DECEMBER 13-1, 01 Archives

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Bush Pulls Out of ABM Treaty; Putin Calls Move a Mistake December 13, 2001 By TERENCE NEILAN In a move that reflected what he said was "a vastly different world," President Bush formally announced today that the United States was withdrawing from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty that it signed with the Soviet Union in 1972. Russia termed the move a mistake, but said it did not feel threatened by the decision. China, which was not a signatory to the pact, repeated its opposition to the missile defense system proposed by the Bush administration.

House Approves Sweeping Election Reform Bill December 12, By Thomas Ferraro (Reuters) - On the first anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the 2000 presidential election, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill to implement the most sweeping reforms of the nation's election system in more than a generation. The $2.65 billion measure, which passed 362-63, now goes on to the Senate for consideration. It would provide funding for a number of improvements and for new equipment and establish minimum standards, including for what constitutes a vote on various kinds of voting machines.

Democrats to consider Bush's proposed income tax cut  December 12, (AP) - Senate Democrats expressed a willingness Wednesday to consider President Bush's accelerated income tax cut as part of an economic stimulus compromise as long as the measure also contains a generous Democratic package for the unemployed.

AFSA Educators' Union President has Mixed Reaction to Education Reform Deal Dec.12 /U.S. Newswire/ Dr. Joe L. Greene, president of the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), AFL-CIO, a national labor organization representing public school principals, assistant principals, administrators and supervisors today issued the following statement in reaction to the compromise reached by lawmakers on the landmark, sweeping Education Reform Bill, H.R.1.

A Warning on Climate Change Pollution's Effects Could Be Sudden, NAS Report Says December 12, 2001 by Eric Pianin While recent climate change studies have focused on the risks of a gradual rise in the Earth's temperature, a new National Academy of Sciences report has concluded that greenhouse gases and other pollutants could trigger large, abrupt and potentially disastrous climate changes.

Ashcroft defends Bush’s war against the  Constitution 12 December Tells Senate hearing that critics "aid terrorists" By Kate Randall and John Andrews. Amid growing disquiet over the Bush administration’s attacks on democratic rights following the September 11 attacks, Attorney General John Ashcroft appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 6. The hearing was called to discuss recent measures such as President Bush’s authorization of secret military tribunals to try alleged terrorist suspects. Displaying equal measures of arrogance and evasion, Ashcroft swept aside concerns for basic constitutional protections and charged that his critics “aid terrorists” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”

Women's Coalition: New Social Security Proposals Bad for Women 11 Dec U.S. Newswire The National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), the oldest and largest umbrella coalition of the nation's 150 major women's groups, rejects the preliminary proposals of the President's Social Security Commission. "All three proposed plans outlined at the November 29th meeting fail to meet the President's goals to strengthen Social Security for current and near retirees, and actually risk the future economic security of younger workers, particularly women" said Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Chair of NCWO's Task Force on Women & Social Security.

Social Security Commission Fails To Meet White House Solvency Goals; Commission Proposes Benefit Cuts Dec. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ "By it's own standards, the President's Commission has failed to advance the cause of Social Security reform," Max Richtman, Executive Vice President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said today at a press conference. "None of the plans put forward by the Commission achieves the president's goal of achieving solvency over a 75-year period. None identifies specific resources to close the financing shortfall the program faces over the long term," he said. The National Committee chairs the Income Security Committee of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations and Richtman spoke on behalf of the 47 nonprofit agencies that are part of that organization. "Each of the proposals put forward by the commission require specific, massive cuts in defined benefits - even for those who do not opt for the voluntary accounts," Richtman said. "The commission has demonstrated that we cannot expect to improve the long-term soundness and strength of Social Security by allowing individuals to withdraw money from the existing retirement trust fund. The commission can't get around the fact that diverting up to four percent of payroll tax into private accounts only moves up the date on which the trust fund moves into deficit," he said.

Congressman dares foes to mention Levy scandal December 11, 2001 By MARK Z. BARABAK Rep. Gary Condit, D-Ceres, facing an uphill bid for re-election, dared his opponents Monday to make an issue of his relationship with Chandra Levy. He said the scandal surrounding the missing intern was a media fabrication and that he would not let "the pundits and the talking heads" chase him from the race.

America's new brand of justice? Dec 10, Nat Hentoff In Spain, the international war on terrorism has netted eight men  suspected of being linked to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But Spain will not extradite those suspects to the United States unless this country agrees that they will not be tried by one of the president's controversial military tribunals. And, it is clear, as the New York Times reported on Nov. 24, that it's doubtful any of the 15 countries that have signed the European Convention on Human Rights will extradite any terrorist suspects they find.

Taxpayer Coalition (Of the wealthy) Will Hold Press Conference Supporting President's Plan to Reform (Abolish) Social Security 10 Dec U.S. Newswire Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) will hold a press conference on Dec. 11 in support of President Bush's plan to reform the Social Security system. The President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security will meet in the same building earlier in the day.

Social Security scare for GOP Dec 9 BY ROBERT NOVAK SUN-TIMES Senior Republican members of Congress are so upset with early recommendations of President Bush's Social Security reform Theft commission that they privately urge that the issue not be raised during the 2002 midterm election year.What concerns Republicans are the bipartisan panel's preliminary recommendations, which include a decrease in benefits. That political blunder never would have been committed, GOP leaders say, if Bush had not rejected their pleas to include sitting members of Congress on the commission. It is headed by Democratic former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and Republican Richard Parsons, the newly promoted CEO of AOL Time Warner. Republicans insist that Bush must preach Social Security reform to the country to prevent negative political consequences in the 2002 election. Now, however, they fear it may be too late for that.

US law chief 'throws rights to the wind' 09 December 2001, Backed by a large majority of ordinary Americans, John Ashcroft, US Attorney General, has emerged as the prime defender of Washington's sweeping new anti-terrorist powers which many Democrats, leading lawyers, and international critics regard as a violation of the US Constitution and of human rights. Last week Mary Robinson, the United Nations human rights chief, became the latest high-profile figure to lay into Mr Ashcroft, a former senator from Missouri. She questioned the Bush administration's "trust me" attitude over the new measures, saying they circumvented the system of checks and balances of a democratic society.

Daschle gives theory on anthrax's sender Dec. 9, 2001 Reuters Military background called probable Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, whose Capitol Hill office received an anthrax-laced letter in October, said Saturday he believes the sender was probably someone with a military background.

Rights group refuses to seat Bush appointee 8 December BY WILL LESTER (AP) Escalating its feud with the White House, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights refused Friday to seat a new commissioner named by President Bush. After showing up for his first meeting, Peter Kirsanow attempted to vote, but he was ignored and eventually sat silently Friday as the commissioners continued

US jobless rate hits six-year high 8 December 2001 By Jerry White The US unemployment rate rose three-tenths of 1 percent in November, to 5.7 percent, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday. The jump in the jobless rate—to the highest level in six years—follows a half a percentage point increase in October, and is a further indication of the deepening economic slump in the

300 Law Professors Oppose Tribunals Plan 12.08.01 by Katharine Q. Seelye More than 300 law professors from around the country are protesting President Bush's order to establish military tribunals for foreign terrorist suspects. In a letter that originated at Yale Law School, the lawyers assert that such tribunals are "legally deficient, unnecessary and unwise."

Price of Bush's Trade Powers? Protectionism December 8, 2001 By JOSEPH KAHNASHINGTON Dec. 7 The Bush administration hailed Thursday's photo-finish vote on presidential trade powers as a sterling ˜ though slender ˜ victory for free trade. But in return for crucial support, House Republican leaders quietly agreed to weaken one of the Clinton administration's most-prized trade accords.   Robert B. Zoellick, trade official

Condit will run again for California congressional seat December 8, 2001 By Ken McLaughlin San Jose Mercury News MODESTO, Calif. - U.S. Rep. Gary Condit on Friday ended the mystery of whether he would run for re-election, walking into the Stanislaus County registrar's office 45 minutes before the filing deadline. Surrounded by several aides, his son Chad and several dozen reporters and photographers, Condit dropped off 1,500 nomination signatures and a check for $1,

Ashcroft says any criticism of his police state measures aids the terrorist cause December 7 Ashcroft Defends Anti-Terrorism Steps, Civil Liberties Groups' Attacks 'Only Aid Terrorists,' Senate Panel Told Attorney General John D. Ashcroft resolutely defended the Justice Department's anti-terrorism tactics yesterday, telling a Senate committee the measures are necessary to prevent future attacks and suggesting that criticism of them aids the terrorist cause.

Alliance For Justice Condemns Ashcroft For Accusing 'Critics' of Treason and Refusing To Prevent Terrorists From Buying Guns Dec. 7 /U.S. Newswire The Alliance for Justice expresses deep concern over Attorney General John Ashcroft's allegation that those who criticize the Bush Administration's decision to use military tribunals to try non-U.S. citizens are "aiding terrorists" as well as eroding national unity. The U.S. Constitution, as the Attorney General certainly knows, defines treason as giving "the Enemies...Aid and Comfort."

The Geneva Convention and the US massacre of POWs in Afghanistan 7 December 2001 WSWS Editorial Board  On December 1, the last of some 80 survivors of the US-British-Northern Alliance assault on the Qala-i-Janghi prison fortress outside Mazar-i-Sharif emerged from their underground hideouts and surrendered to their assailants. For six days, beginning Sunday, November 25, American and British special forces joined with troops loyal to Northern Alliance General Rashid Dostum in a massive and one-sided attack on 400 to 800 non-Afghan Taliban who had surrendered the previous day in Kunduz. The US, Britain and Northern Alliance justified their slaughter of the prisoners, most of whom were killed in two days of American air strikes, on the grounds that the Taliban captives had staged an uprising.

The Senate's Quiet Thorn In GOP's Side Blocking Bush Policies Makes Daschle a Target  December 7, 2001 By John Lancaster Washington Post Staff Writer -- In South Dakota last month, newspapers carried political ads featuring side-by-side photographs of Saddam Hussein and Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D). The ads accused Daschle of helping to keep the Iraqi dictator in power by blocking oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Gephardt Expresses Disappointment with House Republican Negotiators on the Stimulus Package Dec. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ The following is a statement by House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt: "I am deeply disappointed that the House Republican negotiators on the stimulus package have left town for the weekend and reneged on their commitment to stay here and work to reach bipartisan agreement on an economic package. After promising to stay here and get a deal done, the leadership apparently decided to change its mind. It haspacked up shop and will not do its work for the American people.

Two hundred arrests in New Jersey teachers strike 7 December 2001 By Steve Light and Jeremy Johnson Some two hundred striking teachers in Middletown, New Jersey have been thrown in jail since Monday afternoon for defying a judge’s back-to-work order. Their number is expected to grow as the walkout by 1,000 teachers, secretaries, nurses and school social workers continued on Thursday, when at least another 65 teachers were led off in handcuffs after rejecting an ultimatum that they return to the classrooms or go to jail for contempt of court.

Civil rights panel balks at Bush 12/07/2001 By Judy Keen The White House and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are heading for a politically charged showdown over an appointment by President Bush to the panel.

Lawsuit seeks to block Bush energy plan for federal land 12/7/01 By ROBERT GEHRKE (AP) Environmentalists have sued the Bush administration in an effort to block the president's efforts to accelerate energy exploration on federal land. The lawsuit claims the Bureau of Land Management and its parent agency, the Interior Department, broke the law by not assessing the environmental and cultural damage that could be done or consulting with Indian tribes before opening a dozen parcels in southern Utah to oil and gas exploration.

Slim victory for Bush on trade 215-214 12/07/2001 (AP) House vote gives him stronger authority to negotiate global deals In a one-vote victory for a wartime White House, the House approved legislation Thursday giving President Bush stronger authority to negotiate global trade deals.

Fast Track "win" could haunt Bush administration and Democrats who sided with it  December 6,  thenation In an agonizing Congressional defeat for foes of Bush White House's free-trade agenda, the House of Representatives voted Thursday afternoon to grant the president Fast Track trade negotiating authority by the narrowest possible margin -- one vote. The 215-214 vote for the Bush administration's top legislative priority was a bitter defeat for labor, environmental and human rights groups, which for months had battled to convince Congress to limit the ability of the administration to negotiate sweeping new free-trade pacts, including a hemispheric Free Trade Area of the Americas pact. Foes of the proposal wasted no time predicting the worst, now that Bush appears -- with Senate approval likely -- to be positioned to unilaterally make trade deals in regard to which Congress will retain only the power to approve or reject pacts that cannot be amended.

Senate begins work on farm bill despite opposition 2001-12-06 By Chris Casteel The Oklahoman Despite strong opposition from the White House and many fiscal conservatives, the Senate on Wednesday began debate on a five-year farm bill that would dramatically increase crop subsidies and spending on environmental programs.

President's Commission to Strengthen DISMANTLE Social Security to Hold Final Meeting; News Conference With All 16 Commissioners To Follow 6 Dec. U.S. Newswire The President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security will hold its final meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C., to be immediately followed by a news conference with all 16 members of the commission. At the meeting the commission will review a draft final report. The report is expected to be provisionally approved, subject to final edits and instruction from the commissioners. When those changes are incorporated, the report will be submitted to President Bush.

Congressman wants Cheney to provide details of any Enron meetings Dec. 6, 2001(AP) A Democratic congressman on Tuesday urged Vice President Dick Cheney to disclose details of any meetings between executives of financially stricken Enron Corp. and the White House. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said Enron executives who contributed heavily to President Bush's campaign may have exerted "significant influence" on the energy plan formulated by Cheney's task force last spring. In a dispute that began in April, Cheney has refused to tell congressional Democrats which power industry executives and lobbyists met with the task force. The panel recommended expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and a rejuvenated nuclear power system.

Saint George December 6, 2001 BY MICHAEL WOLFF Rallying around a wartime president is one thing. But why does Dubya remain entirely untouchable even as we question his lieutenants -- and his increasingly disturbing policies? To get the willies from George W. Bush, to distrust the man, to have your stomach roll a bit when you hear him speak, is to feel like the most churlish and sullen of adolescents. He's the unappealing uncle -- with his cold eye on you -- whose house you're stuck at this holiday season. While you're trying to shut out his existence, everybody else is sucking up to him.

Gephardt, Bonior, Rangel and American Workers to Oppose Republican Fast Track Bill 5 Dec U.S. Newswire Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt, Democratic Whip David Bonior and Ways and Means Ranking Member Democrat Charlie Rangel will appear at a press conference tomorrow with David Kennard, an employee at the Ansell Perry glove plant in Massillon, Ohio; former GE employee Kathryn Zielinski, who worked at the Willoughby Quartz Plant in Cleveland, Ohio; ShirleyChapman, a textile worker at Pillowtex, in Kannapolis, North Carolina and Joe Rosel Jr,. who is a steelworker at Bethlehem Steel's Corporation's Sparrows Point Mill in Baltimore. They will discuss their opposition to the Republican Fast Track Bill, which gives no assurance that worker rights and environmental protections will be included in trade deals.

GOP Holds Up Homeless Vets Bill December 4 By FREDERIC J. FROMMER (AP) Less than three weeks after Senate Republicans dropped an anonymous hold on Sen. Paul Wellstone's homeless veterans bill, an anonymous Republican has reinstated the hold. ``I can't believe it!'' a red-faced, finger-pointing Wellstone shouted on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Cancer for Christmas 4 Dec U.S. /U.S. Newswire/ Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: Cancer for Christmas: Philip Morris' Holiday Marketing Campaign Shows Company Hasn't Changed. The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, president, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: Philip Morris, the nation's largest tobacco company, never misses an opportunity to claim that it has changed and is now a responsible corporate citizen. However, the company's actions repeatedly have failed to match its words. In the latest example, Philip Morris is taking advantage of the holiday season to sell a new cigarette, called M, with the slogan "A Special Blend for a Special Season." /

Farm Groups Warn Congress of Catastrophic Loss of Family Farms 4 Dec U.S. /U.S. Newswire/ Offer Solutions for a Better Farm Bill. As the inside-the-belt way debate over farm policy hits the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, farmers across the nation are raising serious concerns about the future of families that produce the food in this country. "Last year, the United States lost 20,000 family farmers while Cargill and ADM posted record profits, subsidized by billions of taxpayer dollars," stated George Naylor, an Iowa grain farmer. "Unless the full Senate significantly improves the farm bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee, we will see more of the same corporate gouging and the hemorrhaging in the countryside will only accelerate."

The Mouth That Erred  December 3, 2001 by Harley Sorensen With all due respect, George W. Bush really ought to watch his mouth. I'm not referring to the Bushisms he made famous during last year's presidential campaign. Those were mostly slips of the tongue, seized upon by his political opponents. Nor am I referring to his major faux pas of calling America's campaign against terrorists and their neighbors a "crusade." No, I'm referring to ways in which he really screwed up. I'll mention two of them.

Still Time to Impeach the Supreme Court Five Dec, 3, 2001 thenation The media consortium review of disputed Florida presidential ballots concluded that George W. Bush would have won the recount the US Supreme Court blocked. So is the debate on the Court's intervention over? No way, says Vincent Bugliosi, the trial lawyer who wrote The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President (Nation Books). He spoke with John Nichols, Nation Washington correspondent.

Senate Rejects Arctic Drilling Again, 94-1 December 3, 2001 Sometimes watching Congress feels like going through the looking glass with Alice. To be sure, today's events certainly were "curiouser and curiouser." As if attaching drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a ban on human cloning to a bill on railroad retirement plans weren't weird enough, the day ended with even Arctic drilling's most vocal sponsor, Frank Murkowski, the junior senator from Alaska, voting against his own amendment in the Senate as it went down in flames, 94 to 1. This is politics at its most bizarre.

Lesson of Enron: Electricity Deregulation is a Disaster, Says Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights Dec. 3 /U.S. Newswire/ The fall of energy giant Enron should trigger the end of electricity deregulation in California and throughout the country, according to consumer advocates with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). Enron's demise demonstrates the unnecessary volatility that deregulation brought to the California energy system.

RecommendedThe Witch Hunt December 3, 2001 By BOB HERBERT Twenty years ago The New York Times ran a story out of Buenos Aires that mentioned a woman who was "small and wiry and full of hate for the Argentine government. "The woman told how men had broken into her house five years earlier and taken her adult son away. Three months later the men visited her family's newsstand and took away her daughter.

Earthjustice Statement On Fast Track (Trade Promotion Authority) Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ Environmental leaders and members of Congress held a press conference today to denounce fast track trade negotiation legislation (H.R. 3005) introduced by Ways and MeansChairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) that is scheduled for a vote on Thursday 12/6/01. In particular, speakers discussed the threats that the Thomas bill poses to environmental laws and regulations at home and abroad.

AFL-CIO Chief Says Bush Waging War on Workers December 3, 2001 By Peter Szekely (Reuters) AFL-CIO President John Sweeney urged union leaders on Monday to "take the offensive in a war here at home" against the president, congressional Republicans and corporations who he accused of waging a war on workers.

Legal Scholars Criticize Wording Of Bush Order Accused Can Be Detained Indefinitely December 3, 2001 By George Lardner Jr. President Bush's order empowering him to initiate military trials for suspected foreign terrorists also appears to permit the indefinite detention, without trial, of anyone the president determines is "subject" to the order, according to constitutional scholars and legal experts who have studied the directive.

Bush Team Seeks Broader Surveillance Powers December 2, 2001 By Jim McGee The Bush administration is asking Congress for a second major expansion of federal surveillance powers that legal experts say would radically change laws that have long protected the rights of Americans.

Justice Deformed: War and the Constitution December 2, 2001 The inconvenient thing about the American system of justice is that we are usually challenged to protect it at the most inopportune moments. Right now the country wants very much to be supportive of the war on terrorism, and is finding it hard to summon up much outrage over military tribunals, secret detentions or the possible mistreatment of immigrants from the Mideast. There is a strong temptation not to notice. That makes it even more important to speak up.

Tribunal Comparison Taints Courts-Martial, Military Lawyers Say December 2, 2001 By WILLIAM GLABERSON Former military lawyers say they are angered by a public perception, fed most recently by the top White House lawyer, that the military tribunals authorized by President Bush are merely wartime versions of American courts-martial, a routine part of military life with a longstanding reputation for openness and procedural fairness.

Democrats wary of Bush's plan for military tribunals December 02, 2001 By PETER URBAN The Bush administration's plan to use military tribunals to prosecute foreign terrorists is drawing a wary eye from congressional Democrats. The Senate Judiciary Committee has called Attorney General John Ashcroft to appear Thursday to explain why Congress was not consulted. Meanwhile, several dozen House members, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, warned in a letter last week that they may try to block funding for any of these tribunals.

Senate to vote Monday on Arctic refuge drilling Dec. 2, 2001 By TOM DOGGETT, Reuters A key part of the Bush administration's national energy plan, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, faces its first Senate vote late Monday.

Federal deficit predicted for rest of Bush's term December 1, 2001 By RON HUTCHESON and JACKIE KOSZCZUK Knight Ridder The federal budget will probably remain in deficit for the rest of President Bush's term because of wartime expenses and a stalling economy, Budget Director Mitch Daniels said Wednesday.The deficit forecast was a dramatic turnabout after four consecutive years of government surpluses.

Sen. Reid: Republican Stimulus Is 'Show Business' December 1, 2001 (Reuters) A Senate Democrat said on Saturday Republican plans to stimulate the economy following the Sept. 11 attacks are pure "show business," favoring aid for big corporations over help for laid off workers.

Special Education Bill Killed December 1, 2001 (AP) Democrats blasted a successful Republican effort to block billions in guaranteed funding increases for disabled students but say they'll come up with a new proposal next week.``Congress had found tens of billions of dollars to bail out the airlines, help energy companies and give tax breaks to profitable corporations in the last few months,'' said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. ``But when children with special needs show up, we shut the door.''

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