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Table of Contents

Sweaty Sneakers

by Alan Pittman Nike public relations executives have long derided their critics as ignorant or malicious or both. The company says it does far better than its competitors in providing safe and fair working conditions for the half-million third-world factory workers that make its products in factories scattered around the globe. But Jeff Ballinger, director of Press for Change and a Nike watchdog for the past decade, dismisses the company's fair labor claims as "a lot of PR spinning"

On the Road With Ralph

by Janet Reynolds By the middle of June, Nader, who announced his candidacy at the end of February, will have visited all 50 states, something no other candidate will do. He has pledged to raise $5 million and has raised more than $600,000 so far. He is on the ballot in 14 states, and volunteers are gathering signatures to get on the ballot in the rest. He expects to have 30 full-time organizers focusing on getting out the vote. But Nader must overcome more than the already large -- some would say insurmountable -- obstacle of running as a third-party candidate. Besides fighting to get on the ballot and included in the presidential debates, Nader must combat the perception that he's yesterday's man

The Nader Wildcard

by Don Hazen One of the smoldering issues in Nader's campaign is his fight to be included in the nationally televised presidential debates. With his remarkable grasp of facts and history, Nader is a formidable debater who's eager to do battle with Bush and Gore. But the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the custodian of the debates, has decreed that to participate, a candidate must have at least 15 percent support in 6 specific polls. Nader is already polling between 7 and 10 percent in California, and close to that in several other states, but getting to a full 15 percent in the next few months may prove impossible. In light of this, many observers feel that the CPD -- which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties -- has unfairly stacked the deck against political insurgents

The Fall of Mexico's "Cactus Wall"

by Andrew Reding Vicente Fox's intention to convert Mexico into the Spain of North America is an even more ambitious undertaking. Yet he approaches it with a solid record of achievement as governor of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Guanajuato has the second-highest rate of growth of any Mexican state and the lowest rate of unemployment

Nader, Greens, Rally For Election Year Fight

by Cara DeGette Dismissing the notion that a vote for Nader is a vote thrown away, speaker after speaker attacked Democrats and Republicans as indistinguishable as they satiate their voracious appetites for cash from the same corporate and special interest trough. And in a stunning move, a representative of the 23-state coalition of the Reform Party of America offered a decisive endorsement for Nader

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IN THIS ISSUE: The greatest financial scandal in U.S. history; mainstream press bashes Ralph Nader; patriotic plagarism; top papers exclude critics in exchange for "scoop"

Once Polluted, Lake Ecosystems Hard to Fix

by Tamara Steinert Lakes contaminated with fertilizers are less stable than previously thought, making it harder to predict and control the ecosystems, according to a recent study

27,000 Japanese Protesters Form Human Chain Against U.S. Base

by Suvendrini Kakuchi The protesters, who staged the demonstration on the eve of the G-8 summit said they hoped the biggest protest act to date would make visiting leaders of the richest countries take notice of their call for the closure of the bases, and an end to 52 years of "misery" as a result of their presence and repeated misdeeds by American soldiers

Congress Reducing Foreign Aid -- Again

by Jim Lobe Already at a 50-year low, U.S. foreign aid stands to fall even further next year if bills currently making their way through Congress are enacted into law. As in the past, much of the decline will hit the world's poorest countries hardest. Proposals by Clinton to fund substantial debt reduction for the world's poorest and most heavily indebted countries have been rebuffed

Bush Sr. Trying to Rewrite History

by David Corn The most amateur historian can show that the Oval Office inhabited by Reagan and Bush was as stained, if not more so, as that overseen by Clinton -- even if the stains were of a different nature. On the subject of "honor and integrity," let's recall the Iran-contra affair

Presidential Poll Results Meaningless

by David Murray So long as polls are kept in their proper place, used as occasional check points on the road towards one's principals, they are useful servants. But when polls are used to determine destinations in the first place, we've entered a Humpty Dumpty world

The Bush and Gore Back and Forth

by David Corn The Gore-Bush sniping goes on relentlessly and every day the two candidates bombard me with put-downs (large and small) of the other. I don't mean to suggest that the Vice President and the Texas Governor are constantly calling me to bitch. But I do receive five to ten e-mails daily from each one's campaign. Much, if not most, of the bytes are devoted to the tit-for-tat rat-a-tat-tat. Who's the biggest tool of Big Oil? Who's the most accomplished in the art of hypocrisy?

Commission on Terrorism Seeks Broad Powers

by Jim Hightower The government already spends some $10 billion a year on assorted anti-terrorist escapades, yet this bunch wants more. For starters, the commission recommends that the Feds track the movements of every foreign student in the U.S. Is there a big problem with foreign students committing terrorist acts in our country? No. But, say these geniuses, a 'small minority may exploit their student status to support terrorist activity." Joseph McCarthy would be so proud

Dad Offers Faint Praise For Bush Junior

by Steve Chapman Eight years ago, Republicans warned the American people of the dangers of turning the leadership of the Free World over to a greenhorn governor who wouldn't know Bahrain from Bolivia. Now they're using Bill Clinton as a model

Shadow Conventions Offer Alternatives to Ruling Party

by David Corn This election year, a collection of public interest groups are trying to rise above the usual low-level and less-than-organized sniping by mounting what they bill as the Shadow Conventions at the Republican gathering in Philadelphia and the Democratic get-together in Los Angeles. For four hours each day, while the deep-pocket funders, delegates, and pols are recovering from the previous night of speechifying and parties, the Shadowers will discuss issues MIA at the main events: campaign finance reform; poverty and the increasing gap between rich and poor in America; and the failure and awful consequences of the war on drugs

Gore Risks Losing Enviro, Labor Vote

by Dan Hamburg For the past eight years, the Clinton/Gore administration has tried to have it both ways -- cheerleading the onslaught of globalization while hanging onto their traditional allies. But the endgame may not be far off

Bush Appears Obsessed With Parody Website

by Donna Ladd George W. Bush just won't let die. It's as if he wants as many people as possible to go to the parody site and read "Fear and Loathing in East Texas," a tongue-in-cheek supplement to a Bush autobiography to recapture the years 1968-74. "We were somewhere in New Haven around the edge of campus when the drugs began to take hold," it "quotes" Bush saying

Politicians Even Shake Down Their Own

by Steven Hill and Rob Richie The Republican House leadership announced recently that they are hinging the reward of leadership positions and chairmanships of powerful committees to those incumbents who raise the most money for the party. Since committee chairs have near-dictatorial powers to set committee dockets, dole out pork and establish the national agenda, this plan debases government to a whole new level of crassness and political patronage

Lobbyists Ride with Bush and Gore

by Jim Hightower Anyone who doubts that Washington is a money town need only glance at the who's who of influence peddlers surrounding both George W. Bush and Al Gore. No matter which one of these lugs wins, Washington lobbyists will have their tickets punched for another four year ride on the merry-go-round

Child Labor Abuse Rampant in U.S. Farm Industry

by Jim Lobe Despite the Clinton administration's efforts to assert U.S. leadership in fighting child labor overseas, hundreds of thousands of child farm laborers are working in abusive conditions in the United States, according to a new repor

Israel's Covert Nuclear Program

by Eric Margolis The latest revelations about Israel's nuclear arsenal -- now the world's fourth or fifth most powerful -- will likely spur the Arab states and Iran to intensify efforts to acquire a nuclear counter-force, and to develop `poor man's' weapons of mass destruction to match Israel's extensive nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal

U.S. Prepared to Deport Liberians Back to Warlords

by Ann Mullen After the civil war broke out in the West African country, the U.S. government granted Liberians a form of asylum, "temporary protected status." Now, with the civil war over and a new government -- with Taylor as president -- in place, the Clinton administration says it is no longer necessary to allow these international refugees to remain in the United States. "Although conditions remain difficult, the overall situation is not sufficiently adverse to prevent most Liberian nationals in the U.S. from returning to Liberia in safety," according to a State Department memorandum supporting the decision. Liberians' "protected" status ended last September. They have been given until this September to leave the country unless they can convince U.S. authorities "their particular circumstances" make returning unsafe

U.S. Drug Cops Hunting Possible Illegal Immigrants

by Kintto Lucas The detention of an Ecuadorian fishing boat by the U.S. warship Hali Burton last month has raised questions here about the operations of a U.S. drug interdiction program now working out of an Ecuadorian military base

Enviros Pressure Banks to Halt Russian Loans

Russian and international ecologists are calling on the World Bank to issue an immediate moratorium on all new projects in Russia and to suspend disbursements for current projects until two environmental agencies are restored

Unemployed Elephants Lead to Bangkok Traffic Jams

by Kelvin Ng Driven by a lack of work in their hometowns and unable to adequately feed their elephants, the mahouts who used to steer their charges in the lush forests of northeastern Thailand now find themselves foraging in the busy, congested streets of Bangkok

Australia Blasted for Deal With Christian Fundamentalists

by Kalinga Seneviratne The Australian government has come under renewed attacks by critics after it agreed to sell a government-owned radio transmitter to a Christian fundamentalist group to broadcast propaganda programs to Asia

Anti-Drug Program Causes Medical Shortages

by Nadeem Iqba While Pakistan is hailed for pulling itself out of the ranks of nations feeding the clandestine international drug trade, the country may have cut off a ready supply of the narcotic for medicinal uses. Ironically, there has been a sharp rise in drug abuse in the country, with large quantities of narcotics being smuggled in, critics point out

Mexican Enviros Uneasy About New Government

by Pilar Franco Activists in Mexico are urging the conservative government that takes office in December to put a top priority on environmental conservation, as they question the credentials of its political partner, the Ecological Green Party

"Missing" CIA Documents Still Withheld

by Jim Lobe All relevant U.S. documents on the cases of Charles Horman, whose case was the inspiration for the 1982 blockbuster movie "Missing," and Frank Teruggi, were supposed to have been declassified June 30 as part of two-year effort ordered by Clinton to make public what Washington knew about political violence and human rights abuses in Chile from the late 1960s until 1990. But almost nothing on the two cases was released that had not been previously known or made available, and investigators believe that important information is being withheld by the CIA and the Pentagon

Debt Same as Slavery for World's Poorest

by Judith Achieng "Although we are told that slavery is finished, in the globalized economy, a different kind of slavery is emerging. We can see it in Africa and other Third World countries"

Massive Shrimp Farms Called "White Gold"

by Leslie Jermyn What would be sensible, environmental organizations agree, is an industry that operates only in properly licensed areas with control in the hands of independent agencies. But Gongora sees no sign of change. This leaves the success of the opposition in the hands of the export countries. If consumers buy the cheapest products -- eating shrimp as if it were chicken -- they encourage the industry to continue its current course and ignore social and ecological consequences

Fish Farms Threaten World Fish Population

by Mark Shwartz The greatest potential threat to the environment comes from farms that raise carnivorous species -- fish that eat other fish. These include marine shrimp and popular finfish such as salmon, trout and seabass. Most carnivorous fish are sold to lucrative markets in the United States, Europe and Japan. To maximize growth and enhance flavor, shrimp and salmon farmers use processed food made from less valuable fish species harvested from the sea -- herring, mackerel, anchovy, sardine and other relatively small varieties. The problem, explains Naylor, is that it takes a lot of mackerel and herring to feed farmed fish. As a result, the average farmer ends up using about three pounds of wild-caught fish to grow a single pound of salmon or shrimp.

Regulations Are Killing Small Meat Processors

by Alexander Cockburn Over 70 percent of the hamburgers, wieners, beef or pork ribs, chickens and butterflied lamb legs on those July Fourth grills will have gone through one of only 10 packing companies across the country. These big packers are cozy with presidents and governors and chairmen of congressional committees. The day that they decide the only safe sausage is a nuked sausage, only sausages labeled "Real" (the official symbol for irradiated food) will be legal. Until then, the name of the game for the regulators is to find out what machines and temperatures are standard for Big Meat, and rush out to close the little folk down if they have not already bankrupted themselves by having to buy the new equipment

Meat Processors Killing Regulators

by Bud Hazelcorn The recent killing of three government meat inspectors by the owner of a sausage plant in San Leandro, California was only the most extreme example of an ongoing pattern of abuse. Compliance officers and other meat inspectors "almost on a daily basis have been pushed around, found all their tires slashed" and at least once "chased with a meat cleaver" by angry plant owners or employees

Making a Personal Stand Against Globalization

by Donella H. Meadows Jose Bove milks 250 sheep in the Larzac region of France, and was well known locally before he and nine friends drove their tractors to the nearby town of Millau last year and pulled down an under-construction McDonalds restaurant. Now he is well known globally

Drug Industry Spending Big to Defeat Medicare Reform

by Mark Weisbrot Want a free ten-minute long distance calling card? Check out Just don't forget to ask your grandma to oppose any attempts by those nasty politicians to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. This was just one scheme, along with $2 million of TV ads in the last three weeks, from a drug industry front group calling itself Citizens for Better Medicare. The organization was exposed in a recent report by the consumer group Public Citizen. As Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro put it, "they're not citizens, and they're not for better Medicare"

California's Senseless Prison Expansion

by Rose Braz The governor's 2000 budget sets aside a whopping $19 million for the parole board, an increase of $1.4 million. The justification for the increased funding: the "no parole" policy. The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that more than 4,000 inmates, incarcerated at an annual cost of at least $100 million, are now eligible for parole and a total of 20,000 inmates are potentially subject to the "no parole" policy

Bernie Sanders' Drug War

by Joyce Marcel Bernie Sanders, Vermont's maverick Independent congressman, has gone on the warpath against the pharmaceutical industry; he says drug companies are in the business of "fleecing Americans." What especially galls Sanders is the fact that across the border from Vermont, in Quebec, the same name-brand prescription drugs are selling for significantly less

Repubs' Shameful "Tax Cut"

by Molly Ivins In a truly startling class warfare assault, the R's have rigged every one of their recent tax adjustments to favor the rich. You might think that's no skin off your nose, but the less that rich people pay, the more of the tax burden has to be borne by you

Bush Stooges Proudly Defend The Guv

by Molly Ivins Thank goodness! Just in the nick of time, up shows the Proud of Texas Committee to "act as a resource on Texas facts for members of the media between now and the November election." And look at the variety of citizens on this committee! Mike Levy, publisher of Texas Monthly, two lobbyists, a state employee and a guy who sells cement to the state. And they have absolutely nothing in common, except they're all supporting George W. Bush! Thank heavens, objectivity at last

Culture for Sale

by Molly Ivins I believe it was former state Ag Commish Jim Hightower who first suggested pols should dress like NASCAR drivers, covered with the patches of their corporate sponsors. G.W. Bush should be wearing an Enron gimme cap and an Exxon breast patch, and have Microsoft embroidered on one side of his shirt and assorted insurance companies on the other. Ditto Gore, with a slight change of sponsors. Very slight

Bush's Phony Balanced Budget

by Molly Ivins It has been an open secret in Austin for several months that one state agency after another was going into the red. So everyone who told Dubya not to insist on the $1.7 billion tax cut can now stand up and take a bow

Vote for Nader Could Make Real Difference

by Molly Ivins Let's get Nader the 15 percent support in the polls that the Debate Commission says he needs to appear in the presidential debates. The point here is to move the debate. I am so sick of having to listen to Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh Republicans and the Democrats who keep caving to them that I'll vote Nader in a New York minute

Civilization at Environmental Crossroads

by Molly Ivins Starting from where we are now (always a good idea), we could push for the higher fuel efficiency standards already written into law but delayed time and again by the Republicans in Congress as a result of pressure from the automakers. We know they can build more efficient cars -- we've already made them do it -- they just don't want to and would rather spend the money on our legally corrupt political system

Wearing Blinders on Globalization

by Molly Ivins Since Friedman is the Establishment media guru of globalization, others took his lead, and it is now chic to dismiss anyone who raises questions about globalization, much less condemns it, as too hopelessly retro, they don't get it, just afraid of change, and so forth. Organized labor, so passe, just wants to protect those union jobs. Bunch of nuts like Ross Perot, talking about that giant sucking sound and all that. All the forward-looking people, all those bright, high-tech movers and shakers and Wall Street wonders are fully in favor of globalization and think we just need to work out a few kinks along the way. Alan Greenspan kindly advises us not to be afraid of this brave new world

Holy Wars: Been There, Done That

by Molly Ivins It is difficult to have a discussion with someone who believes all truth resides in the Bible or the Koran, or for that matter, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand or Dianetics

Media Exaggerates National Optimism

by Norman Solomon The spin for optimism exerts pressure to override or suppress the contrary conclusions that we might draw from our own perceptions of the status quo. At times, media commentators seem to be implying that Americans who lack the appropriate optimism are of inferior mettle or insufficient resiliency

Nader Raises Media Hackles

by Norman Solomon From coast to coast, some big newspapers have been scolding Ralph Nader lately. Why? Because he's running for president, and a lot of people -- according to a recent national poll, 7 percent of the electorate -- intend to vote for him

Orwell's Doublespeak Alive and Well

by Norman Solomon Today, in the United States, media coverage of political discourse attests to Orwell's observation that language "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." News media frequently make things worse. Instead of scrutinizing the blather, reporters are inclined to solemnly relay it -- while adding some of their own. The standard jargon of U.S. politics is the type of facile rhetoric that appalled Orwell

Democrats Frantic About Nader

by Alexander Cockburn In the end, Gore's crowd has one basic argument: a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. No, it's not. A vote for Nader is a vote for revitalizing the system and breaking the iron ceiling of the current one party with two heads

Gore, Bush, and the Supreme Court

by Alexander Cockburn Which is the more realistic political option: to vote for Al Gore, despite his generally awful political positions, because he might pick a judge who might turn out to be OK; or to look at Al Gore's recent record, which is not a matter of conjecture

Nike's Non-Profit Friends

by Alexander Cockburn The mandate and protocols of the Fair Labor Association was largely drafted by lawyers for Nike and by Michael Posner. Further luster was added by the presence on the Lawyers Committee advisory board of reps from Reebok, the Gap, Liz Claiborne and Disney. The drafters did their work well. Information on overseas factories would be kept secret. Better still, a company could win a "No Sweat" endorsement for one product, even if 95 percent of its total output was put together in a slave camp. Twenty months have rolled by since the Fair Labor Association

Congress is Best Reason to Vote for Nader

by Alexander Cockburn A bipartisan coalition of about 30 senators and 56 representatives can be relied upon to do the right thing on big-ticket items like wars abroad and the WTO. Against them are ranged the massed legislators of the Permanent Government, which is presently exerting itself mightily to keep Ralph Nader out of any debating venue for presidential candidates where he might have an opportunity to lay out these realities

Book Offers Irregular View of Western Medicine

by Joel Schwarz Whorton focuses on constipation in the United States and Great Britain in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century because the literature was more accessible and because the two countries were rivals at claiming to be the most constipated. "Certainly other countries such as France, Germany and Japan also suffered from constipation. It is universal. Both the U.S. and Britain saw themselves as the most advanced nation and because of these claims of being more civilized each country supposed itself to be the most constipated nation on the planet. It was a perverse way of saying 'we are superior' or 'we are paying the price of progress'"

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