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UPI's Capital Comment for Sept. 25, 2002

By United Press International

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors, and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

The last word -- GOPAC, the political education committee once led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and, later, by House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., took quite a beating last week over a radio spot aired on stations in Kansas City, Mo., calling social security "reverse reparations." The group disavowed the spot, claiming they had not approved its production or placement and instead cast blame onto the ad agency they had hired to produce other ads. As we reported earlier, prominent black leaders and national Democrats attacked the spot and the group.

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Now comes a letter from Access Communications Group's chairman to GOP Chairman Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma and Louise Oliver, the executive director that reads in part, "Our sincere apologies for running the 'reverse reparations' ad with the GOPAC tag line. Another group was interested in this ad and we mistakenly included it in the series of ads we are running for you. The mix-up was entirely the fault of Access ... GOPAC did not authorize this ad for their attribution. Naturally, ACG will absorb the cost of the ad and the air time associated with (it)."

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GOPAC hopes this will be the last word on the subject, but, given the tenor of racial politics in America of late, that may be just a little too much to ask for.


Together -- After many weeks of decision, outgoing Kansas Gov. Bill Graves has finally blessed the campaign of the Republican hoping to succeed him in the fall. Graves is widely considered the most liberal Republican governor in America -- an honor for which there are a number of prominent competitors -- and the fights he has waged against the party's conservative wing have caused the state to once again become known as "Bloody Kansas.

State Treasurer Tim Shallenburger, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, has been a leader of the conservative faction in the party, so his endorsement by Graves was not certain in spite of what state GOP chairman Mark Parkinson had to say.

"He and Tim have had a series of discussions with the intent of an endorsement all along," Parkinson said. "Just to come out and blanket endorse everybody just because they are Republicans is not the governor's style." At least one Kansas GOP insider said Graves' long held desire to become U.S. secretary of transportation might have had something to do with bringing him around. Had he failed to endorse Shallenburger, opposition from some members of the Kansas congressional delegation would likely have all but ended the retiring governor's dream.

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Just a moment -- It is not often that debates in Washington rise to the high moral plane. On Sept. 30, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is breaking that mold by leading a discussion of the idea of "just war," first enunciated by St. Thomas Aquinas, as it applies to the prospect of U.S. military action against Saddam Hussein.

As the Endowment reminds, "Earlier this year, 60 U.S. intellectuals wrote that 'the use of military force against the murderers of September 11 and those who assist them is not only morally justified, but morally necessary.'" Four of the distinguished scholars who signed the letter, Gerald Bradley of Notre Dame law school; the University of Maryland's Bill Galston, a former Clinton White House adviser; John Kelsay, professor of religion at the University of Florida; and Harvard Professor Michael Walzer will attempt to apply the universal principles of just war to the question: Should the U.S. use military action against Iraq?


We can't sit still for this -- The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, chaired by Indiana Republican Dan Burton, is taking a look at Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Neil Bush, the president's brother, will join three people associated with the Church of Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights when they testify before the committee later this week. ADHD is recognized as a medical disorder by the nation's leading medical authorities, including the American Medical Association, American Association of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association and the Surgeon General and affects up to 7 percent of school aged children. The condition is so prolific that last month the Center for Disease Control set up a national clearing house of information that will be funded by a $750,000 federal grant.

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So why would the Church of Scientology take such a strong stand to say that ADHD is a myth and go so far as to testify before Congress on the matter? Because Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard said so, that's why -- at least according to one source who follows the issue. Mental health professionals have long been critical of the so-called self-help techniques practiced by Scientologists, who have responded by undermining psychiatry at every turn. While it is unclear why Neil Bush would align himself with the Church of Scientology, it is very clear that their agenda has little to do with helping millions who experience an ongoing illness get the help they need.


A continuing state of emergency -- Though the perception exists that the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi at the hands of the MPLA government had brought an end to the decades long Angolan civil war, the Bush administration has not changed its policy towards UNITA, the rebel movement he led.

On Tuesday, the administration issued a notice that the "National Emergency with Respect to UNITA" would be continued. Executive Order 12865, originally issued by President Bill Clinton in September 1993, "prohibits the sale or supply by United States persons or from the United States, or using U.S. registered vessels or aircraft, of arms, related materiel of all types, petroleum, and petroleum products to the territory of Angola, other than through designated points of entry. The order also prohibits the sale or supply of such commodities to UNITA."

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This particular order was followed by two additional orders, one in 1997 and one in 1998 that closed all UNITA offices in the United States, blocked all property and interests in property of UNITA and designated UNITA officials and adult members of their immediate families, prohibited the importation of certain diamonds exported from Angola, and imposed additional sanctions with respect to the provision of mining and transportation equipment and services.

The Clinton orders reversed U.S. policy implemented by the Reagan administration, which considered the anti-communist UNITA as an important ally in the struggle against the worldwide Soviet threat. Why the Bush administration continues to follow the Clinton line on southern Africa rather than the Reagan doctrine is a mystery, some Republicans familiar with the situation say.


Got a Capital Comment? E-mail CapComm@UPI.com.

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