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Table of Contents

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

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

Girl Scouts Under Fire By Right-Wing Groups

by Bill Berkowitz For conservatives, evidence of the transgressions by the leaders of the Girl Scouts is piling up. In late July, Dr. James Dobson's Family News in Focus, a project of Focus on the Family, a mega-ministry cum multi-million dollar enterprise, lashed out at the Girl Scouts for renting out their campsite to a "left-wing summer camp that overtly promotes the homosexual lifestyle"

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

Europe To Bush: At Least Sign Ballistic Missle Treaty

by Thalif Deen The EU is pushing for a multilateral code of conduct to regulate the flow of ballistic missiles -- specifically those capable of carrying nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Some of the developing nations who either have long-range missiles or are in the process of building them include India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, North Korea and Pakistan

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

Zapatistas Denounce Mexico's New Native Rights Laws

by Diego Cevallos The legislation, presented by President Vicente Fox following its approval by Congress and by a majority of state legislatures, was denounced by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) who called it "illegitimate, reactionary, anti-democratic," adding it would open the door to new violence. The new constitutional amendments ban all forms of discrimination and guarantee specific Native rights. But the Zapatistas consider the laws on Native autonomy and on territorial rights far from adequate

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

Amtrak Workers Get Share Of Cash Seized From "Suspicious" Travellers

by Greg Land "It's an inherent conflict of interest," says Jonesboro attorney Lee Sexton. "What happens is that all the gate agents and ticket agents have a profile they use ... you pay for your ticket in cash, and you just stay one day, and you have little luggage, then that ticket agent or whatever will call DEA and say, 'Here, I've got a suspect for you' "

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

National Parks Do Little To Protect U.S. Biodiversity

Since reserves are in higher elevations with poor soil, entire species of plants and animals who reside in lower and more fertile areas are left largely unprotected. For example, past studies have shown that the greatest numbers of amphibian and reptile species in the western United States are found below 1000 feet, while many reserves are confined to higher elevations

World Nature Reserves Being Heavily Farmed

by Ellen Wilson New report finds half of world's protected nature reserves heavily farmed as hunger runs rampant in biodiversity "hotspots"

Bush Expected To Ignore Hazardous Waste Pact

by Thalif Deen The U.S. government is considering walking away from enhanced commitments to halt the dumping of hazardous waste in developing countries, causing alarm among environmentalists

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

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

CNN, Meet El Rush-bo

by David Corn News item: CNN and Rush Limabugh have discussed the possibility of an on-air position for the radio talk-show host

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

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

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

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

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

S Pacific Islanders Beg For Global Warming Help

by Kalinga Seneviratne Officials of Tuvalu, population 11,000, asked Australia and New Zealand to allow the Pacific island nation's citizens to migrate there if the islands continued to sink due to rising sea levels and become uninhabitable. Tuvalu is made up of nine islands of about 24 sq km, and several of these islands are rapidly shrinking. In the last decade, rising sea levels have claimed one percent of the land and estimates are that Tuvalu will be wiped off the map within the next 50 years

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

Ethanol Impractical, Too Expensive Says Researcher

Roger Segelken Neither increases in government subsidies to corn-based ethanol fuel nor hikes in the price of petroleum can overcome what one scientist calls a fundamental input-yield problem: It takes more energy to make ethanol from grain than the combustion of ethanol produces

Gun Owners More Likely To Distrust Government

by Jeff Grabmeier A new nationwide study confirms the popular notion that people who own guns are more likely than others to have little confidence in the federal government. The results also held true no matter who was President at the time of the survey: Ronald Reagan, George Bush or Bill Clinton

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

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

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

Denial And The Ravaging Of Cyberspace

by Norman Solomon The most heavily trafficked sites are overwhelmingly devoted to commercial activities in one form or another, such as online shopping, financial services, investment, corporate-screened entertainment, travel deals and market research. Meanwhile, even on many nonprofit sites, banner ads are bigger than ever

How To Be A Contented Media Consumer

by Norman Solomon If you're watching Fox News and hear the refrain that its coverage is "fair and balanced as always," assume that's a plausible contention rather than an outlandish lie

The Nation Magazine Tarnishes Its Credibility

by Norman Solomon In the editorial, The Nation made no mention of the fact that its weekly national program "RadioNation" is co-produced by Pacifica's Los Angeles outlet KPFK, where the station's management has been rigorous about preventing criticism of Pacifica from getting onto its airwaves. A forthright disclaimer, accompanying the editorial, would have let readers know that The Nation might have something appreciable to gain by remaining on the good side of often-retaliatory Pacifica management

Thirty Years Later, Memories of Attica Cry Out

by Norman Solomon Horrendous prison conditions prompted the Attica uprising, which began as an undisciplined riot and grew into a well-focused articulation of rage from men who chose to take a fateful step, fighting for human dignity

Round Up The Usual Ironies

by Alexander Cockburn So here's the National Review shouting, hands off the caribou and the Wildlife Reserve. These conservatives are realizing (finally) that the electorate is not slow to punish what it perceives to be callousness towards the environment. Newt Gingrich found that out the hard way in the mid- to late nineties, though not soon enough to save his political careers

Blueprints For Wider Colombian War

by Alexander Cockburn Aside from stepping up direct military aid to Colombia, RAND urges the Pentagon to expand the U.S. military presence in the bordering nations as well, including "helping Panama fill the security vacuum in its southern provinces"

The Scream Of A Wounded Babbitt

by Alexander Cockburn In Babbitt's world, open space has been twisted to mean cloverleafs on interstate highways, cemeteries, golf courses, landfills and other useless lands that corporations have gotten credit or cash for not destroying. What hasn't been protected is habitat, those big, unwieldy and contentious tracts of land that are dwindling daily and are needed to protect the wolf, the grizzly, the owl and the salmon

Hot Air Is Bad For Us

by Alexander Cockburn The current uproar over the posture of the Bush administration on global warming and, most recently, on power plant emissions vividly illustrates the political hypocrisy and opportunism imbuing debates on environmental issues

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