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Lieberman Hopes To Reassure Arab American Leaders

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON

Joseph I. Lieberman plans to reach out to Arab American leaders during a campaign swing Sunday through Michigan, hoping to reassure Muslims who worry his election as vice president could hurt their agenda and tilt U.S. policy in the Middle East.

“I’m going to talk about the basic themes of the campaign and how much I feel the Arab American community ... is an important and growing community in our country,” Lieberman said in an interview. “I want them to have a seat at the table and to feel that I’m accessible to them.”

Lieberman, who is Jewish, said he has a strong record of supporting the rights of Arab Americans, and was co-sponsor of a Senate resolution protesting discrimination against Muslims.

The Connecticut senator is scheduled to meet in Southfield with about two dozen prominent national and state Arab American leaders, many of them Democrats, who have been waiting anxiously for Vice President Al Gore’s running mate to make overtures to them.

“I’ve heard lots of concerns from people in the community,” said James Zogby, president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute. “The degree to which those concerns are addressed, people will be able to mobilize support for the ticket.”

The meeting north of Detroit represents an important gesture to the Arab community of Michigan, which is a hotly contested state in the presidential election. Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush are currently running neck and neck in the state, where Arab Americans voters make up about 4 percent of the electorate, one of the largest populations of Arabs outside the Middle East.

“The fact that one of his earliest outreach meetings is with Arab Americans in Michigan is sign of enormous respect and recognition,” Zogby said. “I believe this could be a breakthrough.”

But for many Arab Americans, even Democrats, concerns linger. Many Muslims are concerned about Lieberman’s past support of sanctions against Iraq and for moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, community leaders said. They also want to discuss the “airport profiling” of Arab Americans and the use of secret evidence in criminal cases against noncitizens.

Nader in Tune with Goals of Greens

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Ralph Nader, presidential candidate of the Green Party, attacks corporate handouts, free trade, the military budget and non-enforcement of laws aimed at cleaning up the environment and making air, drinking water and communities safer for all Americans.

His populist message is in sync with the political movement he represents. With roots in Europe as a pro-peace, anti-nuclear effort, the American Greens are loosely affiliated with more than 80 Green parties around the world. Their motto is “think globally, act locally.”

The party platform strikes an activist but also sentimental tone: “Greens are advocates for the Earth. All the rivers, lakes, landscapes, forests and wildlife. This is our birthright and our home -- the green Earth. When we see the first picture ever taken of our green oasis from space, photographed from the window of the Apollo flight, we marvel at the preciousness of life.”

The U.S. Greens got their start in the mid-1980s and first gained ballot access in Alaska in 1990 and then in California in 1992. In 1995, Nader gave the burgeoning party a shot in the arm when he ran in the California presidential primary as a Green, as well as in several other states. While known mainly as a consumer crusader, Nader’s political views are closely aligned with the Greens’. The party platform calls for decentralization of wealth and power, ecological wisdom, gender equity and nonviolence.

Environment: The Greens’ environmental agenda is lengthy and detailed, with a strong emphasis on renewable energy and “sustainable” agriculture. Among other things, they call for a gradual phase-out of gasoline and other fossil fuels.

Health care: The party considers “health care a human right” and mandates a single-payer national insurance program.

Marijuana: The Greens “oppose the arrest, harassment or prosecution” of anyone producing or using marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Social Security: They oppose privatization of Social Security, saying the system is not in danger of “going broke” and “does not need to be fixed by Wall Street.”

Taxes: Greens want “systemwide tax reform,” although they don’t specify what form it would take. But they do say they oppose a flat tax and would mandate higher corporate taxes.

Trade: The party rejects the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization, saying they were “negotiated in secret and unduly influenced by corporate attorneys and representatives.”

Transportation: Greens say public transportation must be greatly expanded along with alternative transportation, such as bicycling, natural gas vehicles and electric vehicles. They also advocate national fuel efficiency standards of 45 miles per gallon by 2005.

Interest Rates To Stay The Same In Near Future

THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

Fed officials are convinced they have monetary policy on the right track, with no immediate need to raise interest rates.

Revised figures for second-quarter gross domestic product last week showed that purchases of goods and services rose less rapidly than estimated, while businesses increased their stock of unsold goods -- probably involuntarily.

The smaller sales gains and higher inventories pointed toward slower growth in the second half of this year, just what the Fed wants. The gain in consumer spending was at a 2.9 percent annual rate, far below the previous two quarters’ rate.

Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said he sees no “credible evidence” the acceleration of productivity growth has slackened. A record drop in durable-goods orders for July, though concentrated in the volatile civilian aircraft sector, suggested moderating growth.