default.html Issue 92
Table of Contents

After The September 11 Attack: What We Must Do

by Paul de Armond The world hasn't suddenly changed -- it's only that the scales have fallen from our eyes. Our illusion of invulnerability is gone, as is the notion that events outside our borders really don't affect us. Those and other fantasies of the past crumbled along with the buildings. Difficult questions confront us. Will we make the world a safer or more dangerous place by what we do next?

Why They Hate Us, Part I: Afghanistan and the Taliban

by Jeff Elliott and Ahmar Khan As cruel and irrational as the Taliban seems to the rest of the world, we seem just as bad to them. When diplomats were begging them to not destroy the Buddah statues, the Taliban were angered that the world cared more about artifacts than aiding their starving people. "Why is the world so upset about this? If they are destroying our future with sanctions, then they shouldn't worry about our past," a Taliban spokesman said

Don't Aid Afghani "Northern Alliance," History Warns

by Peter Dale Scott The alliance's surviving leaders, including its nominal president, Burhanuddin Rabani, and its military chief, Rashid Dostum, are remembered with hatred in Aghanistan for their role in provoking the murderous civil conflict of 1992 in which 50,000 civilians were reportedly killed. Alliance leaders' disregard for civilian life was shown again when it shelled Kabul two weeks ago

Confessions Of A Sweatshop Inspector

by Joshua Samuel Brown I bring these problems up to the factory manager, and he looks at me as if I'm insane. "What problem?!" the manager says. "Last guy say everything OK! I sign paper, he leave! Why you bother me again!?" Later I call into our office and ask a manager just how the previous inspector could have given this sweatshop a low risk rating. "That guy didn't work out," I'm told

Drilling in Alaska: Over Dead Gwich'in Bodies

by Jon Lurie Before 1950, most Gwich'in didn't speak English and families lived a nomadic existence, hunting and fishing as they moved freely throughout their homeland. Today they promise to fight back if the Bush administration continues its push for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Pacifica Radio Bans "Democracy Now"

by Laura Flanders Goodman broadcast from a reliable community media facility that sent her signal, as usual, to WPFW, the Pacifica station that transmits Pacifica national programming to Pacifica's satellite. There in Washington, at Pacifica's headquarters, someone decided not to send out the program

Asian Muslim Fundamentalists Will Fight Anti-U.S. Jihad

In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, this is most visible in some mosques around the country. A tough, anti-American rhetoric has become a regular feature during sermons. Some preachers have even called on their congregation to prepare for a jihad (holy war) if the U.S.-led international military force attacks Afghanistan. An attack on the predominantly Muslim Afghanistan would be tantamount to an attack on Islam

Bush Must Forge Alliances With Afghanistan's Uneasy Neighbors

by Abid Aslam The nations of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have emerged as possible frontline U.S. allies in a war against Afghanistan. The consequences for these countries will be significant and could be severe -- as are the questions Washington now faces. The Bush administration has not yet made clear the kind of presence it intends to establish in the Central Asian countries, what level of support it expects from their governments, and what price it is willing to pay in return for their allegiance. Many of these details may not come to light until after the initial military campaign is over. Enough is known, however, to worry a number of observers

Gaza Strip Caught In Endless Cycle Of Killing

by Ferry Biedermann Rafah is familiar with the cycle of Palestinian shootings, bombings, demolition of Palestinian houses and incursions by the Israeli army. Since the Peres-Arafat meeting, at least four local people have died in the violence. The Palestinians blame the Israelis for using live fire despite the truce. The army says it is only responding to Palestinian attacks. Ibrahim Ouda Shattat is furious. "What heroes," he says with a scowl. "They sneak into our neighborhood, fire two shots and then run off. We the people who live here are the ones who have to pay the price when the Israelis retaliate"

Poultry Industry Working On Chicken Clones

Factory farming could soon enter a new era of mass production. Companies are developing the technology needed to "clone" chickens on a massive scale

Protesters Blocked From November WTO Summit

by Knute Berger In response to the Seattle protests, the WTO promised to be more open, inclusive, and transparent. Many leaders, including then-President Bill Clinton, claimed to have heard the voices of protest on the streets. In response, they've demonstrated their new resolve by holding their open meeting in a closed country

Kidnapping Business Booming In Colombia

by Yadira Ferrer The number of kidnappings in Colombia, mainly orchestrated by leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups, has increased this year, and 165 victims have died in captivity since January. From January to September 2,462 kidnappings were reported

Taco Bell Target Of Nationwide Farm Worker Protest

by Joe Conason The Immokalee workers' wages have remained stagnant since 1978. They are paid 40 to 45 cents for every 32 pounds of tomatoes they pick. At this rate, a worker must pick two tons of tomatoes to earn $50 a day. The workers say they have no benefits, no insurance, no vacations, and no overtime pay. Their average income is $7,500 to $9,000 per year. In January 2000, the coalition sent Taco Bell a letter asking to meet management and seeking support to negotiate an increase in their wages. After a year, a second letter was sent. When there was still no response, the boycott began April 1 this year

Colombian Paramilitary Group Finally Declared "Terrorist"

by Diego Cevallos The l day before the terrorist bombing in New York and Washington DC, Secretary of State Colin Powell designated the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) a "foreign terrorist organization" under U.S. law

Despite Cease-Fire, Israel Sprayed Palestinian Town With Lethal Dart Shells

by Ben Lynfield In addition to killing three civilian women on June 9, the darts, or flachettes, which spread out in an arc of dozens of meters, wounded two other people. They deepened the mistrust that is hanging over efforts to reach a durable Middle East cease-fire. The firing of dart shells highlights the continued risks faced by Palestinian civilians despite declarations by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon late last month of an Israeli cease-fire and official announcements that soldiers are under orders to exercise restraint

Who is Osama bin Laden?

by William O. Beeman Above all, Americans need to remember that the rest of the world has an absolute right to self-determination that is as defensible as our own. A despicable act of terror such as that committed in New York and Washington is a measure of the revulsion that others feel at U.S. actions that seemingly limit those rights. If we perpetuate a cycle of hate and revenge, this conflict will escalate into a war that our great-grandchildren will be fighting

CIA's Tracks Lead in Disastrous Circle

by Robert Scheer he much-proclaimed success of former President Bush's Gulf War, despite the enormous civilian "collateral damage" -- a horror never acknowledged in this country -- did not topple Saddam Hussein but left a bitter trail of anti-U.S. fervor. When Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, he found many willing Muslim recruits. Like Bin Laden, those identified as the perpetrators of the recent debacle were raised in the bosom of indulgent Arab oil states that financed their education abroad, including years of flight school for at least one of the Saudi pilots who smashed into the World Trade Center. They're far more skilled than the terrorists of the past

Did the White House Give the Taliban $43 Million?

by Dan Kennedy Secretary of State Colin Powell, announced on May 17 the $43 million grant and said it was aimed at alleviating a famine that threatened the lives of four million Afghans. Far from handing the money over to the Taliban, Powell went out of his way to criticize them, and to explain the steps the United States was taking to keep the money out of their hands

"Arms, Legs, Parts Of People Falling..."

by Alisa Solomon I fell in with a group of young women, administrative assistants at 2 World Trade Center. One was still crying. She was about to enter the World Trade Center when the first plane hit. "Arms, legs. Parts of people. They were falling on my head," she said. Her friend put an arm around her, saying only "shhh," and the whole block went silent for a moment

Ground Zero at the Pentagon

by Jason Vest It seemed to Fatz like the building was buckling. A shock wave was roiling everything, including the walls of his office. Grabbing his assistant and heading into the corridor, Fatz looked down the hall. The smell of jet fuel bordered on overwhelming, and the dark veil of smoke and dust rapidly moving in his direction didn't bode well

"I Hoped That No One Knew Muslims Lived Here..."

by Fariba Nawa On New York radio stations, callers shouted slurs against Afghans and Arabs, demanded they be killed and called for war against Afghanistan, whose rulers are suspected perpetrators of the attack. I I paced back home with my two Muslim friends, locked the door and sat still in shock. I hoped no one on our street knew that Muslims live in the house

Pakistan Walks Tightrope By Helping U.S.

by Muddassir Rizvi Although Pakistanis are saddened by the loss of lives in the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, some find U.S. claims of bin Laden's involvement in the attacks "ridiculous." They say that the Taliban government is an easy scapegoat for a government struggling to save face in the aftermath of a massive intelligence failure that permitted the deadly attacks in highly secured American cities

Pakistan Risks Fundamentalist Revolution As Ally Of U.S.

by Kamran Asdar Ali Violence and lawlessness is endemic, and most people eke out a living under the official poverty line. Combined with religious militancy and the easy availability of weapons, this puts Pakistan in a socially explosive situation. By accepting the U.S. demands in exchange for fresh promises of international largesse, the Pakistani military may be saving its own skin from the wrath of a U.S.-led coalition. But in the process, the regime once more appears willing to plunge Pakistan into an uncharted future

New Yorkers Face Unknown Health Risks From "Toxic Stew"

by Katherine Stapp Jet fuel alone releases some 100,000 chemical byproducts when it combusts, she said, and it is unclear what effect many of these have on human health. Experts said the long-term consequences for the thousands of people who were massively exposed when the buildings came down, and for workers now at the site, are impossible to gauge at this point

China Torn Between U.S. Support, Own Security Fears

by Antoaneta Bezlova In a reflection of Beijing's awkward position, just a week after the terrorist attacks on the United States, Chinese state-controlled media dropped coverage of the American tragedy that has been preoccupying nations all over the world. Instead, China's leading newspaper, the People's Daily, devoted lengthy coverage to the 70th anniversary of the Japanese imperial army's invasion of China and condemned all military intervention

Russia Wary Of Another War In Afghanistan

by Sergei Blagov Russia and its Central Asian allies have long feared that the conflict in Afghanistan could spill over into Central Asia, but Moscow is averse to seeing former Soviet republics become a base for any U.S. attack on Afghanistan

UN Dodges Role In Palestine-Israel Conflict

by Thalif Deen One diplomat described the council's public meeting on the Middle East as an exercise in futility. Some 45 of the 189 UN member states participated in the debate

Peace Activists Acting As Human Shields For Palestinians

by Thalif Deen As well as shielding the residents of Beit Jala, the volunteers, among them Britons, Americans, Italian, French and Danish have been standing at army checkpoints, observing the soldiers' behavior towards Palestinian civilians. They also have tried to create a safe platform on which Palestinians can demonstrate without using violence. On Aug. 10 a non-violent gathering turned sour when seven of the foreigners and three Palestinians were arrested

U.S. Billion$ For Anti-Terrorism Leaves AIDS Fighters Bitter

by Lewis Machipisa Bush has pledged some $40 billion to deal with the disaster, and to punish those responsible for the terror attacks on New York and Washington two weeks ago. The urgency with which the world has risen to deal with the terror attacks in the United States has left Donovan wondering why the international community has ignored a far more serious scourge that has killed millions of people worldwide

UN Condemns Use Of Food, Water, As Weapon Of War

by halif Deen "Siege policies" have prevented or impeded access to food and water, according to the UN report. In April, the Israeli military destroyed large parcels of land, together with fruit trees and water wells that were the source of livelihoods for 135 families in the occupied territories

Investigators Probe Mexico's Covert "Dirty War"

by Diego Cevallos In the 1970s and 1980s, approximately 600 people were detained-disappeared by government agents. President Vicente Fox, the first non-PRI president in the last seven decades, has yet to decide if his administration will set up a Truth Commission to dig into the nation's past, as he had promised during his electoral campaign

Germany Tightens Ant-Terrorist Laws

by Yojana Sharma The fear of harboring "sleepers" led to approval of the most controversial of the measures in the government's anti-terrorism package -- the lifting of the so-called "religious privilege" that gives religious groups special protected status under the law of association. Previously, membership in a religious organization could not be seen as a criminal offense. In contrast, those associated with non-religious criminal groups could be prosecuted. The end of the "privilege" will make it easier to pass measures to outlaw Islamic organizations that, according to security officials, abuse their religious status to raise funds for extremist groups

MTBE Pollution Widespread

by Mark Sampson MTBE, a common gasoline additive, has been found in gasoline sold throughout the Midwest even though it is not routinely used there

Judi Bari - FBI Trial Delayed As New Evidence Emerges

by Nicholas Wilson Just two weeks before trial was to begin in Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney's suit against the FBI and Oakland police, U.S. District Judge Claudia granted a six-month delay due to the September 11 terror attacks, putting the trial off until April 8, 2002. Meanwhile, new DNA testing has provided key information about anonymous letters long considered key clues to the mystery of who bombed Judi Bari

Philip Morris' Pro-Death Study Was Landmark

by Wayne Grytting After decades of sticking their heads in the sand about the hazards of tobacco, Philip Morris has found a new tactic -- promoting the benefits to society of premature deaths from smoking. A study produced for them by Arthur D. Little, one of the "foremost management consulting firms," found the early deaths of smokers has "positive effects" for society that more than counteract the medical costs of treating smoking induced cancer, etc.

Against All Odds, Indian Tigers Bounce Back

iger experts say this small success must act as an inspirational test case for India's remaining wild tigers, which are struggling under pressure from poachers, dwindling habitat, and loss of prey species

Israeli Militants Raise Tensions By Effort To Rebuild Biblical Temple

by Virginia Quirke The resolute group tried again last month, on the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar, when religious Jews commemorate the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC and the Second Temple in 70 AD. And once the demonstrators approached the vicinity of the mount with their symbolic "cornerstone for the third temple," the stage was set for confrontation. Muslim worshippers praying on the compound could not ignore Salomon. They lobbed stones and plastic bottles onto the heads of Jews praying at the Wailing Wall below, before Israeli police stormed the sanctuary wielding stun grenades and tear gas. Dozens of people were injured

Arab League Reactivates Israel Boycott

by George Baghdadi At a two-day meeting in the Syrian capital Damascus, 13 Arab countries resolved to abide by the rules guiding the Arab world's boycott of Israel, which has slackened since the launching of the Middle East peace process in the early 1990s

Brisk Trade In Flags Of Militant Groups

by Virginia Quirke The Palestinian Intifada -- or uprising -- against Israeli occupation erupted last Sept. 28 in Jerusalem. As the violence between the two intensified and the death toll mounted at an alarming rate, Abu Dayyeh put away his "peace" souvenirs. Instead he followed the political trend and enjoyed a brisk trade in more popular items; the flags of the Islamic militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah

Israel Steps Up Hate Campaign Against Yasser Arafat

by Ben Lynfield Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is stepping up a campaign to vilify Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, comparing him with the exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, wanted by the U.S. for bombings of two embassies in Africa in 1998. This marked an escalation of previous rhetoric denouncing Arafat as "a pathological liar and murderer"

Sri Lanka To U.S.: Now You Know How We Feel

by Feizal Samath For Sri Lankans, the anger of the American people was a reminder of the start of the rebel revolt for a separate state for minority Tamils living in the country's north and east. There was anger and animosity towards the Tamils, which turned into bloody riots in 1983

Tax Reform Just Start Of Economy Upheaval

by Geov Parrish According to an interview with a senior Bush cabinet member, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, the tax cuts were just the beginning of the Dubya Administration's vision to radically remake the American economic landscape by funnelling our wealth to the pointlessly wealthy

The Bush Payback, Big Time

by Mark Weisbrot The Bush Administration's energy proposal is the latest in a series of initiatives that give "transparency" in government a whole new meaning. Campaign contributors are cashing in on their investments, and every week is "payback" week

Conflict Of Interest Scandal In "Ethical" Bush White House

by Jim Hightower Intel's lobbyist says the meeting was "quite useful." Less than two months after meeting with Rove -- Bingo! -- the merger was approved. But Rove's ethical problem is about more than doing a government favor for a big campaign contributor

Bush Energy Plan Gives Foes Window Of Opportunity

by Mark Hertsgaard Bush has handed his opponents a golden political opportunity with his energy plan, and if they use it wisely they can block his anti-environmental agenda and perhaps even disable his presidency, much as Bill Clinton was undone during his first term by the health care issue

Anti-Bush Web Sites Flourishing

by Tamara Straus Log onto the web and type "anti-Bush," and you will be faced with a different vision of American public opinion. There are now approximately 800 sites whose mission is to analyze, attack and especially ridicule the 43rd president of the United States. Anti-Bush web sites may not be visited by all the Americans of the Fox News poll, but they do show the Internet has become home to the largest, most underreported political coalition in the United States

Bush Consumer Safety Advocate An Industry Shill

by Arianna Huffington In her 10 years on the commission, Mary Sheila Gall voted against regulating baby walkers, infant bath seats, flammable pajamas and children's bunk beds. She even adopted a "Let them eat marbles" stance on the need for toy labeling, voting against choke hazard warnings on marbles, small balls and balloons. Consumers, she argued, "know that marbles are not intended for very young children." In other words, if a kid chokes on a small toy, it's because the parent is defective not the product

As Americans Toil Longer, Bush Slacks Off

by Tamara Straus George W. Bush may present himself as a down-home American, but when it comes to vacation time his tastes are decidedly European. This August the President is on leave from Washington for the whole month, in what will be the longest presidential vacation in 32 years. Combine that time off with the quarter of his presidency he has spent on his Crawford, Texas ranch and the 38 full or partial days at the Camp David retreat, and Mr. Bush will have spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route

Troubling Candidate For Bush "Regulation Czar"

OIRA under Graham could become a backdoor for these special interests to stall health, safety, and environmental regulations. That is what happened under the Reagan and elder Bush Administrations. Vice President Dan Quayle's Council on Competitiveness, which worked with OIRA, became infamous as a conduit for special interests to seek through the bureaucratic process what they couldn't win in Congress

Bush Tax Cut Flops, And No "Plan B" For Economy

by Robert Scheer The Clinton years are looking spectacular in retrospect, while all Bush has to show as an achievement for his time in office is a tax cut for the rich that was supposed to stimulate the economy but has been a bust. Funny that even though that gift for the wealthy is going to end up being paid for by funds collected for Social Security, Bush still brings it up as the source of our economic salvation. What he doesn't seem to grasp is that most of the checks have been mailed and cashed, so far to no avail. The expensive platinum-plated bullet is proving to be a dud

The Very Uncurious President

by Arianna Huffington The problem is not that W only feels comfortable reading the same children's book again and again. It's what this confirms about him. After all, the essence of reading is encountering new ideas and different viewpoints, and here is a man who has no interest in either of those things

Bush's "Rebate and Switch" Tax Scam

by Jim Hightower The biggest surprise for many Americans will be their discovery that Bush's $300 checks are a classic case of what the Libertarian Party has dubbed "rebate and switch." The checks we're now getting from IRS are not a rebate on taxes we've already paid, but an advance on any refund we expect to get from the IRS after we file our tax returns next April

Bush Binds Us Into a Fiscal Straitjacket

by Robert Scheer Maybe we just find it too hard to follow the money -- our money -- particularly when all those zeros are tacked on. The federal budget is $1.9 trillion, and the $328 billion that Bush wants to give to the military must just sound like chump change. The big news, much easier to understand, is the sex life of a hick congressman whose name the baby boomers will have forgotten 10 years from now when they are informed that there is no money to cover the health and retirement payments owed them

Isolationist Bush Finds He Needs The World After All

by Bruce Shapiro Left completely unanswered in Bush's speech and yet arguably key to the whole enterprise: whether he is willing to abandon the blunt policy of American unilateralism which has so far guided the Bush administration every step of the way. Bush showered praise on Great Britain's Tony Blair and applauded the sympathy displayed for America in Seoul and Cairo. At the same time, this president who spurned the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, who has fought establishment of an International Criminal Court, who angered even close allies with his missile defense plan, made no mention in his speech of the United Nations

Thousands Pouring Into Afghanistan For Holy War Against U.S.

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Over the past few days, thousands of angry young men from religious schools in northern Pakistan have been heading to neighboring Afghanistan. This exodus is hardly secret. Heads of the religious schools, or madrasah, have been forthcoming with information -- their charges will swell the ranks of those committed to fight a jihad, they say

Overthrow Of Taliban Would Be Major Victory For U.S. Oil Interests

by Ranjit Devraj Where the "great game" in Afghanistan was once about czars and commissars seeking access to the warm water ports of the Persian Gulf, today it is about laying oil and gas pipelines to the untapped petroleum reserves of Central Asia

Spend Wisely, Not Wildly, On the Pentagon

by Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan The Pentagon needs to focus on modern threats, like terrorism, and develop the best weapons and other tools available to counter these threats. This means taking a fresh look at the need for spending hundreds of billions of dollars on new weapons systems designed to fight the Cold War and the Warsaw Pact, which ironically included the very nations that America is now organizing to join us in the international fight against terrorism

Bush Should Answer A Few Hard Questions

by Martin A. Lee If we had an aggressive, independent press corps in the United States, our national conversation about the terrorist attacks that demolished the World Trade Center towers in New York and damaged the Pentagon would be far more probing and informative

U.S. Spy Network Needs Complete Overhaul

by Robert Scheer Our intelligence agencies messed up big-time, but that's no reason to abandon them for reliance on the world's freelance thugs and criminals to do our dirty work for us. As documented by the CIA's own published review, the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations tried that when they attempted to unleash the Las Vegas mafia, upset with the loss of its Havana gambling operations, to assassinate Fidel Castro, but it was just one of many such fiascoes. Criminals are not reliable allies

Lobbyists Rush To Climb Aboard the 9-11 Gravy Train

by Arianna Huffington And, as fast as we can, we should return to the battle to put an end to business-as-usual in Washington. We must in particular ensure that emergency measures are not merely the same old pork barrel decked out in newly fashionable red, white and blue. Because, emboldened by the $15 billion government bailout of the airline industry, everyone, from travel agents to cruise ship operators to the folks who make those yummy in-flight meals, is already trying to cash in. Their lobbyists are bellying up to the Congressional bailout bar, hoping to be included in the current funding Happy Hour

The Courage Of Barbara Lee

by Randolph T. Holhut Of course, the super-patriots have condemned Lee for being the lone dissenter. But she showed a wisdom that no one else in our government seems to have. Those of you who've read George Orwell's "1984" know what could be up ahead for this nation -- using a permanent war against an ever-shifting enemy to squelch dissent and maintain control

A Unanimous Triumph for Masters of War

by Norman Solomon In the autumn of 2001, there's no one stepping forward from the Senate to help block the war train

Abortion Foes Launch PR Campaign

by Katherine Stapp Conservative Christian groups assembled under the aegis of the Center for Reclaiming America, best known for its attacks on gay rights, have launched a $2 million campaign to promote the selection of anti-abortion federal judges

Nuclear Madness Sweeps White House

by Arianna Huffington According to reports published last weekend, the administration is prepared to wink at a Chinese nuclear buildup in exchange for China's acquiescence to Bush's Star Wars fantasy. So, to recap, to make the world more "safe," we're going to make the world less safe

So Much For Restoring White House Integrity

by Arianna Huffington A section of the task force's final report dealing with global warming was lifted almost verbatim from a policy paper put out by an energy industry trade group. I say almost, because in one sentence, the industry group used the phrase "both for" while the task force went with "for both." A complete syntactical reversal -- now that's some independent thinking!

Both Dems and Repubs Fibbing About SS "Lockbox"

by Mark Weisbrot There is no such thing as "raiding" these funds, just as there is no such thing as a "lockbox." The surplus funds from Social Security and Medicare are invested in U.S. Treasury securities, which means that they are loaned to the federal government. The federal government cannot save this money -- it is not allowed to invest in private assets. So it has to spend the surplus funds from Social Security and Medicare, whether we like it or not

Media Allowed Helms To Create His Own Myth

by Laura Flanders The press are replaying Helms' own spin when they cast him as an anti-DC pit-bull standing up for his constituents. Look at his record, and the opposite is true -- Senator No says yes to big-spending and activist government -- as long as that means bailing out the savings and loan industry or buying boondoggle missile systems

With Bush In Charge, Helms Retiring In Triumph

by Jim Lobe In his role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the 1980s and 1990s, Helms helped steer the Republican Party steadily to the right, even as his old-fashioned racism became increasingly embarrassing to the New Right which he helped spawn

Nader Taps Into Voter Discontent With New Group

by Randolph T. Holhut Nader recently announced the formation of a new political organization called Democracy Rising. Speaking in Portland, Oregon, in the first of several planned rallies in cities around the country, Nader drew more than 7,000 people who paid up to $10 to come and listen to his vision of a fired-up electorate that wants to hear something more than the same old warmed-over centrism of the Democrats

Media Shares Blame For Election 2000 Fraud

by Randolph T. Holhut George W. Bush is president, and that happened thanks to a press corps that bought into the spin churned out by the conservative media that Bush was the legitimately elected candidate and Gore was a interloper threatening American democracy by challenging the outcome of what we now see was a blatantly crooked election

Carter-Ford Election Report Falls Short

by Evan Woodward Progressive election reformers have given cautious approval to a recent report about improving federal elections. Many critics, however, point to several obstacles that remain in the way of free and fair elections throughout the United States

Bush Shedding Treaties Like Dandruff

by Robert Scheer At a time when the U.S. president is out of sync with virtually every other nation in the world, it ill behooves smart-alecky columnists to join in the chorus of disapproval. A bit of empathy, please, for a leader who is so painfully and publicly struggling with an extremely steep learning curve. Nor is he doing all that badly for one who never cared to travel abroad and rarely read up on foreign policy issues before the Supreme Court suddenly anointed him president

Eerie Parallels Between Bush And Harding Administrations

by David Helvarg It's not just that Harding was an affable but not too bright politician chosen for office by "fifteen men in a smoke filled room," or that his campaign slogan, "Back to normalcy," reflected his tendency to mangle the English language (he'd meant to say, "normality"). Harding also filled his cabinet with a combination of old cronies and top industry officials

Bush's Clueless Anti-Conservatism

by Arianna Huffington What should have Karl Rove and Karen Hughes waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night are the recent polls showing not just that the public overwhelmingly supports energy conservation efforts over the massive build-up of new power plants but that Republicans do as well. By a ratio of more than two-to-one. And a core group of disgruntled Republicans are not just ritually shaking their heads -- they're speaking out

Cheney, Energy Task Force Defies GAO

by J.A. Savage The Bush-Cheney energy plan that features increasing reliance on nuclear power, more fossil fuel use and a lack of emphasis on renewable energy and conservation was developed by .......whom? Not even the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the federal government can find out

Solution Is Foreign Policy, Not Missles

by David Corn Since September 11, I have attended several what-to-do-about terrorism meetings in Washington, and I have been surprised to see that many prominent terrorism wonks believe the United States cannot rely solely on a military response and must also re-examine its foreign policy and actions abroad in order to diminish the threat of terrorism at home

Going to Extremes

by David Corn The suicide attacks in Israel -- and now in the United States -- are reactions to specific actions and policies. Unjustifiable reactions indeed -- but not mindless or sensless conduct born of impulse or jealousy. Bush claims this terrorism arises from resentment rather than the conflicts to which the United States has often been a party. He does a disservice to the nation by peddling such a willfully naive line

In an Unwinnable War, We Will Lose Most

by David Corn A few terrorists can do far more damage within the United States than a company of Special Forces troops can do in Osama bin Laden's neighborhood. (How will Bush and his advisors even prove they are waging this war, if it evolves into a series of episodic covert operations? Will he occasionally release a statement saying, "Last week a five-person terrorist cell was neutralized, but we cannot tell you anything else about that, and, by the way, the Empire State Building is still standing?")

Bush's Surplus Lies

by David Corn So with the surplus essentially gone, Bush is aiming to spend a lot of money we don't have on the Pentagon and missile-defense. Where will this big-spender get the bucks for this? What programs will he sacrifice for the sequel to Star Wars? He won't say. But he has put military spending on a collision course with the rest of the budget

Israel's Propaganda Machine

by Maggy Zanger The U.S. media have historically reported on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the Israeli lens. Call this lens what you will -- the conventional wisdom, the dominant interpretation, or the story line -- it is the Israeli version that has framed how American news editors and producers view and interpret the conflict. Any presentation that does not enhance Israel's image is labeled biased

Australian Natives Blast Mandatory Sentencing

by Bob Burton Native leaders urged the Australian government to support legislation to overturn laws that direct judges to imprison repeat offenders for minor property offenses, which they argue are overwhelmingly used against people from Native communities

Hypnosis Creates False Confidence In Memory, Study shows

by Jeff Grabmeier A new study suggests that hypnosis doesn't help people recall events more accurately -- but it does tend to make people more confident of their inaccurate memories

Prison Population Swells When Republicans In White House

The number of prisoners nationwide increases more under Republican presidents than it does when a Democrat leads the country, according to a new study that looked at 52 years of data

Black Workers And Union's Future On Trial In S Carolina

by David Bacon 5 dockworkers are to stand trial here next month on riot charges stemming from a year-old incident. Their ordeal has become a symbol of the war waged by the state of South Carolina against unions in general and black workers in particular

Millions Go Hungry In India As Excess Grain Rots In Storage

by Ranjit Devraj The government is sitting on grain surpluses expected to reach 80 million tons even as millions of peasants suffer from a lack of food. After newspapers and television stations showed graphic images of starvation deaths and mass deprivation, India's Supreme Court intervened on September 3 to shame the government into ensuring that the poor received their due share of grain

Baby Hand Movements Another Form Of Babbling

by Sue Knapp Babbling, universally uttered by healthy hearing babies when they are about seven months old, is thought to mark the developmental moment when a young child embarks on the road to spoken language. Now, new insight into why this behavior occurs can be found in the hands of hearing babies as they acquire a natural signed language

Wanted: Enemy to Justify $344 Billion War Budget

by Ben Cohen Why does the federal government want to spend $344 billion on the Pentagon, when the federal government currently spends only $42 billion on education, $26 billion on affordable housing, $6 billion on Head Start, and only $1 billion on school construction? Does it appear that our national priorities are mixed up or what?

Bush "Star Wars" Plans Based On Fantasy

by Randolph T. Holhut The conservative view of history is that this pronouncement by Reagan helped to convince the Soviets that its missiles would become useless and once the Soviets realized this, the "evil empire" collapsed. The reality is somewhat different

Bush Missle Plan Only Deflects Missle From Target

by Adrian Cho Precisely where the warhead would land would depend on when the booster was destroyed during its 4 to 6-minute burn. That would be difficult to control, so the warhead could potentially hit anywhere between the launch site and the target city. This means that a nuclear missile fired at the U.S. from North Korea could explode over Alaska or Canada, while one fired from Iraq might strike Britain or mainland Europe

Recent Accidents Raise Fears Of Nuke Waste Transport

by Geoff Schumacher A series of recent high-profile accidents involving trains and trucks carrying hazardous cargo has given new ammunition to opponents of the federal government's plan to build a national high-level nuclear waste dump in the Nevada desert

Indonesia Military May Regain Lead Role

by Kafil Yamin In recent years, and especially during Wahid's term, many Indonesians have become fed up with prolonged conflicts among politicians. Some of these have sparked violent clashes among their constituents and did little to help Indonesia's painful economic problems. "People are getting tired of political quarrels that even hamper economic recovery. They remember the 'normal' situation under military power"

Suharto Kin, Military Suspected Behind Indonesia Terrorism

by Andi Asrun Indonesian President Suharto has been out of power for three years now, but authorities, political analysts and activists suspect that members of his family are still busy -- wreaking havoc with bombings and bomb threats

"Killer Weed" Becomes Focus Of Biotech Debate

by Danielle Knight Advocates of genetic engineering say the technology could eliminate the parasitic weed Striga -- commonly known as witch weed or "buda" in the Swahili language -- which has devastated crops in East Africa especially. Critics counter that the new method would be too expensive for poor farmers and that improving soil health would better control the weed

Colombian Legislators Say "No" to the War on Drugs

by James E. Garcia As it attempts to prosecute the U.S.-led war against drug production and trafficking in Colombia, the government of President Andres Pastrana is faced with a new political brushfire in the Colombian congress. Inspired by rising protests against the fumigation of coca and opium crops as a key part of Plan Colombia

3.5 Million Mexican Children Quit School For Work

by Diego Cevallos Among child workers in Mexico, 73.5 percent of those polled have dropped out of school, says a household survey. There are an estimated 3.5 million children working in Mexico -- in other words, 25 percent of all 12- to 18-year-olds in the country

Coca Cola To Be Sued For Ties To Colombia Death Squads

by Jim Lobe Charges that Coke, by failing to prevent its bottlers in Colombia from bringing in right-wing paramilitary death squads to break up unions at its plants, bears responsibility for the abuses, including murder and torture, under both U.S. and state law

Activists Alarmed By FBI Chief Terrorism Remarks

by Hank Hoffman An obscure paragraph in congressional testimony this past spring by departing FBI Director Louis Freeh has fanned fears that the agency is planning a surveillance and disruption effort against anti-globalization groups similar to Cointelpro, which focused on the anti-war and Black Power movements in the '60s and '70s

Secrecy Bill Slapped Down -- For Now

by Jim Lobe Civil liberties and press groups have made major headway in their efforts to stop a proposed amendment to the 2002 intelligence bill that would send government bureaucrats to jail for leaking classified information

Without U.S., Kyoto Protocol Diplomacy Enters New Phase

by Danielle Knight Now that 178 nations have agreed a deal that commits industrialized nations to mandatory greenhouse gas reductions, environmentalists are determined to hold signatories to their word and to lead the United States back into the climate change fold

Chocolate Industry Finally Agrees To Fight Child Slavery

by Jim Lobe The world's chocolate industry has endorsed a four-year plan to eliminate child slavery in cocoa-producing nations and particularly in West Africa, where most of the world's cocoa is grown

Glimmer Of Hope For Europe's Roma People

by Marian Chiriac The Roma have gained prominence in Eastern and Central Europe as the countries in the region seek EU membership. Under minority rights provisions, steps to improve conditions for Roma people must be in place before the applications for EU membership can be processed

EBullet Holes In Alaska Pipeline Causes Massive Spill

A drunken man shot a hole in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline October 4, causing one of the worst oil spills in the pipeline's history. Although the hole has now been patched, and oil once again flows through Alaska's primary oil artery, workers are still laboring to clean up an estimated 6,800 barrels of crude oil from the Arctic landscape

Researchers Warn Of Coming Water Wars

by Danielle Knight During the next decade, Postel says, more than 50 countries could find themselves embroiled in water disputes unless they move quickly to strike agreements on how to share rivers that flow across international boundaries

Why Is Vanessa Leggett In Jail?

by Steve Chapman People convicted of all sorts of crimes get off without spending any significant time behind bars, but Vanessa Leggett is not some petty criminal who can be excused so easily. No, she's such a threat to society that she has been in jail since July 20, and she could be there until January 2003. What's her crime? Behaving like a journalist

Press Has Share Of Blame For Lack Of Preparation

by Randolph T. Holhut "The national media didn't pay attention," former U.S. Senators Gary Hart told Salon, saying that one member of his commission was told by a senior reporter of a well-known publication that "this isn't important, none of this is ever going to happen." Not even The New York Times chose to report on the commission's findings until Sept. 12, after the attacks

Lax Banking Rules Aided Terrorists, Must Be Changed

by Lucy Komisar If the U.S. wants to stop the money flow that supports terrorism, it needs to cut that pipeline. The administration should rethink its hostility to international efforts to pierce the bank secrecy essential to terrorists' money laundering. The first step should be immediate passage of legislation sponsored by Michigan Sen. Carl Levin (and opposed by Republican leaders last year)

Prophetic Terrorism Report Was Ignored By Media

by Arianna Huffington As shocking as the four-pronged attack was, it shouldn't have been quite so surprising. Only seven months ago, a congressionally mandated federal commission released a prophetic report predicting this kind of terrorist assault on U.S. soil, concluding that the question was not if a terrorist attack on America could happen but when

Falwell Should Have Listened to the Feminists

by Robert Scheer If Falwell and Robertson had listened to the feminists instead of attacking them, the two men might have recognized the frightening parallels between their brand of religious extremism and that spewed by the Taliban. Instead, they fanned the flames of hate

UN Position On Engineered Food Is A Serious Mistake

by Anuradha Mittal The UN report rehashes the old myth of feeding the hungry through miracle technology, the mantra that has been chanted forever, whether it was to push pesticides or genetic engineering. The famous green revolution of Northern technology sent to the South may have increased food production, at the cost of poisoning our earth, air and water. But it failed to alleviate hunger. Of 800 million hungry people in the world today, an estimated 250-300 million live in India alone. Its not that India does not produce enough food to meet the need of its hungry, it's the policies that work against the working poor -- slashing of social safety nets, for example, at the behest of Northern agencies like the IMF, that are the root cause of today's hunger

Solve Problems, Don't Blame

by Molly Ivins We have a bad national habit of playing the blame game when something goes wrong. This first thing we ask is, "Whose fault is this?" We've already got congressional committees trying to figure out who was asleep at the wheel, who should have known, what should have been done, etc. Many of our more thoughtful citizens are exhuming years of American policy in the Arab world, much of which, in retrospect, seems to have been unwise

Let's Start By Thinking Outside The Box

by Molly Ivins The Europeans were much taken aback by W.'s language after the attack. I must confess, I'm such a Texan I didn't even react. We'll "smoke 'em out and round 'em up." Sound plan. "Bring him in, dead or alive." You bet your butt. I did cringe at his use of the word crusade, but only because I recently read a history of the crusades -- "Deus Lo Volt!" by Evan S. Connell -- and so realized this would be taken as an announcement of a gory jihad against all Moslems. Someone at the State Department was asleep at the wheel when vetting that speech

Credit Marketing Sleaze

by Molly Ivins Federal and state consumer protections have been badly eroded in recent years, and our ever-alert entrepreneurs have jumped right in to take advantage of the poor. "Throughout the country, these unsuspecting consumers are losing homes, money and property to aggressive home-mortgage lenders, car financiers, rent-to-own companies and others -- a whole system of 'fringe banking,'" says Consumer Reports

The Deregulation Scam

by Molly Ivins As a Texas pol observed recently, "My God, Bush is doing the same thing to the nation he did to Texas, and in even less time." The same thing is, obviously, the endless Bush Jr. mantra, "Tax cuts good, regulation bad; tax cuts good, regulation bad." Do they never stop to look at what tax cuts and deregulation achieve? There are always winners and losers under deregulation, but even the briefest summary shows the unmistakable pattern

Bush, Helms, Both Defined By Flawed Goals

by Molly Ivins Helms has been anti-black, anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-progress. He was perfectly willing to use his power for partisan nastiness and for petty provincial politics. His main claim to fame is that he protected Big Tobacco and his home-state textile industry. I have liked a lot of outspoken conservatives over the years. Helms is not one. I give him this, he never had good hair

Bush Hands Safety Regulation Over To Industries

by Molly Ivins "Captive agencies" are a constant problem in government. They are agencies supposedly in charge of regulating an industry or group, which then acquires undue influence over or even control of the agency. In Texas, the most spectacular example is the state's equivalent of an environmental protection agency, to which then-Gov. Bush appointed three commissioners who literally represent major groups of polluters. Texas is, of course, Number One in toxic pollution. The pattern continues in Washington

Skewed Justice In Texas

by Molly Ivins In 2000, Texas alone, one state out of 50, was responsible for 47 percent of the executions in America. Here are the best estimates for numbers per capita (using the highest guess, not from Amnesty, of 1,700 executions in China -- the number that sent the human-rights people into a frenzy over the Beijing Olympics): Iran executes one for every 874,000 people, China executes one for every 742,000 people, Texas executes one for every 521,000, and the Saudis one for every 170,000. So we're not rock bottom, we're doing better than the Saudis -- a role normally played for us by Mississippi

Mexico Truck Debate Shows NAFTA Flaws

by Molly Ivins The larger point in the truck debate is that it demonstrates the importance of including standards in trade agreements. Of course we don't want most Mexican trucks on our roads -- who would? But if it's a safe Mexican truck with a well-trained driver, why not? See? Standards. And if you can include standards for trucks, you can include standards for people and the planet too. You can include labor and environmental standards in free trade agreements

Bush Hires One Of Dad's Worst Scoundrels

by Molly Ivins Elliott Abrams was convicted on two misdemeanor counts of lying to Congress -- former Rep. Jack Brooks of Texas said at the time Abrams "took more pride in not knowing anything than anybody I ever saw." Abrams was also involved up to his eyebrows in funding the right-wing death squads in Guatemala (100,000 dead) and El Salvador (70,000 dead). He was one of several Iran-contra figures pardoned by George I at the end of his presidency. Abrams now holds a senior position on the White House National Security Council

Big Employer Is Watching

by Molly Ivins 80 percent of U.S. corporations now keep their employees under regular surveillance-by-computer, including retail stores, restaurants, trucking firms and hospitals. Nor do they have to notify the employees that they are being snooped upon

Dark Days For The First Amendment

by Molly Ivins You would think the First Amendment's directions on freedom of speech and of the press ("Congress shall make no law") would be pretty clear to everyone by now. But here we are in the middle of 2001 with a journalist in jail in Texas and another citizen in prison for writing his thoughts in a private journal

GOP Clueless About Women's Issues

by Molly Ivins One of the most notable deformities in our country is the utter failure of government to respond to the fact that women work. The GOP is funded by businesspeople who won't even think about a six-month paid maternity leave, as is common in Europe, or federal funding for child care. There's a weird Republican schizophrenia: They want welfare mothers to work and working mothers to stay home. Among the Republican women we see most -- who are more often the wives of, rather than senators or representatives -- there is some kind of weird time warp, in which the women uniformly resemble Beaver's mom, Mrs. Cleaver, who always wore pearls and high heels to vacuum

Inhuman Working Conditions Right Here At Home

by Molly Ivins The most common pattern is 12-hour shifts, with a three-day weekend every other week. The stress on workers is grueling. Have you ever worked an eight-hour shift in a factory? Any idea what that feels like when you're getting on toward 65?

Bush Plans Put Social Security At Risk

by Molly Ivins You will hear more lies, damn lies and statistics about the state of Social Security in the coming months and years than even Mark Twin could have dreamed of. The Social Security trustees, on whose numbers the Bush commission relied, are using an exceedingly grim forecast. Nevertheless, it makes more sense to use those forecasts than to use Rosy Scenario and assume there's nothing we need to do about it

Bush Gives Arms Control To Right Wing Idealogues

by Molly Ivins As we are finding increasingly often, the second- and third-tier appointments in this administration are right-wing ideologues and the guy Bush named undersecretary of state for arms control and international security is John Bolton, a former lobbyist for Taiwan. Bolton is the guy who was doing the Charles Heston impersonation at the UN Conference, opposing an effective weapons trafficking treaty on the curious grounds that it might somehow affect the Second Amendment in the United States. Come on, this is black helicopter bull, this is conspiracy-nut country

Bush Immigrant Amnesty Gets Mixed Reviews

by Molly Ivins Americans are mostly ambivalent about Mexican immigration. Sometimes it is portrayed as dread menace, a sea of brown feet moving north, imposing nothing but a staggering burden on us (medical care, education, welfare -- poor us, think of the taxes). Other times we recognize the more complicated truth that much of our economy, not to mention our comforts and luxuries, rests on the brown backs of exploited illegal workers, who do, in fact, pay taxes

America's Snit Over Castro Continues

by Molly Ivins America has been in a snit about Castro since shortly after the Earth's crust cooled. It has led the country into some of its most memorable follies, including the Bay of Pigs and the time the CIA tried to make Castro's beard fall out

No North, Just Dakota

by Molly Ivins Just Dakota is a whole state where you can't find a cappucino. Still home to the seven-jello marshmellow, cottage-cheese surprise. Just Dakota is also the site of Buffalo Commons, the splendid effort to return the High Plains to the pristine state they knew before we made the monumental mistake of putting a plough into that dry earth. I know vegetarians don't like to hear this, but God made an awful lot of land that's good for nothing but grazing. That and windmill farms

Stem Cells And Slippery Slopes

by Molly Ivins The depressing part of the Bush administration's lengthy indecision over what is a no-brainer to those without the theological commitment to the fertilized-egg-as-human-being position is the political motive. It has been widely reported that Karl Rove, a.k.a., "Bush's brain," wants to outlaw stem cell research as part of his grand strategy to win Catholic voters over to the Republican Party permanently. This doesn't do anything to help those with Alzheimer's, but it would help the Republicans. That's some morality

When Journalists Report For Duty

by Norman Solomon Here's a riddle: If the U.S. government's restrictions on media amounted to "virtually total control" of coverage during the Gulf War, and the restrictions will now be even tighter, what can we expect from news media in the weeks and months ahead?

Media, Terrorism and the Rage for Vengeance

by Norman Solomon How can a longtime associate of terrorists now be credibly denouncing "terrorism?" It's easy. All that's required is for media coverage to remain in a kind of history-free zone that has no use for any facets of reality that are not presently convenient to acknowledge

Media Spin Over The Word "Terrorist"

by Norman Solomon It's entirely appropriate for news outlets to describe the Sept. 11 hijackers as "terrorists" -- if those outlets are willing to use the "terrorist" label with integrity across the board

Bush Won't Risk Being Called "Wimp" Like Dad

by Norman Solomon President George W. Bush need not fear that a national magazine will emblazon him with the wrong "W." He is not a wimp. But, as president of our beloved country, what is he? And who are we?

Media Mania Over Condit Scandal

by Norman Solomon To hear some bombastic media pros tell it, the Condit scandal is a crucial litmus test for human morality in our nation. On the right-wing Fox News Channel, the network's star Bill O'Reilly has been in seventh heaven. "This is about honesty and cruelty," he proclaimed

Katharine Graham: Slanting the First Draft of History

by Norman Solomon Prior to her admirable support for the Post's breakthrough reporting on Watergate nearly 30 years ago, Graham was a key player in the June 1971 battle over the Pentagon Papers. But such journalistic fortitude came late in the Vietnam War. During most of the bloodshed, the Post gave consistent editorial boosts to the war and routinely regurgitated propaganda in the guise of objective reporting. Graham's book never comes close to acknowledging that her newspaper mainly functioned as a helpmate to the war-makers

The Price Of Past Mistakes

by Alexander Cockburn If I had to cite what steeled the homicidal and suicidal resolve of the kamikaze bombers, my list would surely include the exchange on CBS in 1996 between Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Lesley Stahl

Who Saw It Coming?

by Alexander Cockburn Here is bin-Laden, probably the most notorious Islamic foe of America on the planet, originally trained by the CIA, planner of other successful attacks on U.S. installations such as the embassies in East Africa, carrying a $5 million FBI bounty on his head proclaiming the imminence of another assault, and U.S. intelligence was impotent, even though the attacks must have taken months, if not years, to plan

And Now For A Note Of Good Cheer

by Alexander Cockburn I've been somewhat heartened, far beyond what I would have dared hope in the immediate aftermath of the onslaughts. Take the pleas for tolerance and the visit of President W. Bush to mosques. Better than FDR, who didn't take long to herd the Japanese-Americans into internment camps

Panic And Indignity: The Currency Of Revenge

by Alexander Cockburn A great nation does not respond to a single hour of terrible mayhem in two cities by hog-tying itself with new repressive laws and abuses of constitutional freedoms, like Gulliver doing the work of the Lilliputians and lashing himself to the ground with a thousand cords. Nor does it demean itself with mad talk of firing off tactical nuclear weapons at puny foes like bin Laden

Amazing Prison Strike

by Alexander Cockburn In an amazing feat of organization, about 900 prisoners in solitary confinement in the infamous California prisons of Pelican Bay and Corcoran staged a hunger strike in the first week of July. The hunger strike concerned the policy of the California Department of Corrections, whereby those designated as prison gang members are removed from the general population and isolated in Security Housing Units ("SHUs"), confined for 22 hours per day for years on end in 8x10 foot windowless cells

Lie Detector Nonsense

by Alexander Cockburn The ghastly stories of federal employees abused by the machine and its operators are numerous. It's also worth noting that the Walker brothers and Aldrich Ames both beat the polygraph with no sweat. Kim Philby settled himself with a dollop of Valium before breezing through his polygraph exams

TV Stations, Sponsors Cowardly Response To Bill Maher

by Arianna Huffington Maher's tone-setting opening comments, which took the place of his usual monologue, were nothing short of brilliant and -- in light of the media firestorm that followed -- remarkably prescient. "I do not relinquish," he said, "nor should any of you, the right to criticize, even as we support, our government. This is still a democracy, and they're still politicians ... Political correctness itself is something we can no longer afford. Feelings are gonna get hurt so that actual people won't, and that will be a good thing." At the end of the show, the audience rose in a standing ovation

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