default.html Issue 101
Table of Contents

America's Top-Secret Prisoners

by Gabrielle Banks During his six months at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, Anser Mehmood spent 123 days in a supermax lockdown facility, where guards slammed his face into a wall and threatened to kill him. His crime? Overstaying a tourist visa. Mehmood's is one of hundreds of stories that have prompted concern in the international human rights community about the precipitous round-up of 1200 Muslim and Arab immigrants after the Sept. 11 attacks

Welcome to Post-Constitutional America

by Randolph T. Holhut Right after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Justice Department rounded up more than 1,000 people and imprisoned them in secret. Many of them are still behind bars today, even though not one those still jailed have been formally charged with any crimes related to Sept. 11. Few Americans have complained about this. The jailed are immigrants, mostly Arabs and Muslims. The average American doesn't have to fear being jailed without being formally charged without a crime or being held incommunicado indefinitely. But the downward slope can get slippery in a hurry in an age of fear

The Killers of Teresa Macias, Part II

by Tanya Brannan On Monday, June 17, 2002, trial began in San Francisco in one of the most important federal civil rights cases in recent history. Dramatic testimony from the mother of a domestic violence homicide victim was heard, detailing her daughter's fear of her estranged husband, her vain attempts to have the laws enforced that should have protected her; and a moment-by-moment account of her murder. Before the second day was over, jurors and courtroom observers sat in shock at the announcement the County had agreed to pay $1 million to end the lawsuit -- the first time in history a law enforcement agency has paid damages for their role in a domestic violence homicide of Maria Teresa Macias. Here is the story behind this landmark women's rights case

Colombia Mayors, Judges, Declared "Military Targets"

by Maria Isabel Garcia Over half of Colombia's 32 departments or states have witnessed resignations en masse of their mayors, town councilors and judges, after the officials were declared "military targets" by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

Bush Effort to Link Drugs, Terrorism Alarms Colombia

by Rachel Rivera A Bush administration campaign to link U.S. anti-drug funds to the Colombian government's battle against rebel groups it deems to be terrorists will intensify the country's 40-year civil war, say Colombia advocacy groups

Bush Approves Colombia Funding Despite Paramilitary Ties

by Jim Lobe The State Department has announced that the Colombian government has met Congressional conditions for receiving U.S. military aid, although the Colombian army had failed to sever ties with right-wing paramilitary groups responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the multi-faceted civil war in the Andean nation

Bush Seeks Millions for Indonesia Police Training

by Tim Shorrock Several Arab leaders who spent the last few months lobbying for a detailed American plan have again found themselves in an awkward position. They say they are now awaiting a promised but not yet scheduled trip to the region by Secretary of State Colin Powell

Shallow Media Coverage Widens Gulf Between West and Arabs

by N Janardhan "Many religious authorities in the Muslim countries have condemned bin Laden as an anti-Muslim terrorist, but it had either gone unreported in the West or consigned to a small item in the inside pages of newspapers," complained Shadia Nuiami, an Arab journalist working for a Dubai television company. "There is a need to explain to the West that the roots of terror do not lie in Arab or Muslim societies, but in American and Israeli policies," she added in an interview. Ben Bradlee, former managing editor of The Washington Post, conceded at a Dubai Press Club seminar in May that there are quite different views among Arabs and Americans. "While the Jewish lobby called the 'conscience of the capital' is extremely strong in the United States, the Arab influence on the American media and politicians is too weak," he said

Palestinians Struggle With Years of Unemployment

by Ferry Biedermann At the start of the intifada, Israel closed its borders to about 120,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza strip working mainly in construction, services and agriculture. The loss of income also affected jobs in Palestinian territories, where spending plummeted

Israeli Wall Around W Bank Hot Spots a Last Resort

by Ferry Biedermann Many right-wing Israeli politicians oppose the barrier on ideological grounds. The fence and wall will demarcate more or less the old border between the West Bank and Israel, they say, thus highlighting that they are two separate entities. Palestinians say the wall will further curtail their already restricted freedom of movement. They say chunks of Palestinian land will be included on the Israeli side. Many see it as an attempt by Israel to perpetuate occupation

Palestinian Anger Mounts as Israelis Tightens Noose

by Ferry Biedermann Abbas Zaki says the Israeli presence will make people more militant. "Hebron was not very militant because the Israelis have always kept control of the city center, but now that they impose such a strict occupation on us, people will want revenge," he says. Israeli measures and the U.S. focus on replacing Arafat will backfire, he says. Zaki is critical of the Palestinian leader himself but says people will back him now that the U.S. and Israel want him out

Deep Divisions in Arab World Over Bush Policy

by George Baghdadi Several Arab leaders who spent the last few months lobbying for a detailed American plan have again found themselves in an awkward position. They say they are now awaiting a promised but not yet scheduled trip to the region by Secretary of State Colin Powell

Another 9/11 NY City Casualty: Recycling

by Cat Lazaroff New York City will no longer recycle residential glass or plastic wastes. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has cut the money losing recycling program, saying the city can no longer afford the program in the wake of the deadly and costly September 11 terrorist attacks

Is Nuke Waste Coming to Your Backyard?

by Marissa Zubia Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has argued that the "project is critical for national security." The 50 million people that are within 1/2 mile of the proposed shipment routes will probably disagree. If an accident should occur on a train route, the Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that 48 people will die of cancer from the radioactive materials released into the surrounding areas

Pinochet Case Over

by Gustavo Gonzalez The Supreme Court of Chile upheld a stay of proceedings today against Gen. Augusto Pinochet, arguing that he is mentally unfit to stand trial in connection with the abduction and murder of 75 political prisoners. The 4-to-1 ruling by Chile's highest court means all charges have been dropped against Pinochet in a case in which he was charged with covering up the October 1973 murders of 57 political prisoners and the abduction of 18 others

Ever-Elusive Usama Becomes Bush Headache

by Tai Moses As bin Laden's trail grew cold and leads dried up, it began to dawn on the Bush Administration that making Osama bin Laden the bellwether for the war on terrorism might have been a mistake. A manhunt that began energetically, ringing with grand if hackneyed rhetoric, dissolved in finger pointing after it became clear that bureaucratic bungling and reliance on flaky tribal chieftains were probably what allowed Osama to abscond during the Tora Bora siege

Asia Poised For AIDS Pandemic

by Jim Lobe Many governments have made public pledges to fight the disease, but have not shown a sense of urgency in translating such words into concrete action. Another factor, they say, is the inadequate resources being put into fighting the pandemic in the region. Governments are still slow to spend money for public health programs with full community participation to halt the march of HIV

Evidence Growing of Atrocities Against Afghanistan War PrisonersWar

by Genevieve Roja A documentary film by titled "Massacre at Mazar" offers eyewitness testimony and film footage of human remains and mass graves of what may be damning evidence of mass killings at Sherberghan and Mazar-I-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. The massacre allegedly took place in November 2001, when Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance took control of Kunduz, and accepted the surrender of about 8,000 Taliban fighters. Human rights advocates say that close to 5,000 of the original 8,000 are missing. Eyewitnesses in Doran's film claim that many of the prisoners may have suffocated in the nearly airless shipping containers en route to their destinations. Others were shot when Northern Alliance soldiers fired into the containers to create air holes. And their bodies may have been buried in mass graves

Oil Consortium Seeks "Free Public Money" to Build Caspian Pipeline

by Jim Lobe 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

Workers, Retirees Bear Brunt of Argentina's Bank Collapse

by Marcela Valente Argentina's financial collapse has left the savings of millions of small account-holders, including unemployed workers and pensioners, trapped in the banks, creating a widespread sense that they have been cheated

Pesticides Can Travel Thousands of Miles by Air

by Judith White "Most scientists used to think that organic pollutants were not present as gas in the air," Wade says. "To our surprise, we have learned over the last 30 years that organic pollutants can be in the vapor phase, which means that they can be transported over long distances." For example, high levels of pesticides such as DDT, chlordane and toxaphene are present in beluga whales from the Arctic, where they were not used

Bhopal Survivors Seek Help From Plant's New Owner

by Danielle Knight Unhappy with the court settlement in India, health advocates and environmentalists had been trying to force Union Carbide to pay for the ongoing medical expenses of gas leak victims. When Dow acquired Union Carbide in February 2001, activists switched their focus to the Michigan-based chemical company

Study Finds Some Kinds of Stress Harm Immune System

The results suggest that deadlines and challenges at work could be a good thing. "Even being annoyed about something, particularly if it is for a short time, could help strengthen the body's defenses," Bosch said. Being exposed to violent scenes on television, on the other hand, may suppress the immune system. The continuous replays of the World Trade Center towers' collapse on September 11, Bosch said, were a likely example

Bush Overplays the Terror Card

by Robert Scheer Although combating terrorism is of compelling importance -- and should have been before Sept. 11 -- one is likely to be branded a nut for daring to suggest that the administration might be using current security threats as a smoke screen to obscure our floundering economy

Flicking Fallen Angels Off the Head of a Pin

by Robert Scheer The ugliest side of the bishops' defense is to blame the problem of abuse on a failure to better screen out homosexuals from the ranks of the priesthood. The notion that homosexuals are more likely to break the law and abuse the young not only flies in the face of social science research, it also has been contradicted by the ample evidence of heterosexual abuse by priests

Cheney's Grimy Trail in Business

by Robert Scheer This journey from the public payroll to the corporate towers and back left a slimy trail of conflict-of-interest questions. For example, Defense Secretary Cheney conveniently changed the rules restricting private contractors doing work on U.S. military bases, allowing the Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary of his future employer, Halliburton, to receive the first of $2.5 billion in contracts over the next decade. When Cheney left to become CEO of the entire company, he recruited his Pentagon military aide, Joe Lopez, to become senior vice president in charge of Pentagon dealings, which ultimately formed the most lucrative part of the otherwise ailing company's business. Since returning to the public office, these disturbing patterns have continued

A Fox Is About to Reassure Us Hens

by Robert Scheer Not only was the prez and ex-businessman himself a pro at milking failed corporations he made look good on paper, but too many family members, friends and members of his administration have been implicated in scandals of the sort he now condemns. For Bush to argue that the unraveling of corporate America is the work of a "few bad apples" is a dangerous line of reasoning for him because an embarrassing number of those apples have fallen very close to the tree of his presidency

God's Got Nothing to Do With the Pledge

by Robert Scheer In no way is this an anti-religious position; it is a defense of religious freedom from state control. A school district is "conveying a message of state endorsement of a religious belief when it requires public school teachers to recite, and lead the recitation, of the current form of the pledge," Goodwin, a Nixon appointee to the bench, wrote in his decision

Saudi Arabia Admits al-Qaeda Suspects Being Held

by N. Janardhan At the diplomatic level, the presence of members of United States' most-wanted group in the kingdom will put another wedge in Saudi-U.S. ties, already strained over the Middle East crisis and the denial of the use of Saudi bases for the U.S. military attacks on Afghanistan last year. In the first diplomatic exchanges, Riyadh has informed Washington it will not allow foreign security personnel to interrogate the 13 al-Qaeda suspects, most of them Saudi nationals arrested "several months" ago, but made known to the rest of the world only last week

Julia "Butterfly" Hill Deported From Ecuador After Pipeline Protest

Deported July 18 from Ecuador after being arrested along with seven Ecuadorians protesting the construction of an oil pipeline through the country's Amazon region

Years After Kosovo War, Poison Air Lingers

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic The latest UNEP report said persisting contamination was recorded at the locations targeted by NATO during the 11 weeks of its air campaign against Yugoslavia. Pekka Haavisto, chair of the DU Assessment Team, said shells with DU ammunition (known as "penetrators") have corroded "amazingly fast" and as a result, DU continues to be constantly released into the air and is spreading -- in the form of particles -- all around the areas that were hit

Black Death Proabably Wasn't Bubonic Plague After All

by A'ndrea Elyse Messer Instead of being spread by animals and insect vectors, the researchers believe that the Black Death was transmitted through person-to-person contact, as are measles and smallpox. The geographic pattern of the disease seems to bear this out, since the disease spread rapidly along roadways and navigable rivers and was not slowed down by the kinds of geographical barrier that would restrict the movement of rodents

Juror Talks about the Bari vs. FBI Trial

by Nicholas Wilson "I think people need to get more involved. They need to write more letters. They need to take more of a stand and protect one another. And when they see things like this happening, don't just take it for the truth what the cops and the media are telling you. You need to really take a look at it, and investigate it. Take a stance and protect people and speak out. Because if you don't it's going to be covered up and no one's going to pay attention, and no one will ever be held accountable. People might say it's just one incident, but one incident turns into multiple, and pretty soon it's you"

Stock Market Decline a No Confidence Vote on Bush

by Randolph T. Holhut The Bush administration has been shameless in using the "war" to distract Americans from taking a critical look at how the nation is being led off a cliff by a group of men who have shredded the Constitution and bled our economy dry for the benefit of themselves and their wealthy backers. The folks in Europe seem to be more sensitive to this than most Americans. Ever since the 2000 presidential election was stolen by the Republicans, Europeans have been aghast at the political and economic decision making by the Bush administration

Bush Woes Mount at Home and Abroad

by Jim Lobe By the end of the week, members of Bush's party were deserting the ranks to join Democratic proposals to toughen regulations on accounting and other corporate practices to restore confidence in U.S. business. At the United Nations, Washington's closest allies were not shy about publicly expressing their fury over the administration's threats to veto peacekeeping operations if it did not get blanket immunity from the newly created International Criminal Court

Ashcroft, Death Penalty Zealot

by Bruce Shapiro Ashcroft is such an aggressive death-penalty zealot that he is frequently overruling his own prosecutors to demand capital charges. In fact Ashcroft has overruled U.S. attorneys 12 times. And he has approved death-penalty prosecutions in nearly half of all federal cases where capital charges might apply -- compare that to California, where fewer than 13 percent of death-penalty-eligible defendants actually face capital charges. And there's evidently a racial dimension: According to the study, Ashcroft is three times more likely to seek the death penalty for black defendants for killing whites than black defendants who kill African-Americans

Will the Feds Prosecute Corporate Evildoers?

by Arianna Huffington So when it comes to rooting out corrupt corporate kingpins, will the president's new "financial crimes SWAT team" have the stomach for the fight? Can we expect to see undercover "narc-accountants" infiltrating what's left of the Big Five accounting firms? Middle of the night no-knock raids on companies that restate their earnings by billions of dollars? Confiscation of an executive's entire assets simply on the suspicion of fraud? Will corporate cops get to emulate their drug fighting counterparts and be allowed to keep a percentage of the money they confiscate?

Hawks Unhappy Over Improved Beijing Ties

by Jim Lobe Despite President George W. Bush's efforts to embrace Taiwan ever tighter, Vice President Dick Cheney and influential right-wingers close to key policymakers at the Pentagon complain the administration has become too complacent about what they call a growing threat from China

Repubs Lose Only Congressional Black Conservative

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Republican leadership used J.C. Watts. He was a good mouthpiece for conservative causes and a visible symbol of their supposed commitment to racial inclusion. But how much real power did he really have within his own party? And that is the ultimate dilemma of Watts and black conservatives. They make useful symbols but not much else

Crime And The President's Restatement of Yearnings

by Arianna Huffington You can tell the president's heart isn't really in his new tough rhetoric. Take his recent call on corporate executives not to "fudge the numbers." Given the daily revelations of corporate criminality and its devastating impact -- on jobs, savings, and faith in our economy -- admonishing crooked CEOs not to "fudge the numbers" is like suggesting that suicide bombers not "spoil the day" of their intended victim

Prescription Drug Bill Written by Big Pill Industry

by Jim Hightower At issue is a fight in the U.S. House on a Bush-backed, industry-written prescription drug bill that would provide limited drug coverage to some seniors, but also would require us taxpayers to provide billions of dollars to subsidize the unlimited rip-off prices that the corporations want to keep charging for these medicines. It's a sham bill to protect the excess profits of the pharmaceutical industry, rather than to meet the critical health needs of seniors. The Democrats' bill is better, covering all seniors, but it, too, fails to control the corporate price-gouging, soaking taxpayers to enrich the avaricious companies

Why is Congress Ignoring Ashcroft’s Failures?

by Joe Conason Those who are now demanding the head of Mr. Mueller should go back and reread The New York Times' stunning Feb. 28 story about Mr. Ashcroft's first budget, which was submitted to the White House the day before the Twin Towers fell. (At that point, the FBI director had been in office for less than a week.) As of Sept. 10, 2001, the Attorney General's final budget request for the coming fiscal year asked to increase spending on 68 programs, "none of which directly involved counterterrorism." He had rejected the FBI's request for funding to hire hundreds of new field agents, translators and intelligence analysts to improve the bureau's capacity to detect foreign terror threats. Moreover, among his proposed cuts was a reduction of $65 million in a Clinton program that made grants to state and local authorities for radios, decontamination garb and other counterterror preparedness measures

Senator Proposes Civil Liberties Director for FBI

by David Corn Under the new guidelines, the PI can go on for one year without an okay from Washington. So FBI agents on their own are now able to use intrusive techniques to track Americans for a long period of time, without any clearance from HQ. This does raise civil liberties questions. If HQ is not monitoring these investigations, the potential for abuse exists

Bush Distorts History to Claim Reagan Legacy

by William D. Hartung It's true that Ronald Reagan rode into Washington like the ultimate nuclear cowboy, joking that "the bombing will start in five minutes." But by his second term, it was clear that he was committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Indeed, if he wasn't so taken with the notion of an impenetrable missile shield, Reagan might have overruled his top aides and agreed to a plan presented by Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1986 Reykjavik summit to eliminate all U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons

U.S. Corporate Misconduct Even Worse in Third World

by Emad Mekay While the United States and its northern neighbors have focused on the impact of such scandals on investor trust in wealthy nations, the anti-globalization movement cautions that the corruption scourge could be several times more harmful to the economies of developing countries. They argue that many global companies operate freely in poor nations, protected by conditions dictated by international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and the political might of Northern governments

Oil, Mining Seen as Curse for Poor Countries

by Emad Mekay Oil producing countries, mostly in the Middle East, and mineral dependent countries, typically in sub-Saharan Africa, have "worse records on poverty indicators than states with similar levels of income, health, and education but little or no oil and mineral wealth," the group said in its report. These countries suffer high rates of child mortality, and spend more on their militaries than do countries with more diverse economies

Little Remains of Russia's Pristine Forests

by Danielle Knight Only 14 percent, or 32 million hectares, of forest remain in relatively undisturbed large blocks of at least 50,000 hectares each. Only sufficiently large blocks of forests like these are capable of conserving natural, undisturbed populations of large animals while at the same time letting natural processes such as storms and fires run their course, said the researchers. What little is left of the forest is at risk, since the most attractive forest areas are unprotected against logging by federal or local laws

Two New Monkeys Found in Amazon Rainforest

by Cat Lazaroff Scientists have described 24 monkeys new to science since 1990, according to Anthony Rylands, senior director at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International. Thirteen of these new species are from Brazil. Including these two monkeys, Brazil now has 95 species of primates, far more than any other country, and 134 species and subspecies, close to one-quarter of the global total

Japan Passes First Domestic Violence Laws

by Suvendrini Kakuchi "Up to now, a violent husband was considered a domestic issue and not a social issue. The new law is clearly against the traditional view," explains Abe. The inclusion of non-married couples and common-law couples in the law is also seen as a major achievement for women. Some activists, however, criticise the law as having too many loopholes, which makes it hard for victims to gain justice

N Zealand Covered Up Illegal Release of GM Seed

by Bob Burton At a meeting in late November, Novartis and other affected companies argued that instead of the destruction of the crops, a better alternative was the adoption of a policy that would allow a threshold level of GM contamination to be deemed to have been accepted. Instead of destroying the crops, the government agreed that if contamination levels were below 0.5 percent, the crops and seed would be deemed to have complied with the provisions of the legislation. The basis of the policy change was that the test results on the batch of contaminated seeds were "inconclusive," a claim contradicted by the leaked documents

Navy Gets OK for Sonar Blasts That Could Harm Whales

"Because it is an array, if one looks at LFA from a distance, it will appear to have an effective source level on the order of 230 to 240 dB. However, in the actual water column, no portion of the ocean will experience sound levels greater than 215 dB," the Navy says. By comparison, an Air Bus A320 taking off is measured at 87.8 decibels, and a rocket engine at 180 decibels. Because the decibel scale is logarithmic, not linear, a loudness of 230 decibels is many times louder than 180 decibels. Permanent hearing damage in humans is caused at 150 decibels, and the Navy acknowledges that sounds louder than 180 decibels could cause injury to marine mammals or other marine life

One Jackbooted Step Towards a Police State

by Ted Rall After cynically using the Sept. 11 attacks as a pretext to eradicate one civil liberty after another, the Bush Administration has finally taken away the single most essential freedom of an American citizen: the right to due process before a jury of his peers. Classifying 31-year-old Chicagoan Jose Padilla as an al-Qaeda associate and enemy combatant, Attorney General John Ashcroft authorized his transfer from a federal courthouse in New York City -- where he had been held as a "material witness" on a customs violation since May 8 -- to indefinite military detention

Is The Inglewood Beating Really Another Rodney King?

by Arianna Huffington Jackson was pummeled by a white Inglewood police officer after he appeared to have stopped resisting, while a legion of officers stood around and did nothing. The Jackson beating has ignited rallies and protests, and demands for a Justice Department probe. But that's where the similarity between the two ends

U.S. Still Pushing For War Crimes Court Immunity

by Thalif Deen Under the earlier proposal, the United States wanted blanket immunity for its peacekeepers and under Article 16 of the Rome Statute it sought this exemption for a 12-month period. The immunity would then automatically roll over for successive 12-month periods, thereby effectively making it permanent. The new proposal will force the United States to renew its request at the end of every 12 months. "This is totally unacceptable," he said. "This is the lowest level the United States has sunk to in its leadership at the United Nations"

30000+ Acres of Biotech Cotton Destroyed in India Mixup

by Meena Menon Controversy continues to rage over revelations that 30,000 acres or more of land in western Gujarat state has been planted with Bt cotton

Insider Deals Catch Up with Bush

by David Corn Al Gore may be thinking, "hey, it's a little late for this." But Bush's record as a private businessman -- a subject few journalists bothered to explore during the 2000 campaign -- is now deemed relevant, as Corporate America (Bush's home district) turns ugly

Blame D.C. as Much as Wall St.

by Molly Ivins "We" are not in the greedhead class. "We" are not the CEOs who increased their pay from 85 times what the average worker made in 1990 to 531 times what the average worker made in 2000. Over half of us still have no stake at all in the stock market, so be careful with your "everybody." And many of "us" who do have a stake in the stock market are not day-traders or people who know dog about NASDAQ or any damn thing about the New Economy -- which someone, not "us," kept claiming was a perpetual motion machine. "We" wound up in the stock market only because "we" were encouraged to put our savings into these 401Ks, and that's all "we" know about any of it

Bush Harken Deals a New Scandal, Not Old News

by Molly Ivins No one is connecting the dots between the financial scandals and government. Here's almost every politician in Washington hot to trot on the terrible, terrible conduct of some corporate leaders, and no one is pointing out that the government itself, by its 1990s mania for deregulation, by under-funding regulatory agencies and by opening critical loopholes such as energy futures trading, is in large part responsible for this whole mess

Bush to Wall St: "We Will do Nothing"

by Molly Ivins Since the president proposes nothing to fix the problems -- the speech was basically a cheap sop to our schadenfreude -- we can look for the situation to continue to get worse. We are already seeing a major pullout from U.S. markets by foreign investors

The Blame Bill Clinton Crowd

by Molly Ivins Bush is far more likely to go the "few bad apples" route, huff and puff and urge punishing the evildoers, without recognizing that the whole system needs to be fixed. It's the systemic changes we should look for -- a whole lot of righteous indignation aimed at evildoers fixes nothing

Here's To Us All

by Molly Ivins I think this holiday is not just about the Foundin' Daddies and those who gave the last full measure of devotion, it is also a celebration of us. All of us. And on this day, we are permitted to set aside our culture wars and political battles and restatements of earnings (I personally would like to restate my earnings from last year: I lost $3.8 billion. I forgot to mention until just now) and enjoy the fact that we are, on the whole, by and large, really quite nice people -- friendly, hard-working and only a little peculiar

How to Pretend to Be a Populist

by Molly Ivins In the interest of lending some verisimilitude to this new pose -- Dubya Does Nader -- let us pass lightly over Bush's own business career, including insider dealing and the time he dumped his Harken Energy stock just before the announcement that the company was going bankrupt. And let's also pass over his six-year record as governor of Texas, an unbroken stretch of kissing corporate butt, including firing an agency head for enforcing state law against one of Bush's biggest contributors

Bush: Pro Fitness, Anti Democracy

by Molly Ivins In Bush World, the one in which he is never wrong, he won the election in 2000. His first few months in office, he said so with eerie frequency: "Since I was elected," "That's why the people voted for me," "After I won the election," etc. I thought it was a Rove-ian ploy to gradually brainwash us into forgetting that Al Gore got 540,000 more votes than Bush. But as often happens in such cases, Bush most likely convinced himself, too. That's why he didn't see how odd it looks for him to demand that the Palestinians get rid of Yasser Arafat. Arafat got 88 percent of the vote in an election in which 80 percent of the voters turned out. The election was monitored by international observers, among them Jimmy Carter, who found fewer irregularities than later turned up in Florida

Insurance "Crisis" Means Insurance Co Bailout

by Molly Ivins The insurance industry is accountable to no federal agency, subject to virtually no federal regulation and under only limited control by the states. Most states do a miserable job of regulation. State lawmakers tend to be easy to stampede, and the insurance companies regularly threaten to drive up the cost of doing business so much it will hurt the economy or even to pull out of a state entirely. Sometimes they even threaten to leave the entire United States. Occasionally you will find an insurance commissioner who stands up to them, but it's rare

Bush Fighting War on 30 Fronts

by Molly Ivins Let's see, we already have our military in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Georgia and the Philippines. We are also deeply into Colombia as part of the Drug War and have fairly regular deployment by special ops in Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Good thing for India and Pakistan they made it into the Nuclear Club before the deadline, eh? Let's see, add Iran, North Korea and some of the nuttier princes, kings, sheiks, presidents-for-life -- I make that between 20 and 30 wars we'll have to fight under the new doctrine

Texas Demos Smell Blood

by Molly Ivins At the R's convention, Gov. Goodhair Perry had declared -- referring to Sanchez's millions -- "The governor's office is not for sale." Perry collected $1.2 million in campaign contributions from special interests during the 20 days he had to decide on whether to sign or veto bills. At the end of it, he unleashed the blizzard of vetoes that wiped out the legislation the interests didn't want. That's fairly astonishing, even by Texas standards

Texas Demos Smell Blood

by Molly Ivins At the R's convention, Gov. Goodhair Perry had declared -- referring to Sanchez's millions -- "The governor's office is not for sale." Perry collected $1.2 million in campaign contributions from special interests during the 20 days he had to decide on whether to sign or veto bills. At the end of it, he unleashed the blizzard of vetoes that wiped out the legislation the interests didn't want. That's fairly astonishing, even by Texas standards

The Army's Pumped-up Recruitment Video

by Norman Solomon Recruiters are starting to distribute 1.2 million free software discs for a pair of new computer-game play adventures called "America's Army, the Official U.S. Army Game." This summer, most of those discs will be attached to video-game magazines. And the Pentagon is inviting youngsters to download the software from the Internet

U.S. Media Trapped in Closed Loop

by Norman Solomon As a practical matter, virtually closed loops often dominate major news outlets. The result is what we could call "monomedia." When similar noises keep filling echo chambers, they tend to drown out other sounds

A Modest Proposal for Media Reform

by Norman Solomon Here's a modest proposal: Every commercial for food and drugs should be taxed -- with the proceeds going to pay for "truth commission" ads from independent researchers -- to keep the public informed about the latest scientific findings on the benefits and risks of such products

Media Bears Much Blame For "New Economy" Hype

by Norman Solomon Sure, journalists occasionally offered the common-sense observation that the boom would go bust someday. But it was a minor note in the media's orchestral tributes to the New Economy. And the bullish pronouncements included an awful lot of hyped bull

Media Supports Bush Myth of the Corporate Sinner

by Norman Solomon Current news coverage does not challenge the goal of amassing as much wealth and power as possible. For Enron's Ken Lay and similar executives, falling from media grace has been simultaneous with their loss of wealth and power. Those corporate hotshots would still be media darlings if they'd kept their nauseating greed clearly within legal limits

Bush's Dirty Nuclear Bomb

by Alexander Cockburn Anyone standing within three blocks downwind from the National Gallery of Art would stand a one-in-a thousand chance of getting cancer, An easterly breeze would put the Capitol within this radius. We should be worried about this? I'd say it comes pretty low on the list of Major Concerns. Now suppose al Qaeda was to plan something really nasty, like shipping spent nuclear fuels by rail from every quarter of the United States to a fissured mountain in Nevada not that far from one of America's prime tourist destinations? That's the Bush plan, of course

Death, Juries, and Scalia

by Alexander Cockburn Scalia's emphasis on the fundamental role of the jury as guardian of our rights under the constitution runs entirely counter to the trend of the past couple of decades, where judges have, with either the approval or indifference of legislatures and the press, been allowed not only to deprecate the jury's fundamental right to nullify and set the law aside, but also to set jurors' verdicts aside and impose their own, often with lower standards of proof

Colorado Fires a Timber Company Boon

by Alexander Cockburn Terry Lynn Barton faces 20 years in prison while the timber industry licks its lips at the prospect of "salvage logging" the Colorado forests. "Light it and log it," as the old phrase goes. Once a forest burns, existing restrictions go out the window, the Forest Service offers up 100,000 acres for salvaging, and in go the timber companies, hauling out the timber, immune to environmental restrictions. You don't think timber companies have been setting fires for years, often with Forest Service complicity?

Can NY Times Hack Writer Save the White House?

by Alexander Cockburn Harken is really easy to understand. Guy (the future-and-hopefully-once president) makes a bundle selling stock in his company, which is going belly up, acting on insider knowledge of the books, and also culled because his dad was in the Oval Office. Guy forgets to tell the SEC.

Same way with Cheney. No need to put in those daunting phrases like "complex transactions." The simple numbers suffice, starting with his 2000 severance of $36,086,635

Terror by Rail: Senate Approves Yucca Mt Dump

by Alexander Cockburn The July 9 U.S. Senate vote on Yucca Mountain offered a chance for progressives and environmentalists to strike back at the nuclear power industry. The omens seemed auspicious with public concern and Senate leader Tom Daschle's pledge that the Democrats would stop the Yucca Mountain plan. He was wrong

Will Tom Ridge Label Strikers as Terrorists?

by Alexander Cockburn At the rate things are going, it may not be long before labor organizers are being thrown into military prisons and held without warrant as "enemy combatants." Tom Ridge, director of the Office of Homeland Security has been phoning Jim Spinosa, head of the West Coast's Longshoremen's Union, saying that a strike would be bad for the national interest. Ridge's astounding and sinister intervention comes in the midst of tense negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association representing shipowners operating on the West Coast and the ILWU

Supreme Court Voucher Decision Divides Blacks

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The massive chasm among blacks on public education is yet another example of how mainstream black leaders often march to a far different tune than poor and working class blacks. These leaders are mostly liberal, middle-class business and professionals. Their kids are safely nestled in private schools and escape the ravages of bad public schools. Poor and working class blacks have no such luxury

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