NOVEMBER 30-23, 01 Archives

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Bush defends use of tribunals November 30, 2001 JON FRANDSEN GANNETT NEWS SERVICE President Bush on Thursday called trying noncitizens in military courts a legitimate tool to prevent terrorists from using America's freedoms "to destroy liberty itself," and the government wants to make it easier for some immigrants to remain in the country -- by snitching about terrorist activity. Bush sharply defended the order he gave that would permit military trials of some suspects -- one of the few actions in the conduct of the war on terrorism that has brought him criticism.

Groups Gird for Long Legal Fight on New Bush Anti-Terror Powers November 30, 2001 By WILLIAM GLABERSON The Bush administration's aggressive expansion of the government's powers to arrest and prosecute people in fighting terrorism has stirred a legal battle that could last many years and redefine the powers of the executive branch, lawyers and leaders of civil liberties groups say.The groups, which range across the political spectrum, say they have found serious constitutional flaws in President Bush's actions and are preparing a variety of legal challenges.

Payroll Tax Holiday Won't Stimulate Economy, Says NCPA's Bartlett; Nov. 30 Bartlett Says Tax Holiday Idea Worse Than Rebates U.S. Newswire / -- Momentum is growing in the Senate around the idea to create a one-month payroll tax "holiday" as a way to quickly inject money into the stalled economy. Yet according to National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow Bruce Bartlett, while sounding simple, this idea is actually complex, won't work and sets a bad policy precedent. "If the Senate thinks that by suddenly declaring a payroll tax holiday it will happen in time for Christmas shopping, they're seriously mistaken," said Bartlett. "It would take payroll professionals at least six months to make all the accounting and software changes necessary. By then, we may already be out of the woods.

Social Security Privatization Puts Disability Program At Risk, Says Study Nov. 29 U.S. NewswirePrivatizing the Social Security retirement program may result in deep benefit cuts for millions of disabled Americans, according to the results of a new study commissioned by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

ALEC Joins Rally to Support Personal Retirement Accounts 29 Nov U.S. Newswire The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will show its support for Social Security reform and Personal Retirement Accounts at a rally in Washington at the Omni Shoreham Hotel today, Thursday, Nov. 29. The President's appointed Social Security Commission will be meeting to reveal their proposals for comprehensive reform. According to the Commission's recent draft report issued last month, the Social Security system will stop running surpluses in 2016 and be insolvent by 2038

Bush privatization initiatives targeting Social Security retirement benefits will have significant consequences Nov 29, WASHINGTON,  /U.S. Newswire/ The results will be: deep benefit cuts for Americans with disabilities PVA President Issues Statement on Social Security Disability Insurance  -- Joseph L. Fox, Sr., president of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) today issued a statement on the release of a study examining the impact of Social Security partial privatization on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research -- an economist andexpert on income security issues -- authored the study. His findings show that privatization initiatives targeting the retirement benefits of Social Security will have unintended but significant consequences. The result would be deep benefit cuts for Americans with disabilities.

EPA Used Data From Human Pesticide Tests November 29, 2001 By Shankar Vedantam The Environmental Protection Agency has evaluated the safety of some pesticides using data from studies that involved testing the chemicals on human volunteers in an apparent shift from the agency's previously stated policy.

White House not concerned by Spain's extradition refusal November 29, 2001 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Bush administration said Tuesday it was untroubled by Spain's refusal to extradite a group of al-Qaida suspects without guarantees that the United States won't try them in military tribunals and won't execute them."Nobody asked Spain to extradite anybody, so it's not a relevant issue," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. He said he knew of no plans to ask Spain to do so.

Republican Congressman Distorts Environmental Record In Mailing, Impersonating Environmentalist WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ The following was released today by the League of Conservation Voters: In an official mailing to his 8th congressional district constituents, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has attempted to make voters forget that he was -- and remains -- one of America's most anti-environmental legislators. Rogers claims that he is "Protecting Michigan's Environment" while in Congress, but his record stands in direct contrast to his words. "It's outrageous for Congressman Rogers to bury his anti-environmental record in a misleading and disingenuous mailing to his constituents," said Betsy Loyless, League of Conservation Voters' political director. "The people of Michigan's 8th district would be better served by Rogers if he backed up his pro-environment talk with pro-environment action."

After US massacre of Taliban POWs: the stench of death and more media lies 29 November 2001 By Jerry White Journalists and International Red Cross representatives reported a horrific scene of carnage Wednesday as they entered the prison compound near Mazar-i-Sharif, where up to 800 foreign Taliban prisoners were slaughtered during a three-day siege of the fortress directed by US special forces and CIA operatives. Various American media outlets broadcast some of these bloody scenes, along with warnings that the film footage might be disturbing to viewers. But the networks and newspapers refused to say what was obvious: that the bloodbath in Mazar-i-Sharif was a massacre, directed and chiefly carried out by the US—a war crime recalling such atrocities as the Nazi slaughters of World War II and the My Lai Massacre. Rather the US media, exhibiting its contempt for the slaughtered prisoners and the people of Central Asia in general—whom the US claims to be defending against the Al Qaeda terrorists—focused its attention on the death of a CIA agent at the prison compound. They portrayed this professional killer as a national hero, seeking to use his death to stoke up pro-war sentiment. Amnesty International called Tuesday for an inquiry into the events at the Qala-i-Janghi prison.

Senate Republicans propose payroll tax holiday November 28, 2001 By Dana Bash CNN Senate Republicans are proposing a monthlong Social Security payroll tax holiday as part of a $100 billion economic stimulus package compromise. The measure, authored by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, would eliminate the 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax for one month. According to Domenici, the tax holiday would help both business and individuals because employers and employees each pay half, or 6.2 percent, of the tax. "This is one way to have an effect on the economy next month that would help during the Christmas season and that would help the employees, lower-income, middle-income, upper-income and employers," said Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi. Republicans estimate the cost of a one-month holiday at $38 billion

America's 'disappeared 28 November 2001 AL-AHRAM 'Is America turning into a banana republic? Mohamed Hakki sees the signs Shortly after the terrorist attack against the New York Twin Towers on 11 September, many people said nothing would be the same again. But nobody ever thought that Americans' civil liberties and human rights would be subject to interpretation by their own government. On 13 November, US President George W Bush signed an order allowing people accused of terrorism to be tried by a special military commission instead of civilian courts

Bush appointee linked to terrorism Diplomat tied to anti-Cuba violence November 28, 2001 Duncan Campbell One of George Bush's key choices for a major diplomatic role in his administration is almost certain now not to be appointed - because of his links with terrorism. Otto Reich, a Cuban exile, was nominated by the US president this year as under secretary of state for the western hemisphere. This week a source for the Senate foreign relations committee, which has to confirm the appointment, said that Mr Reich's chances of being confirmed were now almost zero.

New DEA Rule to Shut Down Hemp Food Industry Activists Respond with Nationwide 'DEA Taste Test' 28 Nov Adam Eidinger News Advisory: The burgeoning $5 million-a-year hemp food industry is facing a huge challenge as the Drug Enforcement Agency issues new rules banning all hemp seed and oil food products that contain minuscule amounts of THC. Hemp food enthusiasts and leading hemp food manufacturers will conduct nationwide DEA Challenge Taste Tests in 69 cities on Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m., including one at the DEA's headquarters located at 700 Army Navy Drive in Arlington, Va., to protest the rule.

New Report Card to Show that Banks Flunk Consumer Test for Credit Card Privacy Notices 28 Nov Kellie Hall Joy Gould News Advisory A new report card from USAction, a grassroots consumer coalition, concludes that bank privacy notices are confusing and misleading and fail to comply with a new federal law.

Campaign finance reform: Where is it now? November 28, 2001 By Erica Gies A year or so ago, there was a lot of talk about campaign finance reform. The McCain-Feingold bill was on the table, and candidates for president were expected to have a viewpoint on it. But what ever happened to campaign finance reform?

Bush backs plans for tribunals Nov 28 2001 US President George W Bush has said he was "not the least bit concerned" that America's allies are balking at his administration's plans to prosecute suspected terror-ists before military tribunals. "It is the right decision to make and I will explain that to any leader who asks," Mr Bush said during a brief news conference at the White House yesterday.

White House budget chief says federal deficits now likely until 2005 11/28/01 By ALAN FRAM (AP) The recession and the costs of war and battling terrorism have made annual federal deficits likely for at least the next three years, the White House budget director said Wednesday. The prediction by budget chief Mitchell Daniels was one of the gloomiest assessments yet of the government's fiscal health. And it was the first time an administration official has publicly acknowledged that deficits -- banished since surpluses first appeared in 1998 -- are likely now for several years.

Military Tribunals Meet Opposition November 28, 2001 Democrats are planning to fight President Bush's plan to prosecute suspected terrorists in secret military tribunals. Senator Charles Schumer has announced hearings for next week. The topic -- whether the president has the authority to call for tribunals without a congressional OK. In the House, Congressman Dennis Kucinich is offering legislation that would ban government funding for secret trials.

Wal-Mart's Pattern Of Contempt For Labor Laws Continues Nov. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ The following was released today by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW): The outlines of Wal-Mart's corporate anti-worker strategy are becoming clearer with each complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board, as the latest complaint issued Nov. 20 as a result of an organizing campaign by Wal-Mart workers to be represented by Local 880 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). "It is a pattern of contempt for this nation's labor laws that shows how low Wal-Mart will stoop to keep its workers from exercising their right to have a Union," said UFCW Executive Vice President Michael E. Leonard. He explained that whenever Wal-Mart workers start talking about a Union, the Home Office in Bentonville, Arkansas, flies in a team of professional propagandists, along with a flood of district and regional company officials. The first step is a "velvet glove" meeting with the workers to unlawfully try to find out why they want a union.

Senate GOP offers Social Security tax holiday to break stimulus logjam 11/27/01 By CURT ANDERSON (AP) A one-month holiday from Social Security taxes for workers and employers was proposed Tuesday by Senate Republicans in a bid to increase pressure on Democrats to end a stalemate over legislation to energize the economy. The cost of the holiday to the peoples Social Security retirement funds -- about $43 billion.

Democrats Question Tribunal Concept November 27 By JESSE J. HOLLAND (AP) Democrats began making plans Tuesday to fight President Bush's decision to prosecute suspected terrorists before secret military tribunals. New York Sen. Charles Schumer announced hearings next week on whether the president has the authority to call for tribunals without congressional approval. Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich said he would offer legislation this week banning to use of government money to set up the secret trials.

Did bin Laden have help from U.S. friends?  Nov. 27 Thomas Walkom EDT An intriguing new book, just published in France, details the curiously amicable relationship between the regime of U.S. President George W. Bush and Afghanistan's Taliban, a relationship that turned hostile only after the terror attacks of Sept.11.

U.S. Will Use Once-Banned Human Tests November 27, 2001 By ELIZABETH SHOGREN -TIMES Pesticides: EPA says it will accept industry data gathered by giving paid subjects chemical doses. Three years ago, in response to mounting criticism from environmentalists and physicians, the Clinton administration stopped using information from industry studies conducted on humans to determine the amount of pesticides that could be applied to fruits, vegetables and other crops. Now the Bush administration, siding with manufacturers on whether such studies are ethical and scientifically valid, has told the pesticide industry it will use data from such tests, in which paid volunteers swallow small doses of the products.

Iraq rejects warning from Bush Nov. 27 BAGHDAD Iraq and the United States appeared headed for a fresh confrontation Tuesday after Baghdad rejected a call by President Bush to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country. (Iraq is able to defend itself ... and will not bow to threats but only to justice, and right, a government spokesman said, according to a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency. ON MONDAY, Bush hinted that Iraq could be the next target of the U.S. war on terrorism unless it allowed inspectors to certify that it was not developing weapons of mass destruction. As to the possible repercussions for long-time U.S. foe President Saddam Hussein, Bush said, “He’ll find out.”

National security is Bush's new excuse to drill in Alaskan wildlife refuge November 27, 2001 By BRAD KNICKERBOCKER Christian Science Monitor - An important side conflict in the war on terrorism is the political battle over whether or not to drill for more oil in the United States. The Bush administration and its friends in Congress are using the recent terrorist attacks and war in Afghanistan to push for more domestic oil drilling - especially in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and other public

House Votes to Renew Nuke Plant Liability Law November 27, 2001 By Chris Baltimore (Reuters) The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill to approve a 15-year extension of an existing federal nuclear accident insurance law, seen by industry as key to new plant construction. The Bush administration on Tuesday released a statement supporting the bill.

Historians ready to fight Bush order 11/27/2001 By KELLEY SHANNON (AP) President Bush's executive order allowing former presidents to limit the release of their White House documents is a setback for studying history and likely will result in a court fight, prominent historians said Monday. Mr. Bush's executive order "blatantly reverses" a 1978 federal law governing the release of presidential papers, said Robert Schulzinger, a University of Colorado history professor. "I also think it's so wrong-headed that it's bound to be challenged and very likely to lose in the courts," Mr. Schulzinger said.

RecommendedW's Asleep at Wheel On Civil Liberties — Still 11/27/01 It was said of former President Jerry Ford that if he met a homeless person, he would give the guy a couple of bucks. It also was said that if he were asked to approve a program to aid the homeless, he would veto it. These things were said because Ford has a generous manner but a conventional conservative ideology. In President Bush, as with Ford, the former masks the latter.

Congress, Bush administration battling over veterans benefits - Lawmakers want to drop rule for disability compensation that irks vets November 27, 2001 By JEFF MILLER Larry Cohen retired from the Air Force after 21 years with a medical disability that entitled him to compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. But for the Berks County man ˜ and a half million other career military retirees ˜ what the government giveth, it also taketh away. The Bush administration and the Pentagon are also fighting to keep the ban.

A Hot Tempered Cowboy Nov. 25 PRNewswire When President George W. Bush remarked that he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," First Lady Laura Bush thought the macho talk made him look more like a hot tempered cowboy than a cool-headed statesman, writes White House Correspondent Martha Brant in the December 3 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, November 26). Since Bush can't stand being lectured, the first lady decided to use humor to make her point. Sidling up to him later, she gently barbed, "Bushie, you gonna git 'im?" The president got the point and for days later he told people that Laura hadn't "approved" of his choice of words."She didn't want to see me become too bellicose, react with bloodlust,"

Why GOP Fears 2002 Races November 26, 2001 BY ROBERT NOVAK It terrifies us,'' said a national Republican operative, reacting to last Tuesday's special congressional election. The GOP candidate won in the solidly Republican Arkansas 3rd District. But the campaign signaled that Social Security remains the third rail of American politics.

Terrorizing the environmental movement Nov. 26, 2001 By Paul Tolme Rep. Scott McInnis of the GOP wants leading green groups to denounce eco-terror, though they're already on record against it. Is he using Sept. 11 to crack down on groups he disagrees with?

Congresswoman urges Ashcroft to free jailed writer 11.26.01 (AP) U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is calling on Attorney General John Ashcroft to free a Houston writer jailed for refusing to give a grand jury her research notes on a local society killing. Vanessa Leggett, 33, has been jailed in a federal detention center since July 20, when a federal judge found her in contempt of court for refusing to turn over her notes related to the 1997 shooting death of Doris Angleton. In her Nov. 21 letter to Ashcroft, Jackson Lee, a Democrat who represents Houston, said Leggett should be released on bail for humanitarian reasons."Ms. Leggett presents no risk of flight, nor does she pose any threat to society or herself. Her only 'crime' was to protect her confidential sources in keeping with the traditional constitutional notions of a free press," Jackson Lee wrote. "If ever there was a case in which the crime simply didn't fit the punishment, this most surely is the case."

All the Presidents' Words Hushed November 25, 2001 By ROBERT DALLEK Robert Dallek is the author of a two-volume life of Lyndon B. Johnson. He is completing a biography of John F. Kennedy BOSTON -- Ever since the presidency became the focus of U.S. political life during Theodore Roosevelt's years in the White House, journalists and historians have discussed the importance of presidential decision-making. Why do presidents give priority to one domestic issue over another? Why and how do they decide between war and peace?

An Alternate Reality November 25, 2001 By PAUL KRUGMAN Most Americans get their news from TV. And what they see is heartwarming ˜ a picture of a nation behaving well in a time of crisis. Indeed, the vast majority of Americans have been both resolute and generous. But that's not the whole story, and the images TV doesn't show are anything but heartwarming. A full picture would show politicians and businessmen behaving badly, with this bad behavior made possible ˜ and made worse ˜ by the fact that these days selfishness comes tightly wrapped in the flag. If you pay attention to the whole picture, you start to feel that you are living in a different reality from the one on TV.

We Will NEVER 'get over' the Stolen Election November 24, 2001 Declares Gore the Winner, Launches "Democracy in 2002" Campaign  Following the long-awaited recount of Florida's Presidential ballots, declared Gore the winner of the 2000 election and launched a "Democracy in 2002" campaign to sweep Democrats into office across America in the next election. According to co-founder Bob Fertik, "It has taken more than a year, but we have finally learned the truth about Florida - that if all of the votes had been counted, Al Gore would be President. The only reason George W. Bush was sworn into office is because his campaign adamantly refused to count all of the votes. To put it simply: George W. Bush stole Florida with the help of his brother, Governor Jeb Bush, his campaign co-chair, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and a partisan Republican majority of the U.S. Supreme Court. The 30,000 members of are proud to declare that we will NEVER 'get over' the Stolen Election."

Legal Expert Attacks U.S. Plan for Military Courts 11/23/2001 By Anton Ferreira (Reuters) A leading international jurist on Friday criticized U.S. plans to try foreign terrorism suspects before military courts, saying there was no guarantee the accused would get fair trials. Richard Goldstone, a South African judge who was chief prosecutor for the U.N. war crimes tribunal, said the plan announced by President Bush earlier this month amounted to "second- or third-class" justice. "I think it would be bad for the United States to deprecate its own court system, its own insistence over decades and centuries on fair and due process," Goldstone said on CNN's "Larry King Live." abcnews/reuters

'Made in America,' and Never Mind the Gas Mileage November 23, 2001 By NEELA BANERJEE Andrew Serkanic in Wayne, N.J., with his vehicle of choice and tattoo. He and others doubt that buying a fuel-efficient vehicle would make the United States less dependent on foreign oil exporters  Andrew Serkanic has been a patriot since he was 7 ˜ "from the first time I saw the flag," he said.Not that the other parents picking up their grade-schoolers at the Pines Lake School in Wayne, N.J., could doubt it. Mr. Serkanic's choices in apparel sometimes include T-shirts with Osama bin Laden's face surrounded by the words "Wanted Dead or Alive." Mr. Serkanic's business is God Bless America Meats, and he says that Kate Smith sings on the company's answering machine. And then there is his car, part ornate chariot and all political megaphone: a white Ford Explorer with gold trim, its tailgate and tinted windows emblazoned with the flag and "God Bless America." "It gets 12.8 miles per gallon that I love to pay for," Mr. Serkanic said, beaming. "It's made in America, or at least half of it anyway."

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