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Impeach Bush

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 Poll Shows Lies about Nukes are believed
 US Lacks Case for Iraqi Terror Link
 Martha Stewart
 Interest on debt
 Projected Cost of War with Iraq
 American denied Protection *
 Disarray over Iraq
 Bush Helps Iraq Through Syria
  Government Employment up--Civilian Employment Down
 Carter Blasts Bush
 Americans Think First Amendment Goes too far
Poll Shows Lies about Nukes are believed
FoxNews.com

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Most Americans expect the country will be at war with Iraq relatively soon, even as support for ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein drops to its lowest level this year.

In a FOX News poll conducted earlier this week by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, 81 percent of Americans say it is likely that the U.S. will go to war with Iraq in the next year (41 percent "very" likely and 40 percent "somewhat" likely). After weeks of debate on the issue, and with the war on terror marking its one-year anniversary, only 13 percent think war with Iraq is unlikely.

As President Bush attempts to persuade the international community that action must be taken, the level of public support for removing Saddam is at 66 percent, down from 72 percent two months ago and from a high of 77 percent in November 2001.

While there is almost no gender gap in support for ousting Saddam from power (65 percent of women and 68 percent of men support removal), a wide partisan gap exists. Seventy-six percent of Republicans support the action, compared to 61 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents. Over the last several months there has been only slight erosion in support among Republicans (7 points), but much more so among Democrats (11 points) and independents (14 points).

Furthermore, if Bush is unable to rally support from the U.N. Security Council and other allies, support for action erodes. While about half of the public (51 percent) believes the U.S. should consider acting alone, 40 percent would go along with our allies.

Not surprisingly, support for Saddam's removal is stronger among those who believe Iraq currently has nuclear weapons. Overall, about two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) believe Iraq already has nukes and, of those, 74 percent back military action. Among those who do not believe Saddam has nuclear weapons, support for action is only 49 percent.

Women are much more likely than men to believe Iraq has nuclear weapons (79 percent compared to 58 percent). Young people and lower income groups also strongly believe Saddam has access to nukes.

Support for U.S. military action is also high among those who believe Iraq would try to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. About three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) believe Iraq would use nukes against the nation if it could and, of those, 76 percent support removing Saddam from power. Only 31 percent of those who do not think he would use nukes support the U.S. taking action.

"The level of support for taking action clearly depends on the credibility of the threat that the public think he poses," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "As the administration tries to make its case to the allies, it will also have to reinforce the belief among Americans that there is a need for action based on real danger. If this perception is diminished, data suggest that support will drop as well."

Finally, support is strongest among those who believe inaction is too risky. Vice President Dick Cheney has been out in front on Iraq for the Bush administration with the mantra of "the risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action." A majority of Americans (62 percent) agrees with Cheney and, of those, fully 83 percent back U.S. action to topple Saddam.

Polling was conducted by telephone Sept. 8-9 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

(poll charts not included)

Commentary:
Good grief! Americans by a huge majority believe Iraq has nuclear weapons. The disinformation campaign of Bush and Co. is formidable. The shameful disregard of truth is expected by Bush, but what of the media and the rest of America? We must fault the media for failing to tell Americans the truth and allowing this misconception to lead us to war. Shame on them.


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US Lacks Case for Iraqi Terror Link
Reuters.com

September 10, 2002
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bush administration officials working to build a case against Saddam Hussein have been unable to establish a direct link between the Iraqi leader and global terrorism, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Citing senior intelligence officials and other sources, the paper said the Central Intelligence Agency had yet to find convincing evidence of an Iraqi terror link despite redoubled efforts to collect and analyze information related to Iraq.

According to the report, analysts who have studied photographs, communications intercepts and information from informants concluded they could not validate allegations made by high-ranking U.S. officials of links between Saddam and al Qaeda members who would have taken refuge in northern Iraq.

Nor can the analysts confirm allegations of an April 2001 meeting in Prague between Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers and an Iraqi intelligence agent, it said.

"It's a thin reed," a senior intelligence official was quoted as saying in describing the information on both cases.

As a result of the CIA's conclusions, the Bush administration has accepted the notion that its stronger case against Iraq is Baghdad's pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, the Post said.

"At some point we will certainly make the case concerning Iraq and its links to terrorism," a senior administration official told the newspaper. "We still have to develop it more."

Commentary:
The CIA is calling Bush a liar, nothing new here. We also learned earlier there is no proof whatsoever that Iraq has nuclear weapons however, 69% of Americans believe it anyway. The disinformation campaign of the Bush crowd is truly amazing.


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Martha Stewart
Reuters.com

September 05, 2002
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee said on Thursday it has new evidence of lying in its investigation of possible insider trading by Martha Stewart when she sold shares of ImClone Systems Inc.

Records of a rented mobile phone used by Stewart showed a five-minute call on Dec. 31, 2001, to then ImClone Chief Executive Sam Waksal, though both have maintained they did not speak between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, a spokesman for the panel said.

An assistant to Stewart had access to the rented phone but has told committee investigators she did not make the call to Waksal's personal mobile phone.

Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin on Tuesday plans to announce his next move with the investigation, which could include subpoenaing Stewart to explain the discrepancy, issuing a report on evidence uncovered, or referring criminal charges to the U.S. Justice Department.

"We believe someone has lied to the committee and possibly conspired to obstruct a congressional investigation, that's why we are pursuing this so doggedly," Tauzin's spokesman, Ken Johnson, told Reuters.

He said a few more legal details had to be worked out before the committee would make its move, though declined to elaborate.

"We have no comment on that," Stewart spokeswoman Susan Magrino said. Scott Tagliarino, a spokesman for Waksal, said, "We have no comment, but we are looking into it."

Stewart, head of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. , sold nearly 4,000 ImClone shares on Dec. 27, a day before the biotech company announced regulators had refused to review its cancer drug Erbitux.

The setback for the highly touted experimental drug shocked investors and sent the stock plunging.

Stewart, a friend of Waksal, repeatedly has denied wrongdoing. She has said she sold the shares because she had a preexisting deal with her broker to dump them if the price fell below $60 a share.

Waksal, who resigned from ImClone in May, has been charged with allegedly trying to sell ImClone shares before the negative news about Erbitux became public and tipping two relatives to unload their shares. Waksal has denied wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

Stock in Stewart's company has plunged after questions emerged about her trading in ImClone, falling almost 60 percent since June 6 when her trading was revealed. Martha Stewart shares closed down 17 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $7.63 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Waksal has denied in an interview with committee investigators speaking to Stewart between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, according to Johnson.

The panel has tried several times to interview Stewart privately but so far she has refused, triggering threats of a subpoena. Her lawyers have told investigators that Waksal did not return a call she placed to him on Dec. 27.

"We have reached the end of the road with respect to Martha Stewart," Johnson said. "If she's telling the truth, why won't she meet with our investigators voluntarily?"

Commentary:
The results of the republican investigation into Martha is finally over and after destroying her company, her name and reputation, they have a five minute phone made AFTER she sold her stock and THAT's it. Martha forgot ONE PHONE call. If republicans held themselves to the same standard we wouldn't have any republicans. Democrats need to retake control of the House so they can stop these abuses of power.


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CBO's Baseline Projections of Federal Interest and Debt

(In billions of dollars)
  Actual
2001
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total,
2003-
2007
Total,
2003-
2012

Net Interest Outlays
Interest on the Public Debt (Gross interest)a 360 331 326 367 402 425 443 461 478 493 506 513 1,963 4,415
Interest Received by Trust Funds  
  Social Security -69 -77 -85 -93 -104 -116 -129 -143 -158 -175 -192 -211 -526 -1,404
  Other trust fundsb -75 -75 -68 -71 -75 -79 -84 -88 -93 -98 -103 -109 -377 -868
    Subtotal -144 -153 -153 -164 -179 -195 -212 -231 -251 -273 -295 -319 -903 -2,272
Other Interestc -9 -8 -9 -12 -15 -16 -18 -20 -22 -25 -27 -30 -70 -195
Other Investment Incomed 0 * * -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -3 -7
      Total (Net interest) 206 170 164 191 208 213 212 209 204 195 183 164 987 1,941
                                   
Federal Debt (At end of year)
Debt Held by the Public 3,320 3,504 3,676 3,805 3,862 3,865 3,829 3,757 3,639 3,476 3,167 2,658 n.a. n.a.
Debt Held by Government Accounts  
  Social Security 1,170 1,330 1,500 1,688 1,894 2,118 2,360 2,622 2,902 3,201 3,520 3,857 n.a. n.a.
  Other government accountsb 1,280 1,324 1,384 1,479 1,590 1,713 1,842 1,976 2,113 2,255 2,403 2,563 n.a. n.a.
      Total 2,450 2,654 2,884 3,167 3,484 3,830 4,202 4,598 5,015 5,457 5,924 6,419 n.a. n.a.
Gross Federal Debt 5,770 6,157 6,560 6,972 7,346 7,695 8,031 8,354 8,654 8,933 9,090 9,077 n.a. n.a.
Debt Subject to Limite 5,733 6,120 6,528 6,944 7,324 7,673 8,010 8,333 8,633 8,913 9,070 9,058 n.a. n.a.
                                   
Federal Debt as a Percentage of GDP
Debt Held by the Public 33.1 33.9 34.1 33.5 32.4 30.8 28.9 26.9 24.8 22.5 19.4 15.5 n.a. n.a.

Source: Congressional Budget Office.
Note: * = between -$500 million and zero; n.a. = not applicable.
a. Excludes interest costs of debt issued by agencies other than the Treasury (primarily the Tennessee Valley Authority).
b. Principally Civil Service Retirement, Military Retirement, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance.
c. Primarily interest on loans to the public.
d. Earnings on private investments by the Railroad Retirement Board.
e. Differs from gross federal debt primarily because most debt issued by agencies other than the Treasury is excluded from the debt limit. The current debt limit is $6,400 billion.


Original Text

Commentary:
As Bush continues the failed policies of Reagan by borrowing money to pay for tax cuts going mostly to the rich we see from CBO that over time interest on the debt exceeds the size of the tax cuts. Bush had promised to pay down the debt (IE: eliminate interest payments) and give us a tax cut from surpluses. His entire economic and fiscal policy was based on a lie or fuzzy math.


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Projected Cost of War with Iraq
Reuters.com

September 16, 2002

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Bush's chief economic adviser estimates that the U.S. may have to spend between $100 billion and $200 billion to wage an Iraq war, but doubts hostilities would push the nation into recession or sustained inflation, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Lawrence Lindsey, head of the White House's National Economic Council, projected the "upper bound" of war costs at between 1 percent and 2 percent of gross domestic product, the Journal reported.

With the U.S. GDP at about $10 trillion per year, that translates into a one-time cost of $100 billion to $200 billion, according to the Journal article. That is considerably higher than a preliminary, private Pentagon estimate of about $50 billion, according to the Journal.

In an interview in his White House office, Lindsey dismissed the economic consequences of such spending, saying it would not have an appreciable effect on interest rates or add much to the federal debt, which is already about $3.6 trillion, the Journal reported.

At the same time, he doubted that the additional spending would give the economy much of a lift, according to the Journal.

Other administration economists say that their main fear is that an Iraq war could lead to a sustained spike in prices, according to the Journal.

The past four recessions have been preceded by the price of oil jumping to above $30 a barrel, the Journal reported, citing BCA Research.com in Montreal.

But the White House believes that removing Iraqi oil from production during a war -- which would likely lead to a short-term rise in prices -- would be insufficient to tip the economy into recession.

Commentary:
We're to believe a war costing anywhere from $100-200 billion "would not have an appreciable effect....on the federal debt," and we're to believe earlier statements from this White House warning that a $5 billion plan to rescue farmers from drought costs too much. Spending $100 billion on Iraq has more value to Bush than $5 billion for US farmers because a war buys Bush more control over the media prior to an election. In other words, screw US citizens but give the media another "Wag the dog."


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American denied Protection *
An impeachable offense

justice.gov

Transcript of the Attorney General John Ashcroft
Regarding the transfer of Abdullah Al Muhajir (Born Jose Padilla)
To the Department of Defense as an Enemy Combatant
06/10/02

I am pleased to announce today a significant step forward in the War on Terrorism. We have captured a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to build and explode a radiological dispersion device, or "dirty bomb," in the United States. I commend the FBI, the CIA, the Defense Department, and the other federal agencies whose cooperation made this possible.

Yesterday, after consultation with the Acting Secretary of Defense and other senior officials, both the Acting Secretary of Defense and I recommended that the President of the United States, in his capacity as commander in chief, determine that Abdullah Al Muhajir, born Jose Padilla, is an enemy combatant who poses a serious and continuing threat to the American people and our national security.

After the determination, Abdullah Al Muhajir was transferred from the custody of the Justice Department to the custody of the Defense Department.

Following serving in prison in the United States in the early 1990s, Jose Padilla referred to himself as Abdullah Al Muhajir. Subsequent to his release from prison, he traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan. On several occasions in 2001, he met with senior Al Qaeda officials.

While in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Al Muhajir trained with the enemy, including studying how to wire explosive devices and researching radiological dispersion devices. Al Qaeda officials knew that as a citizen of the United States, as a citizen of the United States holding a valid U.S. passport, Al Muhajir would be able to travel freely in the U.S. without drawing attention to himself.

The United States government was tracking Abdullah Al Muhajir when, on May the 8th, 2002, this year, he flew from Pakistan into Chicago O'Hare International Airport, where he was placed in the custody of federal law enforcement authorities.

In apprehending Al Muhajir as he sought entry into the United States, we have disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive "dirty bomb."

Now, a radioactive "dirty bomb" involves exploding a conventional bomb that not only kills victims in the immediate vicinity, but also spreads radioactive material that is highly toxic to humans and can cause mass death and injury.

From information available to the United States government, we know that Abdullah Al Muhajir is an Al Qaeda operative and was exploring a plan to build and explode a radioactive "dirty bomb."

Let me be clear: We know from multiple independent and corroborating sources that Abdullah Al Muhajir was closely associated with Al Qaeda and that as an Al Qaeda operative he was involved in planning future terrorist attacks on innocent American civilians in the United States.

The safety of all Americans and the national security interests of the United States require that Abdullah Al Muhajir be detained by the Defense Department as an enemy combatant. In determining that Al Muhajir is an enemy combatant who legally can be detained by the United States military, we have acted with legal authority both under the laws of war and clear Supreme Court precedent, which establish that the military may detain a United States citizen who has joined the enemy and has entered our country to carry out hostile acts.

Once again, I commend the FBI, the CIA and other agencies involved in capturing Abdullah Al Muhajir before he could act on his deadly plan.

Because of the close cooperation among the FBI, the CIA, Defense Department and other federal agencies, we were able to thwart this terrorist.

To our enemies, I say we will continue to be vigilant against all threats, whether they come from overseas or at home in America. To our citizens, I say we will continue to respect the rule of law while doing everything in our power to prevent terrorist attacks.

Commentary:
What does the Constitution say?

Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Ashcroft is depriving a US citizen of liberty without due process of law and equal protection under the law.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

A US citizen is being denied a "public trial, an "impartial jury" and "council for his defense."

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

A US citizen is being charged with a "capital, or otherwise infamous crime" without an indictment by a grand jury. He's also being deprived of "liberty" and could be deprived of "life" if found guilty by a military court.

The President, the Attorney General and the Courts can NOT change the constitution and/or any of the amendments without violating the Constitution.

On this day, Mr. Bush becomes eligible for articles of impeachment and removal from office for violating the Constitution of the United States.


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Disarray over Iraq
Reuters.com

September 01, 2002
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Already under fire from abroad, the Bush administration was criticized across the political spectrum at home on Sunday for an Iraq policy in disarray, with top advisers seemingly at odds.

The latest apparent split came as Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed to differ with Vice President Dick Cheney over the need to get U.N. inspectors back into Baghdad, and President Bush came under attack for failing to get his team in line.

"There have been nuanced disagreements from day one ... and they should be brought under control," said former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, a Republican. "He's got to lead, he's got to unify, he's got to ... start speaking with one voice."

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton, said the Powell comments, coming after Cheney last week twice made high-profile pitches for action against Iraq, pointed out the administration's inability to articulate a policy. The U.S. threats against Iraq have sparked widespread opposition overseas.

"It's more of a summer of public disarray by the administration," Holbrooke told "Fox News Sunday."

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who served under the president's father, former President George Bush, told NBC's "Meet the Press," "There is a disconnect here and I don't understand it."

The new chorus of criticism on the Sunday television talk shows surfaced after another week of intense debate over whether the United States should act on Bush's stated desire to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein because he is rebuilding weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tareq Aziz, said Cheney had provided no evidence to support pre-emptive action.

"They are telling wrongly ... that Iraq is reproducing weapons of mass destruction," Aziz told CNN. "That's not true. We are ready to prove it."

In pressing for action against Baghdad, the White House has brushed off unease among European allies, Muslim states and broader world opinion. While polls show Americans continue to back an attack on Iraq, support has fallen in recent months.

Twice last week, Cheney took the lead in making the case for a pre-emptive military strike, arguing that the return of weapons inspectors should not be the key objective.

Powell said in a BBC interview released on Sunday that getting U.N. inspectors into Iraq "as a first step" was a priority, stating, "The president has been clear that he believes weapons inspectors should return."

The arms experts left Iraq in December 1998 on the eve of a U.S.-British bombing raid and have not been allowed to return. White House spokesman Scott McClellan, speaking as Bush returned to Washington from a month-long Texas vacation, insisted there was no difference between Powell's comments and the Bush administration position that demanded "unfettered" inspections of Iraq's capability for producing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

"It's what we've been saying all along," McClellan said.

CHORUS OF CONCERN

But the administration plan for Iraq has been anything but clear, as evidenced by the rash of conflicting comments and unrelenting chorus of concern expressed at home and abroad.

Haig said Powell's British television comments were simply "a little conscious ambiguity ... to try to shore up an important ally in the process of getting ready to do what, unfortunately, we're going to have to do."

A long string of current and past officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations have weighed in recently, urging more consultation both at the United Nations and on Capitol Hill before any action is taken.

Like many, Holbrooke argued the administration had to approach the U.N. Security Council for another resolution for action against Iraq -- whether the United States won or not.

"They're undermining their own case, first by the disarray ... and, secondly, by their failure to recognize that they must seek international approval," Holbrooke said.

Haig, a former NATO supreme commander, said Washington should simply "inform the United Nations in a very formal way that we intend to enforce those resolutions in the face of repeated violations."

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican and Bush's 2000 presidential campaign rival, wrote in Time magazine that he was unconvinced "that the large U.S. force contemplated for the operation is the best or only option" to oust Saddam.

But Bush "should seek congressional support soon -- before staging large numbers of troops in advance of hostilities."

Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told CBS' "Face the Nation" the president needed to better make his case at home.

"People are very perplexed about where we are. I think when the president comes back this week he needs to talk to the country ... to the members of Congress."

Republican National Committee Chairman Marc Racicot said differing views were the result of open debate.

"There's no mystery here," Racicot said. "It's just exactly what it appears to be."

Commentary:
The debate over Iraq is purely political, with Bush using it to try to define democrats as weak on Saddam. This is a false choice. There is no logical reason to take on Saddam, regardless of what one feels about the man. If Saddam attacks one of his neighbor with nuclear weapons (there is no evidence that he has nukes) either Israel or the US would launch a counter-attack and Iraq would cease to exist.

Bush is using foreign policy for political purposes because he's a complete failure on domestic policy. With the economy in shambles and budget deficits out of control, Bush needs to get the media talking about war. This diversion is a political necessity and has nothing to do with national security.


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Bush Helps Iraq Through Syria
MSNBC.com
September 5,2002

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 — The United States is quietly allowing Syria, which it has declared a state sponsor of terrorism, to illegally import 200,000 barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day in exchange for information about al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations, U.S. and Syrian officials have told NBC News.

SOURCES SAID THAT earlier this year, U.S. troops were saved from an al-Qaida attack in the Persian Gulf based on information from Syria.

"We supply the United States with any information we have on al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations that we consider terrorist," said Georges Jabbour, a political analyst at Aleppo University in Syria and a past adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"And this does not mean we agree with the United States on what she considers to be terrorism and terrorists," said Jabbour, who often speaks unofficially for Syria.

U.S. officials characterized the Syrian information as "golden." "The Syrians have provided significant operational intelligence," a senior State Department official told NBC News on condition of anonymity. "I'll let you draw your own conclusions."

In exchange, Washington has chosen to look the other way as Syria illegally imports 200,000 barrels of of cut-rate Iraqi oil every day in defiance of a United Nations-imposed embargo.

U.S. officials said the oil flows through an old, long-unused pipeline from the Kirkuk oil field in the north, which the Energy Department has estimated has more than 10 billion barrels of proven reserves. Syria denies importing the oil, but U.S. officials said it was lying.

Even though Iraq charges Syria only $14 a barrel — half the market price — the arrangement has yielded a $3 billion-a-year bonanza for Iraq, which a senior U.S. official said was used as a slush fund for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"He certainly needs money to support his elite troops and to keep them happy," said Jeffrey Schott, a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics, a Washington policy institute.

SEPT. 11 RECRUITER HELD

In addition to intelligence information, officials said, Syria has also giving the CIA access to Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who is believed to have recruited some of the 19 men who hijacked four jetliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania almost a year ago.

Zammar, 41, a German citizen born in Syria, was allegedly the main contact for lead Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. He was arrested in Morocco earlier this year and deported to Syria, where he was secretly detained, reportedly with the knowledge of the United States.

Because he is in Syrian custody, the arrangement allows interrogators to question him outside the protection of the U.S. Constitution. German officials have accused Syria of torturing Zammar and have demanded that he be treated in accordance with international law.

"I would say that the questioning in Damascus is going to be more brutal and more effective than in Guantanamo or in Washington," said Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Zammar, who is being questioned at Syrian secret police headquarters, is talking, as are two dozen other al-Qaida members also imprisoned in Syria, U.S. officials said.

Commentary:
Bush is letting Syria buy oil from Iraq so Saddam can build up his weapons of mass destruction against the US. Does anything shock us about this man? The actions of Bush and the CIA border on "TREASON." Giving aid to our enemies using back channels is reminiscent of Iran/Contra.


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Government Employment Up--Civilian Employment Down
MSNBC.com

Sept. 6 — The unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 percent last month, the government said Friday in a report likely to revive flagging consumer confidence and keep the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates any further. But employers added only a paltry 39,000 jobs in August, clear evidence that the economy continues to grow sluggishly, analysts said.

ECONOMISTS WERE SURPRISED by the decline in the jobless rate from 5.9 percent in July, given that the economy generally needs to add more than 100,000 jobs on average each month just to keep up with growth in the U.S. working-age population growth. Some analysts called the decline a statistical aberration, but after recent flurry of weak economic data the news boosted morale on Wall Street and presumably beyond.

"It is one of those economic numbers that the public really has a good understanding of, so it could really resonate on Main Street," said Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.

The private sector actually lost 2,000 jobs last month, but government agencies added 41,000, resulting in a fourth consecutive monthly gain in payroll employment, according to the Labor Department. The department also revised last month's payroll number upward to a gain of 67,000 rather than 6,000. The previous reported gain had been considered insignificant in a labor force of more than 140 million people.

The post September 11 economy

While the payroll data was in line with expectations, analysts said it was far weaker than typically might be expected in the early stages of a recovery, when the economy should be adding 200,000 jobs a month. Instead the report was consistent with a weak expansion similar to the "jobless recovery" of 1991-92, which contributed heavily to the re-election defeat of the first President Bush.

"The overall picture that emerges from the August employment report is no different from the lackluster trend that has been in place since the spring," said Jade Zelnick, chief economist at Greenwich Capital Markets. "It still fits in with the notion of a jobless recovery."

But Gerald Cohen, senior economist at Merrill Lynch, pointed out that rising productivity is helping the economy to grow faster than it did in the early stages of the 1991-92 recovery, even if job gains remain scarce.

"Companies are getting more and more out of their work force," he said. "It's definitely a fairly modest recovery, but nowhere near a double-dip recession."

The White House said Congress should consider new initiatives to stimulate the sluggish economy.

"The president was heartened by the fact the unemployment has gone down, but he's not satisfied, and when he looked at the ... numbers inside there he sees further cause for Congress to take action," spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

The manufacturing sector lost 68,000 jobs last month, and the retail sector lost 55,000, but those losses were offset by the addition of 34,000 construction jobs and 100,000 positions in service industries including 51,000 temporary workers. Other data in the jobs report, including average workweek and total hours worked were "anemic," Zelnick said in a note to clients.

The unemployment rate is calculated from a separate government survey, which fluctuates more widely from month to month and is given less weight by economists.

"I don't think the drop in the unemployment rate is consistent with other data in the economy," said Ethan Harris, co-chief U.S. economist at Lehman Bros. "I expect it to go back up. It's a little bit of a fluke, although you can't completely dismiss it."

Financial markets welcomed the glimmer of good news, sending the Dow Jones industrial average up nearly 2 percent by midafternoon. And the improvement in the unemployment rate made it all but certain the Fed will refrain from cutting short-term interest rates when Chairman Alan Greenspan and other policy-makers next meet Sept. 24. And if the Fed fails to move this month, policymakers probably will be extremely reluctant to act until after November's midterm congressional elections, unless there is some kind of external shock or a serious deterioration in the economic data.

"This report takes the Fed out of the picture in the near term," said Harris. "They're not going to cut rates on data like this. It's not ugly, and they need ugly."

Despite the lowest interest rates in more than 30 years and a heavy increase in federal spending after last year's terrorist attacks, the economy has slowed in recent months after a recession that most analysts believe ended in December or January. The stock market, weighed down by concerns over a wave of scandal and weak corporate earnings, hit its lowest levels in five years in July and remains pressured by uncertainty over a possible war in Iraq.

In August the Fed declared that the risks of economic weakness were rising again, indicating that it would lower short-term rates further if needed to keep the economy from losing momentum.

But central bank policy-makers also said they believe the current low interest rates should provide the conditions needed for improving business conditions, so they would be extremely unlikely to move unless they see clear evidence of economic weakening or deteriorating conditions in financial markets.

"The Fed does not have a strong basis on which to cut rates," said Crescenzi. Based largely on a surge in auto sales stemming from a new wave of interest rate incentives, the economy is likely to show growth of 4 percent in the current quarter, he said, up from just 1.1 percent in the second quarter.

Most economists expect growth to slow again in the fourth quarter, reasoning that auto sales will slow and there are few other engines of growth on the horizon.

"It still looks like a slow-growth, disappointing recovery," said John Silvia, chief economist for Wachovia Securities.

Commentary:
Every time the economy attempts to recover, Bush throws us into another terrorist thingy, or war with Iraq. Bush appears to be more than willing to destroy the economy in order to keep his party in power. Clearly he's learned from his father's mistakes. When the war ends he has to do something, therefore the war must never end. So far Americans seem to be accepting the trade-off.

The surge in government employment is something republicans say they're against, but in reality (like Reagan) they give us more government. Republicans have embraced the "Era of Big Government."


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Carter Blasts Bush
Reuters.com

September 05, 2002
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Thursday warned against "belligerent and divisive voices" in Washington that he said are moving the United States away from its historical role as a champion of human rights and a respected leader in the community of nations.

Some of the positions "seem to be developing from a core group of conservatives who are trying to realize long-pent-up ambitions under the cover of the proclaimed war against terrorism," Carter wrote in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post.

Carter, a Democrat, listed several post-Sept. 11 policies that he said have made the United States a foremost target of international organizations concerned about the basic principles of democratic life, including the detention of American citizens as 'enemy combatants' denied access to legal counsel.

"These actions are similar to those of abusive regimes that historically have been condemned by American presidents," said Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981.

He also lamented that the U.S. government was "abandoning any sponsorship of substantive negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis."

On Iraq, Carter disputed Bush administration claims that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein posed a present danger to the United States.

"We cannot ignore the development of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer," the former president said.

There is an "urgent need" for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspection in Iraq, he said, but that is unlikely to happen because the U.S. government, through a series of moves, has alienated its "necessary allies."

"Pre-emptory rejections of nuclear arms agreements, the biological weapons convention, environment protection, anti-torture proposals and punishment of war criminals have sometimes been combined with economic threat against those who might disagree with us," Carter wrote. "The unilateral acts and assertion increasingly isolate the United States from the very nations needed to join in combating terrorism."

"Belligerence and divisive voices now seem to be dominant in Washington, but they do not yet reflect final decisions of the president, Congress or the courts," Carter said in conclusion. "It is crucial that the historical and well-founded American commitments prevail: to peace, justice, human rights, the environment and international cooperation."


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First Amendment Goes too far. Poll!
ABCNews.com/AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Aug. 29 — Support for the First Amendment has eroded significantly since Sept. 11 and nearly half of Americans now think the constitutional amendment on free speech goes too far in the rights it guarantees, says a poll released Thursday.

The sentiment that the First Amendment goes too far was already on the rise before the terrorist attacks a year ago, doubling to four in 10 between 2000 and 2001.

The poll found that 49 percent think the First Amendment goes too far, a total about 10 points higher than in 2001.

"Many Americans view these fundamental freedoms as possible obstacles in the war on terrorism," said Ken Paulson, executive director of the First Amendment Center, based in Arlington, Va., which commissioned the survey. Almost half also said the media has been too aggressive in asking the government questions about the war on terrorism.

The center, which also has offices in Nashville, asked the University of Connecticut's Center for Survey Research and Analysis to measure views about the First Amendment.

The poll of 1,000 adults was taken between June 12 and July 5, and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The researchers said they designed this year's survey, in part, to test the "public's willingness to tolerate restrictions on the First Amendment liberties during what they perceive to be wartime."

They found that 48 percent of respondents agreed the government should have the freedom to monitor religious groups in the interest of national security even if that means infringing upon the religious freedom of the group's members. Forty-two percent said the government should have more authority to monitor Muslims.

The survey also found a significant dip in the number of people who believe newspapers should freely criticize the U.S. military about its strategy and performance. Fifty-seven percent were supportive this year, compared to 69 percent in 2001.

Seven in 10 respondents agreed newspapers should publish freely, a slight drop from 2001. Those less likely to support newspaper rights included people without a college education, Republicans, and evangelicals, the survey found.

Republican respondents also were more likely than Democrats or Independents to see the news media as too aggressive in seeking war information from government officials.

Among other poll findings:

About four in 10 favored restrictions on the academic freedom of professors to criticize government military policy during war. Twenty-two percent strongly supported such restrictions.

While 75 percent considered the right to speak freely as "essential," almost half, 46 percent, supported amending the Constitution to prohibit flag burning.

Sixty-three percent rated the job the American educational system does in teaching students about First Amendment freedoms as either "fair" or "poor." Five percent rated the educational system's job in this area as excellent.


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