�re releasing now wasn�t allocated to anyone. So, if it wasn�t allocated by Mexico, then it was �free water� and they could have used it to pay down their deficit."

Mexico owes the United States more then 1.3 million acre-feet under the 1944 Water Treaty signed by the United States and Mexico, Spener said.

However, the water being released is Mexican water, and under the 1944 treaty, this particular amount of water is not promised to the United States under the agreement, Spener said.

"Mexico has the right to use its water as it sees fit," she said. "However, this is of concern because we weren�t advised in advance of Mexico�s plans to release this volume of water this season.

"(The IBWC�s) been requesting this information and we haven�t received it prior to the start of these releases, which began at the current rate on April 18. There�d been some other limited releases earlier in the month, but they began this significantly increased amount during the past few days."

Although the water wasn�t allocated to either country, White said he and some Valley farmers had been informed by the IBWC last year that Mexico would be receiving the water from the San Juan River. The Falcon Lake water is being used to irrigate farms in Tamaulipas, he said.

"So, this is a double whammy for us," he said. "Not only is Mexico releasing water that could have been ours but they�ve also lost the opportunity now to show good faith and transfer that water to us instead of diverting to another district in Mexico that we were told was going to get water from another source."

The water in the San Juan River system, White said, is in good shape and would have been more than enough to meet the Mexico farmers� needs.

"We don�t want to short change those people in Mexico who are using this water, but we thought we had a glimmer of hope," White said.

The impact on the U.S. farms, he said, would be less water available this summer.

Zapata businessmen already are feeling an economic drought because tourists and fishermen aren�t returning to the lake.

During the early 1990s, Falcon Lake was known as one of the best bass fishing lakes in Texas, said Larry Bridgeman, Zapata resident and owner of Falcon Lake Tackle.

"Since then, there�s been a diminishing number of fish, their quality is poorer and their size is smaller," he said.

The water elevation, which has dropped two feet in the past week, has been the result of Mexico releasing the water, Rio Grande Watermaster Carlos Rubinstein said.

"We�re moving water from Amistad to Falcon to compensate for our releases from Falcon, but the impact is from the Mexican release of water.

"I cannot make a move because that water belongs to Mexico," Rubinstein said. "I�ll be able to maintain the U.S. release from Amistad to Falcon, but that�s all."

White said Valley farmers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Mexican government�s refusal to follow terms of the 1944 treaty.

"They�ve lost our trust years ago," he said. "All it does is just reaffirms our ultimate belief that they�re not going to comply."

�2003, Valley Morning Star, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company. All rights reserved.


From MySanAntonio.Com:

Water flow in Mexico riles Texans

�
Express-News Border Bureau
�
Web Posted : 4/23/2003 12:00 AM
�
LAREDO � For the first time in three years, Mexico is releasing enough water from Falcon Lake reservoir to allow a successful planting season for drought-stricken farmers in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

But the amount being released for irrigation purposes worries officials and Rio Grande Valley farmers on the U.S. side.

Rio Grande Watermaster Carlos Rubinstein said Mexico is expected to release 350,000 acre-feet of water from its share of the reservoir in two to three weeks.

Since April 18, it has been drawing 11,600 acre-feet of water per day from the reservoir. That's nearly five times the daily amount that U.S. officials are releasing for irrigation purposes to farmers on the U.S. side, Rubinstein said.

An acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons.

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say that if the trend continues for
another week or two, the water levels at Falcon Lake will decrease below 257 feet above sea level and endanger fish spawning in the lake's vegetation.

"If that happens, you'll get a (lower) survival rate for young fish," said Bobby Farquhar, the department's regional director for inland fisheries.

Rubinstein said the lake level has fallen four feet since the beginning of this month, to 264 feet above sea level.

He said Mexican authorities haven't indicated whether or how they would replenish the reservoir with water the country holds in reservoirs along upstream tributaries. The United States is releasing water from Amistad reservoir to offset any water it takes from Falcon for farmers, he added.

"Without any corresponding Mexican water inflows to offset it, the lake will probably be around 257 the first week of May," Rubinstein said.

Sally Spener, a spokeswoman for the International Boundary and Water Commission, a binational regulatory group, said the amount being released hasn't gone unnoticed, considering Mexico owes almost 1.5 million acre-feet of water to the United States under terms of a 1944 water rights treaty. The debt is from recent years but Mexico is meeting its current obligations.

The nonpayment of the debt has cost the Texas economy about $1 billion since 1992, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

"It is of concern because we were not advised, in advance, of these releases by Mexico," Spener said. "So, we are considering our options for addressing this issue with Mexico."


jzarazua@express-news.net

�
04/23/2003


From Chron.com (the Houston Chronicle website):

April 26, 2003, 6:47PM

Two Texas rivers named endangered waterways

Associated Press

DALLAS -- Plans to develop the Trinity River in Dallas and build a dam in Brownsville near the Rio Grande's mouth have helped put both Texas rivers on an annual list of the 10 most endangered waterways in the country.

American Rivers, a Washington-based environmental group, said the Rio Grande ranked fifth on its list while the Trinity ranked 10th in the survey spotlighting waterways facing acute crises.

In choosing the Trinity, the environmental group criticized Dallas' Trinity River Corridor Project, approved by voters in 1998, which calls for extending a man-made floodway; building levees, wetlands, a downtown lake, parks and trails; acquiring 2,700 acres of land along the river; and possibly building toll roads in the flood plain.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Dallas are preparing to transform a surprisingly pristine portion of the Trinity River into a giant storm drain," said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. "Unless the public can persuade them to revise their vision for the city's riverfront, Dallas residents will lose a remarkable urban oasis."

The group said plans to realign the river channel would damage much of the
habitat, and fast-moving water would increase erosion.

The group warned that new levees could create a false sense of flood security and lure more residents and businesses into flood-prone areas.

But the city argued that its project will enhance the environmental and aesthetic quality of the floodway, as well as the quality of life for South Dallas residents long cut off from economic prosperity flowing north of the river.

"We feel that the Trinity River will become the central focal point and probably the greatest source of pride for all Dallas citizens," said Jill Jordan, assistant city manager.

The Rio Grande made the list because environmental groups fear the impact of proposals for Brownsville and Albuquerque to use more water from the river, which is already too dry to reach the Gulf of Mexico.

WHAT EVER HAPPENED WITH THE CHANDRA LEVY CASE?

Sure, you could say that a few other things of greater importance have cropped up since Chandra was murdered, but does that mean we should ignore her murder? Probably, not. Sure, there's a lot of evidence these days that politicians much more powerful than Gary Condit are getting away with murder, but that's the subject of another column. In this one, a short update on how the case is going from information in a Washington Times article from April 30, 2003.

Apparently there is just one detective assigned to the Levy murder case and he is not exclusive to the case and that detective is sitting around waiting for a magical tip to come in that will break the case open. Whatever happened to old fashioned detective work? What about CONDIT? Before Laci Peterson's body was even found they were eyeballing her husband - when it was found, they took him in. Is Condit being spared because of his status as a (former) politician?

April 30, 2003 marked the second anniversary of Levy's disappearance. With all of the modern technology at the disposal of the authorities and in two years there have still been no arrests?

Seems fishy, doesn't it?

Read more on the second anniversary of Chandra Levy's death at Washingtontimes.com.

Read the transcript from an ABC News Interview Connie Chung did with Gary Condit on August 23, 2001.


From WashingtonTimes.Com:

Clues few 2 years after Levy's death


By Matthew Cella
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Two years after former Washington intern Chandra Levy disappeared, authorities say they have no reason to believe the case will be solved anytime soon.

���"We're continuing to work it," Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey
said yesterday. "There's still a lot of attention being paid to
it."
�����Chief Ramsey said a detective remains assigned to the case, though
not exclusively. He also said tips have pretty much "dried up," but he hopes
that the second anniversary of Miss Levy's disappearance will generate a renewed
interest and jog someone's memory.
�����"It's going to take someone calling
us up with information they thought was insignificant at the time," Chief Ramsey
said. "We continue to be optimistic that we'll get the tip we need."

�����Miss Levy disappeared from her third-floor apartment on 21st Street NW
on April 30, 2001, after canceling her membership at the Washington Sport and
Health Club. Internet records indicate she used her computer May 1, visiting
travel Web sites and looking up the address to the Klingle Mansion in Rock Creek
Park.
�����Her remains and some articles of clothing were found May 22, 2002,
by a man walking his dog in the Rock Creek Park woods, not far from the mansion.

�����D.C. Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Arden concluded Miss Levy was
murdered, but he could not conclusively state the cause of death. He later said
that damage to a bone in Miss Levy's neck may indicate she was
strangled.
�����Chief Ramsey said he attended a meeting a few weeks ago with
representatives of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office regarding the Levy
case.
�����He declined to comment further on progress in the case because it
is the subject of an ongoing grand jury investigation.
�����Channing
Phillips, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard, said only that the
"active investigation" continues. He declined to comment further on the
investigation or when the grand jury will finish its work.
�����But law
enforcement sources say the grand jury investigation has yielded few
clues.
�����In October, investigators refocused on an El Salvadoran immigrant
serving a 10-year federal sentence in a Kentucky prison for attacking two female
joggers in separate assaults near Broad Branch Road, where Miss Levy's remains
were found.
�����D.C. police questioned Ingmar Guandique, 21, about Miss Levy
shortly after her disappearance and administered a polygraph test after a fellow
inmate said Guandique had confessed to the killing.
�����Guandique passed
the test, though the other inmate failed a similar polygraph test.
�����The
D.C. grand jury investigating the case called some of Guandique's relatives,
friends and a former landlord in October, but no charges were filed.

�����Chief Ramsey said police have not interviewed Guandique since Miss
Levy's remains were found, but he said they have exchanged information through
his attorney. Law enforcement sources said that interest in Guandique as a
suspect is waning.
�����The case drew worldwide attention after reports
surfaced that Miss Levy was having an affair with then-Rep. Gary A. Condit,
California Democrat.
�����Mr. Condit originally described Miss Levy as a
friend and denied even to his colleagues that he was having a relationship with
her. The congressman later acknowledged to police that he had had an affair with
Miss Levy, but denied any involvement in her disappearance.
�����Mr. Condit,
56, was defeated in the 2002 Democratic primary for the California congressional
seat he had held since 1989. Published reports describe him as unemployed,
battling to save his marriage and trying to live anonymously in Arizona.

�����Atlanta lawyer L. Lin Wood, who filed a libel lawsuit on Mr. Condit's
behalf against author Dominic Dunne last year, said people who have been
"falsely accused of a heinous crime" are tainted.
�����"I think clearly a lot
of the options that were available to now-former Congressman Condit are
obviously not going to be there for him for some time," Mr. Wood said.
"Hopefully, in the future things will change, but I think right now it is a
tough time for him."
�����He also expects to file a libel lawsuit on Mr.
Condit's behalf in late May or early June against American Media, the parent
company of the National Enquirer.



From ABCNews.com:

M O D E S T O, Calif., Aug. 23, 2001
ABCNEWS' Connie Chung spoke with Rep. Gary Condit on PrimeTime Thursday.
The following is an unedited transcript of the interview:

CONNIE CHUNG �Congressman Condit, do you know what happened to Chandra
Levy?

REP. GARY CONDIT � � No, I do not.

CHUNG � Did you have anything to do with her disappearance?

CONDIT � No, I didn't.

CHUNG � Did you say anything or do anything that could have caused her
to drop out of sight?

CONDIT � You know, Chandra and I never had a cross word.

CHUNG � Do you have any idea if there was anyone who wanted to harm
her?

CONDIT � No.

CHUNG � Did you cause anyone to harm her?

CONDIT � No.

CHUNG � Did you kill Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � I did not.CHUNG � Can you describe your
relationship? What exactly was your relationship with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � Well, I met Chandra � last, um, October. And we became very
close. I met her in Washington, DC.

CHUNG � Very close, meaning �?

CONDIT � We had a close relationship. I liked her very much.

CHUNG � May I ask you, was it a sexual relationship?

CONDIT � Well, Connie, I've been married for 34 years, and I've not
been a � a perfect man, and I've made my share of mistakes. But um, out of
respect for my family, and out of a specific request from the Levy family, I
think it's best that I not get into those details uh, about Chandra Levy.

CHUNG � Congressman Condit, do you recall when � it was during
President Clinton's impeachment hearings, you called for, and I quote, "The
public airing of every detail of his affair," saying, quote, "only when we strip
away the cloak of secrecy and lay the facts on the table, can we begin to
resolve this matter." Shouldn't those rules apply to yourself?

CONDIT � Well, I've watched that clip, and I've heard that quote. My
view of that is it's taken out of context. The fact of the matter is � is that
the Starr report was there. And the Republicans were drip, drip, drip, releasing
that report, and it was embarrassing �

CHUNG � (Overlap) But we want to talk about you and not President
Clinton.

CONDIT � (Overlap) Well, let me finish. Yeah, let me finish � because
it relates to President Clinton. And I asked that the Starr report, along with
other people, be released in its total, so that we could get to the impeachment
hearing. And the real issue here, that the media seems to have forgotten in this
report many times, is that I voted four times not to impeach President Clinton.
That's the real issue.

CHUNG � (Overlap) We're not talking about that right now. What we're
talking about is whether or not you will come forward to uh, lift this veil of
suspicion that seems to have clouded you. Can you tell us � did you have a
romantic relationship with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � Well, once again, I've been married 34 years. I have not been
a perfect man. I have made mistakes in my life. But out of respect for my
family, out of a specific request by the Levy family, it is best that I not get
into the details of the relationship.

CHUNG � Can you tell me this: was Chandra Levy in love with you? Were
you in love with her?

CONDIT � Well, I don't know that she was in love with me. She never
said so. And I was not in love with her.

CHUNG � Did she want to marry you and have your child?

CONDIT � I only knew Chandra Levy for five months. And in that five
months' period, we never had a discussion about a future, about children, about
marriage. Any of those items never came up in that five-month period.

CHUNG � Did you ever make promises to her?

CONDIT � Never.

CHUNG � Did she want you to leave your wife?

CONDIT � No. I mean, I've been married for 34 years, and I intend to
stay married to that woman as long as she'll have me.

CHUNG � Um, I understand what you're saying regarding being specific
about the relationship. However, don't you realize that part of the reason why
you're in the situation that you're in is because that there have been ambiguous
or uh, evasive answers to specific questions?

CONDIT � Well, there has been no evasive, uh, answers to specific
questions by me. I have, I have �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Right now there is, sir.

CONDIT � Well, no, there have not been. I have talked to the people
who are responsible for finding Chandra Levy. I've been very specific. I've told
them every detail in every interview about my relationship with Chandra Levy,
and any of the questions that they had � have had to ask.

CHUNG � Indeed, uh, when the police questioned you on the first two
occasions, you did not reveal the specifics of your relationship with Chandra
Levy. Isn't that correct? It wasn't until the third interview with police that
you revealed your relationship in its true manner.

CONDIT � In the first interview, I revealed every bit of the details
about Chandra Levy. I answered every question that law enforcement asked me. In
the second interview, I did the same thing. I answered every question that was
asked of me, and released every detail to law enforcement. Now let me just say
to you, Connie �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Truthfully?

CONDIT � � if I may �

CHUNG � Truthfully. Did you answer every question truthfully?

CONDIT � I answered every question truthfully. That's what you're
supposed to do when you're cooperating with the police.

CHUNG � But did you reveal that you were having an affair with her?

CONDIT � I'm not going to go into the aspects and the details of, of �
the details of the, of the investigation or the interviews. I'm just saying to
you that I answered every question asked of me by the police department on every
occasion.

CHUNG � But the police department has said that you impeded the
investigation.

CONDIT � That's pretty confusing. I mean, it's real confusing, because
a couple days after it was reported that Chandra Levy had been missing, after
her father had called me here in California, two days later I had two detectives
in my house in Washington, DC, and we have a 45-minute interview. So I answered
every question, gave them every bit of the details in that interview. And you
know how Washington, DC works. It has dual jurisdiction. Well, the next
interview, there was a new set of personnel in that interview. In the third
interview, there was the Department of Justice, the � the federal prosecutor. I
had to go through that interview. And then in the fourth interview�

CHUNG � (Overlap) But � but (Inaudible)�

CONDIT � � there was the FBI. Now they all asked the same questions
over and over again. Maybe �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Did they specifically ask you if you had a romantic
relationship with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � They asked every, every question they wanted to ask, and
every detail question they asked. And I answered.

CHUNG � And you, did you tell them that you did have a romantic
relationship with her?

CONDIT � Uh, I told them everything they asked. Answered every
question. And I did nothing to slow down the investigation.

CHUNG � Now when Mrs. Levy called you and said that her daughter was
missing, and she asked you pointblank, she says, at a critical time in the
investigation, as to whether or not you had an affair with her daughter, you
answered, according to her, matter-of-factly, "No." Were you telling the truth?

CONDIT � I never lied to Mrs. Levy. Fact of the matter is that whole
week I had several conversations with the Levys. Dr. Levy and Mrs. Levy. We
talked about uh, several items in, in the case.

CHUNG � So when you said, "No," you were telling the truth?

CONDIT � What, what Miss, what Mrs. Levy asked me was a series of
questions about a lot of things. And I'm sorry if she misunderstood uh, those
conversations. But in those conversations, she made a lot of statements. My job
was to console and do what I could do to be helpful. But I never lied to Mrs.
Levy at all. I'm sorry if she misunderstood the conversations. She made several
statements about a variety of different people. My role was to listen, to be
helpful. I knew they were going through pain and anguish. And I was doing
everything that I could do to be helpful to them, and not be a problem.

CHUNG � Congressman Condit , uh � I do not know exactly whether you
did have an affair with Chandra Levy or not, because you will not answer that
question. Now, when Mrs. Levy asked you if you had had an affair, she says you
said no. And you are now saying that you didn't lie to her.

CONDIT � I'm saying that, yes.

CHUNG � So are you saying that she misunderstood you �

CONDIT � (Overlap) Yes.

CHUNG � � when you said no?

CONDIT � She � well, I'm not sure what com- �

CHUNG � (Overlap) You should have said yes?

CONDIT � I'm not sure what conversation she was talking about. She
made several references to several people. My job was to simply to be helpful to
her, to try to get through whatever she was getting through. I never lied to
Mrs. Levy.

CHUNG � Well, I mean, here is a mother who is asking you a critical
question about her daughter who is missing. You needed to provide her with the
truth and the correct answer.

CONDIT � Correct, and I,

CHUNG � (Overlap) You didn't do that.

CONDIT � (Overlap) I told her the truth.

CHUNG � You told her that you were indeed �

CONDIT � She did not ask me that question. She made several references
about people. And I'm not going to get into the names of the people, but I told
Mrs. Levy the truth. I'm sorry and I regret if she misunderstood what I had to
say.

CHUNG � Uh � tell me something. When Chandra Levy � Chandra Levy would
come to your apartment, correct?

CONDIT � She'd been there, yes.

CHUNG � And when she came to your apartment, did you set rules for her
to follow? Such as uh, never to bring her identification with her.

CONDIT � I never, ever told anybody not to carry their identification.


CHUNG � And it's a critical question, because in fact when she
disappeared, she left her identification at home, in her apartment, and only
took her keys, apparently.

CONDIT � (Overlap) Right.

CHUNG � So you're saying there were virtually no rules. There were no
rules at all �

CONDIT � (Overlap) No rules � I �

CHUNG � � when she came to visit you.

CONDIT � No rules. I would never, ever � not asked (sic) someone to
carry their identification. I don't know what's the purpose of that.

CHUNG � Now her � she, she confided in her aunt. And her aunt said
that these were the rules. That there were certain rules that she had to abide
by. And that indeed, she did have an affair with you. Is � are, are you
suggesting that either the aunt is terribly mistaken, or that Chandra Levy was
fabricating all of this?

CONDIT � Well, I can only say that I did not have those conversations
with Chandra. And Chandra's not here to defend herself. So I don't know why the
aunt would say that.

CHUNG � But � regarding the relationship in and of itself, are you
suggesting that Chandra Levy's aunt did not have the correct information, or
that Chandra Levy herself had created this affair as a figment of her
imagination?

CONDIT � I can only say I never had those conversations with Chandra.

CHUNG � (Overlap) Which conversations?

CONDIT � The conversations that you're suggesting that � there was
going to be a future, we were going to get married, and that there were some
kind of rules. I never had those conversations. So I, I don't know where the
aunt got that.

CHUNG � But going back to whether or not you had an affair and the
fact that you're not willing to answer that question � Chandra Levy's aunt says
that indeed, Chandra told her that you had an affair. So I'm asking you, do you,
are you trying to � uh, suggest that Chandra Levy did not have an affair with
you and that it was a fabric (sic) of her imagination?

CONDIT � I don't know why she told the aunt what she told the aunt.
She told the aunt apparently a lot of things. But the fact of the matter is, and
I'm going to go back to this � I've been married 34 years, I've made some
mistakes in my life, I'm not a perfect man. But out of respect for my family,
and out of a request, a specific request from the Levys, I will not go into the
details of Chandra Levy at all.

CHUNG � (Overlap) What did they exactly ask you to do?

CONDIT � Well, they asked a couple nights ago on uh, one of the TV
shows that uh, that they did not want to hear about the details of the
relationship.

CHUNG � I'm not asking you details. I'm simply asking you if it was
more than just a friendship?

CONDIT � Well, let me say, the details included they didn't know,
didn't want to know what, how I felt about her, or how she felt about me. So I'm
trying to honor that. I'm try- �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Forgive me, I �

CONDIT � (Overlap) � and I think the � I think the American people
understand that people are entitled to some privacy. I'm entitled to try to
retain as much privacy as I can. The Levys are entitled to retain as much
privacy on behalf of their daughter as they can. I'm going to honor that.

CHUNG � But, but you are protecting your privacy, your family's
privacy at the expense of a, of a woman who is missing.

CONDIT � Well, that's not correct. That's not correct at all. Because
I have cooperated with law enforcement. The people who are responsible for
finding Chandra. No, I haven't held a news conference, and no, I don't do talk
shows. But I have cooperated �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Forgive me, but we have gone over this area already.

CONDIT � (Overlap) Well, I have cooperated �

CHUNG � The police even said that you impeded the investigation. They
do not believe that you have fully cooperated. In fact, the word from the police
is that your lack of candor impeded the investigation.

CONDIT � Well, I'm, I'm confused if you're making reference to Chief
Ramsey's latest comments. Let me tell you, Connie, I have interviewed four
times. I interviewed with the Metropolitan police department. I've interviewed a
second time with the Metropolitan police department and the commander. I
interviewed with the Department of Justice, the federal prosecutor, also with
the MPD. I interviewed with the FBI. I allowed them to search my home, where
they ripped up my carpet, they took the paint off the walls, they put the drains
down the, the pipes.

CHUNG � (Overlap) I understand.

CONDIT � Now let me finish. I have, I � because this is a very
important point. I have done everything, to the point where I've let them
interview my staff, they've searched the cars �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Did you at any time ask the staff to lie?

CONDIT � � I flew my wife � I flew my wife to Washington.

CHUNG � (Overlap) Did you at any time every ask your staff to lie?

CONDIT � (Overlap) Well let me, let me finish this. Let me finish
this. Because you're making the accusation, I think it's a very important one.
That I have not been cooperative. And I'm puzzled by why the Police Chief would
say that. I don't think there's anyone in Washington, DC who's been more
cooperative in this investigation than myself. And I'm confused by why the
Police Chief would say that. Several weeks before that, the Chief and �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Because you didn't reveal the true nature of your
relationship with Chandra Levy until the third interview.

CONDIT � Well, that, that's just not correct. In every interview, I
answered every question, gave every detail.

CHUNG � So you're suggesting that the police didn't quite ask you the
right questions (Inaudible)?

CONDIT � (Overlap) No, I'm not suggesting that at all. I'm, I'm
suggesting that, that you're, you're going on unnamed sources of the third
interview of people who were not even in the room.

CHUNG � But you can clear the air �

CONDIT � (Overlap) And a lot � well, I'm clearing the air.

CHUNG � You can clear the air now by, by revealing exactly what kind
of relationship you had. Because it, isn't it obvious to you that it, when
you're dealing with a missing persons case, that any relationship with the
missing person is important for police, authorities to know?

CONDIT � Well, but you and I work under two different assumptions
here, I think. I think it's my job to work for the people who � have the
responsibility to find Chandra. Not to go out and do news conferences and do
talk shows to talk about that.

CHUNG � But are you � aren't you �

CONDIT � (Overlap) I worked with the law enforcement people in every
step, provided them information in every interview, and gave up a lot of my
civil liberties to make sure that they had all the information that they needed.

CHUNG � But aren't you here to set the record straight?

CONDIT � I think I am setting the record straight.

CHUNG � Would you like to � tell the truth about the relationship with
her?

CONDIT � I've told you and responded to uh, the relationship question.
And I think the American people, and people watching out there understand. I
think they understand that � that I'm entitled to some of my privacy. My
family's entitled to some of their privacy. And certainly the Levy's (sic) are,
as well.
CHUNG � Uh, all right, why don't we talk about the, the uh � the last
time you met with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � Sure.

CHUNG � Uh, that was at your apartment, correct me if I'm wrong �
April 24th. Is that correct?

CONDIT � Well, it was the 24th or the 25th.

CHUNG � And during that meeting, during that uh � uh � occasion on
that, on April 24th, did you two discuss the future of your relationship?

CONDIT � No, we had no discussion. We never had a cross word.

CHUNG � Well � tell me something. Why would she come to your
apartment? She's a single woman, you're a married man. Did she always come to
your apartment to visit you?

CONDIT � I have people that have come to my apartment all the time.
But she came to my apartment in (sic) that day to tell me that she had just lost
her internship, uh, with the uh, Department of Justice. And that was the
discussion we had that day.

CHUNG � After that, what was uh � what was the next conversation that
you had with her? Did you � do you recall when your last conversation with her
was?

CONDIT � I had a phone conversation with her on April the 29th, which
lasted for about a minute. Uh �

CHUNG �Just a minute?

CONDIT � Uh, approximately a minute.

CHUNG � She had called you repeatedly on that date. Correct?

CONDIT � Well, no, that's not true �

CHUNG � Her phone records show that.

CONDIT � Well, that � I mean, she might have left a message. But you
know, the news media reported that she made all these frantic calls. And that's
just not correct.

CHUNG � But her phone records show that she called you repeatedly.

CONDIT � Her phone � she didn't make frantic phone calls to people.
She may have placed a call to me. Uh, she had my voice machine, my voice uh � uh
phone company voice answering machine. She may have called and left a message.
But it doesn't indicate that I have a whole series of messages from her.

CHUNG � All right, during that conversation uh, did she, was she upset
about anything? Did you say � "We need to break up, break up our friendship?"
Anything like that?

CONDIT � No, no Connie. We never had a cross word. It was simply about
her travel plans, that she was talking about going back to California. She was
real excited about uh � going through her ceremony at USC. So she was real
upbeat.

CHUNG � She wasn't upset about anything?

CONDIT � She wasn't upset about anything. She wasn't upset about
losing her job. She, that, it was a little �

CHUNG � (Overlap) She wasn't?

CONDIT � No, she was a little disappointed by it. But she � she had
other plans and other hopes. And, and she � she took it very good.

CHUNG � Did you talk to her � as a general rule, uh, often? Several
times a �?

CONDIT � (Overlap) Oh yeah, several times a week.

CHUNG � Several times a week?

CONDIT � Yeah.

CHUNG � Not several times a day, every day?

CONDIT � Not several times a day every day.

CHUNG � And how often do you think she came to your � your apartment
to visit you?

CONDIT � Well, I provided all those details to uh, the appropriate
people, the law enforcement people. They have that. And uh, it would be uh �
best not to get �

CHUNG � (Overlap) (Inaudible) forgive me, but � why are you reluctant
to answer that question?

CONDIT � Because that's � that's provided to law enforcement and the
people who are responsible for fi-, for finding Chandra Levy.

CHUNG � But I mean, if there was nothing wrong with it, why can't you
say how many times she came to visit you?

CONDIT �Because if I say a time to you, I may be � well, I don't know
the amount of time off the top of my head, but �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Could you give me a general idea?

CONDIT � But I, but we, but we have shared all that with law
enforcement. And I think it's best that we not go into that. And out of respect
for my family, and out of request from the Levy family, I just don't � can't go
there.

CHUNG � Well, after you had that conversation with her, you said it
lasted only a minute, when did you expect to talk to her again?

CONDIT � Well, she gave me the impression that she was going to take a
train to California. So I assumed in the next few days she was going to take a
train to California. So I might talk to her after she got to California, I might
talk to her when she got back from California. It wasn't clear to me whether or
not she was actually going to move to California, come back and try to find
another job. Um, but Chandra was interested in working at the FBI. She was
interested in working at the CIA, or NI-, NSA. Something like that. She was very
interested in those areas. And so � the reason the, the Federal Prison Bureau
uh, job was important to her, because she thought that was the stepping stone in
getting into the FBI.

CHUNG � Uh � on that same day, Chandra left a message for her aunt,
saying she had some important news. Do you know what that important news was?

CONDIT � I do not.

CHUNG � There have been � there has been talk about uh, a possibility
that Chandra Levy was pregnant. Do you know if she was pregnant?

CONDIT � I have no reason to think that.

CHUNG � Did she tell you she was pregnant? Or anything of that sort?

CONDIT � No, she did not.

CHUNG � Uh, did you speak with her again after April 29th?

CONDIT � Uh, no. April 29th was the last conversation.

CHUNG � So you're saying that you didn't expect to hear from her for
about a week?

CONDIT � Well, actually, I tried to call her, because I �

CHUNG � When did you try and call her?

CONDIT � I tried to call her probably the 30th or the 31st, or some
time in that week.

CHUNG � Uh, there, there is no 31st. Uh � it's either the 30th or May
first.

CONDIT � (Overlap) I mean, the 30th or May first. I ddi try to � well,
maybe it was later in the week, because I had not heard from her.

CHUNG � Uh-huh. And � you were expecting to hear? You, did you, you
just said that you weren't expecting to hear from her for a week?

CONDIT � (Overlap) Well, I thought I might � I, I thought I might hear
her about her travel plans. She might leave a message and say she was taking a
train or she wasn't taking a train. I never heard that.

CHUNG �So did you call her, you're saying, on the 29th?

CONDIT � (Overlap) Yes, I placed a call �

CHUNG � Or the 30th.

CONDIT � I, I placed a call on uh � sometime during the next few days,
to try to find out what her travel plans were going to be.

CHUNG � And you called her apartment?

CONDIT � Yes, I left a � yes, left a message.

CHUNG � And uh � did she ever call you back?

CONDIT � No.

CHUNG � Were you concerned?

CONDIT � I was concerned that she had not called me back. But uh � but
also just assumed that she had taken a train. And she told me the train was
going to take four days.

CHUNG � You can't remember exactly when you called?

CONDIT � On the � ?

CHUNG � Yes, when you called again. When you called, was it the 30th?
May first? Second, 3rd, 4th?

CONDIT � (Overlap) Well, it � it could've been � it could've been the
first. It could've been the second. Somewhere in that time frame.

CHUNG � Um, your wife made a rare visit to Washington the week that
Chandra Levy disappeared. Did she have any conversations with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � No, my wife did not know Chandra Levy.

CHUNG � Did your wife know what kind of relationship � or did any
member of your family know what kind of relationship you had with Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � No member of my family knew Chandra Levy.

CHUNG � Uh, did you ever talk to any member of your family about her?

CONDIT � No.

CHUNG � Well, when did your family become aware of Chandra Levy's
existence? That perhaps there was uh, talk that you had uh, some kind of
personal relationship with her?

CONDIT � Well, uh � the way we were notified that Chandra was missing
was on Sunday, May the sixth, Dr. Levy called my house. He talked to my wife. I
wasn't there. Uh, told us � uh, told Caroline that uh � he was concerned,
because he had not heard from Chandra for several days. And then when I came in,
uh, I mean, it was just � it was, I was horrified to hear that she was � was
missing.

CHUNG � Was that the first time you had heard � that she was missing?

CONDIT � (Overlap) That was the first time I had heard that. And then
uh � you know, you're horrified, but at the same time, you're a parent, and you
think there might be another side to this that's just a mistake. So I called Dr.
Levy at home, and uh, talked with him, and � and uh, obviously the anxiety and
the hurt in his voice prompted me to commit to him that I would call the law
enforcement people immediately. Because he had thought that the Metropolitan
police department had not taken it seriously. Maybe she'd just gone on extended
holiday or something.

CHUNG � I see.

CONDIT � So right after that � right after that, I was in Washington
DC on Monday. I contacted law enforcement. I asked the FBI to be involved. I
helped set up the re-, rewan-, reward fund. And so we were consistently quickly
involved. Within two days I had detectives in my house, talking to me about
(Inaudible) �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Yes. I remember your telling me that. I'm going to
turn to another area. A, a flight attendant named Ann Marie Smith said that she
had a year-long relationship with you. And that you asked her uh, to lie about
it. True?

CONDIT � I didn't ask anyone to lie about anything. I did not ask Ann
Marie not to cooperate with law enforcement. That's an absolute �

CHUNG � (Overlap) (Inaudible) � sorry.

CONDIT � Absolute lie.
CHUNG � This is a statement that uh, your lawyers gave to her, and it
says, "I do not and have not had a romantic relationship with Congressman
Condit."

CONDIT � Well, that's a lawyer-to-lawyer statement. And �

CHUNG � And you didn't authorize (Inaudible)?

CONDIT � (Overlap) I had nothing � I didn't have any-, I � the lawyers
�

CHUNG � Your, your lawyers just hauled off and had � and sent this to
her without your �

CONDIT � (Overlap) That is a (inaudible) statement that a lawyer sent
to another lawyer. I did not have anything to do with that.

CHUNG � But why would he write up the draft of something � without
your authorization? I mean � why would you want her to say that she didn't have
a relationship with you?

CONDIT � Because she didn't.

CHUNG � Why, why would she make it up?

CONDIT � You know, Connie, I'm, uh � I'm puzzled by uh, by people who
take advantage of tragedy. A missing person that they don't even know.

CHUNG � You're saying that she completely fabricated this?

CONDIT � She take � she's taken advantage of this tragedy. She didn't
know Chandra Levy. So she gets to have her moment of publicity, of financial
gain. And I'm puzzled by that.

CHUNG � Uh � hours before police, DC police searched your apartment,
you were seen throwing away a watch box. Um, in a dumpster. Why, why did you do
that?

CONDIT � Well, the watch box had nothing to do with Chandra Levy and
the police. Know that. The fact of the matter�

CHUNG � (Overlap) But were you trying to cover up a relationship with
yet another woman?

CONDIT � Let me finish this. Uh, the watch box had nothing to do with
Chandra Levy. The watch box � uh � I, I � I did not take anything out of the
apartment before or after the search. The watch box had nothing to do with
Chandra Levy at all. It was � trash that I threw away.

CHUNG � But why did you throw it away hours before the search?

CONDIT � Well, the watch box, uh, I didn't take anything out of the �
my apartment. The search within my apartment. Nothing came out of my apartment
before the search or after the search.

CHUNG � Are you saying the watch box was somewhere else?

CONDIT � Yes.

CHUNG � Other than your apartment?

CONDIT � Yes.

CHUNG � So where was it?

CONDIT � It would be in my office.

CHUNG � And so why did you throw it away?

CONDIT � Well, because I was cleaning out my office to be very frankly
(sic) with you.

CHUNG � But why throw it in a dumpster uh, somewhere, instead of just
throwing it in the trash can in your office?

CONDIT � Well, the fact of the matter is the watch box had nothing to
do with Chandra Levy. And the police department know (sic) this.

CHUNG � Don't you think it's rather suspicious behavior though to
throw a watch box in a dumpster?

CONDIT � Well, first of all, I did not throw it in a dumpster. I threw
it in a trash can on a street, understanding that the tabloids are going through
every bit of my trash at my office, going through things in my office, trying to
get things out of my office. It was trash. I threw it away.

CHUNG � But � I mean, if, if there was nothing to it � so what if, if
uh, the tabloids would find it? If there was nothing � who gave it to you?

CONDIT � Well, there was nothing to it.

CHUNG � Who gave it to you?

CONDIT � (Overlap) It was a gift.

CHUNG � From?

CONDIT � It was a gift.

CHUNG � A woman in the office who worked in your office?

CONDIT � Years ago.

CHUNG � And did you have a relationship with her?

CONDIT � I did not.

CHUNG � Um, tell me, have you made any attempts to silence anyone
about any relationship you've had with a woman?

CONDIT � I have not asked anyone to � be silent about anything. Matter
of fact, I've � anyone who says that we tried to keep people from cooperating is
just lying.

CHUNG � Um, why won't you take a polygraph test administered by the
police? And why won't you cooperate with Chandra Levy's parents (sic)
investigators?

CONDIT � Well, let me say that, that uh � you know, this is sort of
new to me. But when the polygraph issue came up �

CHUNG � What is sort of new to you?

CONDIT � This polygraph issue, in that uh � I'm not familiar with the
polygraph people. But we went out to find the best.

CHUNG � I understand.

CONDIT � (Overlap) The best in the country.

CHUNG � (Overlap) But why won't you take one � from the police?

CONDIT � (Overlap) We found the best in the country that � he trains
the FBI agents who give the polygraph tests. And so we took the test. We passed
the test. And his credibility is unchallenged by people in the industry. And
I'm, I'm confused by the police chief's comment immediately after we take the
polygraph test. He did not read the polygraph test. Uh, I think you'll find that
people in the FBI now have seen the polygraph test, they can read the polygraph
test, and it makes total sense to them. So we basically thought we were being
helpful, just found the best guy we could find. And that's what we did. And I
don't know if �

CHUNG � (Overlap) Why, why won't you cooperate with uh, the Levy
family investigators? And why won't you take � if you, if you are guilty of no
criminal wrongdoing, if you're not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, why don't
you take a polygraph test given by the police, and cooperate with Chandra Levy's
�

CONDIT � (Overlap) But we've taken a polygraph test. And it, and it
proves that I'm innocent. And it's by, it's by a � a guy who's one of the
highest-regarded gentlemen in that field in the country.

CHUNG � (Overlap) I understand. All right.

CONDIT � And let me � on the investigate-, the investigators with the
Levys, um, we have offered information that we have on all the issues to the
investigators. We have sent letters to them. They have not responded. Now I'm a
little bit concerned about the sincerity of their requests, the investigators'
requests, if they're not willing to take some of the information that we have,
go through it and see what it is they need. Once they go through it, if there's
something that we can be helpful with, we � we're open to do that. But they need
to be uh � they, they need to at least show that they're really interested in �
finding out what we've already done, what's been said, what the investigation
that we've been through says. And once they do that � I, we, we're open to �
talk to them.

CHUNG � All right.

CONDIT � But, but we just don't want it to be a TV show, or, or sort
of � sort of publicity stunt.

CHUNG � We have just a few minutes left. Uh, what has all of this done
to you and your family?

CONDIT � Well it's been tough. I mean, it's been tough on my family.
Uh, we, we've gone through tough times. I mean, as I mentioned, uh � they
dragged my wife across the country for an interview, because they refused to do
it here, and they were going to subpoena her. They tried to uh, go through her
medical records, uh, they reported she didn't have thumbs, and they chased my
children around. The tabloids have. But the fact of the matter is, is this is
not about the Condits. This is about the Levys. And that's minor � minor pain,
and that's minor � uh, interference with our life, compared to what � Dr. and
Mrs. Levy are going through. Sympathy and our hearts go to Dr. and Mrs. Levy.
Not the stuff that we've gone through.

CHUNG � Uh � do you � I, I � at the end of this interview, we're,
we're � we only have a few minutes left. Uh � do you fear that uh, the public
out there um, may be very disappointed that you didn't come forward and reveal
details today, as we sit here tonight?

CONDIT � Well, I think I have revealed details. The details that I've
been fully cooperative uh, with law enforcement. I've answered every question on
every accession. I've given up my civil liberties�

CHUNG � (Overlap) You don't think you're stonewalling?

CONDIT � No, I don't think I'm stonewalling at all. I think that
people expect that you can maintain some of your privacy. I think the Levys
expect to maintain some of their daughter's privacy. And I'm trying to honor
that. I'm trying to do that with dignity. I, I'm trying to retain some privacy
for my family and for their family. And I think your jurors out there will
understand that.

CHUNG � I'm, I, I would think that many people would want you to
maintain your privacy. However, you have constituents out there, something like
600- � 680,000. Do they deserve the truth?

CONDIT � They deserve the truth. And the truth is that I have done
everything asked of me by the people who are responsible to find Chandra Levy. I
have done everything. I've given you the list. I mean, I have not been part of
the media circus if, if that's your point. But it's not the news media's
responsibility to find Chandra Levy. It's law enforcement. And I made a decision
that I would work with law enforcement to do just that.

CHUNG � What do you think happened to Chandra Levy?

CONDIT � I don't know.

CHUNG � You have virtually no idea?

CONDIT � No idea.

CHUNG � Can you survive, can your career, your marriage, survive this?

CONDIT �Well, my, my family's intact. It's going to take more than the
news media � with, with innuendos, half-truths, unnamed sources, to, to split my
family up.

CHUNG � But � isn't much of what has happened partly your doing?

CONDIT �In what respect, Connie?

CHUNG � You said to � yourself, to your constituents, in a letter,
that you've made mistakes, and you said that to me earlier.

CONDIT � Right.

CHUNG � What mistakes are you talking about?

CONDIT � Well, I haven't been a perfect man. And I think people, your
viewers will understand that. I have not been a perfect man. I've made mistakes
in my life. I acknowledge that.

CHUNG � But what mistakes are you talking about? Are you talking about
moral mistakes?

CONDIT � Well, there's a variety of mistakes. I mean, I, I've made �
uh, all kinds of mistakes in my life, but I'm not going to go into details on
this program about the mistakes that I've made in my life.

CHUNG � Do you, do you �

CONDIT � (Overlap) I acknowledge them. And I'm sorry for them.

CHUNG � Do you think you're a moral man?

CONDIT � I think I am a moral man. Yes.

CHUNG � OK. Um, I think we are out of time, Gary. Thank you so much,
Congressman.

CONDIT � Thank you.

CHUNG � Thank you, I appreciate it.

CONDIT � Thank you.

Monday, April 28, 2003

WHILE WE WATCHED THE WAR THE USG VOTED FOR OIL DRILLING IN ALASKA

On April 14, 2003, the environmental news service PlanetArk.org reported that the House of Representatives of the USGovernment has passed a bill that will allow private oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). Granted, the bill does include $18.7 billion in tax incentives to encourage alternative energy sources to be developed - but that same $18.7 billion is also earmarked to encourage more oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear energy exploration. So, it's a bit like the Phillip Morris Companies donating money to a battered women's shelter. It's a nice try, but you're still hurting a lot more than you're helping.

Consider this: Back on March 29, 2002, CNN.com reported that biologists from the USG - these are Bush's biologists, now - they concluded that drilling in ANWR would represent a sufficient danger to local wildlife and the benefits from the oil derived from the location would not make the risk worth it. And yet the bill was passed.

The bill still needs Senate approval and after that, King George will need to sign it as well - but the fact it's gotten this far does not bode well for the animals of ANWR. It also doesn't look good for alternative energy development, either. After all, tax incentives does not automatically equate to interest in development. We'll just have to keep watching...

Read more about the bill at Planet Ark.

The CNN article from March 29, 2002 is no longer at the CNN.com website. Check out page 2 to read it yourself.



From CNN.com:

Oil drilling may harm Arctic refuge, say government biologists


Posted March 29, 2002 Posted: 3:38 AM EST (0838 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Caribou and other wildlife are vulnerable and may face substantial risk if oil is developed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, according to a study by government scientists.

The findings by Interior Department biologists paint a more threatening picture to wildlife should Congress lift its long-standing ban on development of the refuge than drilling advocates have portrayed.

The report, being released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey, acknowledges that in many cases the risks to a variety of wildlife, including musk-oxen, polar bears and migrating birds, could be reduced by restrictions and close management of oil exploration and production.

Still the report, a copy of which was obtained late Thursday by The Associated Press, is likely to provide new ammunition to those vowing to block efforts in Congress next month to allow oil companies into the refuge.

"Once again the administration has released a report undermining its own case," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, claiming the findings confirm "the environmental destruction that would occur" if the refuge were opened to oil development.

Recently, an Energy Department report suggested that oil from the refuge would provide only modest reductions in U.S. oil imports.

Drilling in ANWR, as the refuge is called, is a top energy priority of the White House.

While the study makes no recommendation on whether the refuge should be developed, it concludes that the region's wildlife are especially vulnerable to the kinds of disturbances that development may bring.

For example, it concludes that the Porcupine caribou herd, which uses the coastal plain for calving each summer, "may be particularly sensitive to development" because it has little quality habitat elsewhere and historically it has been shown that calf survival is linked to the animals' ability to move freely.

The 78-page report is based on an examination of 12 years of research into wildlife activities and the ecology of the Arctic refuge's 1.5 million-acre coastal plain -- the area that also may contain about 11.4 billion barrels of oil.

As with the case of the caribou, the study found that development of the refuge's coastal plain may pose risks to other wildlife:

  • The musk-oxen was described as particularly "vulnerable to disturbances" from oil and gas exploration because they live in the region year-round, including winter when exploration would be most intense.

  • Snow geese, among the millions of migratory birds on the coastal plain, may be displaced because of increased activity, including air traffic. It cannot be assumed the geese will find adequate feeding areas elsewhere, the study says.

  • Denning polar bears, another fixture on the coastal plain, also might be adversely affected, the assessment said, but added in this case "aggressive and proactive management" of the development could minimize -- or even eliminate -- most of the problem.

    As for the caribou, the report said "oil development will most likely result in restricting the location of concentrated calving areas" and lead to fewer calves being able to survive and, in turn, possibly a decline in the herd.

    "ANWR can produce 600,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 40 years. What difference does 600,000 barrels a day make? Well, that happens to be exactly the amount we import from Saddam Hussein's Iraq." � U.S. President George W. Bush
    May 17, 2001

    In a memo to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Charles Groat, said he wanted to "clarify certain aspects" of the report, including that the research also showed "with mitigation the effect of human development ... could be minimal" where most wildlife are concerned.

    But Groat acknowledged that adverse risks to the Porcupine caribou "would depend on the type of development and where the development occurred."

    Norton repeatedly has said the refuge's oil can be extracted without harm to the environment or the region's wildlife, arguing that modern drilling techniques can minimize the intrusion into what environmentalists view as one of the world's most pristine and ecologically significant areas.

    Interior spokesman Mark Pfeifle said Norton believes the concerns raised in the report will be addressed by the limits that will be put on oil development should Congress lift its current ban on drilling.

    Those include limiting the "footprint" that development will have on the terrain and requiring the exploration be conducted only in winter. Oil production would be allowed year-round under legislation now in Congress.

    Kenneth Whitten, a retired Alaska state biologist who participated in writing the chapter on the caribou, said in a telephone interview that some of the mitigation proposals are unrealistic.

    In case of polar bears, Whitten said, "we don't know where all the dens are. Almost surely during winter we'll be disturbing bears" during oil exploration.

    "There's intense pressure within the Department of Interior to come up with findings of no impact," Whitten added.

    Bill Seiz, the regional director of the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, acknowledged "there are risks" to the wildlife, but those can be controlled depending on how development occurs.

    The report "doesn't make any judgment about development," said Seiz. "It looks at basic science, the things that ought to be looked at if the area is to be developed."

    Copyright 2002 The Associated Press



  • From PlanetArk.org:

    US House passes energy bill with ANWR drilling

    WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives passed a broad energy bill, which critics said would turn over an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil companies instead of focusing on ways to stretch U.S. energy supplies by increasing vehicle mileage requirements.

    The bill updates U.S. energy policy for the first time in a decade. The most controversial provision in the legislation endorsed the Bush administration plan to open part of the sprawling Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil drilling in an area which may hold up to 16 billion barrels of crude oil, according to government estimates.

    The legislation cleared the House in a 247-to-175 vote.

    The bill also contains $18.7 billion in tax incentives to promote oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear and alternative energy sources, and also implement energy conservation measures.

    Most House Democrats opposed drilling in the refuge and said the legislation primarily benefited the oil industry.

    Democrat Jim McDermott of Washington called the bill a "dream plan" for big oil companies, with less money for energy conservation and alternative fuels. "This is an oil company bill. It's oil, oil, oil - it has a greasy feeling to it," he said during debate on the measure.

    Republican lawmakers were the biggest backers of drilling in the northern coastal portion of the 19-million-acre (7.7-million-hectare) refuge, arguing the U.S.-led war in Iraq heightens the importance of reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

    "This bill is designed to do that in an environmentally and responsible way," said Republican Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington.

    The United States consumes about 20 million barrels of crude oil and refined petroleum products a day, with almost 60 percent of those supplies imported.

    The Bush administration said that ANWR's potential 16 billion barrels of crude oil is too important for U.S. energy security and the economy to remain in the ground.

    The House rejected, by a vote of 228-197, an amendment by Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut to strip the ANWR drilling language from the bill.

    To try to win over drilling opponents, ANWR exploration backers agreed to limit drilling activities in the refuge to no more than 2,000 acres (810 hectares) at any one time.

    The House also defeated an amendment to the bill that would have required the Transportation Department to come up with a way to reduce by 5 percent the amount of gasoline consumed by cars and sport utility vehicles by 2010.

    Separately, lawmakers voted down a proposal to establish federal emergency gasoline stockpiles in California, the Midwest and the Northeast.

    The Senate Energy Committee will continue writing its own energy bill, which does not allow drilling in ANWR, when Congress returns from its two-week spring recess.

    That legislation is expected to be considered by the full Senate in early May, but differences in the bills from each chamber would have to be reconciled before President George W. Bush could sign a final energy bill into law.

    Story by Tom Doggett

    Story Date: 14/4/2003

    Saturday, April 26, 2003

    WHAT IF TERRORISTS USED MEGA-TSUNAMIS?

    Back in February of 2002, CNN reported on their web site about a 12-by-6-mile chunk of land on the side of a volcano in Hawaii that slipped down the side of that volcano in Hawaii a scant 3.5 inches. What does this have to do with terrorism? What's a mega-tsunami?

    Well, a Mega-Tsunami is what happens when a big enough chunk of mountain falls into the ocean. When a chunk say, oh, the size of that one in Hawaii that slid down in February of 2002, hits the water, it displaces enough of said water to create a truly massive tidal wave, or Mega-Tsunami which then races away from the impact point at speeds approaching the speed of sound. This particular chunk of earth in Hawaii, if it fell into the ocean would create a mega-tsunami powerful enough to threaten the west coasts of North America, South America and Australia.

    What does this have to do with terrorism? Simple - if they had any brains, they'd go after volcanos and mountains that are seismically unstable and have setups like this one in Hawaii. All they'd have to do is place a few explosives or fire a missile or something and kablooie. Within seconds coastlines would be underwater.

    It sounds like something a comic book villian would do, but since it's clearly easy to do, what would stop some terrorist from doing it?

    Read more about this volcano in Hawaii here.



    From CNN.com:

    Portion of volcano slips toward ocean

    STANFORD, California (CNN) --In an event known as a "silent earthquake," a 72-square-mile chunk of the south slope of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano slipped 3.5 inches toward the sea several months ago, leading one scientist to warn of a possible disaster for Pacific Rim nations.

    The slide, documented in the February 28 issue of the journal Nature, was measured by Global Positioning System satellites in November 2000. A 12- by 6-mile area moved 3.5 inches over a 36-hour period in the first "silent earthquake" ever recorded at an active volcano.

    Such earthquakes are virtually undetectable on the surface, but can be measured by GPS recordings. Since the GPS system is relatively new, there is very little data on the phenomenon according to Peter Cervelli of the U.S. Geological Survey. Researchers with the USGS and Stanford University tracked the movement.

    The 12- by 6-mile chunk that moved extends five miles into the earth's crust, making its mass roughly equal to that of a quarter-mile thick, Rhode Island-sized object, the researchers said.

    An accompanying article in Nature by geophysicist Steven N. Ward, of the University of California at Santa Cruz, speculates that a land mass that size -- if it slid into the ocean in one cataclysmic event -- could trigger an enormous tsunami that could imperil coastlines as far away as California, Chile, or Australia.

    A tsunami is a strong, fast-moving wave that can build to 100 feet high or taller as it speeds into shallow water near the shore. Ward said his computer models suggest that a massive slide at Kilauea could touch off an arc of destructive waves in nearly all directions, with the greatest force probably focusing toward the southeast, in the direction of Ecuador.

    But Ward, and other scientists, caution that the tsunami risk is minuscule: No such tsunamis of this type have taken place in recorded history. The last such wave of which there is evidence occurred in Hawaii an estimated 200,000 years ago, he said.

    Friday, April 25, 2003

    MANIC (2001)

    ManicEntertaining? Yes, definitely.
    Technically any good? Mostly. Parts of it were predictable, while other parts were fairly surprising. SOLID acting from the kid on 3rd Rock and good stuff from everyone else, too.
    How did I feel as the credits rolled? I cared about the characters, so, hopeful and sad at the same time.
    Final Rating? SIYL (it's very violent and VERY disturbing.)

    IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY (2003)

    It Runs in the FamilyEntertaining? Definitely. But only on the surface, really.
    Technically any good? It certainly sets up the jokes well, but it relies way too much on audiences enjoying the nearly all-Douglasness of the cast. The plot is predictable, but sweet. However, I found myself not giving too much of a crap about a family of rich white folks. (Do we need another movie about these guys?)
    How did I feel as the credits rolled? Entertained, but not remarkably so. It wasn't insulting, so I'll say it's just a nice little film.
    Final Rating? SIYL

    HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003)

    Entertaining? Um... not really. For a horror movie, you don't see a lot of blood.
    Technically any good? As a horror film, the whole time I was wondering "what's this thing waiting for? WHERE'S THE GORE?" But instead of gore, it's all disturbing images and weird, white trashy characters running around.
    How did I feel as the credits rolled? Puzzled. How could Rob Zombie direct this thing? Has he SEEN a horror film? Although, I do understand why it was languishing without a distributor for so long. It's just not very good... unless they reshot it or something - I did see it quite a while ago...
    Final Rating? DNS(go rent LOTR director Peter Jackson's Dead/Alive instead!)

    CITY OF GHOSTS (2002)

    Entertaining? Totally gripping, but very depressing/disturbing...
    Technically any good? Yes, but it's one of those movies that's so well done, you don't feel you ever need to watch it again... or all the way through, even.
    How did I feel as the credits rolled? Yuck... movies like this say bad things about 3rd world countries in Asia... I know where I'm NOT going on vacation!! Oh, and poor James Caan...
    Final Rating? RTV (much easier to take on the small screen, I would think!)

    Thursday, April 24, 2003

    CONFIDENCE (2003)

    Entertaining? A lot more than I thought it would. It's quite fun in spots.
    Technically any good? The film very much carries you along. The characters are somewhat likeable (more than in Basic) and you care when the scam goes into play.
    How did I feel as the credits rolled? This film is more satisfying than Basic, but still fails to hold together in the end. I wish film makers would stop trying to make the twisty-turny plots without having them make reasonable sense in the end.
    Final Rating? RTV

    BASIC (2003)

    Entertaining? Sure. Not a whole lot, but it does.
    Technically any good? Effects were cool, fight scenes not so much. Story carries you along and in the end seems to resolve, but don't try to really think about it...
    How did I feel as the credits rolled? I realized that the plot doesn't really hold it together in the end. Mostly, though I felt like I didn't really care about anyone in the movie, so I can't say I liked it.
    Final Rating? DNS

    Tuesday, April 22, 2003

    I SOLD MY CAR!!!

    maxima4sale (42k image)FINALLY, after several months of effort to get my car into shape (12, I think) and ready to sell, and then two more months of waiting for significant bites on the ads I placed, the website I built and the video I shot and edited, I have officially sold my car!! WOOHOO!!

    I sold it to a really cool guy who happens to be a fellow Godzilla efficionado. So, I am particularly happy about that. I was shocked at my own ignorance, however - luckily, the buyer brought a mechanic friend along and he checked the oil and discover that there was NONE. I knew I wasn't a car guy, but I didn't think I was an idiot, either... Their first stop was Pep Boys...

    So now, stage 2 of my quest to simplify my transportation situation has COMMENCED! In other words, I am now looking for a motorized vehicle with two wheels to buy to get me around LA. Initially I had thought about a scooter, but now I am pondering something with a bit more power - a motorcycle. Not a high-end one, obviously, but probably like a Ninja - a nice beginner's bike, I am told... we'll see. Whatever I end up with, I'll have pictures here when I get it...

    Either way... I SOLD MY CAR!!!!

    COWBOY BEBOP THE MOVIE

    Entertaining? Hell YEAH!!
    Technically any good? A couple of minor plot problems, but solid characters and a mostly solid plot is fine with me.
    How did I feel as the credits rolled? Satisfied as all get out. An animated movie that isn't for kids that is still kick butt - who'd-a-thunk it?!?
    Final Rating? GSN!!!

    Saturday, April 19, 2003

    MORE TWEAKS TO THEPETE.COM!

    Well, I did say I wouldn't be making any more major changes to the site, but I didn't say anything about some major tweaks. I've added a new theme (click the pic to the left to check it out!). Speaking of themes, I've set up the main page so you get to see the cool BG (almost) all by itself and I WAS going to set up the main post so that I can write something really long if I want to and you could just scroll down it WITHOUT the use of an iframe but the script ended up conflicting with another script that I implemented that allowed me to get rid of two iframes - and any time I can avoid the use of an iframe, I am a happy webmaster. I also hope to find an iframe-free layer-based tag board, but I doubt that will be possible - If you know of one, please use the comment link below or contact me.

    Anyway, that's it from ThePeteCave... oh yeah and I am going to work on editing the latest edition of The 5 Minute Show. I hope to have it done by Sunday night. We'll see, though, my editor's been giving me a LOT of trouble... and I'm STILL working on my friend's trailer... grr... never enough time!!!

    Wednesday, April 16, 2003

    DOWNING SADDAM STATUE A USMil STAGED EVENT? NOOO!

    Yes, it would seem. Click on this pic to make it larger (if you need to):

    Pretty impressive(ly small) crowd, wouldn't you say? Seems odd that all the major American news services made this out to be a pretty triumphant scene. Match this pic with the anti-American protests going on inside Iraq (Where the USMil has actually killed 7 protesters), and you've got the USG and the USMil AND the USMedia lying to us, majorly.

    Check out more fun info about the staged statue event.

    Read about the anti-American protests going on inside Iraq.

    Read about the USMil killing 7 Iraqi anti-American protesters in Iraq.


    From Utusan.com.my (a news service in Kuala Lumpur):

    Anti-American protests intensify in Iraq
    BAGHDAD April 15 - Anti-American protests intensified here and in southern Iraq on Tuesday, as US forces struggled with the complex task of rebuilding the country after toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein.

    Exasperated US military officials tried to hamper the media from covering new demonstrations in Baghdad while some 20,000 people in the Shiite Muslim bastion of Nasiriyah railed against a US-staged meeting on Iraq's future.

    The protests came as the Americans delivered a first progress report in their effort to restore Iraq to normalcy and head off a chorus of criticism over continued lawlessness and a lack of basic services.

    Some 200-300 Iraqis gathered Tuesday outside the Palestine Hotel, where the US marines have set up an operations base, for a third straight day of protests against the US occupation.

    For the first time, visibly angered US military officials sought to distance the media from the protest, moving reporters and cameras about 30 metres (yards) from the barbed-wired entrance to the hotel.

    ``We want you to pull back to the back of the hotel because they (the Iraqis) are only performing because the media are here,'' said a marine colonel who wore the name Zarcone but would not give his first name or title.

    The crowd later moved to the nearby square where the statue of Saddam was toppled Wednesday to signal the end of the regime. As three of the marines' armoured amphibious vehicles passed by, they chanted: ``No, no, USA.''

    Meanwhile, demonstrators marched to the centre of the predominantly Shiite southern city of Nasiriyah, chanting ``Yes to freedom ... Yes to Islam ... No to America, No to Saddam.''

    They were protesting a meeting of Iraqi opposition groups convened at a nearby military base in an initial attempt by the United States to plot out a political future for the post-Saddam Iraq.

    ``We want the American and British forces to go. They have freed us from Saddam and their job is finished,'' said Ihsan Mohammad, an official with the regional federation of engineers.

    ``If they intend to occupy us, we will oppose that. We ask them to leave us free to decide our future and not to impose people on us.''

    Although US officials have all but declared their military campaign over, tensions with the civilian population persist over a lack of police protection, water, electricity and other basic services.

    As the Iraqi protest grew more vocal outside the hotel, a marine corporal was holding an impromptu briefing for a few reporters on the progress made.

    Corporal John Hoellwarth said the US forces planned to boost joint police patrols, bring more hospitals back into service and have power restored to parts of Baghdad within 72 hours.

    He said 50 electrical engineers were brought in to assess the damage to the power system of the capital which went down April 4 amid massive US bombings and repairs began Monday.

    ``We expect power to be restored to parts of Baghdad in the next 48 to 72 hours,'' he said.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said separately that water should be restored to much of eastern Baghdad on Wednesday as its staff repaired the Qanat pumping station.

    ``Our engineers worked for 12 years to get these pumping stations working. They know them like the back of their hand,'' said ICRC spokesman Roland Huguenin-Benjamin.

    He said the power outages were also preventing the distrubtion of water.

    With Baghdad's hospital system in a virtual state of collapse after widespread pillage, Hoellwarth said 14 of the city's 33 facilities were secure and operational. He could not say when the others would reopen.

    Hoellworth said that joint Iraqi-US police patrols began Monday with five Iraqi cars going out accompanied by marines in all-terrain Humvees, and ``today many more patrols are running.''

    He said that US forces put out a call for 150 Iraqi policemen on Monday and had between 700 and 1,000 reporting for duty.

    ``They are progressing steadily and we are also working to work out neighborhood watch programmes,'' Hoellwarth said. - AFP
    From ChannelNewsAsia.com:

    First created :
    17 April 2003 1031 hrs (SST) 0231 hrs (GMT)
    Last modified :
    17 April 2003 1031 hrs (SST) 0231 hrs (GMT)

    US admits at least 7 Iraqis killed in anti-American protest

    The US military has admitted that at least seven Iraqis were killed in an anti-American demonstration in Mosul.

    The deaths apparently happened on Tuesday when US troops clashed with protestors who allegedly threw rocks, hit the Marines with fists and elbows and spat at them.

    But US officials have denied Iraqi allegations that their forces shot into the crowd. They say troops only returned fire after being fired upon.

    Brigadier General Vincent Brooks of the US Central Command in Qatar said investigations are going on.

    Over in the southern city of Basra, Shi'ite Muslims also took to the streets to protest against plans for a US-led Iraqi interim authority.

    Two protests took place - a spontaneous one and another organised by a local Shi'ite leader.

    The protesters were angry at the inclusion of an Iraqi opposition leader at Tuesday's US-led talks held near Nasiriyah.

    FLASHBACK: BUSH JOKES ABOUT HIS FUTURE DICTATORSHIP?

    This is a difficult clip to hunt down and as it is, it's not the greatest quality - however, it's very clear exactly what George W. Bush is saying in the clip and you can definitely tell it's him, so, check it out! Click the below link to watch and hear George W. Bush back in December of 2000 tell us about how naming his cabinet would be a lot easier if America were a dictatorship - as long as he was the dictator. Kind of puts current world events in perspective, doesn't it?


    bush-dictator.mpg (240k file)


    Please feel free to make comments on this clip.



    From News.BBC.co.uk :

    Find the original article here.

    White House welcome for Bush

    George W Bush has spent two hours talking with President Bill Clinton, the man he will succeed, in his first visit to the White House as President-Elect.

    The two men, who were both looking relaxed, met for 30 minutes longer than scheduled in the Oval Office with their chiefs-of-staff before a private lunch.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm here to listen, if the president is kind enough to offer me advice
    George W Bush
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "It's actually been such a huge honour to come as the president-elect. I am humbled and honoured, and I thank the president for his hospitality," said Mr Bush.
    "I'm here to listen, if the president is kind enough to offer me advice."

    Mr Clinton said the only advice he had to offer his successor was "to get a good team and do what you think is right".

    Mr Bush later met his vanquished opponent Al Gore at the vice-president's residence, from where the Democratic Party candidate made his concession speech.

    Their meeting lasted less than an hour and neither man would comment publicly afterwards.

    The future first lady, Laura Bush, has already met Hillary Clinton, to discuss the transition to the White House.

    The US Electoral College completed the formality of officially electing Mr Bush president on Monday, after weeks of bitter legal wrangling over the controversial result.

    Economy talk

    Despite attacks by Mr Bush on Mr Clinton's character during the campaign the two men spoke congenially as they met for the first time since the election.

    At a joint news conference Mr Clinton said he did not think the US economy would sink into recession.

    "But we couldn't keep up 5% growth a year, you know, forever," he added.

    Mr Bush declined to comment on his recent statements that he is concerned about an economic slowdown.

    Healing wounds

    Mr Bush met congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties on Monday.

    He has said he will try to heal the wounds from the bruising presidential contest.

    But, while Mr Bush has stressed his determination to press ahead with his plan for big tax cuts, both parties in Congress are more cautious.

    The BBC's Paul Reynolds in Washington says the Texas governor will need all the skills he claims to have as a bipartisan leader to forge a consensus.

    Having moved quickly to nominate senior members of his administration, Mr Bush arrived in Washington to start trying to be, as he has always described himself, a uniter not a divider.

    With Congress almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, Mr Bush joked with party leaders that he might have to resort to some arm-twisting.

    "I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don't agree with each other, but that's okay", he said.

    "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," he added.

    On a more serious note, he said the closeness of the election "should make it clear to all of us that we can come together to heal whatever wounds may exist, whatever residuals there may be".

    The Democrats have welcomed this message.

    "It's an opportunity for us to wipe the slate clean, to begin anew, with the a recognition that we have many, many challenges ahead," said Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle.

    "And as we face those challenges, the only real choice for us is to recognise that bipartisanship isn't an option, it's a requirement."