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Table of Contents

AOL Could Monopolize Future of the Internet

by Don Hazen The AOL-Time Warner deal, creating the fourth most valuable company in the country, culminates a long string of media mergers. An increasingly smaller number of giant companies now controlling what most Americans see and hear. The uniqueness of the AOL-Time Warner deal is that for the first time, a so-called "new media" company has gobbled up a traditional media conglomerate, making it quite clear that the Internet will not be any different than the hyper-commercial world of television, radio and entertainment that has come to dominate the global media system

The Divine Rights of Media Monarchs

by Norman Solomon And so, early in the year 2000, it came to pass that visions of a seamless media web enraptured the keepers of pecuniary faith as never before. A grand new structure, AOL Time Warner, emerged while a few men proclaimed themselves trustees of a holy endeavor. They told the people about a wondrous New Media world to come

Media Ignored Key Issues of AOL/Time Warner Merger

by FAIR In their enthusiasm for the merger and the new company's plans for high-tech ventures, much of the media overstated the immediate ramifications of the deal -- yet reported that Turner said that he approached the merger "with as much or more excitement and enthusiasm as I did on that night when I first made love""

Starting the Millennium on the Wrong Foot

by Donella H. Meadows Sometime in the latter half of the past century, right in front of our mesmerized eyes, the RCAs and Zeniths agglomerated into the CBSs and Disneys and Time Warners. Astounding communications capacities that could carry the ideas of our most noble minds fell under the control of ignoble minds. Global information streams could have shaped global culture in any direction and could still. The direction they followed was cramped and cheap. Mass communications have eroded to become little more than the delivery of ears and eyes, minds detached, to the manipulations of commercialism

Jesse Helms Addresses UN, Offends Paying Members

by Jim Wurst One of the UN's fiercest critics, Sen. Jesse Helms began his address to the Security Council Jan. 20 on a conciliatory note, but then launched into a critique of international law and UN encroachment on national sovereignty

Chile Prepares to Aid Pinochet's Flight From Prosecutors

by Gustavo Gonzalez In the northern city of Iquique, a Boeing-707, refurbished as a sort of flying hospital, was preparing to take off for London. The aircraft is capable of a 13-hour non-stop flight, according to Chile's Radio Cooperativa, and its route to and from London would include a stop in the Bermuda Islands, a British territory in the Atlantic Ocean. The itinerary would prevent Pinochet from facing another international arrest, as he has been charged with human rights violations by Belgium, France and Switzerland

Conservatives Make Cuban Boy Political Pawn

by Mark Scheinbaum With cheerleading from Miami's politically- powerful ex-Cuban community, Rep. Dan Burton (R - Indiana) on Saturday supoenaed 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez to appear before Congress next month

Village Voice and Alt News Chain Sold

by Don Hazen The settling of the Voice ownership situation sets the stage for a new round of potential consolidation in the alternative newspaper industry, as well as growth in the Voice brand. In recent months the Voice has not been active in buying new papers, as Stern had put the chain up for sale, but rival New Times Inc. has continued to expand, adding the 11th paper to its stable

Conservative Think Tanks Spreading Their Ideas Like Wildfire

by Bill Berkowitz One of the most underrated, yet most significant weapons of the Right is their ability to market their ideas. In many cases it doesn't matter if the ideas are correct or not -- it is often the sheer weight of the argument that rules the day

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

Bush Tracking Donation Sources Closely

by Public Campaign Bush's massive fundraising operation has given its top money men individual tracking codes for donors to write on their checks. An internal memo written by the head of electric power industry's main lobbying group explains to potential donors why the code is important

Mr. Insider vs. Mr. Outsider

by David Corn What's made the run-up to the actual campaign interesting -- at least to the 10 percent or so of the Americans who have bothered to pay any attention -- is that in each party the contest has boiled down to an outsider-insider vs. an establishment frontman

No Presidential Candidates With Human Touch

by Steve Chapman Despite the abundance of candidates running for president this year, there's a conspicuous shortage of genuine politicians. Campaigning is supposed to be a sweaty, boisterous process of shaking hands, slapping backs, telling jokes, admiring livestock, and generally interacting in undignified ways with ordinary folks. But the typical presidential aspirant this year gives the impression of being more suited to the Christian Science reading room than the hustings

Reform Party Implodes -- Again

by Jack Breibart The party's executive committee -- or at least the Ross Perot faction of it -- voted last week in a teleconference to hold an emergency national committee meeting Feb. 12 in the land of the Grand Ole Opry to decide, among other things, the site of its 2000 presidential nominating convention. This was after the Jesse Ventura faction hung up their telephones in protest

McCain Gets Tangled in Stars and Bars

by Christopher Caldwell McCain was on his way to a loss in South Carolina and a breakthrough in the rest of the country when he panicked, and lost everything. He explained that, while he wasn't so crazy about the flag himself, he "understood how others might not feel that way," since it was a matter of "heritage." With that, McCain pandered to racists, because the only "heritage" the flag represents is Jim Crow

McCain at Center of FCC Scandal

by Danny Schechter McCain, a loud advocate of campaign finance reform, had aggressive involvement in an issue before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that would benefit one of his financial backers, Lowell Paxson. Paxson is chairman and controlling owner of Paxson Communications, which has the largest group of broadcast television stations in the United States. Republican presidential candidate McCain heads the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC

Bush Health Care Advisor is Industry Lobbyist

by Jeremy Breningstall Where does George W. Bush turn for advice on health care? For her day job, Deborah Steelman is paid to influence legislation on behalf of corporate clients such as Aetna, Cigna, Pfizer, Prudential, United Healthcare Corporation, and the Healthcare Leadership Council. These days, she's working overtime. She's the top dog on George W. Bush's health care team

McCain's Vietnam

by Robert Dreyfuss For McCain, strategic thinking starts and ends with Vietnam, and with the Americans who fought and died there. "The memory of them, of what they bore for honor and country, causes me to look in every prospective conflict for the shadow of Vietnam," McCain said in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August. Yet in looking for that shadow, McCain draws all the wrong conclusions

Who Is George W. Bush?

by Toby Rogers and Nick Mamatas The difference between the anti-Clinton books and this biography of George W. Bush is singular. The former were sold in bookstores across the country, and Fortunate Son was taken off the shelves and burned

Enviros Press Gore Over Oil Company Connections

by Danielle Knight Enviro and human rights groups are stepping up their attacks against Democratic presidential hopeful Al Gore for his connections to an oil company planning to drill on Native land in northeastern Colombia

Underground Group Takes Credit for Timber Co. Arson

Earth Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for a fire on Christmas Day, which damaged timber company Boise Cascade's regional headquarters in Monmouth, Oregon

Genetically Modified Fish Could Wipe Out Natural Species

by Chris Sigurdson Extinction results from a phenomenon dubbed the "Trojan gene hypothesis." By basing their mate selection on size rather than fitness, medaka fish females choose the larger, genetically modified but genetically inferior medaka, thus inviting the hidden risk of extinction

TB Epidemic Threatens Even Superpower Nations

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Concerned with rising rates of tuberculosis, public health officials in Britain and the United States have called for expanded screening in their own countries for the disease, which spreads via airborne bacteria

Why Are We Alone In Executing Kids?

by Steve Chapman During the 1990s, only five other countries are known to have put juveniles to death, and none of them have done so since 1997. Those countries are Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. How's that for keeping good company?

The Last Words of Douglas Christopher Thomas

by Dennis Bernstein Calm, forthright and quite focused as he repeated his claim that his girlfriend, Jessica Wiseman, masterminded the 1990 murder of her parents and fired the shot that killed her mother. Several federal court decisions and new evidence support Thomas' claim. Because Wiseman was 14 at the time of the crime, she is now free. Thomas said he was not bitter about this, but was troubled that "she was given only seven years, and she is free to resume her normal life while I'm four days away from paying the ultimate price for something we both participated in"

Nervous Beijing Tightens Controls on Internet

by Antoaneta Bezlova Frightened by the potential exploitation of the information industry by dissidents and outlawed cult members, China is clamping down on the Internet and trying to tighten control over the flow of information

Y2K Terrorism Scare Was Unjustified

by Randolph T. Holhut Of all the international terrorist incidents of recent years, the vast majority aren't related to the Middle East or Muslim "extremists." Since 1995, Latin America has consistently had the highest annual number of international terrorist incidents of any region, followed by Western Europe

Russia Using Landmines in Chechnya

by Gustavo Capdevila Activist criticizes government attempts to limit, but not ban, deadly devices

Chevron, Other Oil Giants Again Accused of Nigeria Abuses

by Danielle Knight New report released here this week provides stark details of big oil in close collaboration with an abusive military, destroying the environment, livelihoods and public health in the oil-rich Delta region

Russian Nuke Whistleblower Acquitted

After more than four years of prosecutions, a St. Petersburg City Court has showed judicial independence from the Russian Security Police and ended the case against environmental whistleblower Aleksandr Nikitin with an acquittal

Error 404: News Not Found in Your Daily Paper

he vanishing of one out of ten East Timor residents; creating a new crime for Wen Ho Lee; Jeanne Dixon, psychic stooge; the FBI's drug problem

Monsanto Hit by Lawsuit

by Danielle Knight A group of U.S. class action lawyers has filed a multi-million dollar suit against the biotechnology giant Monsanto, charging it with violating public health and anti-trust laws

GM Soybeans Smuggled Into Banned Country

by Mario Osava Farmers in southern Brazil who participate in or benefit from the smuggling of genetically modified soya seeds from Argentina are actually acting against their own interests, according to environmentalists. Doubts as to whether Brazil is able to guarantee that its grains are natural or non-transgenic favor competitors in the United States

Tons of Carbon Dioxide Stored in Subtropical Oceans

by Steve Wampler The cold Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica soaks up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere like a sponge, but scientists have discovered that the greenhouse gas doesn't stay there. Now researchers have found that the carbon dioxide actually ends up deep in the subtropical ocean

Canadian Project to Save Dying Native Language

by Geoff McMaster Proposal to teach children in grades one to four exclusively in Chipewyan, with English introduced as a second language in Grade 5. The Navajos in the southern United States have successfully revived their language with this formula. Teaching it from scratch is a challenge since the language is enormously complex, as a verb can have up to 10 prefixes and there are no clean breaks between words

Anti-WTO Alliance Targets China

by Abid Aslam It now seems headed for a high-stakes fight over Sino-U.S. trade relations, expected to be a hot issue in the run up to this year's U.S. presidential elections. "The only thing worse than the WTO as it is now, is the WTO with China as a member," says Lori Wallach, director of Washington-based Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

"Parallex Project" Will Shift Nuke Waste Problem to Public

by Keith Gunter If the so-called Parallex Project -- described by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of a program to "dispose" of surplus plutonium from American and Russian nuclear weapons arsenals by testing its viability as fuel in nuclear power plants -- is ultimately termed a "success," we are looking at the real possibility of an international civilian/governmental industry based on the raw material of nuclear weapons

CATO Institute Welcomes Turn of Century: 1899

by David Corn Cato recently faxed news of its study, "The Greatest Century That Ever Was: 25 Miraculous Trends of the Past 100 Years." The report notes that "almost every indicator of health, wealth, safety, nutrition, affordability and availability of consumer goods and services, environmental quality, and social conditions indicates rapid improvement over the past century." That's a news flash? Couldn't the same have been said in 1899?

Industry Peddles Myth That 'Frankenfoods' Will Solve Hunger

by Scott Harris While the world is ever more suspicious of the health effects of eating genetically altered foods, U.S. officials have dug in their heels, countering that manipulating the genetic code of crops is necessary to feed the planet's growing population

Ben & Jerry's Melting Corporate Responsibility

by Dennis Fox Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started making ice cream in 1978, guided by their consciences along a profitable and socially responsible path toward high-fat heaven. But when they started selling stock in Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., their primary legal obligation changed. Now they might sell their Vermont-identified company to the buyout-hungry Pillsbury/Nestle partnership that makes rival Haagen-Dazs. The takeover drama should remind us that corporate social responsibility can only go so far

Iowa Was Fun, But There's More to Come

by Molly Ivins I still think it's a swell political year with much more fun to come. It is a shame, though, that the rest of the country doesn't get the same level of exposure to the candidates or the intensity of media coverage of the candidates that Iowa and New Hampshire do

Sticking to Bush's Message of the Day

by Molly Ivins In a typical Bush straddle, Bush did not attend the Saturday night "Family, Faith and Freedom" rally at which the three social conservatives in the Republican race appeared. Bush sent a surrogate, Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri, in the same kind of maneuver that we have seen him pull so many times in Texas to avoid being identified with the Christian right while pulling their votes

What Do You Do When The Money Leaves?

by Molly Ivins The one form of "regulation" that Greenspan embraces is raising interest rates, which he is fixing to do in a few weeks. There is, of course, no inflation anywhere on the horizon, and that's what interest rate increases are supposed to control, but Greenspan's idea of a shrewd move is to increase unemployment -- as Greider says, "to punish innocent wage earners for the excesses of Wall Street investors"

Unable to Form Complete Sentences

by Molly Ivins My personal favorite in the oratory sweepstakes is George W. Bush, who is rapidly developing a style that may yet become comparable to his father's. He is a master of the perfectly opaque response. If you cast your mind back to the long-gone days of 1992, you may recall that after four years of Big George's pronounless prose, Bill Clinton was considered something of a wonder because he spoke in complete sentences. Indeed, in complete paragraphs. People actually wrote about it at the time: "He speaks in complete sentences"

Getting Sued for Speaking Out

by Molly Ivins The latest example is a real prize: The Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, has already spent $10 million defending itself against a lawsuit filed by Isuzu Motors Ltd. because, eight years earlier, Consumer Reports rated the Isuzu Trooper "not acceptable" for safety reasons. And the case has not yet reached trial

How the Justice System Fights Justice

by Molly Ivins In the criminal justice system, there are only denials and strenuous efforts to prevent the exculpatory evidence from being presented in court. The ease with which our criminal justice system can nail the wrong person has been painfully demonstrated time and again

The Terrorist Boomlet

by Molly Ivins I think I've figured out why our resident nutters won't get paranoid about global warming. It's not something you can solve by stockpiling guns

Bradley has no Zip, But Still Appeals

by Molly Ivins Bradley is a man of truly unusual stature; he seems to have been a grown-up all his life, and a man concerned with the most serious issues. He also talks to voters as though we're grownups, too

GOP Fuzzy on Family Values

by Molly Ivins Some Miami Cubans claimed that Castro would use Elian to stage a victory parade through Havana, or some such, whereupon Castro promptly announced he would do no such thing. The Bearded One has a much better sense of public relations than we do. Keeping the kid here is wrong and is making us look like churls the world over

The Politics of Ambiguity

by Norman Solomon Like their potential GOP rivals, both Bradley and Gore are marching to the beat of corporate drummers. What's remarkable about Bradley is the extent to which many progressive-minded Americans have clung to illusions about him

New Film Presents Real View of War

by Norman Solomon Here in the United States, we've been encouraged to believe the absurd myth that television brought the Vietnam War into our living rooms. When we confused fleeting TV images with the actual carnage being inflicted with our tax dollars, we didn't have a clue

What Happened to the "Information Superhighway?"

by Norman Solomon Five years ago, there was tremendous enthusiasm for the emerging World Wide Web. Talk about the "information superhighway" evoked images of freewheeling, wide-ranging exploration. The phrase suggested that the Web was primarily a resource for learning and communication. Today, according to the prevalent spin, the Web is best understood as a way to make and spend money

FCC Does (Almost) Right Thing For Low-Watt Radio

by Alexander Cockburn The FCC also says it will penalize micro-radio pioneers whose demand has always been full amnesty, not to mention return of all property and equipment seized by the feds. Franck says it's as though, after the bus boycott in the 1960s, everyone could ride in a bus except Rosa Parks

Who Won the War on Crime?

by Alexander Cockburn To tell the difficult truth, we won't have the semblance of a true answer for years, if ever. There's no easily accessible correlation between public policy, policing or politicians and the drop in crime statistics. There is just no one -- anywhere -- who's been able to prove any simple equation

New Millennium, Old Crime

by Alexander Cockburn There are plenty of awful U.S. policies that have survived the turnover into this new millennium, but few of them can be as malignant as the sanctions that have been killing Iraqis at a steady rate since they were imposed in 1990

The Future Past

by Alexander Cockburn Back at the turn of the 19th century, the British had similar end-of-century worries, and spun endless fantasies about the precise way in which everything would collapse. In 1903, a huge best seller in the United Kingdom was a book called "When It Was Dark," by Guy Thorne. His particular version of Y2K horror was a fantasy about what would happen if it were shown that Christ never rose from the dead

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