default.html Issue 72
Table of Contents

Storming Seattle

by Paul De Armond In-depth analysis shows that the WTO protests in Seattle were historic, but also far more dangerous than anyone knew: Exhausted and traumatized by two days of strenuous work attacking non-violent protesters, some police officers began to hallucinate

The Fascist's Return to Power

by Martin A. Lee The ghastly miscarriage of free-market restructuring in much of the former Soviet bloc and the Third World, the abdication of the socialist left as a vehicle for discontent in Western Europe and the homogenizing juggernaut of transnational capitalism across the globe -- all are elements of a potent witches' brew that propels mainstream governance further and further into the politics of resentment

Racist Mobs Attack Muslims in Spain

by Alicia Fraerman Police have yet to detain any suspects for taking part in the rash of violent racist attacks that began on Feb. 5 against Arab immigrants in the Andalucian city of El Ejido, located on the Mediterranean coast , as shops, homes torched in city of 50,000 Tracking Customers Internet Use

by Josh Feit Smith found that the program -- in violation of its own stated policy -- relayed his address to Alexa and Amazon. Smith ran the same test on Alexa basic software and found that his e-mail address, his home address, a plane reservation, and his sister's name and phone number were sent to an Alexa web server, without his permission

Church, Cubans Brace for U.S. Court Hearing Over Boy

by Patricia Grogg The Catholic Church of Cuba asserted its position -- which coincides with that of the Fidel Castro government -- in the case of the shipwrecked boy, Elián González, which is scheduled to be heard Feb. 22 in United States federal court

Billboard Company Censors Breast Cancer Ads

by Michelle Holcenberg A billboard campaign targeted at changing that has been the subject of controversy in the last few weeks. The three posters, designed to look like a Cosmopolitan magazine cover, a Victoria's Secret catalogue and a Calvin Klein perfume ad, feature topless models striking the usual come-hither pose -- but with a twist. In place of voluptuous breasts the models sport scars. Mastectomy scars

Police Attack U'wa Homeland Defenders in Colombia

by Danielle Knight The U'wa tribe reported that three children were killed and many adults were injured on Feb. 11, when police used tear-gas, riot batons and bulldozers to force hundreds of protesters off land where the Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum plans to drill its first test well

And Why Not Nader For President?

by Dan Hamburg Perhaps the most tangible benefit that could accrue from a Nader candidacy would be qualification of the Green Party for federal matching funds in 2004. The Reform Party has $12 million to work with this year because Ross Perot exceeded the requisite 5 percent threshold in 1996. That's why Pat Buchanan is attempting to market his AmericaFirst! xenophobia under the Reform banner this year. It would be wonderful for the Green Party to actually have a campaign budget to start out with in 2004. Nader can get us there

McCain Was a War Hero -- So What?

by Steve Chapman The former naval officer deserves great admiration for his bravery in action and his stoicism in captivity. It's hard to imagine any POW conducting himself more admirably than he did. But there is no deed so noble that it cannot be demeaned by incessant attempts to exploit it. And McCain and his advisers have obviously decided that they are not going to pass up any chance to wrap him in the flag

Bill Bradley, Please Stop

by David Corn If Bradley cares about the issue of reproductive rights, he'd be better off refunding to his contributors the bucks he's spending on these spots, asking them to instead pass those dollars to Planned Parenthood

"Sleaze" Attack on McCain Tied to Bush Advisor

by James De Pietro On the cover was an unflattering photo of U.S. Sen. John McCain and a headline that called the McCain movement, "A campaign platform that should give Republicans pause." Thursday, the New York Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former Republican speechwriter William Safire called the article inside "religio-political sleaze in action"

Reform Faction Asks FEC to Investigate Party

by Jack Breibart A Reform Party faction booted out of office in a rowdy and controversial party meeting in Nashville last Saturday has returned $2.5 million to the Federal Election Commission and asked the commission to decide who has legitimate rights to the funds

McCain & Bush: Shallow and Shallower

by Christopher Caldwell Bush can't "pick up the Reagan banner" by promising supply-side economics any more than he can pick up the Roosevelt banner by promising to win a war with Japan. Circumstances are different. Reagan's tax policies corrected problems that no longer exist

Bush Counting on GOP Conformity to Save Bid

by Christopher Caldwell It wasn't surprising that McCain scored his largest margin of victory (70-21) among those Republicans who said "character" was the big issue of the campaign. Because in his concession speech, Bush seemed to be trying to strike a delicate balance between Mussolini's claim that he'd been deposed because the Italian people weren't worthy of his greatness and Brecht's suggestion that the East German government should dissolve the people and elect a new one

W, as in Whupped

by David Corn Bush's ads in New Hampshire called for "A Fresh Start for America." But in booming New Hampshire -- high-tech companies have sprouted throughout the southern half -- only a fool is looking for a "fresh start." That ad line may have been designed as a veiled reference to Monicagate, but it did not resonate when the competition was an anti-bullshit war hero

For Bush, It's 3 O'clock In The Morning

by Steve Chapman Sometimes he appears cautious, and sometimes he appears paralyzed. Often, he brings to mind his father's inability to come to grips with "the vision thing." Even worse is that he occasionally sounds like Dan Quayle -- not because he couldn't name the prime minister of India but because he can't answer unforeseen questions with confidence and authority. You get the idea, watching him in debates and other forums where he has to deal with the unscripted and the unexpected, that he could make a fool of himself at any moment

Native Americans Rally for McCain

by Christopher Caldwell Even Democrats agree that McCain has an impeccable record when it comes to Native American causes. Bob Neuman, former spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, told the Boston Globe that, "John McCain has been absolutely spectacular on Indian issues." Recent polls indicate that over three quarters of Native people identify themselves as Democrats, according to the NCAI. "McCain throws an interesting twist in our political history," says Chase. "He's more conservative but extraordinarily progressive in his agenda for Indian country"

Vote For Me Just Because

by Christopher Caldwell McCain told the Manchester Union-Leader that he was running for president because he wants to "restore respect" to the office. Am I deaf to a nuance here, or is McCain telling us, "The reason I'd make an excellent president is because I'd make an excellent president"?

John McCain, Ally of the Status Quo

by Steve Chapman McCain makes it sound like hardly anyone will be pushed away from the federal trough. He opposes any cuts in Social Security benefits, calls for more spending on Medicare, promises health insurance coverage for all, demands higher pay for the military, and complains that the defense budget is at "the lowest level since the Great Depression." Apparently, McCain has learned an old trick of big spenders: bribing voters with their own money

Bettie Lou Beets, Execution #120

by Donna Ladd On Thursday at 6PM, great-grandmother Bettie Lou Beets was executed in Texas. Raped by her father at age 5 and battered by a series of husbands, the fate of 62 year-old Beets was in the hands of Texas Governor George W. Bush, who reportedly spends less than 30 minutes reviewing each appeal for clemency

Clinton Backs Corporations Over Democracy in Big Court Case

by Jim Lobe In a major boost for the forces of economic globalization, President Bill Clinton has decided to back multinational corporations in a key court challenge to a Massachusetts law designed to promote democracy in Burma

Wealthy Chinese Eating Wildlife into Extinction

by Hu Pan Thrilled by the wider choice of food that wealth brings, Chinese people are now consuming the country's beleaguered wildlife at a rapid rate. This trend will be highly evident as they celebrate the New Year with lavish feasts which are certain to include various wildlife specialties

2 Million Now in U.S. Prison System

by Tate Hausman By February 15, America's prison population will have reached two million for the first time in history. The U.S. now has the world's highest incarceration rate, and the most prisoners of any nation on Earth. Despite having only 5 percent of the world's population, 25 percent of the world's 8 million prisoners are stuck behind our bars

Massive New Study on Frog Extinction

by James Hathaway Central American forests that used to throb with the grunts, clicks, trills and chirrs of frogs have fallen eerily silent. Similar change is happening in North America and Western Australia. It is quietly alarming, and no one can explain the cause

New Form of Polio Could Emerge, Say Experts

by Debora MacKenzie The World Health Organization now plans to eradicate polio by 2005. Then vaccination can stop. But some polio experts, while paying lip service to this goal, privately doubt it will be that easy. The reason for this doubt is the very weapon that defeated polio. The main vaccine being used to eradicate polio consists of a live, weakened form of the virus. This vaccine virus could persist after the disease-causing polio virus is gone -- and occasionally revert to the dangerous type. If that happens after vaccination stops, unvaccinated children will be defenseless

Radioactive Safety Standards Based On Outdated Research

by David Williamson Researchers found that A-bomb survivor studies have dominated the field, but maintain that studies of nuclear workers should get more attention. They noted the influence of military and industrial interests in such research, the problems of access to data and the difficulty of obtaining funding

New Legal Setback for Pinochet

by Gustavo Gonzalez Ex-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, in custody in London, suffered a new legal setback Feb. 15 when a British court ordered the release of a medical report that had asserted he was unfit to stand trial

Moore Offers Kinder WTO, Critics Unimpressed

by Johanna Son Mike Moore, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Feb. 16 offered a new, gentler trade body that has learned the lessons from the Seattle "setback"

Roads Impact 20% of U.S. Land

Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo suffered systematic "humiliation and discrimination" from Serbia for 10 years, but ethnic cleansing occurred only after NATO began bombing Yugoslavia in March, which in turn caused a "climate of vindictiveness" among ethnic Albanians, which led to the current "unchecked violence" in the province

Police Corruption Scandals Spread Nationwide

The widening scandal involving the Los Angeles Police Department, in which nine more convictions were overturned this past Thursday alone, has focused national attention on the impact of the drug war on policing. Recent reports from New Jersey, Maryland and Florida indicate that the problems are national in scope

Colombia Military Closely Linked to Paramilitaries

by Jim Lobe Human rights activists, who say the paramilitaries are responsible for almost 80 percent of political killings and virtually all of the major massacres which have made Colombia the bloodiest country in the Americas, have long claimed that elements of the army actually support them

UN Links African Civil Wars And Drug Trafficking

by Thalif Deen Illicit drugs are also being used to finance civil wars in Africa and the purchase of arms, as was the case in Angola and Rwanda. Urging African governments to increase their efforts to integrate a drug control component into their post-war reconstruction programs, the Board says that in many African countries, seized drugs disappear and known drug traffickers are acquitted frequently or, when released on bail, never show up for trial

McDonald's Toy Giveaway Backfires

by Kalinga Seneviratne What began as a marketing ploy by the American fastfood giant McDonald's has exposed a raw consumerist nerve among Singaporeans, touching off a lively media debate about people's gullibility to market gimmickry

Honda's Forgotten Electric Car

by Elizabeth Hollander The Honda Insight -- the first hybrid electric/gasoline-powered car to be sold in America -- arrives in dealer showrooms early this year, following a flurry of advance praise from environmentalists and fawning reviews from the automotive press. The buzz is understandable: Honda designed the Insight for super fuel efficiency and gave it a consumer-friendly $20,000 price tag. But even as the Honda revved up to market the environmental friendliness of its new hybrid technology, the company quietly pulled the plug on a promising zero-emissions electric vehicle, a car that some industry analysts believe Honda never wanted to succeed

Error 404: News Not Found in Your Daily Paper

FBI cried wolf over big drug cartel murder story; the conservative's secret weapon; more scandals in poultry industry; Indonesian intrigue over resigned army chief

India Agriculture Falls Under Sway of Corporations

by Ranjit Dev Raj India is bartering away, in the name of free trade, 50 years of meticulous planning, research and implementation in agriculture which gives this country its enviable self-sufficiency, food security analysts warn

Loggers in Chile Staged Indian "Attack"

by Gustavo Gonzalez Terrorist attacks on a logging company in southern Chile, blamed on Mapuche Indians, were committed by men working as security guards for the company

Indonesia's Illegal Loggers Grow Bolder

by Richel Dursin Indonesia's tropical forests are ranked third in terms of size after those in Brazil and Zaire, but they may soon slip down that list because of rampant illegal logging backed by rogue military elements, say activists. For the last three years, they have been vanishing at an alarming rate of 6 to 7.5 million acres a year -- the highest deforestation rate in the world

E-Commerce "Cyberterrorism" Mainly Media Hype

by Jason Vest eBay and revolve around not the exchange of ideas but the acquisition of crap. E-Trade is all about making money by day trading. ZDNet provides a stream of "news" stories about how to make even more money. CNN may rise above the others as a global gatekeeper and image maker, but questions have been raised about how deeply market and power relationships shape its approach to news; with the AOL-Time Warner merger, it can only get worse. Yahoo may be an e-saint, but underneath the halo is a tarnished monument to cybercapitalists who've eschewed philanthropy. Amazon may hype an "information is power" paradigm, but it's also ground zero for constructing consumer profiles. Add it all up, and there's reason enough here for disappointment and even, perhaps, rage

White Supremacy in Dixie

by Manning Marable This same kind of white bigotry has been at the heart of the recent public controversy over the flying of the Confederate battle flag over the South Carolina statehouse. When the NAACP called for the flag's removal, State Senator Arthur Ravenel referred to the organization as "the National Association of Retarded People." When this racist remark generated widespread outrage, Ravenel apologized to "retarded people" for mistakenly linking them with the NAACP

Public Support for Death Penalty Slowly Dying

by Michael Kroll Illinois Governor George Ryan's decision to suspend the death penalty -- while affirming his belief in capital punishment -- represents America's own schizophrenia. We believe in the death penalty but shrink from it as applied

A Wave of Cyanide

by Donella H. Meadows A modern sort of gold mine allows even very dilute deposits gold deposits to be extracted from tons of rock economically. The rock is dug, crushed, and piled in heaps, through which cyanide drips to leach out the gold. The tricky part is what then to do with the cyanide. In Romania it was dumped into an above-ground pool held by an earth dam. Zoltan wrote, "Though the poison in the pool was enough to kill a million people, the authorities neglected to keep it inspected. On January 30 the dam collapsed"

McCain is Worst Nightmare for Bush, Gore

by Molly Ivins What a slugfest that was in South Carolina -- the best East Texas campaign I've seen in years. Open thuggery! John McCain accused Bush of being like Bill Clinton (horror of horrors), while Bush's supporters were accusing McCain of being gay, a womanizer, having a Jewish campaign chairman, a black daughter and a drug-addict wife. Boy, that was some goin' there. The Bushies must be proud of that one

Bush No Campaign Finance Reformer

by Molly Ivins Bush started collecting money a year before he announced, flying big Republican donors into Austin in smallish groups to have lunch at the Governor's Mansion. He has 150 "Pioneers," who are each committed to raising $100,000 for his campaign. That's $15 million right there. Each of these 150 Pioneers has to go out and find 99 other people willing to donate $1,000 each. Where do they find them? Mostly from among their employees, and those contributions are, of course, entirely voluntary

The Majesty of Barbara Jordan

by Molly Ivins She wore her dignity like armor -- and she needed it. When she first came to the Texas Senate, racism was still common and open. One senator regularly referred to her behind her back as "that nigger mammy washerwoman." Others treated her with the sort of courtly condescension then deemed appropriate for Southern gentlemen toward a "little lady." But in an astonishingly short time, she won first the respect and then the affection of her colleagues

Economic Danger Signs

by Molly Ivins An increase in the interest rate of 1 or 1.5 percent could break many families already staggering under interest payments. I would say it could force them into bankruptcy, except that you notice the huge campaign contributions made by the financial industry are now buying a bill through Congress that will make it much harder to go into bankruptcy. You'll just have to stay in the economic version of debtor's prison for the rest of your life

Bush Campaign Boosted Via Loophole

by Molly Ivins Where does Bush's money come from? Most of it is from a loophole in the campaign finance laws called "bundling." In theory, individual contributors are limited to giving $1,000 to a candidate (soft money contributed to a political party has no limits)

Abortion Is Taboo Subject For Candidates

by Molly Ivins George W. Bush, leading contender for the Republican nomination, has made a specialty out of not saying much on the issue -- or, more specifically, not reminding the general audience that he wants a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion

Dr. Laura: Radio's Leading Anti-Gay Zealot

by Norman Solomon "I am getting people to stop doing wrong and start doing right," she says. And she's fond of laying down the moralistic law in no uncertain terms. For gays, that means a steady stream of corrosive venom

Hard Questions for a Soft NPR

by Norman Solomon NPR certainly provides lengthy news programs. But lots of words don't necessarily mean depth. Especially in policy-related coverage of economics, national politics and foreign affairs, NPR News excels at stenography for the powerful. Most reports from Washington -- and from capitals overseas -- rely on the same official sources that glut the rest of America's media market

Hackers Face Wrath of Corporations

by Norman Solomon Facing the wrath of corporate America and government agencies, the insurgent hackers now making headlines are living dangerously. Their slight interference with the rights of corporations to be widely heard is a definite no-no. Too bad we haven't been able to summon such outrage against the social order's continual interference with the rights of poor people to be heard by the public

Fine Journalism Deserves More Attention

by Norman Solomon A 14-page investigative report -- "Big Money and Politics: Who Gets Hurt?" -- provides extensive coverage of how government decisions really get made in the nation's capital. But the mass media's initial response to the new expose has been dismal

Joerg Haider's Reeboks

by Alexander Cockburn People want a token Nazi to wave around, and I guess Haider fills the bill. Reams get written about him, and actually existing, murderous Nazism marches on undisturbed. Bill Clinton and Congress send a fresh billion to death squads in Colombia, and the Brits nix tetanus vaccines for kids in Iraq

Don't Blame IRA for Ulster Veto

by Alexander Cockburn Despite this tranquility, the capacity for organized violence remains overwhelmingly with the Unionists and with the British. Just visit south Armagh, where IRA units are being asked to turn in their weapons. British forts dot the hillsides. British patrols still deploy. British helicopters fill the sky

George Bush and the Smell of Death

by Alexander Cockburn Bush wants to kill people. He's hastened the appeals process, and vetoed a law to replace the legal-resource centers eliminated by Clinton and Congress. His staff says he spends between 15 and 30 minutes on each case, and of course, Bush declares his confidence that no innocent person has been executed on this watch

Crazed Cops, "Fallen Heroes"

by Alexander Cockburn A generation's worth of "wars on crime" and glorification of the men and women in blue have engendered a culture of law enforcement that is all too often viciously violent, contemptuous of the law, morally corrupt and brazenly confident of the credulity of the courts

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