NOVEMBER 16-7, 02 Archives

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Bush Aides Consider Domestic Spy Agency November 16, 2002 By Dana Priest and Dan Eggen Concerns on FBI's Performance Spur Debate of Options  President Bush's top national security advisers have begun discussing the creation of a new, domestic intelligence agency that would take over responsibility for counterterrorism spying and analysis from the FBI, according to U.S. government officials and intelligence experts.

Bush wants to privatize 850,000 federal jobs Nov. 15, 2002 The Bush administration announced plans Thursday to turn over as many as 850,000 federal jobs to private companies in an effort to improve service and cut costs. The proposal could eliminate about half of the 1.7 million federal civilian workers by contracting out jobs ranging from lawn mowing to satellite tracking. Private companies could bid for the work under a process that may be outlined as early as Friday in the Federal Register, which gives public notice of all government actions.

This Time a Bush Embraces 'Voodoo Economics' Theory November 15, 2002 By Dana Milbank President Bush took a ride on the Laffer Curve yesterday and espoused a tax-cut theory his father once derided as "Voodoo Economics." After a meeting with his Cabinet, the president was asked about the federal budget deficit. "Well, we have a deficit because tax revenues are down," he said. "Make no mistake about it, the tax relief package that we passed -- that should be permanent...

ACLU Calls on President Bush to Disavow New Cyber-Spying Scheme That Seeks to Put Every American Under Scrutiny November 15, 2002 The American Civil Liberties Union today called on President Bush to disavow a new system being developed at the Pentagon that would be able to track every American’s activities. "Smile, you’re on virtual candid camera," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU’s Washington National Office. "If the Pentagon has its way, every American - from the Nebraskan farmer to the Wall Street banker - will find themselves under the accusatory cyber-stare of an all-powerful national security apparatus."

US economic outlook: fears of renewed recession—and worse 15 November 2002 By Patrick Martin The unexpectedly large interest rate cut announced by the Federal Reserve Board last week demonstrates that the US central bank shares the fears of renewed recession that are widespread in corporate America. The Fed lowered its key federal funds rate, the rate at which banks loan money to each other overnight, from 1.75 percent to 1.25 percent, the lowest level in more than 40 years. A quarter-point cut had been expected, but the Fed’s Open Market Committee said the US economy was encountering a “soft spot” that made a half-point cut appropriate. The Fed also lowered its discount rate, the rate at which the Fed lends to member banks, to 0.75 percent, the lowest in its 89-year history.

Iraq Agrees To Receive Inspectors U.N. Team to Arrive Next Week November 15, 2002 By Karen DeYoung Iraq yesterday said it is ready to receive United Nations weapons inspectors in accordance with the Security Council resolution approved last week, bowing to intense international pressure two days before a U.N. deadline.

1 in 3 say Bush is biggest threat November 14, 2002 Patrick Wintour and Ewen MacAskill President George Bush is seen by a third of Britons as a bigger threat to world safety than Saddam Hussein, according to a new poll conducted by a senior US Republican and due to be broadcast today. But most of those questioned by the polling organisation, You.Gov say they remain open minded, and ready to be convinced about the justification for an attack on Iraq. The weighted poll of 3,200 people throughout the country was conducted for Channel 4 by Robert Lunz, a senior Republican strategist, based on the You.Gov sample.

Mounting signs of early US invasion of Iraq 14 November 2002 By Chris Marsden In the wake of Iraq’s formal acceptance Wednesday of the United Nations Security Council resolution imposing a new weapons inspection regime, the Bush administration is continuing to prepare a war against the Arab country, which could begin as early as next month. Reinforcing this bellicose stance, the Pentagon leaked invasion plans involving a force of a quarter of a million troops to the New York Times and Washington Post earlier this week. The war plan outlines a military offensive that would lead to thousands, if not tens of thousands of casualties.

Interest Rate Cut A Desperation Move Greenspan Knows Won't Work November 14, 2002 On Nov. 6, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee unanimously decided to cut the federal funds rate from 1.75% to 1.25%, more than expected. This is the rate at which banks trade overnight surplus funds, but it is set by the Federal Reserve; it is at its lowest level since July 1961. The Fed also cut the discount rate, at which banks borrow directly from the Federal Reserve, to 0.75%, also a half-percent. Even during World War II, the discount rate did not go below 1%, and it appears, from available data, it did not go below 1% during the 1930s. The Fed is desperate, because both the bankrupt financial system and the physical economy are not responding to its traditional monetary policy, and things are getting worse. It may also be that a catastrophe has already occurred in the credit markets, such as a derivatives blow-out, which required an emergency credit infusion, which the Fed and the media are blacking out.

ACLU Asks Court to Order Government to Immediately Account for its Use of Vast New Surveillance Powers November 14, 2002 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW YORK-- The American Civil Liberties Union today asked a federal court to order the Department of Justice to respond immediately to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information on the government's use of extraordinary new surveillance powers granted to it by Congress last year. "As the Justice Department has conceded, there is widespread public concern about the scope of the new surveillance powers and the possibility that the government is abusing them," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program. "The records we have identified would enable the public to judge for itself whether these new surveillance powers are necessary and whether they are being used as they should be," he added. The ACLU sought the court order today after more than two weeks of negotiations with Justice Department lawyers failed to secure the government’s cooperation with the legal request. In legal papers filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the ACLU asked Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle to order the Justice Department to disclose within seven days what relevant records its possesses and to release those records within 20 days. The ACLU also asked the court to schedule oral arguments as quickly as possible. on the Air: Interviews of Iraqi Parliament Officials November 14, 2002 Iraq Journal (IJ) is broadcasting daily updates about the possibility of imminent war and ongoing anti-war activities on Democracy Now! radio and TV. Democracy Now's outreach is growing: syndicating coverage to 130 TV and radio stations nationwide. Tuesday, IJ journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed Iraqi Parliament officials about their rejection of the UN resolution (See Democracy Now!'s summary and webstream from November 11). Saddoun Hammadi, Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said that by rejecting the resolution Iraq is not inviting a war. Rather, Hammadi stated, "This is a rejection of allegations which are not true, of information which is false and of a bad intention which is behind this resolution... Iraq has fulfilled all the requirements of the previous resolutions. There are no mass destruction weapons in Iraq at all." The parliament qualified its position, noting that the final decision about the UN resolution lies with the Iraqi leadership, essentially meaning Hussein. On Wednesday, Iraq accepted with "no conditions" the U.N. resolution on the return of weapons inspectors.

Earthjustice: Defense Authorization Bill Passes Senate; Includes Migratory Bird Treaty Waiver WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2002 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The 2003 Defense Authorization Bill sent to President Bush late Wednesday includes a provision to exempt the military from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This provision, requested by the Bush Administration, seeks to allow the incidental take (killing) of migratory birds on 25 million acres of land controlled by the military. The Bush administration had originally requested an exemption for the military from many of our nations important federal laws including the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Clean Air Act and Superfund (CERCLA). But the strong efforts of Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), scaled back the administrations original demands that would have gutted many of the nation's most important environmental laws.

How will stocks handle the Big Chill? November 14, 2002 By Michael Brush Through an ironic quirk of nature, global warming may soon take a back seat to a dramatic reduction in temperatures. Here’s how to invest with such a forecast in mind. Investors in weather-sensitive sectors like insurance and travel are smugly confident of unusually mild temperatures ahead, thanks to global warming and another date with El Niño this winter. But they may be in for a nasty surprise that could dramatically upset their portfolios -- in the form of a Big Chill the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades. An unconventional doomsday forecast of global cooling is making the rounds among oceanographers and hedge-fund managers. The catalyst behind the forecast: an ominous mass of fresh water building up in the Northern Atlantic. Simply put, that mass threatens to block Gulf Stream currents that normally bring warmth up from the south. If this scenario plays out, it could lower average temperatures dramatically in Europe and North America for years, with vast economic and political consequences.

Alex Jones Radio Show Posted Nov. 14, 2002  Alex Jones: Partial Transcript- They are doing precisely, exactly what I said they would do. And I even predicted they would try to connect it to the Michigan militia, following the same pattern of Oklahoma City. They are now saying that there are al Qaeda training camps in South America. Translate that into CIA training camps in South America and that is connected to the American right-wing. Now I figured this out over two years ago. Why would they have Iraqis involved in the Oklahoma City bombing and then cover it up when good police arrested the Iraqis with the eye witnesses pointing them out. Clinton ordered the Iraqis released. They declared national security in two separate Freedom of Information Act trials. On the surveillance cameras, they would never release those. So we had FBI in the building. We even know their names, with CIA, actually planting the bombs. We have the diversionary blasts outside with McVeigh and Al Hussaini Hussain of the Iraqi Republican Guard.

Iraq invasion will trigger 'human catastrophe,' November 13, 2002 report warns Fears Iraqis could be used as shields GEORGE EDMONSON WASHINGTON—A report to be released today predicts that an invasion of Iraq could lead to a "human catastrophe" with casualties as high as 250,000 within the first three months. "Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq" was prepared largely by Medact, the British affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The U.S. affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility, also was involved. Most of the estimated casualties would be Iraqi civilians caught in the bombing, said Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman in Massachusetts for the International Physicians organization. It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for what the committee called its "considerable service to mankind by spreading authoritative information and by creating an awareness of the catastrophic consequences of atomic warfare.''

Dem Senate Leaders Screw Labor Movement, Give Up Fed Workers' Collective Bargaining Rights To Anti-Union Bush. November 13, 2002 By Politex When Tom Daschle, John Breaux, and the other Dem Senate centrists decided to back Bush's version of the Homaland Security bill and bring it to the Senate floor for an up or down vote, they screwed the nearly 200,000 fed workers in two dozen fed agencies that will make up the new Homeland Security Department out of a hard-fought cornerstone of the American union movement, the right of collective bargaining. Under the Bush bill, he or his representative can hire, fire, promote, or demote any worker in that department for whatever reason he sees fit without recourse. The Dem leaders hope to cover their behinds by claiming the bill is a compromise because it includes a mediation clause. But while the fired worker can talk to a mediator about his case, the mediator's decision will carry absolutely no legal weight with respect to Bush changing his decision. That's the Dem's idea of "compromise." That's an insult. That's not collective bargaining, that's slave labor. bushwatch

New Study To Find Employer Tax Credits for Child Care Aren't Working November 13. 2002 Over half the states - 28 - have enacted employer tax credits for child care, but the credits have failed to encourage employers to provide child care assistance to their employees, according to a new study that will be released by the National Women's Law Center on November 19. The report examines employer tax credits in 20 states in which data are available. In 16 of the 20 states, five or fewer corporations claimed the tax credit. In five of the 16 states, no corporations claimed the credit. Even more troubling, the credits are diverting state resources from proven solutions to America's child care needs.

US Warns War on Iraq May Start Before Christmas November 12, 2002 [R]esident Bush issued a tough new warning to Saddam Hussein yesterday as administration officials said that a war could begin before the end of the year. In a series of Veterans' Day memorial services, Mr Bush said he was ready to take his country to war. Unless President Saddam Hussein fully disarmed, "America will lead a coalition to fully disarm him. news.independent

White House defends CIA killing of US citizen in Yemen November 12, 2002 By Bill Vann  Having confirmed reports that one of the six men killed in a CIA missile strike in Yemen November 3 was an American citizen, US government officials are defending the action as a justifiable use of force and making clear that it will be replicated elsewhere. The Bush administration’s national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, described the killing as “well within the bounds of accepted practice,” in a television interview Sunday. “I can assure you that no constitutional questions are raised here,” added Rice. Ms. Rice failed to spell out what section of the US Constitution she believes endows the president with the power to order the killing of American citizens overseas.

Recommended ReadingA dark week for democracy November 11, 2002 By WILL HUTTON DAN The stranglehold the far Right has now taken on America will make it a more divided, reactionary and illiberal country. The election in Georgia said it all. The Democrat governor, Roy Barnes, had dared to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag last year. His Republican challenger wanted to bring it back, to honour, he said, 300,000 Confederate 'veterans'. A Republican has not occupied Georgia's governor's mansion since 1872. After last Tuesday, one does, courtesy of wanting to celebrate a civil war fought to defend slavery. Europeans do not understand the curious civilisation that the current America is becoming, and the grip that a visceral and idiosyncratic conservatism has on its national discourse. They especially do not understand the undercurrents of an increasingly self-confident and subtle racism that is its own variant of the forces that in Europe gave us Le Pen and Pim Fortuyn. George Bush Jnr is a chip off the old multilateralist, transatlantic establishment, runs the European argument. He may seem hawkishly conservative but, in the end, he seeks UN resolutions like other American Presidents. Even at home, his bark is worse than his bite.

"CARVILLE" November 11, 2002 - To be honest, but for Paul Wellstone’s funeral, we would have won in Minnesota and probably Missouri. That would have given us a tie (in the Senate). It’s not as shocking as it could have been, though. America is getting ready to learn a lesson, and that is that very minor shifts in voting can produce policy earthquakes. And, stand by, because the policy earthquakes are coming....You can see unbelievably rapid loosening of environmental regulations and fundamental restructuring or attempted restructuring of both the tax code and the Social Security system, and you’re going to see a PAC right-wing federal judiciary, and you’re going to see an administration and a Congress that is 100 percent representative of corporate interest. You’re going to see a diminution of any protection for workers or anything like that. You’re certainly going to see a huge legislation passed and signed to limit products’ liability, defects in products and medical malpractice. You name it. All of that is coming."

The Right Wing Republicans Have Made Compassion and Democratic Values Seem Radical November 11, 2002 By Maureen Farrell The New Radical Left (And the Old Folks Who Fuel It) They say people become more conservative with age. Until recently, that seemed so. For the legions of us who came of age as the left became a cartoon, a rightward shift was inevitable. We grew to distrust all of it: long overdue advances in civil rights were accompanied by open season on anything white and male; the women's movement was hijacked by champions of unwed childlessness; and valid opposition to the Vietnam War gave way to factions shamelessly spitting upon soldiers. It was distasteful and disgraceful and we gravitated towards the center.

Half-A-Million March in Anti-War Rally in Italy November 10, 2002 By Luke Baker FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - More than half a million anti-war protesters from across Europe marched through this Italian Renaissance city on Saturday in a loud and colorful demonstration denouncing any possible U.S. attack on Iraq. Brimming with anti-American feelings and riled by a tough new U.N. resolution to disarm Iraq, young and old activists from as far afield as Russia and Portugal joined forces for the carnival-like rally, singing Communist anthems and 1970s peace songs. "Take your war and go to hell," read one banner, in a forest of multi-colored and multi-lingual placards. "Drop Bush, not Bombs" read another. Some placards depicted President Bush as Hitler and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as Mussolini. Organizers said the rally, planned months ago, gained added relevance by Friday's U.N. Security Council resolution which gave Iraq a last chance to disarm or face almost certain war.

UN resolution on Iraq: a cynical cover for US aggression 10 November 2002 Editorial Board - With its unanimous vote Friday on a US-British resolution threatening “serious consequences” if Iraq does not comply with a new weapons inspections regime, the United Nations Security Council has given the Bush administration an international cover for the war it is planning against the Arab nation. The resolution is a thoroughly cynical document, which deliberately sets forward requirements that Iraq cannot possibly meet. It thereby satisfies the aims of Washington—to fashion the pretext for launching a war that is already well in preparation, without requiring the US to obtain prior authorization from the Security Council. While portrayed by the Bush administration and the media as a compromise reached through intense negotiations over substantive matters, the resolution, in fact, represents a bowing by permanent Security Council members France, Russia and China to intense pressure from Washington.

US lays out plans to invade Iraq with 200,000 troops November 10, 2002 Peter Beaumont and Ed Vulliamy in New York President George Bush has accelerated planning for a massive military attack against Iraq amid White House fears that Saddam Hussein will defy last Friday's UN resolution commanding him to disarm. According to US sources, quoted in today's New York Times, Bush and his senior officials have approved an outline plan for the removal from power of Saddam even as other members of the Security Council - notably Russia - declared that Resolution 1441 had averted the threat of a US-led war against Iraq. The plan - final details of which were approved by Bush well before the Security Council's vote on Friday to disarm Iraq - envisages a land attack on Iraq by upwards of 200,000 troops, up to 20,000 of them British. The Britons are likely to get provisional deployment orders next week.

Drug Industry Poised to Reap Political Dividends November 9, 2002 By Vicki Kemper Pharmaceutical Firms and Other Major Donors to Winning GOP Candidates are Ready to Push Their Legislative Agendas in Washington. WASHINGTON -- Few industries campaigned harder than pharmaceutical manufacturers to elect Republicans to the new Congress, and few industries are better positioned to reap the rewards of the election returns, analysts said Thursday. "The pharmaceutical industry may be at the front of the line of groups looking at the next two years as an opportunity to make a lot of progress on their issues," said Larry Makinson, senior fellow at the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics in Washington. It is a long line, with some related industries -- insurance companies, HMOs and physicians -- crowded near the front, along with energy companies, financial services and much of the rest of corporate America's elite. Their wish lists have many items in common, notably less regulation and more tax incentives. For drug manufacturers, that translates to no price controls, no patent reform and laws that keep drugs that are sold at cut rates abroad from being resold in the U.S. at the lower prices.

USA: AFTER THE VICTORY, THE REPUBLICANS WON'T HAVE ANYBODY ELSE TO SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FUTURE FAILURES, November 9, 2002 Vladimir Simonov / - President George W. Bush and his Republican Party took a great risk when they tried to transform the mid-term congressional elections into a referendum on confidence in the President and his gambling-like anti-terrorist policy. The risk was successfully justified. The Republicans scored a dramatic victory, capturing a majority in the Senate, where they own now at least 51 seats. They also strengthened their majority in the House of Representatives. The White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer definitely had all the reasons to call this victory "historic." Indeed, it is only the third time in a century that the President-led party has improved its standing in the Congress. Previously, only Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 and Bill Clinton in 1998 managed to break the pattern of the inevitable ceasing of the dominant positions in the Congress. Bush Jr. has become the first Republican to join this cohort of lucky leaders. And he obviously earned this luck.

New Yorkers Watch Ashcroft Watch New Yorkers
November 9, 2002 This past Tuesday, pedestrians in downtown New York City saw the demonic specter of a 20-by-50-foot (6-by-15-meter) image of Attorney General John Ashcroft staring at them from what is usually a giant advertisement for a clothing store. The sign bore the message "Ashcroft Is Watching You." A member of the Complacent Organization responsible for the culture jam said, "We wanted to remind people that while everyone especially activists has been distracted by the war on Iraq, Ashcroft has hidden himself away and pushed further and further with his agenda… We wanted to remind people of our lost civil liberties." Meanwhile, the New York Civil Liberties Union handed out copies of the Bill of Rights as Ashcroft visited Buffalo on Thursday.

Emboldened, President Bush Will Push To 'Enronize' Nation's Electricity System; Republicans Plan More Deregulation Nov. 8, 2002  /U.S. Newswire/ -- Consumer advocates fear that President Bush will push for further energy deregulation in the wake of Tuesday's Republican take-over of Congress, according to consumer advocates with the non-profit, non-partisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). Post-election news reports (Wall Street Journal 11/7, e.g.) indicate that energy will be among the President's top priorities with the new congress and consumer advocates expect that the stalled Energy Policy Act of 2002 will be revived to further deregulate the nation's electricity generation and transmission systems while ignoring the lessons of Enron and the California energy crisis.

Bush Makes Security Department - (Police State) and Tax Cut - (For the Rich) Top Priorities November 8, 2002 By ELISABETH BUMILLER WASHINGTON— President Bush said today that his top priority after the Republican victories in the midterm elections was creating a new Department of Homeland Security-(police state), long stalled in (Democratic)-Congress, and that he wanted it done before the end of the year. Mr. Bush also said it was essential for Congress to make his $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut (for the rich) permanent after its planned expiration in 2010, a centerpiece of his domestic agenda that the Democratic-controlled Senate had blocked.

US longshore officials cave in to West Coast shippers’ anti-union demands 8 November 2002 By Andrea Cappannari and Rafael Azul The leadership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) last week agreed to the main concessionary demands put forward by West Coast shipping companies in the protracted negotiations for a new contract. While other contract issues remain to be settled, an agreement was reached between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) on the introduction of labor-saving technology. The deal, announced by the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on November 1, will mean the destruction of some 1,000 jobs and further attacks on dockworkers’ working conditions and living standards.

Is Democracy too much trouble? November 8, 2002 By James Higdon Online Journal Contributing Editor—What is the lesson of November 5, 2002? It is simple really. It all comes down to one major overriding factor. A free press that encourages fierce investigative journalism of government and institutions, and promotes free and open debate with an array of divergent views and opinions is the single most brilliant vision of our founding fathers. For more than 200 years, as a nation, we found ways to preserve and encourage that vision, until greedy, right wing, corporate robber barons realized that was the one central roadblock that stood in their way. Purchasing a political party was not enough, but purchasing America's broadcast airwaves was just the prescription needed to insure success.

Recommended ReadingUS midterm election: the meaning of the Democratic debacle 7 November 2002 The Republican sweep in the November 5 midterm election sets the stage for an enormous intensification of the social and political crisis in the United States. The attempt by the media to present the election result as a vindication of George W. Bush and an expression of popular support for his policies is an exercise in cynical propaganda. Even to speak of the Republicans “winning” the campaign is misleading. The November 5 election was not seriously contested by the nominal opposition party. It was a political debacle for the Democrats. The rout was across the board, with the Democrats ceding control of the Senate, losing seats in the House of Representatives, and going down to defeat in a majority of gubernatorial races. The Republican Party now has the presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time since the election of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. Adding the Supreme Court as another right-wing stronghold, the Republicans are in control of all three branches of the US government for the first time since the Hoover administration in 1930. The Bush administration is under no illusions as to the breadth of popular support for its policies, but it will exploit the collapse of any opposition within the political establishment to carry out an unprecedented attack on the working class. Already given the green light by the House and Senate, the White House is expected to launch war against Iraq in the next few months, with incalculable consequences for the peoples of the Middle East, America and the world. health insurance. CAHI's 2002 Voters' Guide is free and available online at or by request.

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