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Impeach Bush

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 Economy Shrinks 1.1%
 Deficits Till 2005...
 EU Won't Extradite
 Confidence Drops
 US Enters Recession
 What's Wrong with Tribunals?
 Who Were the Hijackers?
 Public Trials *
 Hostage Crisis Part  2 
 Federalized Workers
 Gore Won

* impeachable offense
Third Quarter Shrinks by 1.1%
ABCNews.com

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) The U.S. economy, which slipped into recession in March, was shrinking at an annual rate of 1.1 percent from July through September, the weakest showing in a decade. The revised reading on Gross Domestic Product the total output of goods and services produced within the United States marked a much bigger drop than the 0.4 percent rate of decline estimated a month ago, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The 1.1 percent rate of decline in the third quarter was the worst performance since the first quarter of 1991, when GDP decreased at a 2 percent rate.

Some analysts believe the current quarter will prove even weaker than the third quarter, forecasting economic output will fall at a rate of at least 1.5 percent.

The weak third-quarter performance reflected a sharp pullback in consumer spending and a continued plunge in business investment in new plants and equipment.

One of the biggest reasons third-quarter GDP was revised downward was because businesses did an even better job of getting rid of excess inventories of unsold goods.

Friday's report also showed that after-tax profits of U.S. companies fell at a rate of 7.1 percent in the third quarter, reflecting the impact of the attacks and the economic slump. In the second quarter, profits declined at a 1.7 percent rate.

Business investment in new plants and equipment, which has been severely depressed for a year, fell at a rate of 9.3 percent in the third quarter, on top of a 14.6 percent rate of decline.

Consumer spending, the lifeblood of the economy, rose at a rate of 1.1 percent, the smallest increase in eight years. That followed a 2.5 percent growth rate in consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity.

Commentary:
According to conservative theory the 1991 recession was caused by a tax increase. The 2001 recession will be blamed on the terrorist attack. They always have an excuse.

Consumer and business spending have slowed considerably. While some can be blamed on 9/11, a good argument can also be made that Bush talked down the economy for so long it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.


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Other Links:
House Budget Comm.
Pay-Go/Heritage Foundation
Deficits Till 2005
ABCNews.com

Budget Chief: Federal Deficits Until 2005 Due to Recession, Terror War

By Alan Fram
The Associated Press

W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 28 — The recession and the costs of war and battling terrorism have made annual federal deficits likely for at least the next three years, the White House budget director said today.

The prediction by budget chief Mitchell Daniels was one of the gloomiest assessments yet of the government's fiscal health. And it was the first time an administration official has publicly acknowledged that deficits — banished since surpluses first appeared in 1998 — are likely now for several years.

"It is regrettably my conclusion that we are unlikely to return to balance in the federal accounts before possibly fiscal '05," Daniels said in a speech at the National Press Club. He added, "Things will have to break right for us to do that."

Daniels' comments further underlined what has been a turnaround in the government's budget picture of unprecedented abruptness.

The record $237 billion surplus of fiscal 2000 shrank to a $127 billion surplus in fiscal 2001, which ended on Oct. 1. Though Daniels provided no figures, private analysts and many congressional aides have long expected a 2002 deficit that will be well into the tens of billions of dollars.

Until several months ago, most forecasters were envisioning an ever-growing string of budget surpluses for the next decade, fading as the huge baby boom generation begins to retire. Last spring, official surplus projections for the coming decade totaled $5.6 trillion.

As recently as August, the Bush administration was predicting a 2002 surplus of $173 billion, down from its $231 billion forecast made in April.

No More Surplus Forecasts

But then the recession — now officially pegged as having started last March — took hold, and the condition of the government's books began to weaken. In addition, President Bush pushed a $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut through Congress, further eroding the projected black ink.

He cited the National Science Foundation and food aid for women, infants and children as important and effective programs. He said the government has too many job-training programs and seemed to suggest that border protection programs could be made more efficient.

Commentary:
Ya gotta love conservatives. The first programs they want to cut when times get bad (like during a recession) are job-training programs. Yet, the tax cut which goes mostly to the richest of the rich isn't even mentioned for consideration.

Democrats would be wise to let Bush cut job-training programs and then wait till the election in 2002 and see what happens.

The original reason for the tax cut was to limit government. That wasn't selling after Mr. Bush became president so a new reason (excuse) was dreamed up. The tax cut was really about getting the economy going again. The results are in. The government is growing like a bat out of hell and the economy is in a recession.


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Spain/EU Won't Extradite
ABCNews.com

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration said Tuesday it was untroubled by Spain's refusal to extradite a group of al-Qaida suspects without guarantees that the United States won't try them in military tribunals and won't execute them.

Eight men, mostly Arab immigrants, were detained in Spain earlier this month and have been charged with belonging to Osama bin Laden terrorism network. According to their indictment, the suspects allegedly helped in preparations for the September attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Spanish officials have said European Union agreements prevent Spain from extraditing suspects to countries where judicial norms are seen as falling below those in the 15-nation bloc.


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Business Confidence Falls
Conference Board

CEO confidence about the current state of the economy has eroded significantly. Currently, 94 percent of chief executives say economic conditions are worse than six months ago, up from 70 percent last quarter. Less than 2 percent say economic conditions are better. In assessing their own industries, 80 percent feel conditions have deteriorated, up from 65 percent last quarter. Those holding the opposite view decreased to 7 percent, down from more than 12 percent.

The outlook for the economy over the next six months is less optimistic. Those expecting conditions to improve declined to 41 percent, down from approximately 44 percent in the third quarter. Those anticipating conditions to worsen rose to nearly 32 percent, up from almost 21 percent last quarter. In assessing conditions in their own industries, about 37 percent of business leaders expect an improvement in the next six months, down from 42 percent. Those anticipating conditions to deteriorate over the next six months rose to 27 percent, up from 22 percent.


Consumer Confidence Falls
Conference Board

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which has declined significantly over the past two months, fell again in November. The Index now stands at 82.2 (1985=100), down from 85.3 in October. The Present Situation Index fell from 107.2 to 93.5. The Expectations Index, however, increased from 70.7 to 74.6.

Consumers' appraisal of current economic conditions is more pessimistic than last month. Consumers rating current business conditions as "bad" rose from 20.7 percent to 21.4 percent. Those rating conditions as "good" declined from 18.6 percent to 16.4 percent. Consumers claiming jobs are "hard to get" rose from 20.6 percent to 23.0 percent. Those reporting jobs are "plentiful" fell from 20.9 percent to 17.0 percent.

Consumers are slightly more optimistic about economic prospects six months from now. Those anticipating conditions to worsen declined from 20.3 percent to 17.3 percent. But, consumers expecting an improvement in business conditions decreased from 17.6 percent to 16.8 percent.


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Other Links:
Anyone See George? (BusinessWeek)
Economist Panel Says Recession Began March 2001
NBER.Org
November 26, 2001

The NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee has determined that a peak in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in March 2001. A peak marks the end of an expansion and the beginning of a recession. The determination of a peak date in March is thus a determination that the expansion that began in March 1991 ended in March 2001 and a recession began. The expansion lasted exactly 10 years, the longest in the NBER's chronology.

A recession is a significant decline in activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, visible in industrial production, employment, real income, and wholesale-retail trade. A recession begins just after the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends as the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion. Expansion is the normal state of the economy; most recessions are brief and they have been rare in recent decades.

The committee is satisfied that the total contraction in the economy is sufficient to merit the determination that a recession is underway. The committee makes this determination by asking itself hypothetically what decision it would make if a turnaround in the economy started just after the most recently observed data. If, despite such a turnaround, the episode would qualify as a recession, the committee moves ahead to the second step, the determination of the date of the peak. Prior to the arrival of the data for October 2001, the committee was not sure that the contraction met the criterion. With a cumulative decline in employment approaching one percent and the very large decline in industrial production, the committee has concluded that the criterion has been met now.

The committee also maintains a quarterly chronology of the U.S. business cycle. The committee determined that the first quarter of 2001 was a quarterly peak in economic activity. Currently, the National Income and Product Accounts show slight growth of real GDP in the second quarter over the first. The committee did not believe that this evidence merited identifying a peak quarter that did not contain the peak month.


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1) No Due Process
2) No Grand Jury
3) Secret Trials
4) No Unanimous Verdict
5) Denied Access to Evidence
6) Government Chooses Lawyer
7) Hearsay Evidence
8) No Declaration of War
9) No Appeal
10) No Articles of War
11) Unconstiutional

Other Links:
USSC Quirin (1942)
Bush's Order doesn't allow for a case like this to be heard by the US Supreme Court.

Legal Commentary:
Chief Justice Rehnquist by John Dean
Professor Joel Grossman
What's Wrong with Tribunals?
ABCNews.com

In the emergency executive order, which did not need Congress' approval, Bush said the detention and trial of accused terrorists by a military tribunal was necessary "to protect the United States and its citizens, and for the effective conduct of military operations and prevention of terrorist attacks."

Under the order, the president determines who is considered a terrorist suspect to be detained by the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense is developing policies and procedures governing military commissions, rules of procedure and evidence, as well qualifications for counsel in the proceedings.

"The government gets to decide first that you're guilty, then it puts you through the process to affirm that you're guilty," Morton H. Halperin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations told The Associated Press. "I don't think constitutionally you can do that."

The use of military tribunals would apparently authorize secret trials without a jury and without the requirement of a unanimous verdict and would limit a defendant's opportunities to confront the evidence against him and choose his own lawyer," said Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C.

Unlike a more conventional criminal court, a military trial could be held secretly. It is considered a prosecution-friendly environment, where prosecutors could present evidence that would not normally be allowed in regular legal proceedings. Hearsay evidence and information obtained from wiretapping — not allowed in some regular court proceedings — could be allowed in military trials.

Military tribunals have also been used during the Civil War and World War II after the United States has formally declared war. Though administration officials have repeatedly referred to the United States' campaign in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban as a "war" on terrorism, Bush has not made a formal declaration of war.


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Who Were the Terrorists?

When did they Come to the US?
Terrorists Entered U.S. Legally
FoxNew.com

WASHINGTON — All 19 Sept. 11 hijackers entered the United States with valid visas but three had lost their legal status by the time of the attacks, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The majority of the attackers, 15, were from Saudi Arabia while two came from the United Arab Emirates, one was an Egyptian and another was Lebanese.

Only two of the hijackers entered the United States last year, in January and December. The majority, 14, were admitted in May and June this year.

Their visas were granted for either pleasure trips, business or education.

Satam M.A. Al Suqami came in May this year as a temporary visitor for business but his visa had expired by Sept. 11.

Nawaf M.S. Alhazmi was the first of the 19 admitted, entering on a visitor's visa in January 2000. His visa also had expired.

Hani S.H. Hanjour arrived in December 2000 on a visa for academic studies, but became illegal when he failed to attend school.

The hijackers' legal entries contrasted to actions of other suspected terrorists, who may have created false visas and identity documents, according to law enforcement officials.

Once in the country, the 19 crisscrossed the country from San Diego to Maine before their attacks.

Commentary:
Those who attempted to blame President Clinton for the terrorist attacks once again got it wrong. Bush dropped the ball. Most of the terrorists came to the US in May and June of 2001.


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Ashcroft Suspends Due Process

Other Links:
Amendment V
Amendment VI
Fifth and Sixth Amendment Suspended
ABCNews.com

W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 21 — The Justice Department has turned down a congressional request that it identify people detained as a result of the investigation of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In a letter to seven lawmakers who had requested the information, Assistant Attorney General Daniel Bryant said releasing the names of those arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service could invade their privacy and hamper the ongoing probe. He said other requested documents were sealed by court order.

"The disclosure of the identities of individuals in INS custody and their whereabouts could adversely impact our pending criminal investigation," Bryant wrote. "Additionally, some of these individuals might choose not to cooperate with law enforcement if their identities were disclosed."

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who initiated the request to the Justice Department, described the response as "less than satisfactory." In a written statement, Feingold said, "At a minimum, the department can and should produce a list of who is being held in connection with this investigation and why."

Secret Criminal Charges

The Justice Department response, dated Nov. 16 and released Tuesday by the office of Sen. Feingold, provides little insight into the progress being made in the inquiry into the Sept. 11 hijackings. However, it revealed that some criminal charges brought in connection with the investigation are being kept secret. "Some of the criminal complaints filed against individuals are under seal by order of the court," Bryant wrote.

The names of those charged with immigration violations were deleted from the documents provided to the lawmakers.... Papers pertaining to those being held as material witnesses were withheld by court order, he said. The judge overseeing the grand jury investigating the attacks has said he intends for those records to be kept secret "forever."

Commentary:

Amendment V: "No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of 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.."

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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Hostage Crisis
Philippine Hostage Crisis--part 2
ABCNews.com/Wire/Reuters

ISABELA, Philippines (Reuters) - The Philippine military said on Tuesday it hoped to free a U.S. missionary couple held hostage by Muslim guerrillas on an island in the country's south by Christmas. The Abu Sayyaf, a self-styled Muslim rebel group which operates in the country's south, has been holding Martin and Gracia Burnham and a Filipina nurse hostage on Basilan island, 560 miles south of Manila, for almost six months.

"There is a big possibility that we can get the Burnham couple before Christmas or earlier," Marine Colonel Renata Miranda told reporters in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan island.

The Philippine military has launched an all-out offensive on the rebels, who say they are fighting for an independent Muslim homeland in the country's south but pursue kidnap for ransom as their main activity.

The rebels took the Burnhams with 18 other hostages from a beach resort in May, retreating to largely Muslim Basilan where they took more hostages. They released some in exchange for ransom but beheaded several others.

Last week, seven Filipino hostages walked to freedom after months of captivity with the rebels, whom the U.S. government has said have links to Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network.

The freed hostages said they had seen the U.S. couple last week and that they were sick and weary from traveling through the jungle with the rebels as they evaded the army.


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Bush Protects Lobbyist
Bush/House Suffer Loss on Airport Security

Airport Security

ABCNews.Com

Nov. 16 — The U.S. House of Representatives has joined the Senate in formally approving major legislation toughening up the nation's airline security practices.

By a margin of 410-9 in a vote this afternoon, the House approved the bill, which would make the nation's baggage screeners federal employees and require that all checked luggage on U.S. domestic flights undergo inspection.

By voice vote after a 90-minute debate, the Senate unanimously passed the high-profile measure this morning.

House: No Federal Bag Screeners

Nov. 2 — The House of Representatives has approved a hotly contested airline security bill that would keep airport baggage screening in the hands of private companies.

The Republican-sponsored measure, passed by a vote of 286-139 late Thursday, calls for increased federal oversight of baggage screeners — in contrast to a bill passed unanimously by the Senate Oct. 12, which would have converted the 28,000 screeners into federal employees. Earlier in the evening, the House narrowly defeated a Democratic-backed plan to approve the same Senate. The effort failed 218-214.

The GOP leadership does not want, as House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, puts it, to "create 28,000 union members..."

Commentary:
Ten weeks after the terrorist attack on the US, Bush and the Republicans in the House finally allow baggage screeners to be federalized.

This is a major loss for Bush and the House, but is also a sign of how corrupt the republicans have become. The bill allows airports to switch back to non-federalized workers after two years and the plan phases in over all of 2002.

If you're looking for a reason to vote against every republican in the House...this is it.

Mr. Bush was so persuasive the House voted against him 410-9 after they lost the public relations war. The Senate voted against him 100-0. However, this bill is a farse since it is only temporary. Republicans in the House and Mr. Bush have no shame.


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Other Links:
Gore Vidal
Al Gore Won the Election
FoxNews.Com

In the review of all the state's disputed ballots, Gore edged ahead under all six scenarios for counting all undervotes and overvotes statewide:

Prevailing Standard: County election officials told Florida journalists how they would define votes if required to do a recount and in this scenario the majority standard was imposed statewide. A notable element of this standard was that, in punch-card counties, ballots with at least one corner of a chad detached counted as votes.

Result: Gore ahead by 60 votes.

Two-Corner Standard: At least two corners of a chad must be detached to count as a vote, a position that had been argued, at times, by Bush supporters.

Result: Gore ahead by 105 votes.

Most Inclusive: Ballots with dimpled chads count as votes, an argument often made by Gore supporters.

Result: Gore ahead by 107 votes.

Least Inclusive: Only cleanly punched chads count as valid votes. For optical scan, only fully filled ovals and those ballots on which a voter filled in the oval and wrote in the candidate's name, too.

Result: Gore ahead by 115 votes.

County-By-County: Drawn from the county election officials. It accepts results from Broward and Volusia counties because those counties completed hand counts that were included in state-certified election totals. For those counties that said they would not count overvotes, relies on prevailing standard.

Result: Gore ahead by 171 votes.

Palm Beach Standard: Based on a standard Palm Beach election officials briefly used, this counts dimpled chads as valid votes if a pattern of dimpled chads exists elsewhere on the same ballot. Same as prevailing standard for optical scan ballots.

Result: Gore ahead by 42 votes.



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