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Table of Contents

Wildfires Spark Political Firestorm

by Cat Lazaroff The 2000 wildfire season is shaping up to be the worst in 50 years, with almost five million acres scorched in 13 states. Pundits and politicians are raising a firestorm of conflicting opinions and accusations regarding who -- or what -- is to blame for the devastating flames

A Wildfire Policy Built on Fear of Ashes

by Mike Bader n a politically motivated attempt to extinguish the Yellowstone fires, federal (taxpayer) expenditures reached over $120 million. More than 850 miles of fire lines were constructed to virtually no effect -- the fires didn't stop until is snowed. We could no more stop these fires burning in rugged wilderness than we can order a hurricane to change course. Fighting fire in the remote backcountry expanses was largely a wasted effort that squandered taxpayer dollars, needlessly put firefighters at risk and created resource damage to pristine areas. Most fire bosses and fire behavior specialists knew this at the time, but the political hear forced them into a no-win situation

Power Hungry

by J.A. Savage and Elizabeth McCarthy With brownouts and blackouts becoming commonplace in California, companies that develop new power plants are anxiously waiting for states to permit new building. Some have broken ground in the last few months. These builders are not the ubiquitous U.S. utilities of yore -- they are deep-pockets companies that develop power plants in India, South America and wherever else capital flows and privitization is allowed. Developers, might, however, include a recent explosion of utility affiliates that are unregulated by state agencies and the federal government

Clinton Allowed Genocide, New Report Says

by David Corn Rwanda genocide began as the Clinton Administration refused "to accept publicly that a full-fledged ... genocide was in fact taking place." Under the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, once a genocide is recognized, the nations of the world are obligated to prevent the killings and to punish the murderers. But the Clinton gang did not want to become involved in Rwanda -- after 18 American soldiers had been killed in Somalia six months earlier

Africans Find U.S. put Catch-22 in Deal for Cheap AIDS Drug

by Gregory Palast While Clinton will lend African nations a billion dollars a year for AIDS drugs and the pharmaceutical companies have agreed to a 75 percent discount, South Africa must buy 100 percent of the medicine from the USA and pay back all the cash at "commercial interest rates"

LAPD's Violence Denounced

by Jennifer Bleyer California State Senator Tom Hayden, whose own son was injured in the altercation, said at the press conference that the police reaction was the result of months of planning and anticipation. He said that the police were eager to experiment with the "arsenal of exotic weaponry" they had stockpiled in preparation for the Democratic National Convention, including rubber bullets, bean bag bullets, tear gas and OC pepper gas which "people were being hosed with without any sensible awareness of guidelines"

"Tips" Lead Cops to Raid Alt Media Center

by Don Hazen Claiming they had an intelligence tip about a bomb threat, LA County Sheriffs temporarily closed down Patriotic Hall, the home of the Independent Media Center and the Shadow Conventions, located five blocks from the Democratic Convention. The sheriffs detained three activists for several hours, shut down all power to a TV satellite truck in the parking lot and tore apart a "suspicious" van, only to later admit they had the wrong vehicle. As a result, Free Speech TV's live national telecast, "Crashing the Party" -- which would have been broadcast in 60 cities across the country during Bill Clinton's speech -- was knocked off the air

Winners and Losers in LA 2000 Showdowns

by Don Hazen The Democratic National Convention itself proved to be a panorama of excess, set against a swirling, clashing background of festive protests and street anger. There were massive amounts of corporate largesse, a media frenzy fed by 15,000 journalists and police power beyond what anyone has ever seen in this country. Such epic displays of resources and firepower tend to create unpredictable ebbs and flows of momentum -- Monday's apparent success can become Wednesday's failure. At first, it looked like the hoopla around the DNC might generate a lot of losers and no big winners

U'wa Marchers Chide Gore

by Tamara Straus Leaders of the U'wa, a 5,000-member tribe who live in the Colombian cloudforest, were denied entry visas to participate in a downtown Los Angeles rally and march, apparently because their threats -- to stop the Occidental Petroleum Company from drilling on their homeland and, barring that, to commit collective suicide -- are not good publicity for Al Gore

The Fat Cats' Convention Experience

by Sara Catania he protests had delayed the VIP buses that were to transport them to the Paramount dinner. "We got outside, and it was like a Gothic movie, like Batman," Doreen said. "There were all these helicopters and lights flashing down. And all these people pushing and shoving to get on the VIP bus. It was scary. We ended up walking two miles to catch a taxi"

Demonstrators Failed to Get Message Out

by Tamara Straus Competing with a media event like the Democratic National Convention is no easy feat. But leaders of the various activist movements in L.A. could have been more media-savvy. Ever since activists had their coming out party in Seattle last November, there has been much hand-wringing about how to keep a coalition of labor, environmentalists, anti-globalists and other members of the American left together while remaining non-hierarchical: How to replicate the success of Seattle? How to get messages across? "This weird psychology had set in where they're so afraid of losing the momentum of Seattle that they have to keep organizing the next Seattle or the whole thing will dissipate," says Naomi Klein

The GOP's Lie-apalooza

by David Corn At a National Review reception honoring Representative Henry Hyde, who led the impeachment charge, I encountered Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition mastermind who is a paid adviser to Bush, and asked him to evaluate the convention. As servers carried trays of jumbo shrimp and Belgian endives stuffed with duck and apricots to a mostly monochromatic crowd of dark-suited conservatives that did not look like "different kinds of Republicans," Reed uttered the catch-phrase "bold reform agenda" four times in two minutes, each instance flashing a smile that could blind. He was, as they say, on-message

Backlash Over Philly Protest Crackdown

by Linn Washington Jr. Philadelphia officials denied allegations that arrested protesters were beaten, refused medical attention and given excessive bails ranging from $10,000 to $1 million dollars, though most were charged with misdemeanors. However, many of the more than 400 protesters arrested during the convention claimed they endured physical and mental abuse while being held for days inside Philadelphia's central police station before transfers to city prisons

The Battle of Philadelphia

by Dave Lindorff The "Battle of Philadelphia" got off to a much tamer start than the confrontations between demonstrators and police in Seattle last November and in Washington in April, but it was clear from the beginning that things would get nasty. And by August 1, midway through a week of planned protests, they did

Voices of the Failed Drug War

by Jennifer Bleyer One by one, they stood onstage and announced this dismal roll call of names and prison sentences. Many seemed shy, unaccustomed to speaking into microphones and standing under bright television lights. But they did it anyway, determined to publicize the causalities of the drug war

Free Cars and Barbies

by Monte Paulsen and Russ Tisinger For the 2,066 actual delegates at last week's Republican National Convention, the pilgrimage to Philadelphia is about much more than politics -- it's about booty. Upon their arrival, delegates, alternates and GOP bigwigs were presented with a suitcase worth of loot, including a tin of Altoids, a package of elephant-shaped Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and a genuine Convention Barbie

Philadelphia Funneled $7 Million to GOP to Host Convention

by Laura Smith The City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania lured the GOP's convention not just with promises of hospitality and extra-efficient trash collection. They each donated $7 million to the Republicans -- funneled through a non-profit "host committee" called Philadelphia 2000 -- and urged local companies, universities and non-profit organizations to give liberally as well

McCain Jeered For Bush Endorsement

by Wayne Madsen "I am obliged, not by party loyalty, but by a sincere conviction," McCain emphasized, "to support my party's nominee, Governor George Bush of Texas." His comment was met with a flurry of jeers from both liberal activists and McCain's own supporters. Of the latter, many were veterans of McCain's bruising primary campaign against Bush

Demos May Face Replay of 1968 Defeat

by Jeff Cohen If this scenario feels like a recurring dream, that's because we lived through it once before, in the tumultuous election year of 1968. To Democrats, it may be more like a nightmare; if history repeats itself, the GOP will reinhabit the White House. There is one significant difference between then and now -- Ralph Nader

Lieberman Is No Washington Saint

by David Corn Is whacking a White House adulterer for lying the best test of moral mettle? What of Lieberman's own involvement in the degradation of the political culture? Without apology, he pockets large sums of money from corporate special interests and promotes legislation that favors them. He is a leading recipient of funds from Big Insurance -- over $197,000 so far in this campaign cycle. And -- coincidence or not -- he has pressed for health care measures the industry desires and that consumer advocates criticize. He has opposed permitting patients to sue negligent HMOs for punitive damages. He supported product liability reform, which would make it difficult for consumers to sue businesses that manufacture and sell defective and dangerous products. Lieberman is a hardass on presidential responsibility, but permissive regarding corporate responsibility

Gore's Disguised "Wise Use" Environmentalism

by Steven Zak Gore presents himself as a modern day John Muir and the image, backed by his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, sells. But on closer inspection, a different image emerges

Bush's Personal Culture War

by David Corn To dress up Bush's all-too-personal vendetta, he has recruited a few cranky right-wing intellectuals. One is David Horowitz, the 1960s radical turned 1980s conservative, who asserts that the left of today, still running on the fumes of the 1960s, dominates the culture and needs to be eradicated

Why I Don't Like Dick Cheney

by Larry Jordan Though Dick Cheney is no doubt a man of some intellect, I made a note that day that this guy must have icewater running through his veins. He came off as epitomizing the worst of what the Republican party has to offer, with his elitist manner, self-importance and windy pontificating

Cheney's Dirty Business

by Wayne Madsen Cheney's links to defense contractors and the intelligence community are suspect because of the roles played by Halliburton and Brown & Root in some of the world's most volatile trouble spots

Media Biased Towards Bush, Survey Shows

by Jeff Elliott The American press has treated George W. Bush far better than Al Gore, casting the Texas Governor as a moderate and "compassionate conservative" while portraying the Vice-President as a liar tainted by scandal, according to a new study

Millions Funnelled to Bush Via Phony Grassroots Groups

by Katherine Lemons While Bush was governor of Texas, he enacted numerous bills to support these so-called "Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse" (CALA) groups, whose goals are to protect corporations from costly and embarrassing class action lawsuits. The messy details of the underhanded deals have just been released in a new report by the Center for Justice & Democracy and Public Citizen. The report explains how CALAs funneled money from big business -- giants like Philip Morris, Dow Chemical, Exxon, General Electric, Aetna, Geico and Nationwide -- to support covert agendas, among them the buying of George W. Bush. To this day, some of Bush's largest cash cows are these corporate-funded CALAs

Cuba: Feeding Everyone Without Using Pesticides

by Renee Kjartan Urban agriculture is now a "major element of the Havana cityscape," the Food First report says, and the model is now being copied throughout the country, with production growing at 250-350 percent per year. Today, food from the urban farms is grown almost entirely with active organic methods, the report says. Havana has outlawed the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture within city limits

Cuba: A Cow and Garden in Every Yard

by Patricia Grogg More and more gardens have been cropping up in yards, empty lots, terraces and even barrels and buckets in the towns and cities of this Caribbean island nation in the past few years. According to government estimates, Cuba's urban gardens produced 690 tons of fresh vegetables and spices in the first half of the year -- a figure that ministry of agriculture authorities hope will have doubled in the second half of the year

Researchers Warn Earth's Ice is Melting

by Danielle Knight Ice covering the Earth, from the polar caps to the Himalayas, is melting in more places and at a higher rate than ever before recorded, warns an environmental think-tank

Sharp Rise in Neo-Nazi Violence Worries Germany

by Ramesh Jaura Statistics from the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation show right-wing violence, including killings, assaults, arson and bomb attacks, began to increase rapidly for the first time in 1991

Anti-Coca Fungus Threatens Amazon

by Kintto Lucas The spraying of the fusarium exosporium fungus to destroy coca fields in Colombia could devastate the Amazon jungle ecosystem, warn experts

Climate Expert Blasts Emission Trading Scheme

by Danielle Knight A U.S. plan to curb global warming through international greenhouse gas emissions trading will never work and will disadvantage developing nations, a prominent U.S. expert on global warming has warned

Romania's 100,000 Orphans

by Marian Chiriac A decade after the communist regime was overthrown, Romania is still trying to improve its image of a country where many vacant-looking and listless orphans are crowded into cold, filthy dormitories. Such images of Romania's orphanages, which shocked the world in the wake of the former communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, unfortunately still loom large

Cleanliness is Next to Dangerous, Says Dr

by Jim Sliwa Efforts to keep our bodies and everything we touch bacteria-free could instead promote the growth of drug-resistant strains, says a Tufts University physician who urges people to abandon their irrational fears and make peace with the beneficial bacteria surrounding us. Not only do most bacteria help keep harmful bacteria in check, they may even give a baby's immune system the exercise it needs to develop normally

Salmon Safety Net Full of Holes

by Cat Lazaroff The federal government has released its plan to save salmon in the Pacific Northwest, including habitat protections and fish hatcheries, but ruling out dam removal for the time being. The plan, five years in the making, is a deep disappointment to environmental and fishing groups that say it may doom endangered fish to extinction

Future of Mexican Women's Rights Unclear

by Diego Cevallos A faction of the National Action Party (PAN) that is known for criticizing miniskirts and "immoral" works of art has unleashed a national debate on abortion using its newfound power as the party of President-elect Vicente Fox

Tropical Forests Prime For Catastrophic Fires

by Jim Lobe An increasingly clear link has emerged between the El Nino weather phenomenon and destructive forest fires in the world's remaining forested areas, according to a new report released today that calls for much stronger and more urgent action to prevent them

100,000 Women in India's Seafood Sweatshops

by Ranjit Devraj Diners in some of Japan's finest restaurants have little idea that the seafood on their plates was made possible by thousands of Indian women working long hours in unhealthy conditions for $30/month

Virgin Siberian Forests to be Clearcut for China

by Danielle Knight To the alarm of local environmental watchdogs, the regional forestry authorities have allowed a large area of pristine Siberian forest to be clearcut to satisfy China's demand for timber

Rainforest to be Cleared For Rocket Launch Pad

by Fred Pearce One of the Caribbean's last jungles could soon echo to the sound of rocket launches. Guyana has agreed to sell a large tract of pristine swampy rainforest to a Texan rocket-launch company, Beal Aerospace, for just $3 an acre

Lone Woman's Anti-Nuke Crusade

by Anna Blackden   Connie, as her friends call her, has maintained a round-the-clock vigil for world peace and nuclear disarmament since 1981 when Ronald Reagan first entered the White House as president. In November, another president will be voted in and Connie will still be on her personal crusade to free the world from nuclear threat. "I will stay until whatever it takes to stop the bombing and the proliferation of nuclear weapons...I am sacrificing a lot and enduring a lot," says Picciotto. "But it's worth it "

Worldwide Tobacco Treaty in Two Years?

by Mark Lobel If no action is taken, the number of tobacco users could escalate to 1.7 billion in 20 years' time, compared to the 1.25 billion at present. The number of annual deaths resulting from tobacco consumption is expected to rise to about 10 million by the 2020s. (At present, there are an estimated 4 million premature deaths per year). Increasingly, the burden of disease is borne by developing countries. "It will become the prime killer, overtaking malaria. It will be the number-one determinant of mortality in the 2020s"

Big Tobacco Infiltrated UN Agencies

by Gustavo Capdevila Investigations conducted by a committee of WHO-designated experts concluded that the tobacco industry used a wide range of tactics to influence various United Nations organizations. Specifically, the committee charged that corporate lobbyists infiltrated the agency and established "inappropriate relationships with WHO staff to influence policy"

The Kids Both Gore and Bush Ignore

by Steve Chapman One of George W. Bush's favorite slogans is "No child left behind," and the Republican National Convention has set aside many hours to catalogue his devotion to kids. Al Gore has a slew of proposals on education and health care that, we are told, will greatly improve the lot of children. But when it comes to AIDS, the two candidates offer the youngest Americans a whole lot of nothing

The New York Times Race Series Misses the Mark

by Makani Themba-Nixon When The New York Times launched its yearlong project, How Race Is Lived in America, there was great fanfare. There was so much hope and for some, dread. After all, how often does the country's "paper of record" take on the thorny, complex subject of race? Six weeks and more than a dozen front-page articles later, the series ended this month as a major disappointment. Abandoning investigative journalism for storytelling, the Times' race coverage was only skin deep. And as a result, it often trivialized racism as nothing more than personal relations

No Media Coverage of Attack on Environment

by Donella H. Meadows Every summer the major funding bills lumber through the committee rooms and attract these nasty little riders. It's a daily story with much more import than Elian Gonzalez, but so far it only plays on environmental websites

Slow Motion Genocide in Iraq

by Randolph T. Holhut There's no definitive count of how many have died from the nine years of the UN embargo, but estimates range from 500,000 to more than 1.5 million and that about half have been children under age five. This suffering has been rarely mentioned in the news media

Demo Steak and Repub Pink Clouds

by Molly Ivins So here are the Democrats, stuck trying to sell the steak, not the sizzle, of the sizzleless Gore, while Republicans attempt to tap-dance their way through with the vaguest of pink-cloud plans and a likable candidate

Many Lessons in Firestone Tire Recall

by Molly Ivins All this mess does offer some instructive points beyond the general finger-pointing concerning labor law, campaign financing and George W. Bush's beloved tort reform. For one thing, most of the problem tires came from Firestone's factory in Decatur, Illinois, which experienced quality problems from 1994 to 1996, when the factory was operated mostly by replacement workers brought in after a labor dispute

No Reason for New Missile Defense Program

by Molly Ivins I don't know what you think of a weapons system where they have to rig the tests to make it look good, but if we're building this $60 billion toy to foil Saddam Hussein, I don't think he's going to give us any advance clues on which is the decoy and which is the McCoy. It turns out that our National Missile Defense system can't tell an incoming missile from a mylar balloon

Bush Tries Hard to Coverup Texas' Failures

by Molly Ivins The latest jaw-drop is the news that our very own governor -- George W. Bush -- is personally responsible for the law that entitles the top 10 percent of every high school class to a place in the state college or university systems. Gee, and we thought his only contribution was not to veto that bill after a bunch of black and Hispanic legislators, infuriated by the Hopwood decision ending affirmative action, worked like dogs to get it passed

Energy Industry Manipulating Prices

by Molly Ivins Cinergy Corp., a utility holding company, surreptitiously took enough power from its grid over a three-day period last summer to light a small city for a month. The company had underestimated power demands; rather than buy more or cut service, it quietly borrowed power from the system when demand was peaking and later replaced it in the cool of the night when demand went down. The company received a letter of rebuke but no fine for this because the company runs its own "control area" and is trusted to enforce the voluntary rules, even when it is violating those rules itself. Isn't that nice?

Dirty Tricks of Bush Manager Revealed

by Molly Ivins Rove, as all the world knows, has been a Republican political operative in Texas for 23 years. During that time, Texas Democrats noticed a pattern that they eventually became somewhat paranoid about: In election years, there always seemed to be an FBI investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. After the election was over, the allegations often vanished

Tips For Republican Operatives

by Molly Ivins Bush became governor by promising to sign a concealed-weapons law. According to incomplete statistics from the Department of Public Safety, as of May this year, 889 licensed carriers had been arrested for felony violations ranging from 27 cases of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter to promotion of child pornography. Another 2,790 were arrested for misdemeanors and 960 for civil crimes like violation of a protective order

GOP Tries to Sound Better Than Real

by Molly Ivins In the ongoing rewrite of Little George's record, the recent Rand study of public schools is being used to claim that Texas schools are now "the best in the nation." The Rand study ranked Texas 27th out of 44 states and did NOT say that higher standards, accountability or ending social promotion were the keys to improving the public schools. It said that smaller class sizes, better classroom equipment and spending more money on poor kids were the keys to improvement. All of that has been done in Texas, but none of it by George W.

Repubs on the Attack

by Molly Ivins Gore came to Texas to point out a few sad facts -- air's terrible, 1.4 million kids with no health insurance, that kind of thing -- and Bush said he was being attacked. As "Give' Em Hell" Harry Truman used to say, "I just tell the truth and they think it's hell"

Who Deserves Credit for Texas' Schools?

by Molly Ivins The real story on how our schools rocketed from abysmal to only slightly below average in a mere 30 years starts in 1968, with a lawsuit

The Demo Deception Convention

by Norman Solomon A former labor secretary in the Clinton administration has provided some clarity. In a targeted opinion article that appeared in The Financial Times on July 14, Robert Reich inadvertently supplied context helping to explain why some protesters would arrive in Los Angeles four weeks later wearing mock Gore buttons that simply said: "Whore 2000." Although he didn’t use such imagery, Reich made a convincing case that Clinton and Gore have excelled at prostituting themselves and their party to some very high bidders

Lieberman, Corporate Democrat

by Norman Solomon Like most other senators, Lieberman has built his career by serving the interests of the rich. Now that he looms very large on the national political stage, Lieberman is well-positioned to further corporatize the Democratic Party

The Pleasantville Party

by Norman Solomon As Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out a third of a century ago, real compassion does not involve flinging coins at beggars; instead, the challenge for humanity is to transform the powerful institutions that create the need for begging in the first place. Today, the compelling reasons to struggle for economic justice have never been more acute. Rather than entertain any such notions, mainstream politicians and most national media outlets are busy perpetuating vertigo for the public. If you’re closely watching the coverage of a Republican or Democratic convention, you probably start to feel dizzy from all the spinning

Convention Hospitality and Police Brutality

by Norman Solomon Once again, Americans will be watching the extravaganzas known as the Republican and Democratic national conventions, this time in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Both events are underwritten by business patrons; both cities are notorious for police misconduct. Hospitality and brutality -- the contrasts could hardly be more extreme

Who IS Al Gore?

by Alexander Cockburn What can minorities or labor hope from the Democratic ticket? Lieberman has an explicit record of attacks on affirmative action. Gore has a substantive one. Ask Blacks in Government, an organization of federal employees, their opinion of Gore's Reinventing Government rampages in 1993 and 1994, which axed the civil service at a rate Ronald Reagan never dared dream of

Lieberman Pick Moves Demos to Right

by Alexander Cockburn Conservative guru William F. Buckley (a Connecticut resident) endorsed Lieberman, and stumped to get out the right-wing vote for him. So did most of the Republicans in the Connecticut legislature. One telling moment of the campaign was a televised debate in which Lieberman attacked Weicker for the latter's support for lifting the embargo and reopening diplomatic relations with Cuba. Lieberman said to Weicker, "You're closer to Fidel Castro than you are to Ronald Reagan." With the Reaganite vote and the votes of most Democrats, Lieberman easily won the election

It's "Reach Out" Time Again

by Alexander Cockburn At the substantive level, the two parties mostly offer an iron ceiling. Does anyone really believe that any Republican administration will suddenly decide to redistribute wealth down and not up? Or that Gore will load up the Supreme Court with justices the caliber of William Douglas or Hugo Black, tame the oil companies, and strike fear into the hearts of the corporate malefactors?

The Truth About Clintonomics

by Alexander Cockburn In eight years, working people got virtually nothing out of the Clinton-Gore administration except what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan termed exultantly in 1997: "subdued wages" and heightened job insecurity

Reptiles as Much at Risk of Extinction as Frogs

by Rosemary Forrest National attention has been riveted on the issue of amphibian declines for years and has intensified with each new report of vanishing populations or deformities. But reptiles are in even greater distress worldwide than their better known cousins

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