Dispatches > The Buzz

Flash Traffic

Political buzz from Washington

Issue: "Tax man's terror," April 14, 2001

Communist China's brazen aggression against a U.S. Navy plane and crew is dominating headlines ... but privately, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell worry about a more ominous strategic threat ... China is supplying Iran, North Korean, and Pakistan with nuclear and missile technology, raising the prospect of nuclear showdowns with Israel and India ... and U.S. intelligence services now believe China has moved at least 300 missiles to its coast, aiming them directly at Taiwan ... these include M-11 and M-9 missiles that can be equipped with nuclear warheads ... experts believe Beijing will add 50 new missiles per year to this force ... As the China crisis flares, Vice President Dick Cheney turns to a leading conservative policy analyst to serve as his national security adviser on East Asian affairs ... Cheney hires Stephen Yates, the senior China expert at The Heritage Foundation ... Yates is an outspoken advocate of intensifying pro-democracy and pro-religious-freedom efforts inside Mainland China and beefing up U.S. military ties with Taiwan ... he's fluent in Mandarin Chinese ... and lived in Taiwan for two years ... California's Democratic Gov. Gray Davis is in serious political trouble ... his state's energy crisis is causing brownouts and rolling blackouts ... electric rates have shot up 46 percent ... now Davis suggests he might order a government takeover of the state's private energy companies ... Arnold Schwarzenegger has Republicans buzzing by saying he might run against Davis in 2002 ... but political observers say it's unlikely ... Now a new player is emerging who could topple Davis ... Republican Bill Simon Jr., 49, is CEO of a Los Angeles investment company with more than $3 billion in assets (including family-friendly PAX TV) ... he's also a former federal prosecutor under Rudy Guiliani ... Simon has just formed a gubernatorial exploratory committee, making the energy crisis his top priority ... his father, the late William E. Simon, was President Nixon's first "energy czar" during the 1973 Arab oil embargo, and later Treasury secretary ... John Herrington-President Reagan's Energy secretary, former California GOP chairman, and former co-chair of Steve Forbes's presidential campaign-has signed on as Simon's campaign chairman ... Sal Russo, a veteran GOP operative, has signed on as chief strategist ... in just two months, the campaign has raised $3 million ... Simon's conservative credentials are solid ... he's on the board of directors of The Heritage Foundation and is chairman of Covenant House, a crisis shelter for homeless and at-risk youth ... Herrington previews the talking points: "It's been disheartening to watch Governor Davis almost single-handedly destroy California's energy delivery system [and] we can't afford another four years of mismanagement" ... CBS News anchor Dan Rather now admits he spoke to a $1,000 per person Democratic fundraiser in Texas last month, belying his supposed "unbiased" role as a journalist ... Media Research Center's Brent Bozell urges Rather to make a full apology, live, on the air ... Rather's regular "bouquets to the Democratic National Party" have helped cause CBS News to be ranked dead last, Bozell charges, adding that last month the network refused to broadcast its own poll showing 88 percent of Americans hearing President Bush's speech approved of his proposals ... Furious at Democrats for trying to steal the presidential election in Palm Beach County last November? ... the Palm Beach County Republican Party is searching for a new executive director to prevent the nightmare from ever occurring again ... "All eyes worldwide were on Palm Beach County after the November 2000 election and will be again in 2002," says an e-mail to top GOP operatives ... "The Executive Director will report to ... Republican County Commissioner, Mary McCarty. This is a huge and exciting opportunity!" ...

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Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel C. Rosenberg

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