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Table of Contents

Eyewitness Dispatches: A Sickening, Bloodcurdling Horror

by Geov Parrish Each place I come to, I am afraid to leave not only for myself but for everyone else in this horrifying position. Israeli death squads have been yanking people into the street. I also hear only shooting and shooting, with no return fire. This suggests that unarmed civilians are being gunned down mercilessly everywhere and I am so scared for everyone. I feel like maybe if I leave one place, one area or neighborhood I will never see the people again alive. There are more explosions outside now and more shooting. Another explosion. More firing, it just doesn't stop. This is a massacre

Report From American Witness in Ramallah

by Tzaporah Ryter Each place I come to, I am afraid to leave not only for myself but for everyone else in this horrifying position. Israeli death squads have been yanking people into the street. I also hear only shooting and shooting, with no return fire. This suggests that unarmed civilians are being gunned down mercilessly everywhere and I am so scared for everyone. I feel like maybe if I leave one place, one area or neighborhood I will never see the people again alive. There are more explosions outside now and more shooting. Another explosion. More firing, it just doesn't stop. This is a massacre

Experts Say Little Chance Of Arab War Against Israel

by Thalif Deen Pro-Western Arab states would not go to war with Israel, despite the urging of some of their citizens, because the United States has a strong military and economic hold over them, say Middle East experts and Arab commentators

Israeli Forces Using Civilians As Human Shields

by Jim Lobe In at least two cases cited by the report, Israeli troops were reported to have used children as shields. In another case, a Palestinian man was shot in the leg in order to pressure his brother to surrender to IDF forces, a practice that amounted to "hostage-taking," which is a war crime. Rather than directly attacking the houses or buildings used by the "wanted" Palestinians, however, the IDF moved into others usually occupied by neighbors or relatives of their targets and ordered them, "often at gunpoint," to bring the suspected terrorist

Israel Using Food, Water, As Weapon Of War

by Jim Lobe The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said Wednesday that although outside groups had "limited access" to refugee camps, Israeli military authorities were selectively blocking UN teams from handing out food and water. The Israelis have specifically blocked the delivery of relief supplies to men, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp where the Israeli military is accused of "massacring" hundreds of civilians last week, according to published reports

Walking Among Bodies in Jenin

by Chivvis Moore Ariel Sharon is saying that maybe a couple dozen people were killed here in Jenin. From my own experience I would say that's an outrageous fabrication, just outrageous. Entire families are missing and people know where they were last seen when a missile fell or a bulldozer came. People told me they saw a group of five men lined up with their faces toward a wall and with their hands tied, shot by soldiers from behind, and then bulldozed over. I heard stories like this, of executions, from other people, in other parts of the camp, too

Israel Defies UN Investigation

by Thalif Deen Ariel Sharon is saying that maybe a couple dozen people were killed here in Jenin. From my own experience I would say that's an outrageous fabrication, just outrageous. Entire families are missing and people know where they were last seen when a missile fell or a bulldozer came. People told me they saw a group of five men lined up with their faces toward a wall and with their hands tied, shot by soldiers from behind, and then bulldozed over. I heard stories like this, of executions, from other people, in other parts of the camp, too

Attack On Jenin Was Act Of War

by Randolph T. Holhut Whether a massacre took place in Jenin is debatable and still under investigation. What isn't debatable is that what happened in Jenin and other towns in the West Bank was urban warfare at its worst. But only one side had tanks and helicopters. That was the side that was supported and armed by the United States and kept up the battle after its staunchest ally asked it to stop. The Palestinian suicide bombing campaign is morally indefensible. But what the Israelis have done in Operation Defensive Wall is equally indefensible. It was not an act of self-defense. It was an act of war

Israel Plays Word Games To Avoid Jenin Probe

by Irit Katriel What happened in Jenin? Was it a heinous and exceptional crime? Or just an ordinary one? The world needs to know. We need to find the exact definitions for what was done, and to identify which precise clauses of international law were violated. Before that is done, we cannot take a stand. The name of the game now is "there was no massacre"

Israeli Assault Transforms Arafat's Image In Muslim World

by N. Janardhan "When Arafat used to receive a red-carpet welcome in the White House and shake hands with U.S. presidents and Israeli prime ministers and tour countries as the most travelled leader in the world, many Arabs, particularly Palestinians, shunned him," a commentary in Dubai's "Gulf News" said this week. "But when Sharon got after him with the house arrest, siege, bombing of his headquarters and even exile plans, Arafat suddenly turned into a real hero throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds"

Attack On W Bank Limits Hope of Arab - Israel Dialogue

by N. Janardhan A partial pullback by Israeli forces from West Bank towns today is likely to do little or nothing to ease Arab fury at the Israeli offensive of recent weeks. Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, currently traveling in the Middle East, has been pushed on the defensive after a firsthand taste of Arab anger over the plight of the Palestinians and faced with blunt questions on U.S. policy in the region

Israel Violated Geneva Conv. With Attacks On Civilians

by Thalif Deen A senior UN official today said he was shocked at the spreading humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, especially the barring of burial rites for the dead. Hansen also pointed out that no fewer than 185 ambulances belonging to UNRWA, the Red Crescent and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) have been hit by Israeli fire. "These are not the result of stray bullets by mistake; they can only be by targeting ambulances," Hansen charged. "We also have more than 350 cases of ambulances denied access to rescue, and stories of children being born in ambulances." So far, Hansen said, four ambulance drivers have been killed, along with three doctors. At the same time, 122 doctors and drivers have been injured

War Crimes Court To Start In July

by Thalif Deen More than one-third of the world's population will not have access to the court. China and India, with a combined population of more than two billion, have refused to sign the treaty, saying it is flawed. Non-signatories include North Korea, Libya, Cuba and Iraq -- countries designated as "terrorist states" by the U.S. State Department. The United States has signed the treaty but has refused to ratify it. Former president Bill Clinton signed the treaty Dec. 30, 2000 -- one day before the deadline and two days before George W. Bush took over at the White House. The ICC will only have jurisdiction over events that occur after its entry into force and would not be able to take up cases stemming from earlier events such as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence

UN Shocked At Israel's Systematic Brutality

by Thalif Deen A senior UN official today said he was shocked at the spreading humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, especially the barring of burial rites for the dead. Hansen also pointed out that no fewer than 185 ambulances belonging to UNRWA, the Red Crescent and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) have been hit by Israeli fire. "These are not the result of stray bullets by mistake; they can only be by targeting ambulances," Hansen charged. "We also have more than 350 cases of ambulances denied access to rescue, and stories of children being born in ambulances." So far, Hansen said, four ambulance drivers have been killed, along with three doctors. At the same time, 122 doctors and drivers have been injured

Activists Join Palestinians To Be Human Shield

by Eve Pell and Will Evans Rafael, 42, describes her odyssey from the Bay Area to this devastated town in the war-torn West Bank. Last week, she traveled with about 20 American activists to Israel as part of an April campaign organized by the International Solidarity Movement, a coalition of Palestinian and international activist. Rafael had intended, perhaps naively, to teach protesters and join them in staging guerilla theatre on the streets, helping to tear down unoccupied road blocks between Israel and the West Bank and plant olive trees. But some who joined her were skeptical: "People from Palestine and Jewish-Arab coexistence groups told me that these techniques don't work when you are facing tanks." She found out all too soon what the doubters meant

Israelis, Americans Must Speak Out Against Sharon's Folly

by Michael Lerner and Cornel West Yasir Arafat is not going to be able to quiet outrage among millions of Palestinians at the latest round of carnage. No matter what he agrees to, it's unlikely he can stop acts of revenge against Israelis. And many Palestinians will see the next round of talk as just another smoke screen to prolong the occupation. Israel has become increasingly polarized, between a large group (now close to 46 percent) who favor ethnic cleansing of Palestinians (the polite word being used is transfer) and a growing minority (now close to 25 percent) who sympathize with the Israeli Defense Force Reservists refusing to serve in the West Bank and Gaza

Venezuela Media Didn't Cope Well With Coup

by Andres Canizalez The TV stations "really were showing us a virtual world, putting on only cartoons, game shows like 'The War of the Sexes', and documentaries," said Suarez, who argued that the media should have "somehow found a way" to report on what was happening even if they were under some kind of threat from powerful anti-Chavez interests. On Saturday, thousands of Venezuelans turned to international TV broadcasts on cable and satellite stations to find out what was happening in their own country. Meanwhile, "security reasons" kept the leading newspapers, with the exception of one, from putting out their Sunday editions

Venezuelans Suspect U.S. Role In Coup

by Andres Canizalez Allegations that the United States was somehow involved in the coup that temporarily ousted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez earlier this month are raising suspicions here, despite Washington's denials

Behind Venezuela's Two-Day Coup d'Etat

Venezuela is the #4 exporter of oil in the world and is the third-largest oil supplier to the United States. But Chavez is no friend of the Bush administration because he has established close ties with Iraq and Cuba. Chavez' progressive populism is particularly opposed by Otto Reich, who directs Bush policy in Latin America. A notorious right-winger, Reich ran a covert propaganda campaign for the Nicaraguan contras during the Reagan years. Business interests in Venezuela had long complained that Chavez was trying to "Cubanize" the nation, but the country's private sector escalated their opposition in November 2001 when he enacted a far-reaching legislative package

How Democracy Survived In Venezuela

by Randolph T. Holhut The tide was already turning that day in Venezuela. The poor, Chavez' greatest allies, came down from their shantytowns in the hills to protest. The pro-Chavez elements in the military decided to break ranks with Carmona. And, as Gregory Wilpert later wrote in a postmortem on the coup, Carmona miscalculated by believing that Chavez had no popular support. When more than 100,000 people gathered in front of the presidential palace to back Chavez and the bulk of the military refused to go along with the new government, Carmona had little choice but to resign after one day in power

Tax-Refund Loans Bilk The Poor -- and Taxpayers

by Jeff Ignatius Many Americans are turning to professional tax preparers to assist with their returns. But those services can come at a steep cost, and a recent study found that they're also steering hundreds of millions of dollars away from recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit. That means, essentially, that the federal government (and taxpayers) are providing massive subsidies to companies such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt -- the country's two largest tax-preparation firms -- instead of the working poor for whom the program was intended

Bush Quickly Losing Ground With Allies

by Jim Lobe Virtually all of Washington's closest Middle East "allies" -- Arab and Israeli alike -- reject its efforts to ensure a smooth Arab League endorsement of Saudi Arabia's latest peace proposals, its next target in the war against terrorism, Iraq, was welcomed back into the Arab fold with open arms. Meanwhile, Europe continued to seethe over the latest manifestations of U.S. unilateralism -- a 30 percent hike in tariffs on steel imports -- and China blocked a routine port call by a U.S. warship at Hong Kong

Rage Against Israel Builds In Egypt

by Cam McGrath Not since the start of the Palestinian intifada 18 months ago have Egyptians shown such solidarity with Palestinians. Thousands crowd mosques across Egypt every Friday to protest against Israeli aggression. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been held on university campuses. The police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to control demonstrators. Egyptians are angry, and the government appears unable to contain their rage

Pentagon Seeks Exemptions From Enviromental Laws

by Danielle Knight A draft law in Congress seeking to exempt the Pentagon from environmental regulations would free the military to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air and allow weapons testing in areas that could harm whales and other marine mammals, warn critics

Bush Stance On Israel Shows Rightwingers Firmly In Control

by Jim Lobe Washington has been deaf to appeals to rein in Sharon, which suggests that Bush and his most influential advisors have moved far toward embracing the notion that Israel is the U.S.'s only strategic ally in the region, and that the interests of Arab states take second place. That conclusion spells a huge and potentially decisive victory for a coalition of largely Jewish neo-conservatives and Christian Right Republicans, both inside and outside the administration

Supreme Court Upholds Cruel "One Strike" Policy

by Arianna Huffington In adopting such one-sided reasoning and hyperbolic "Reefer Madness" rhetoric the Supreme Court is following in the fear-mongering footsteps of the administration, whose latest whacko anti-drug ad campaign tried to draw a link between teenage drug use and violent acts of terrorism. In reality, two of the four plaintiffs in the case before the court were elderly women whose grandchildren were caught smoking pot in a housing project parking lot

Wealthy Center Browbeats Media To Support Bush Terror War

by Jim Lobe Already the nation's most vocal critic of the media's perceived liberal bias, the Media Research Center took on a "new and vital mission" in the months following the attacks on Washington and New York, according to its founder, L. Brent Bozell III. "We are training our guns on any media outlet or any reporter interfering with America's war on terrorism or trying to undermine the authority of President Bush," he wrote in a recent fundraising letter

Next Stop, Londonistan

by Patricia Zengerle Experts on international terrorism say the heartland of violent Islamic extremism is now none of the official fronts of the war on terror. They say its center is Western Europe -- mainly, but not exclusively, Britain, which granted asylum to a stream of Muslim militants during the 1990s and where the tradition of freedom of expression that once sheltered Karl Marx has now extended to the widespread, and very open, cause of jihad

Energy Projects Subject to Murky Funding, Study Shows

by Ranjit Devraj The report, "Power Finance: Financial Institutions in India's Power Sector," banks on the Indian experience to examine the latest trends in the financing of development projects and in the process untangles what its publishers call "the complicated web" through which large dam projects are funded through financial intermediaries. International financial institutions can publicly withdraw from lending for controversial dams and then go ahead and support the same projects indirectly

IMF Tightens Grip Over Argentina

by Marcela Valente Most provincial governors reject the ever-stricter financial adjustments demanded by the multilateral organization. The IMF "should go to hell," says the outspoken Alfredo Avelin, governor of San Juan. "The only thing lacking is for us to pull down the Argentine flag and replace it with the IMF's," said Avelin

Most Poor Battered Women Don't Seek Help, Study Finds

by Tim Parsons When asked about whether the women considered getting help for these episodes of violence, 7 out of 10 did not actively seek assistance. Of those women who did seek help, most reached out to family and friends, followed by the police. Relatively few women accessed hotlines, shelters, social services, or health care available to abused women. Almost one-third of the women said they didn't know such services were available

The Palestinian Side Must Be Told

by Robert Scheer Jews are not underrepresented in the U.S. media ranks, and it is a testament to their professionalism that their coverage is balanced. Odd, though, that other Jews deem their work prejudiced against Israel and at times even anti-Semitic; the convenient denigration is that a Jewish journalist who dares disagree with the more hawkish actions of Israel must be consumed with self-hate

Sharon Wears The Oppressor's Cloak

by Robert Scheer Sharon has humiliated President Bush, not only by ignoring his demand for a withdrawal but by co-opting the president's war-on-terrorism code phrases as cover for his drive to prevent -- forever, if possible -- a Palestinian state. How simple it would be if only the "axis of evil" targeted civilians, but from Saddam Hussein to Hamas to Sharon, nobody in the Mideast conflagration has a monopoly on such cruelty. By blasting through West Bank towns, possibly burying children in their wake, the once-proud Israel Defense Forces is heading down toward the moral level of suicide bomber

Israel's State Terrorism

by Lev Grinberg I want to ask: Who will arrest Ariel Sharon, the person directly responsible for the orders to kill Palestinians? When is he going to be defined a terrorist too? How long will the world ignore the Palestinian cry that all they want is freedom and independence? When will it stop neglecting the fact that the goal of the Israeli Government is not security, but the continued occupation and subjugation of the Palestinian people?

Neo-Nazi Violence Growing In Russia

by Sergei Blagov Despite repeated official pledges to crack down on extreme ultra-nationalists, violent outbreaks of racism and xenophobia are occuring here with greater frequency -- with a recent spike assumed to be linked to Apr. 20, Adolph Hitler's birthday

After 12 Years, Judi Bari Vs. FBI Trial Begins

by Nicholas Wilson 500 rallied outside the Oakland Federal Courthouse on April 8, celebrating the kickoff of the long- delayed trial of the FBI and Oakland Police in the landmark civil rights suit brought by Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney

Photo Essay: Jury Examines Judi Bari's Bombed Car

by Nicholas Wilson Bari's bomb-damaged 1981 Subaru station wagon was brought from police storage to a parking lot a couple of blocks from the Oakland Federal Courthouse April 17, giving the judge and jury a rare opportunity to see the most crucial piece of evidence in the case of Bari vs FBI

FBI, Police, Weren't Interested In Taking Statements

by Nicholas Wilson Karen Pickett was locked in a room at OPD for two or three hours, then told her she could leave. She was able to identify Lt. Sims by the business card he handed her as he escorted her out. She asked him when she could pick up Cherney. Sims told her that Bari and Cherney were going to be arrested for transporting explosives. "It seemed so unbelievable that I asked him to repeat it," Pickett said

Mexico Tricked Natives Into Sterilization

by Diego Cevallos The 16 men reported that the doctors promised them subsidies of $168 every two months, as well as clothing, shoes and food if they agreed to a vasectomy, and that they threatened to cut off their social welfare benefits if they refused to undergo the procedure. Forced sterilization, mainly of women, is a common practice in poor areas of Mexico with large Indian populations. Human rights organizations report that at least 300 Native women have been sterilized without their consent -- a number that could be much larger, as many of the victims do not dare to speak out

High-Tech U.S. Trash Floods Asia

by Cat Lazaroff Investigators uncovered an entire area four hours drive of Hong Kong where about 100,000 poor migrant workers are employed in breaking apart and processing obsolete computers imported primarily from North America. The workers were found to be using 19th century technologies to clean up the wastes from the 21st century

Bush Mideast Policy: Too Little, Too Late

by Randolph T. Holhut Why did it take the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis to get the Bush administration to take the situation seriously? Why did President Bush wait until things went dangerously out of control enough to threaten the stability of the whole region? Maybe it's because the Bush team never truly realized how important the peace process was until now because it was too busy denigrating President Clinton's work

Dear Old Friend And War Criminal

by Neve Gordon News began to trickle about what took place in the camp. Prior to the incursion the Israeli military reigned terror on the inhabitants employing helicopters and tanks. Then, Aviv, you imposed a curfew on the camp, blew up the electric transmission lines, cutting off electricity to 20,000 civilian inhabitants; bulldozers ruined the water supply pipe lines. Your soldiers, Aviv, then moved from house to house by smashing holes in the interior walls; they destroyed furniture and other property, and riddled bullets in water tanks on roof tops. The soldiers spread terror on the inhabitants, most of whom were women, elderly, and children. But that wasn't all. I learned that your soldiers also used inhabitants as human shields

Israel Destroyed Palestinian Economy, Says World Bank

by Emad Mekay Unemployment has tripled to almost one-third of the workforce and real incomes have fallen by almost 30 percent and are now lower than they were in the late 1980s. The proportion of the poor (those consuming less than two dollars per day) has doubled, to almost one-half of the population of the West Bank and Gaza. The share of the Palestinian population living below the poverty line is estimated at almost 50 percent, double what it was in late 2000

Water Is Root Of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israelis and the Palestinians each blame the other for the violence that is consuming the region with renewed ferocity. Each side sees itself as the victim. The convoluted conflict which has its origin in Biblical times is created in part by the arid nature of the disputed lands. Dwindling water resources increasingly affected by pollution, agricultural and industrial use and population growth, have elevated the strategic importance of water in the region. The water issue is at the root of the struggle over territory

Iraq Emerges From Arab Summit With More Support

by N. Janardhan An Iraqi analyst said Baghdad has finally woken up to the Bush administration's avowed intention to topple Saddam Hussein and is trying to internationalize its standoff with Washington. "Iraq may have been able to add Arab backing to European opposition to a U.S. attack on the grounds that it would throw the Middle East into turmoil, but Washington feels that ousting Saddam is a goal worth defying world opinion for"

Australia Fabricated Story To Stir Anti-Refugee Hatred

by Bob Burton Claims by the Australian government that refugees on a fishing boat tried to blackmail Canberra into granting asylum by throwing children overboard were perpetuated long after they were known to be false, according to the navy officer

Women's Rights in Gulf Region Take One Step Forward, One Back

by N. Janardhan Women's issues are politicized not only because they are important, but also because of the way they intersect with other political issues and the role they play in defining the relationship between Islam and politics

Bush Terror War Allies Calling in Their Debts

by Jim Lobe Karimov got a 45-minute chat with Bush on March 12 before being politely and discreetly ushered to the door and sent on his way -- although not without a tripling of U.S. economic aid, promises of millions of dollars more in military training and equipment, millions of dollars in export credits, and a five-point Declaration on a Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Framework which notes that Washington will "regard with grave concern" external threats to Uzbekistan's security. The leader for 12 years of Central Asia's most populous and powerful state, Karimov has gained a reputation for ruthlessness

Significant Extinctions Loom In 1 Of 4 States

McCormick noted that 12 states -- or almost a quarter of the country -- have more than 10 percent of their species classified as rare or at risk of extinction. Several states show up in three of the four categories. Hawaii, for example, ranks second for number of native species, but first for both at risk species and already extinct species

Death Sentence Faces Bison Outside Of Yellowstone

Critics of the brucellosis management tactics used by Montana note that documented cases of transmission of the disease from wildlife to domestic cattle are few. Most experts agree that brucellosis can only be transferred through amniotic fluid or aborted fetal tissue, yet many of the animals that are being hazed or slaughtered are male, non-pregnant females, or females too young to become pregnant. Yellowstone's elk also carry brucellosis. Of the bison captured last week, 11 were bulls and six were yearlings

French Voters Suffer Election Day Hangover

by Julio Godoy Janine regrets her own apathy, and that of thousands of others who did not vote. Those abstentions sealed the defeat of Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin. "If I had known that his presence in the second round depended on my vote, I would have cast my vote even if I were dying," Janine now says. Incumbent Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who came third in the Apr. 21 elections, needed 200,000 votes to beat Le Pen. Chirac got 5.7 million votes, Le Pen 4.8 million and Jospin 4.6 million. Results show that Le Pen gained from the abstention of some 12.6 million voters

The Dingy Closets of the Catholic Church

by Alexander Cockburn The Church has protected these priests, moved them around the country, away from an area where their activities had become known. The Church has some very dingy closets to clean out. That being said, the witchhunt atmosphere is very disagreeable

Jim Hightower's Progressives Without Platitudes

by Lauri Apple As a self-described "populist road warrior," Hightower knows about the difficulties progressives face in maintaining viable coalitions to "win the country back" from conservative zealots and corporate special interests

Iraq's 30-Day Oil Embargo Most Likely To Hurt Poor Countries

by Abid Aslam Iraq's suspension of oil exports, announced today, is unlikely to have lasting impact, analysts here said. Even if other producers follow suit, the consequences would hit poor and emerging economies long before reaching the West

Indonesia, Malaysia Tell Bush: Take Your Terror War Elsewhere

by Rene Ciria-Cruz With the recent arrest of scores of alleged al Qaeda operatives who want to set up an Islamic state comprising Indonesia, Malaysia and some islands in southern Philippines, the United States might be tempted to extend its war on terrorism more aggressively to Southeast Asia. But getting a foothold in the region's hotbeds of Islamic extremism will not be easy

Bush Fiddled While Mideast Burned

by Robert Scheer From its first day in power, this administration showed no interest in securing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, quickly squandering years of difficult progress made under President Clinton. Now, with outright war already a reality, Bush is tacitly endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's eye-for-an-eye descent into madness because it is a response to Palestinian terrorist attacks

Values Fall Prey to Hypocrisy

by Robert Scheer For a long time now, we secular humanists and other skeptics have been denigrated as the apostles of decadence and social decay. A rowdy parade of right-wing pundits has used those of us who refuse to wear our religion on our sleeves as scapegoats for all that ails the United States and the world

Clinton To Blame For Mideast Mess, Right Insists

by Molly Ivins From September of '93, when the Oslo peace process started, to September 2000, when Sharon visited the Temple Mount, 519 Palestinians and 287 Israelis were killed in the conflict. From September 2000 to mid-April, 1,620 Palestinians and 440 Israelis were killed. Would somebody tell me why that's good for the Jews?

The Mystery Of The Drunken Goat

by Molly Ivins In the annals of West Texas law enforcement, few episodes rival the recent (well, relatively recent) unfortunate occurrence involving the mayor of Lajitas. As visitors to that border metropolis in the Big Bend are aware, the mayor of Lajitas is an alcoholic goat named Clay Henry

Moral Clarity Meets Reality

by Molly Ivins George Will is often worth reading if only so you can figure out why you disagree with him. Lately, he has been leading an entire phalanx of right-wing commentators in full cry over President Bush's loss of "moral clarity" in the Middle East. The sheer implausibility of finding moral clarity in the Middle East does not deter them. Better minds than Bush's are defeated by that challenge, but the moral-certainty crowd admits no shades of gray

Repubs And Their Tax Games

by Molly Ivins Just when you think the Republicans have gotten over the worst of their Gingrichian phase, along comes something like last week's effort to undo what little progress has been made on campaign finance reform. Their plan was to dilute the required disclosure of names to political organizations that are exempt from taxes. The one part of campaign finance reform Republicans keep saying they favor is full disclosure of who gives money to whom, but suddenly, even that's out the door and here they are trying to piggyback this nasty item onto to yet another "taxpayers' bill of rights." The D's fended it off

So Where Are The Democrats?

by Molly Ivins When the Clinton administration was trying to track and kill Osama bin Laden, Republicans gratuitously dismissed the entire effort as an attempt to change the subject from the all-important Monica Lewinsky. And there we do come to one real reason the Democrats are so quiet. Political opposition in the Clinton years was so shatteringly nasty, no one wants to be seen anywhere near it now. To be accused of being "partisan" now stands for a level of conduct so degraded and degrading, we have forgotten what principled opposition means

Bush Discovers The World Of (Not) Black And White

by Molly Ivins Let me say for the umpteenth time, George W. is not a stupid man. The IQ of his gut, however, is open to debate. In Texas, his gut led him to believe the death penalty has a deterrent effect, even though he acknowledged there was no evidence to support his gut's feeling. When his gut, or something, causes him to announce that he does not believe in global warming -- as though it were a theological proposition -- we once again find his gut ruling that evidence is irrelevant. In my opinion, Bush's gut should not be entrusted with making peace in the Middle East

Bush Repeating His Texas Mistakes

by Molly Ivins As for foreign policy, OK, all the critics who kept muttering all last year that if Bush didn't do something about the escalating levels of violence in the Middle East, we would all live to regret it can now stand up and take a bow

The Sheer Stupidity of America's Health Care System

by Molly Ivins If you don't have health insurance, the system is an insane nightmare. A new book by Dr. Rudolph Mueller, "As Sick As It Gets: The Shocking Reality of America's' Healthcare" lays out the problems as well as any I've read. But the book is just one more grain of sand in the beaches of evidence we already have that the system is breaking up

The Risks Of Conspiracy Hucksterism

by Norman Solomon A former Los Angeles cop named Michael Ruppert has been proclaiming that Vreeland "was able to write a detailed warning of the attacks before they occurred" on Sept. 11. Ruppert has attracted a loyal following, but he's likely to lose all but the most faithful adherents if they look at the actual "warning note" or find out a lot more about Vreeland's background

Media Spins And Flip Flops

by Norman Solomon The Saturday editorial by the New York Times had asserted that the move against Venezuela's twice-elected president was strictly an internal matter: "Rightly, his removal was a purely Venezuelan affair." But on Tuesday, the newspaper reported: "Senior members of the Bush administration met several times in recent months with leaders of a coalition that ousted the Venezuelan president ... and agreed with them that he should be removed from office." In a Tuesday editorial, the Times indicated that three days earlier it had suffered from temporary amnesia, forgetting the transcendent virtues of democracy

NPR And The Fallow Triumph of Public Radio

by Norman Solomon NPR has plenty of time for news on the air. Yet, as public radio's dominant network, NPR has largely reneged on the promise of public broadcasting that stirred hopes 35 years ago with release of the Carnegie Commission Report -- which declared that public broadcasting should "provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard." In 2002, for the most part, "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" provide a voice for the same political, economic and military interests that are heard, ad nauseam, via other major media

U.S. Media Parrots Bush Stance On Israel

by Norman Solomon With carnage a daily reality in Israel and the West Bank, some editorials have been entirely predictable. The Wall Street Journal, true to ideological form, applauds Israel's iron fist and urges the White House to stand firm behind Israeli leaders. In contrast, more refined Washington Post and New York Times editorials tell us a lot about common U.S. media reactions. Typically, both the Post and the Times fixate on the strategic efficacy of the Israeli military offensive rather than its flagrant illegality and fierce cruelty

Journalists Under Attack Worldwide

by Norman Solomon Last year, the report says, 37 journalists were killed because of their work. Many more were jailed or physically attacked. In some countries the jeopardy is primarily legal; elsewhere the main dangers are assault and murder. But -- one way or another -- journalistic pursuit of truth can bring grim consequences

You Can See The West Bank From Mississippi

by Alexander Cockburn Amid the crackle and hiss of the ether and the roar of the interstate, it's hard to hear Frank through the no-hands speaker on my dashboard, but eventually, I catch his purpose and ask him flatly, in more-or-less these words, "Frank, is your purpose to accuse me of disseminating anti-Semitic libels, under the guise of relaying rumors on the Internet?" Frank allows as how this is indeed his intent

The Year of the Yellow Notepad

by Alexander Cockburn Michael Bellesiles came under attack, but since his assailants included NRA types and even Charlton Heston, their often cogent demolitions were initially discounted as sore-loser barrages from the rednecks. Even so, the sappers pressed forward and began to penetrate Bellesiles' inner defenses. A crucial chunk of battlement crashed to the ground when Bellesiles' most sedulous critic, James Lindgren, investigated his claim to have researched probate records at a National Archives center in East Point, Georgia. The center told Lindgren no such records existed

Sharon Can't Supress News of Israel's Brutality

by Alexander Cockburn The extremely articulate and self-possessed Adam Shapiro, whose testimony ended up in the New York Daily News and on CNN, where he told Kyra Phillips: "This is not about politics between Jew and Arab, between Muslim and Jew. This is a case of human dignity, human freedom and justice that the Palestinians are struggling for against an occupier, an oppressor. The violence did not start with Yasser Arafat. The violence started with the occupation"

U.S. Jews Can't Ignore Sharon's Monstrous Behavior

by Robert Scheer Sharon himself is a man of barbaric impulse, demonstrated all too clearly in his terrorizing of civilians two decades ago in Lebanon and now on the West Bank. He has been a consistent provocateur, undermining peace efforts no matter their content, and now he is using his tanks to poison the ground for future generations. Yes, Yasser Arafat also has poisoned the ground under his feet and shares responsibility with Sharon for the breakdown of the peace process. But until recently, Arafat has been unrelentingly reviled by the news media while Sharon, no less monstrous in his behavior, hardly has been criticized

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