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Saturday, 11 May 2002 12:00 AM

1. Reagan's Marijuana Comments Cause Stir
2. Cuba and U.S. Friends Furious over State Dept. Condemnation
3. Jeb Bush's Florida Race Will Be Close
4. IRS Engaging in Massive Crackdown -- Now Collecting Your Credit Card Records and Worse

#1 Reagan's Marijuana Comments Cause Stir

When NewsMax reported that Ronald Reagan did not oppose legalizing marijuana, we were surprised by the buzz the story created.

Why the surprise? Reagan had a strong libertarian streak. He opposed such things as mandatory seat belt laws and requirements that motorcyclists wear helmets.

We know Reagan was one of the first to challenge the Nanny State.

Last week NewsMax publicized comments Ronald Reagan made in one of his radio broadcasts before he became president. (Reagan gave about 1,000 radio commentaries just before he became president.) After decades, the tapes have recently been released.

In August 1979, Reagan dedicated one program to marijuana. While he warned of the many health risks, he did say, "If adults want to take such chances [using marijuana], that is their business."

Soon after NewsMax ran the story we received a call from NORML, the Washington-based group that wants to legalize the drug.

NORML had created controversy when it took out huge billboards of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, quoting their admission they both smoked pot.

Bloomberg and Giuliani weren't chuckling and asked NORML to pull the ads.

One person who was chuckling was Michael Reagan, the popular radio host and son of President Reagan.

Mike saw the NewsMax story and said, "Of course Dad was for legalization."

"He wasn't crazy," Reagan added, laughing, "He didn't want his kids in jail!"

Of course, Ronald and Nancy Reagan's four kids came of age during the turbulent '60s and '70s. For the most part, the Reagan kids' lifestyles were not as straight-laced as their parents.

#2 Cuba and U.S. Friends Furious over State Dept. Condemnation

NewsMax broke the story this past Monday that the U.S. State Dept. was adding Cuba to one of the "Axis of Evil" most dangerous nations list.

On Monday, Undersecretary of State John Bolton gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation bluntly accusing Castro and Cuba of building weapons of mass destruction - and having in place a program for developing lethal biological weapons.

Bolton also said Cuba is helping other rogue states build such weapons.

The accusation, and the U.S. demand that the bio weapons program immediately stop, was a huge blow to American supporters who want sanctions lifted and seek normalization with Castro.

Faced with the unpleasant facts, pro-Castro friends in the American media and left-wing groups picked up the official Cuban response to Bolton. They are now claiming Bolton's allegations were completely fabricated by him.

Friends of Castro in Washington are already spreading the word that Bolton made his charges and comments without approval from the Bush Administration.

But we hear that Bolton's comments -- and the demand he issued on behalf of the U.S. government to cease their weapons programs immediately -- were approved by Condoleezza Rice at the National Security Counsel, Sec. of State Colin Powell, the CIA, and Donald Rumsfeld, among others.

And Bolton's demand is not new.

In March, Asst. Secretary of State Carl Ford appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The media largely ignored Ford's comments about Cuba, but he said almost exactly what Bolton said.

Ford told the committee that Cuba has an "offensive biological warfare research and development project."

He added that Cuba was providing their technology to rogue states, and then Ford issued a demand on Cuba to cease such weapons programs.

#3 Jeb Bush's Florida Race Will Be Close

Prediction: Jeb Bush's race to be re-elected Governor of Florida will be extremely close.

While many pundits are confident that Jeb Bush will easily be returned to office against his most likely opponent, Janet Reno, we at NewsMax are not buying it.

Remember during the 2000 race when the Bush campaign kept a limited schedule in Florida, so sure it was that the state was in their column.

In the end they won it by a squeaker.

Florida has huge voting blocs that give Democrats a firm base before they even begin their campaigns: Black voters, Jewish voters, Seniors and others.

Independent voters hold the balance, and with a sluggish economy Democrats will use the election of Pres. Bush's brother as a referendum on his job approval.

But the Democrats have an even bigger motive to win.

They want to win in Florida against Bush's brother, so they can "prove" the Florida election was stolen in 2000.

Already, the Democrats are keeping alive the embers of 2000, hoping it energizes their base in 2004.

Jeb Bush also will face the liberal media in Florida, particularly a cabal of ultra-liberal newspapers that dominate the state, including the Miami Herald, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, and others.

Already the media in Florida have begun a drumbeat of negative press criticism against Jeb - in an apparent effort to lay the groundwork for Reno.

The latest media smear effort being exploited by the Democrats is the tragedy of Rilya Wilson, the missing 5-year-old Florida girl who disappeared while under state supervision.

Though polls still show Bush way ahead in the polls, the liberal New York Times is trumpeting the controversy.

In a May 8 story, Times reporter Dana Canedy wrote that Democrats are "Sensing vulnerability in Gov. Jeb Bush's re-election bid."

As NewsMax.com reported on May 7, Rilya was placed in the care of her godmother, Geralyn Graham, two years ago. In January 2001 a woman claiming to be a state employee appeared at her door to take the little girl for neurological tests. That was the last time Rilya Wilson was seen.

According to Juvenile Judge Cindy Lederman caseworker Deborah Muskelly continued to assure her Rilya was being raised properly. Muskelly resigned in March over discrepancies in another case, and it wasn't discovered Rilya was missing until April 25 when another caseworker tried to see her.

Desperate for an issue to boost their sagging poll figures, Democrats and their media allies in Florida and across the country have zeroed in on the case of the missing child, noting that it took the Florida Department of Children and Families 15 months to discover she'd apparently vanished into thin air when she was supposedly living under their close supervision.

Bush campaign officials responded by noting that the governor has appointed a commission of four highly respected Floridians, including the former publisher of the Miami Herald, to investigate the facts in the case and charge that the Democrats are shamefully exploiting the tragedy for political purposes.

Governor Bush "... has asked for extremely well-respected child advocates to look into the matter and will be getting a report back from them in a matter of weeks," Todd Harris, Mr. Bush's campaign spokesman, told Canedy. "And you can be assured that the governor will take very seriously any recommendations that they make.

"I think overall the Democrats need to show a little more caution and lot more tact before trying to politically capitalize on a tragedy like this."

"We have made significant progress in lessening the load for these caseworkers who have very difficult jobs," Mr. Bush said. "In addition, we've improved quality control measures that were close to nonexistent in the past because of a lack of funding."

#4 IRS Engaging in Massive Crackdown -- Now Collecting Your Credit Card Records and Worse

If you thought the IRS might be neutered with the Clintons out, think again.

Already Judicial Watch's Larry Klayman has issued statement after statement criticizing the Bush Administration for not replacing Clinton-appointed IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti.

Rossotti's IRS, under direction from the Clinton White House, engaged in IRS audits of every major conservative group that criticized Bill Clinton. Judicial Watch is also under an IRS audit.

But new actions show the IRS is completely out of control.

Commissioner Rossotti is increasing IRS audits of U.S. citizens by instituting his "National Research Program."

The program kicks out any taxpayer's filing if the figure in a single line of their return is above the average for Americans. One report suggests the new system will increase audits by 25% or more.

The IRS is also becoming a global police agency.

It has demanded -- and received -- more than 1.7 million cardholder records from American Express and Mastercard.

They are combing the records of U.S. citizens who have cards affiliated with offshore banks. Recently, the IRS asked Visa to turn over their records. [Note: It is not illegal for U.S. citizens to have an offshore credit card.]

If you thought these items were bad, consider how the IRS is interpreting the US Patriot Act.

New regulations by the Treasury Dept. now demand that credit card companies, mutual fund brokers, commodity dealers and wire transfer firms like Western Union, begin filling out "suspicious activity reports" on their customers.

This KGB-style program is apparently not enough for the IRS.

NewsMax hears from Washington insiders the IRS wants to expand these informant reports of "suspicious activity" and to have them filed regularly by travel agents, hedge fund managers, auto dealers, boat dealers and jewelry and metal dealers.

We think Larry Klayman has a point.


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1. Reagan's Marijuana Comments Cause Stir 2. Cuba and U.S. Friends Furious over State Dept. Condemnation 3. Jeb Bush's Florida Race Will Be Close 4. IRS Engaging in Massive Crackdown -- Now Collecting Your Credit Card Records and Worse#1 Reagan's Marijuana Comments...
Saturday, 11 May 2002 12:00 AM
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