- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Kuwaiti 12

Washington-based public-relations firm Levick Strategic Communications is being paid $40,000 a month to “humanize” and give a “voice in the U.S. media” to a dozen Kuwaitis jailed by the U.S. military at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Kevin McCauley, editor of the public affairs Web site odwyerpr.com, says the firm is being paid the big bucks by the families of the captives.

Gene Grabowski, who leads the account, likened the Kuwaitis to Mormon missionaries, saying Muslims are obligated by their religion to do works of charity.

Mr. Grabowski said his clients heeded the call of Islamic authorities to rebuild Afghanistan after the U.S. rout of the hard-line Taliban regime, Mr. McCauley writes. They had planned to build houses in Afghanistan, but were rounded up by Pakistani military officials and handed over to the United States as terror suspects.

Mr. Grabowski said U.S. forces and CIA agents paid bounties ranging from $10 to $200 for the men, ages 20 to 45. He says the captives were handed over with their “hands tied behind their backs.”

The LSC executive stressed that the families aren’t demanding that their “sons, brothers and husbands” be released. “They just want the detainees to be tried,” Mr. Grabowski told Mr. McCauley.

Mind control

If you didn’t already suspect, a new Media Research Center study confirms that George W. Bush received twice as much negative press coverage as Sen. John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Anybody on Capitol Hill surprised?

“Most Americans now realize that big media — network TV news programs and the largest newspapers and newsmagazines — tried to determine the outcome of the presidential election,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican.

“Think what President Bush’s margin of victory would have been without the media bias,” says the congressman, calling it “a real threat to democracy.”

Higher authorities

Ohio Rep. Sherrod Brown is one Democrat who doesn’t buy all the “values” rhetoric heard from the opposite side of the aisle.

“On the floor of the House of Representatives, in the light of day, we hear much talk from our Republican friends about moral values,” Mr. Brown says. “But in the committee rooms and in the cloakrooms and in the back of the chamber, choices are so often made and deals are cut that run counter to the teachings of Christ and Muhammad and the Jewish prophets and fly in the face of the values upon which our nation was founded.”

Last-minute details

The appropriations process in Congress is “broken,” and the weekend furor over the privacy of income-tax returns proves it. So says the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.

The provision, a single line on a bill of more than 1,600 pages, gave the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees and their staff assistants the power to see any American’s tax returns.

But what should people expect, asks Council President Thomas A. Schatz, when Congress does business as it does?

“This bill confirms that the appropriations process is broken,” Mr. Schatz said. “The complex spending package was made available to members of Congress only hours before the vote. The invasive [Internal Revenue Service] measure is typical of last-minute additions to spending bills.”

Passage of the $388 billion package, which contains nine of 13 appropriations bills for fiscal 2005, was delayed until Congress can remove the provision.

Another hat

Pete du Pont, former Delaware governor and 1988 Republican presidential candidate, has been elected chairman of the board of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, which he figures will play a pivotal role as the Bush administration takes on health care, tax policy and the reform of Social Security.

When he is not leading the Wilmington law firm Richards, Layton & Finger, Mr. du Pont is penning his regular column, “Outside the Box, for the Wall Street Journal.

Changing humans

Our recent item about the nine inscriptions chiseled in the walls of the U.S. Capitol — in particular, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s “We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind” — elicited this response from Inside the Beltway reader Jeff Ford:

“Given our [politically correct] culture [today], the last part would have to read ‘but for all humankind.’”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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