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web posted March 13, 2000

CLASSical Liberals of Las Vegas

CLASSical Liberals of Las Vegas is a fellowship of individualists where proponents of freedom can join in friendship. Classical liberalism promotes the principles of civil and economic liberty taken by such enlightenment figures as Jefferson and Paine in the 19th Century, Albert Jay Nock, Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman in the 20th Century.

MARCH MEETING: Introducing Classical Liberalism

NEW TIME: TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2000, 7:00-9:00 P.M.

7:00 Dinner (price range: $5-$10), 8:00 Discussion
(final Tuesday of each month) RSVP preferred

4127 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas (2 blocks west of Valley View)

WHAT IS THE BEST INTRODUCTION TO CLASSICAL LIBERALISM? There are many books and courses introducing the freedom philosophy. We will discuss the best sources available, and see if we can decide on the easiest, the most popular and the most comprehensive introductions.

SPECIAL TOAST in honor of Rafael Tamarrielo (d. 9/9/99), columnist and editorial writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, at the concluding ceremony of the meeting.

Contact Kenneth Gregg, moderator and Hon. Sec. of CLASSical Liberals of Las Vegas, at KGregg@free-market.net (702 521-9471 weekdays) for further information. CLASSical Liberals of Las Vegas web site: http://communitylink.koz.com/lvrj/classicalliberals (new page opens)

NEXT TOPIC: Modern Fascism (4/25/00).

Class has now begun!

INS official pleads not guilty in Cuba spy case

An immigration official accused of spying for the Cuban government pleaded not guilty on March 6 at his arraignment for allegedly handing over U.S. secrets to a Cuban citizen and lying about contacts with government officials from the Communist island.

Mariano Faget, 54, a Cuban-born supervisor in the Miami office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has been jailed without bond since his high-profile arrest February 17.

The case led to the expulsion from the United States of a top Cuban diplomat, Jose Imperatori.

In a federal indictment, Faget was charged with communicating national defense secrets, converting classified information to his own use and three counts of making false statements.

Faget, who worked for the INS for 34 years and was near retirement, entered a not guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Andrea Simonton and requested a jury trial.

"He did not do anything to betray his country," said Diane Ward, one of Faget's attorneys.

If convicted, Faget could face up to 35 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.

At a February 24 bond hearing, Faget admitted to divulging information he believed to be classified. His attorney called it an error in judgment, not espionage.

The indictment against Faget said he was regularly consulted about immigration cases involving FBI informants and counterintelligence sources.

He had secret clearance at the INS for 12 years but never informed the agency about becoming executive vice president of America-Cuba Inc., a company formed with New York businessman and Cuban citizen Pedro Font to recruit trade with Cuba if the United States lifts its trade embargo.

Faget should have submitted an outside employment form reflecting his ties to America-Cuba and Font, its president, the indictment indicated.

Faget was introduced to Cuban government officials by Font, met with them at least three times and talked to them by phone without reporting his contacts to the FBI or INS, the indictment said.

He was caught in an FBI sting February 11 when he was shown secret documents, was told "very sensitive" information that a Cuban official was about to defect, and then called Font 12 minutes later, investigators said.

In a second call, Faget promised to keep Font informed while he was traveling in China, the indictment said.

The false-statement counts charge Faget lied about contacts with Cuban government officials and lied on a 1998 INS form saying he had no ties to non-U.S. businesses.

Bush to meet with Log Cabin Republicans?

Texas Governor George W. Bush reversed his public stand against meeting with a national gay Republican organization, first taken on NBC's "Meet the Press" in November.

In an interview published in the March 6 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, Bush "intended to abandon his much-publicized refusal to meet " with Log Cabin Republicans, according to the newspaper. Bush's public stand follows a number of private conversations between the Bush campaign and LCR's national Board of Directors and local activists.

"We'd been hearing through a number of channels that the Governor had changed his mind concerning a meeting, and now for the first time he has made his opinion public," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "There are too many divisions in the Republican Party now. A meeting between the Governor and our national board would mark an important step in healing our party's divisions.

"Our organization's role is to educate Republican candidates on issues of importance to the gay community, and a meeting would be crucial toward that end. We look forward to it."

Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time national office in Washington, and a federal political action committee.

Super Tuesday wins give Bush, Gore near lock on nomination

The road to the presidency straightened for Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, as the two scored dominant victories on March 7 in the Super Tuesday primaries and made themselves near-certain GOP and Democratic presidential nominees.

Gore swept his challenger, former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, in every Democratic Party contest last Tuesday. Gore won primaries in the vital states of California, New York and Ohio, and claimed wins in Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, Maine and Missouri -- Bradley's home state.

Gore also won the Democratic caucuses in North Dakota, Idaho, Washington state, Hawaii and American Samoa.

Bush swept hundreds of delegates away from an expectant Sen. John McCain of Arizona on that night, taking the essential states of California, New York and Ohio. He also was victorious in Georgia, Maryland, Maine and Missouri. McCain did win several primaries in New England, including contests in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The next morning , Gore was in possession of 1,421 of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination -- of a total of 2,170. Bradley held 411. Bush held 681 of the 1,034 Republican delegates needed to nominate, to McCain's 225 delegates.

"Tonight we have good news from sea to shining sea," he said. "We promised a national campaign, and tonight we have a national victory."

"I congratulate (Al Gore), and I look forward to the contest," Bush continued. "He is for the status quo in Washington, D.C., and he's going to have a tough case to make."

Pentagon says no sign of NATO spy during Kosovo war

The Pentagon said on March 9 it had no evidence of a NATO spy during the Kosovo war but conceded steps were taken to tighten security after a U.S. report showed the Serbs had an "unusual amount" of knowledge about the bombings.

Pentagon spokesman Air Force Lt. Col. Vic Warzinski said after a review of the first few weeks of the 1999 bombing campaign, a U.S. report recommended certain steps to reduce the "vulnerability" of allied forces.

The Pentagon was responding to a British media report that a spy in NATO had given the Serbs secret details of the 1999 bombing raids on Yugoslavia and that an internal U.S. study had pointed to a possible information leak.

"With regard to allegations that there was a spy in their midst, our friends down at the (U.S.) Joint Chiefs of Staff say they found no evidence or indications that there was a spy operating at NATO," Warzinski told Reuters.

"But they do acknowledge that the Serbs did seem to have an unusual amount of knowledge of when and where and how our planes were coming in," the Pentagon spokesman added.

Warzinski said the internal U.S. report conducted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the first few weeks of the bombing campaign that began in late March 1999 led the United States and NATO to review their operational procedures.

As part of the review, which is a regular occurrence during such military actions, Warzinski said it was discovered that the "air tasking order" outlining the movement of NATO planes, was being distributed to over 600 people.

The distribution list was initially so large because European air traffic controllers had to "deconflict" air space to enable NATO planes to conduct bombing operations.

"The reason was that during part of the actual start of the air campaign we were conducting no-fly operations over the entire region," he said.

The distribution list was cut back to about 100 people from the original 600. "It reduced our vulnerability. But it's important to stress here that we never had direct confirmation of a spy in our midst or that the air tasking order was compromised," said Warzinski.

"As part of a regular review of our operational security procedures we recognized this as a vulnerability. We decided to limit the distribution of the list to those who actually needed it," he added.

Warzinski said the Serbs had a fairly aggressive effort to collect information, which could have involved people standing with a cell phone near the border watching allied planes taking off for bombing missions.

"They could easily pass the information on. We were certainly aware of that sort of stuff going on," he said.

NATO Secretary General George Robertson said during a visit to NATO member Turkey that he had no evidence of a spy in the alliance during the Kosovo conflict.

Britain's Guardian newspaper, citing unidentified high-level U.S. sources, said a spy had given Belgrade details of targets to be hit as well as precise flight paths.

The classified U.S. report was featured in a BBC television programme broadcast on March 12.

"No evidence has been presented. It is simply an allegation," Robertson told Reuters in Ankara.

Bradley quits presidential race

Bill Bradley quit the Democratic presidential campaign on March 9, bowing to the inevitable nomination of Al Gore and endorsing the vice president he had bitterly contested in the primaries.

The former New Jersey senator said that while "I've decided to withdraw" and support Gore for the White House, he will hold the 412 delegates he did win, to give them a voice at the Democratic National Convention. Gore has 1,424.

The vice president won all 18 primaries and caucuses the Democrats have held so far, sweeping Super Tuesday in the final blow to Bradley.

"We have been defeated, but the cause for which I ran has not been defeated," Bradley told supporters and reporters at a withdrawal news conference. He mentioned issues including giving everyone access to health insurance, getting guns off the streets, improving education and overhauling campaign finance rules.

"The vice president and I had a stiff competition and he won," Bradley said. "I will support him in his bid to win the White House."

Bradley said he had telephoned Gore today to tell him so. "Now is the time for unity," he said.

Bradley launched his underdog campaign 15 months ago at a Newark, N.J., community center, and his hopes soared through much of 1999 as he pitched his ideas for universal health insurance, an assault on child poverty and strict gun controls.

He walked picket lines, spoke of his commitment to race relations and assailed Gore for past ambivalence on abortion. Still, the Democratic Party's core constituencies -- organized labor, minorities, and abortion-rights groups -- rallied around Gore.

Other factors working against Bradley included his distaste for political hardball, his decision to challenge Gore in Iowa and competition from Republican John McCain for independent voters.

Time and again, Bradley declined to do more than jab at one Gore soft spot, the Democratic Party's fund-raising excesses in 1996. And when he did take the gloves off, using past votes in Congress to paint Gore as a closet conservative, for example, the party rushed to Gore's defense.

Tactically, Bradley's biggest mistake may have been investing time and resources in Iowa's leadoff caucus instead of continuing to focus on New Hampshire, where he overtook Gore in polling for the Feb. 1. primary.

Bradley and McCain both were at a disadvantage in Iowa, having voted in Congress against subsidies for ethanol. But while McCain skipped Iowa to focus on New Hampshire, Bradley courted Iowans as a belated convert to government support of the corn-based fuel.

All the while, Gore attacked Bradley's central proposal -- universal health care -- at once calling it too expensive and not expansive enough to help poor people afford full coverage.

Bradley's own health became an issue Dec. 10, when he was treated for atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart irregularity.

He quickly held a news conference to proclaim, "I'm feeling great. No problem." But exit polls indicated that one in five New Hampshire voters said they were concerned Bradley's health would interfere with his ability to serve effectively as president.

McCain excuses himself from presidential contest

Arizona Sen. John McCain said March 9 that he is leaving the race for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination to take his battle for civic and political reform "back to the United States Senate."

"When we began this campaign, we knew that ours was a difficult challenge," McCain told a gathering of reporters and backers. Following last Tuesday's scant primary victories -- and multiple losses to Texas Gov. George W. Bush -- McCain said things had become "more difficult," and now was the time to suspend his campaign.

"I am no longer an active candidate for president," McCain said.

By suspending his campaign rather than withdrawing, John McCain leaves open the possibility of resuming his efforts if Bush were to stumble in the Mountain and Southern state primaries scheduled in the next six days. An adviser to McCain said that scenario was highly unlikely, adding that Bush would likely emerge from primaries in the South with enough delegates to secure the nomination.

"John's a realist," said Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), a McCain supporter. "John counts pretty well ... John's a very effective leader and politician, and mathematically you just can't get there."

"John's not going to put this country and this party through some high theater and high drama ... that's not his style, John is straightforward, says it plain and that's what he will do here, I suspect, in the next couple of days," Hagel said.

Manning steps down, Day steps up

The battle is on for the leadership of Canada's newest political party. The head of the Reform Party, Preston Manning, is stepping down as Opposition leader in order to run for the top job of the new Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance.

"I wish to be as free as I can possibly be over the next few months to meet with members, to discuss the issues with them, to share ideas, and to ask for support," Manning said in a release issued to the media.

The announcement also takes some of the wind out of the sails of Manning's first major challenger for the leadership of the Alliance -- Alberta Treasurer Stockwell Day.

Day announced on March 9, in Edmonton, that based on two conditions being met he would challenge Manning.

Day says two conditions must be met: first Reform members must vote to create the new Alliance Party in a referendum on March 25; second he must be assured he can put together "a truly national team and national organization." If those conditions are met, he said, he will officially announce his candidacy.

An MLA for 14 years, Day has become the poster boy for Alberta's fiscally responsible Conservatives. His tenure as treasurer has seen the provincial debt eradicated and he has promised the introduction of the only flat-tax in Canada, which takes effect next year.

Day's popularity in Alberta, especially in the critical rural ridings, is high and over the past few years he has gone out of his way to raise his profile and seek support within the ranks of the Reform Party.

It appears to have paid off. His national profile is high among Reform members and he will be a serious contender for the top job with Canada's newest political party.

Manning is also on the hunt for the Alliance leadership and has been crisscrossing the country for the past month meeting with supporters. He has said in the past he doesn't mind a leadership contest.

Manning said he doesn't think it is possible for him to "do his best" as both leader of the Opposition and as a candidate for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance.

Deputy leader Deborah Grey will become interim leader of the Opposition for the duration of the leadership contest.

Day's appeal will be his youth (he's 49 years old) and his track record in the Alberta legislature as treasurer, minister of family and social services, minister of labour, government house leader and chief government whip.

Day also carries with him an interesting personal background. He was born in Southern Ontario, raised in Montreal and went to university in B.C., before settling in Red Deer.

Before entering politics he worked as an auctioneer and preacher.

Reform MP Jason Kenney will run Day's leadership campaign.

"He has national reach, as somebody who has lived and worked in every region in the country. He speaks both official languages, he's articulate and a principled 'small c' conservative who will appeal to Reformers and Tories alike," said Kenney.

Day is also rumoured to have the support of about a third of the Reform caucus.

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein is also backing Day. He says a new party should have a new leader. "I would be very sad to lose him. I think he's been an outstanding treasurer. Certainly he has gained respect across this country for his fiscal programs and his fiscal philosophy. I would hate to lose him."

Reform Party members will vote later this month to decide if they join the Alliance. If it is approved - and that appears likely - a leadership convention will be held in Calgary, on June 24.

Former Reform candidate Joe Peschisolido has also announced his candidacy.

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