default.html Issue 105
Table of Contents

Barbie, Symbol of The Next Iran Revolution

by Shahla Azizi Makeup, party drugs and anorexic Barbie dolls have a different meaning in Tehran, where personal expression is strictly regulated by religious police, but youth push the boundaries anyway. The question is, can a revolution for freedom be built on Western cultural values?

Environment, Animal Rights Big Winners In 2002 Vote

by Cat Lazaroff Americans across the nation voted this year to spend more money to protect the environment and improve animal welfare. Voters approved a host of measures to slow sprawl and institute smart growth guidelines, and to boost spending on conservation, environmental restoration and animal protection. Animal protection issues, which have proven hot at the polls over the past decade, scored major victories again this year, winning five of six contests

Enviro Groups Fear Republican Congress

by Cat Lazaroff With the 2002 elections leaving both the House and the Senate in Republican hands, control of crucial environmental committees will also rest with the GOP, along with the power to dictate the flow of environmental legislation through Congress. According to the Sierra Club, the upcoming session of Congress is likely to feature attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act, accelerate logging in national forests, create additional tax breaks for energy companies, and open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other public lands to oil development

Who Is Responsible For New, Massive Oil Spill?

by Tito Drago "In addition to tax and drug-trafficking havens, there are other havens that make it possible to sail these veritable environmental time-bombs," said the former head of UNESCO

The Military's New War of Words

by William M. Arkin Increasingly, the administration's new policy -- along with the steps senior commanders are taking to implement it -- blurs or even erases the boundaries between factual information and news, on the one hand, and public relations, propaganda and psychological warfare, on the other. And, while the policy ostensibly targets foreign enemies, its most likely victim will be the American electorate

New Oil Spill Reveals Gaps In International Laws

by Sanjay Suri "Once again a European coast is under threat from a massive oil slick," Matt Phillips from the Friends of the Earth said. "Politicians must resist the disgraceful lobbying from the oil industry and their friends and draw up tough rules that ensure people and the environment are put ahead of big business." Environmentalists are asking for a tightening of laws to prevent future disasters, but can only hope that this one does not cause more damage than it has already

Sunken Tanker Continues To Gush Oil, Threaten Coast

From the ocean bottom off the northwest coast of Spain, the sunken oil tanker "Prestige" contine to leak thousands of tons of oil into the sea causing a massive new oil slick that appears to be a major threat to wildlife and fish populations along the coast

U.S. Turned Financial Screws For Unanimous UN Vote Against Iraq

by Thalif Deen "Only a superpower like the United States could have pulled off a coup like this," an Asian diplomat told IPS on Friday. The unanimous 15-0 vote, he said, was obtained through considerable political and diplomatic pressure. The lobbying, he added, was not done at the United Nations, but in various capitols

Syria Trapped In Corner On Iraq Vote

by George Baghdadi Analysts say Syria had no choice. "Syria voted yes because once France, Russia and China were on board, opposition was a lost cause and Syria didn't want to be the odd one out," said one analyst. "For Syria the priority is the Israeli-Palestinian issue," he said. "It does not want to be in the bad books of the U.S. on this point"

Arabs Say UN Resolution Isn't Warrant For Iraq War

by Cam McGrath Analysts say the Arab League approved the resolution because it could prevent a military strike on Iraq, and because the U.S. was forced to make concessions to other members of the Security Council. "It was about how power would be shared in the decision-making process," says Sharif El-Musa, director of Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo. The Arab League said it expects Washington to uphold its end of the bargain. It said the Security Council was the "only appropriate body which can evaluate the reports written by inspectors." The Arab League pointed out that the resolution does not stipulate an automatic use of force

Baghdad 2002: Waiting for the Storm>

by Saul Landau "Why you want war? What good from war? We have plenty of war. We know bombs. We know destruction. What we do to you? You bomb. We die. Bush say he care about Iraqi people. Why he bomb us?" The young man becomes self-conscious, stops the sermon, offers us tea, and resumes his bargaining. Harold buys the rug, and we're in the cars again. "It doesn't look like they're preparing for war," I remark to a colleague as I observe the chaotic bustle of midday in Baghdad. "Yeah, but then again, how do you prepare for the Leviathan?"

China Makes Historic Concessions For Better U.S. Ties

by Franz Schurmann American media overlooked a huge global shift that took place recently when China's president met with President Bush in Crawford, Texas. China took huge steps toward America in terms of its economic policies, its stance toward Taiwan and its position on an invasion of Iraq

Brazil's New President More Nationalist Than Leftist

by Jose Moreno and Alejandro Eggers Moreno Calling Brazil's new president a leftist is far too simplistic. In fact, the former metal worker's election is a clear demonstration of the changing face of Latin American politics, where nationalism and globalization are becoming more important terms than "left" and "right"

Abortion Foes Attack Clinics In PR Campaign

by Frederick Clarkson The anti-choice group Life Dynamics Incorporated secretly recorded telephone conversations with some 800 receptionists and staff at reproductive health clinics in 49 states and is using the tapes in a nationwide publicity campaign designed to discredit and encourage lawsuits against abortion providers, according documents published on the organization's website

The Other Elections: Islamist Parties Winning Big

by Rami G. Khouri Just as Tuesday's midterm election results will affect U.S. foreign policy, recent elections in several key Arab countries will have important international repercussions. Islamist party victories in several Arab nations and finds important lessons about democracy and dissent

Bush Infuriates Muslims By Naming Jerusalem Offical Israel Capitol

by Humberto Marquez The bill -- 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act -- that provides over $4 billion to run the State Department in 2003 called for the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and denied funding for any official U.S. document unless it identifies the city as Israel's capital. Despite Bush's insistence that he reserved the right to override the clause in the bill as he signed it on Monday, the move from a U.S. administration already seen in the Arab world as blatantly pro-Israeli caused an uproar across the region

Bush Shifts Snowmobile Policy Into High Gear

by J.R. Pegg The Bush administration has reversed a ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, despite widespread support for the measure and 10 years of research detailing the negative impact from the machines on the health of the parks and their employees

Pentagon's Plans For Big Brother Database

by Jim Lobe Concern among civil libertarians, which has risen steadily since the attacks due to the expansion of the FBI's spying authority and a series of court decisions upholding the detention powers of the executive branch, has mushroomed since details about the project were first published by The New York Times earlier this month. Critics say the system could well lead to a "surveillance state"

Israel Election A Fight Between Right-Wingers

by N. Janardhan The period leading up to the Israeli elections and the first few months thereafter will be the toughest for the Palestinians, says Kuwaiti independent political analyst Ali Jaber Al Sabah. Sharon will try to be even more right-wing than Netanyahu, forcing him to take extremely radical measures such as building more settlements, cracking down on the two-year-old Palestinian 'intifadah' or uprising and attempting to reoccupy Gaza like in the case of the West Bank now, Ali Jaber added

Repubs Seize Reins Of Power

by Jim Lobe Republican control of both houses of Congress and the White House -- the first time this has happened since President Dwight Eisenhower's first term 50 years ago -- means that legislation and judicial nominations strongly backed by the Christian Right that have been held up in the Senate for months, could be approved as early as next week

New Justification For Iraq War: "Saddam Is Hitler"

by Jim Lobe In the hawks' view, anything less than destroying the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein amounts to "appeasement," if not of the same kind as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's notorious sell-out of Czechoslovakia at the 1938 Munich conference (after which he claimed credit for achieving "peace in our time"), then comparable to the more esoteric failure of France and Britain to respond forcefully to Adolf Hitler's unilateral repossession of the Rhineland in 1936

With GOP Election Victory, Hawks Press For Iraq War

by Jim Lobe With the elections over, a small group of influential conservatives with close ties to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney are expected to launch a vigorous campaign to rally public support for an invasion of Iraq. The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which is setting up its office this week. The Committee appears to be a spin-off of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a front group consisting mainly of conservative Jews and heavy-hitters from the pro-Israel Christian Right, whose public recommendations on fighting the "war against terrorism" and U.S. backing for Israel in the conflict in the occupied territories have anticipated to a remarkable degree the administration's own policy course

U.S. Trying to Block Global Warming Controls

The refusal of the United States to support the Kyoto Protocol continued to hamper negotiations at the United Nations climate change conference, held at the end of October in India. Deep divisions remained between negotiators over the roles of the industrialized and developing worlds in the effort to address climate change

Kyoto Protocol is Human Rights Issue, Protesters Say

by Ranjit Devraj As the rally, which marched from Raj Ghat, the mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi, who in another age helped demolish the British Empire dressed in a loincloth, drew close to the Vigyan Bhavan, the armed security ring around the building sprang to attention. It was determined not to allow the marchers or their simple wisdom seep into the venue of the official negotiations. We affirm that climate change is a human rights issue -- it affects our livelihoods, our health, our children and our natural resources," was the marchers' message

Australia, Japan, Canada Join U.S. Attack on Kyoto Protocol

by Nizar Al-Aly Australia was trying to water down binding agreements by changing words like "shall" to "should" throughout the text. He said Canada and Russia wanted to alter the Bonn agreement on carbon sinks and offset a country's emissions quota. U.S. industrialists also have come under fire for "attempts to make money out of the implementation of the protocol," while their country continues to reject the ratification of the document

Russia's Putin Caught Between Coal And Kyoto

by Sergei Blagov President Vladimir Putin has called for greater exploitation of Russia's coal reserves. But this policy could clash with Moscow's commitments to reducing emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, environmentalists say

Ariel Sharon: Israel Should "Exploit" Hebron Ambush

by Ferry Biedermann Ariel Sharon told army officers on a tour of the area after the attack that Israel should "exploit" the situation by creating "territorial contiguity" between Kiryat Arba and the Jewish enclave inside Hebron. This would mean a kilometre long road that would threaten hundreds of Palestinian homes

Hard Times In Yugoslavia's Fierce Backwater

by Terence Sheridan Yugoslavia will soon formally become "Serbia and Montenegro" -- if all goes according to plan. But the fierce independence and machismo of towering "hillbilly Serbs" means anything can happen in a region of hard-bitten survivors

New Health Hazards Linked To Highways

by Wendy Hunter People who live, work or travel within 165 feet downwind of a major freeway or busy intersection are exposed to potentially hazardous particle concentrations up to 30 times greater than normal, according to two recently published UCLA studies

BioPharm Soybeans Destroyed After Experimental Genes Get Loose

by Stephen Leahy U.S. officials have ordered 500,000 bushels of soybeans, worth $2.7 million, destroyed after the crop was contaminated by maize genetically engineered to produce an experimental drug

Feds Playing Biopharm Roulette

by Brandon Keim This mass experiment has been conducted with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA rarely visits trial sites more than once, and sometimes not at all. So far, they've relied primarily on the "voluntary compliance" of biopharm companies. Voluntary compliance, we all know, is a business term for virtually unregulated

Record Turnout For D.C. Anti-War Protests

by Katherine Stapp In the largest U.S. anti-war protest in recent memory, between 100-200,000 demonstrators according to organizers, encircled the White House on Saturday to demand that the U.S. end its rush to war with Iraq

Judge Blocks Navy Sonar Tests Likely To Harm Whales

"Deployment of LFA over 75 percent of the world's oceans, more than 14 million square miles in the first year alone, threatens marine life on a staggering and unprecedented geographic scale, not just the 'small number of marine mammals' that the law allows, but countless marine mammals around the world," said Joel Reynolds, senior attorney and director of the Marine Mammals Protection Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth LaPorte agreed

GOP Stabs Unemployed In The Back

by Robert Scheer On Dec. 28, three days after the celebration of a man famous for helping the downtrodden, Republican scrooges and Democratic stooges in Congress will hand 800,000 Americans something far worse than a lump of coal. When asked how he could explain tax cuts for the rich to an unemployed worker, Sen. Specter, a GOP stalwart, bravely broke ranks long enough to reply: "I'm going to say to him, 'We did you wrong. "

War Hero McGovern Still Standing

by Robert Scheer The biggest problem he has with Bush's White House is a pattern of lying that McGovern believes rivals that of Nixon's. For example, "Bush has said repeatedly that Saddam Hussein threw the international arms inspectors out of Iraq, but that's not true. We withdrew our inspectors." The president, McGovern said, also too often relies on the language of the religious right

Calling the GOP's Bluff

by Robert Scheer

The president and his party are now wholly responsible for stewardship of the American economy. Their fate two years from now will hang mostly on hard numbers: how many of us are unemployed and what remains of our 401Ks

Bush Forcing Christian Right Views On World

by Robert Scheer At the 1994 United Nations population conference in Cairo, nations with different religious, social and political make-ups bravely acknowledged that the only proven way to slow the pace of the population explosion was to empower women by giving them reproductive rights, basic education and adequate health care so that they are capable of choosing a family size that offers them the best chance at being economically successful. But the U.S. religious right, several repressive Muslim regimes and the Vatican have worked to put the kibosh on the final declaration of the UN conference. Now they have found their knight in shining armor in President Bush

Bush Trying To Gut The Unions

by Robert Scheer Workers holding secure jobs that provide a living wage can and will be replaced by low-paid crews without benefits because that is the only way to get the big "savings" Bush is after. Strong unions are still anathema on the corporate gravy train that fattened Bush, Dick Cheney and a historic number of fellow administration honchos.

Bush Admin Squabbles Over Saddam Successor

by Jim Lobe While the contending sides agreed last summer to co-sponsor meetings among Iraqi opposition leaders in hopes of coaxing a united front out of them in advance of U.S. military action to oust Hussein, the task appears as daunting as ever. In the past two weeks, both sides have been dealt significant setbacks, even as the U.S. military build-up around Iraq has shifted into overdrive

Post-Saddam Iraq May Look Like Pre-Invasion Afghanistan

by Ted Rall All six of the approved groups subscribe to conservative Islam or hardcore Islamism. Several endorse the same Sharia law used to justify stonings and burqas in Afghanistan, all would curtail the rights of Iraqi women (who, under Saddam, enjoy the most freedom of any Arab state) and only one can be called pro-American. Like Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, these factions will fight one another as soon as they get the chance

Dramatic Reversal: Arafat Finds Support, Sharon In Trouble

by Ferry Biedermann Ariel Sharon's broad-based coalition collapsed Oct. 31, barely 24 hours after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat won approval for his new cabinet by an unexpectedly wide margin. The domestic political situation of the two leaders fighting for political survival has been dramatically reversed. "The Israelis said recently that the days of Yasser Arafat's government are numbered," said one Palestinian legislator gleefully. "It seems instead that the days of Mr. Sharon in government are numbered"

Indonesia Rainforest Fires Doubled Global CO2 Levels

by Cat Lazaroff Wildfires that scorched parts of Indonesia in 1997 spewed as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire planet's biosphere removes from it in a year, shows new research published this week. The fires, which destroyed thousands of forest acres and left peat bogs smoldering for months, released as much as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon -- mostly in the form of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) -- into the atmosphere

Dazed Demos Could Look to Brazil's New President

by Roger Burbach Just days before the Republican sweep of midterm elections, a left-wing candidate in Brazil won decisively in presidential elections. Like the Democrats, Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva moved to the center. Unlike them he stuck to core principals

Bush Reject Of ABM Treaty Had Global Ripple Effect

by Gustavo Capdevila The unilateral stance of the United States on arms control, as well as legal gaps in international arms treaties are among the reasons negotiations on the matter have been bogged down and violators go unpunished, say disarmament experts

Stakes High As U.S. Corp Sues Over Water In Secret Trade Court

by Jim Shultz Two years ago, rioters protesting increased water rates forced a U.S. company in Bolivia to pack its bags and leave. Now, in a harbinger of the loss of local control through globalization, the corporation is striking back in secret proceedings

Sniper Case Breathes New Life Into Anti-immigration Movement

by Marcelo Ballve The sniper case has added fuel to the debate over changing the country's immigration laws. Those who favor an amnesty for undocumented immigrants say it would help law enforcement by bringing the undocumented "out of the shadows" so they can assist crime and terror investigations. Critics of the approach seek tighter controls on immigration and say an amnesty would only result in a larger population of foreign-born, whom they say serve as cover for criminals and terrorists

Disney Loses Appeal On "Massive, Crippling" Damages

by Joe Shea A California Court of Appeal dealt a "devastating" setback to the Walt Disney Co. November 20 when it refused to consider the studio's appeal from harsh sanctions levied by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige for its destruction of thousands of documents in a billion-dollar lawsuit over royalties due to Stephen Slesinger Inc., the owners of Winnie the Pooh commerical rights for the U.S. and Canada

Disney Lawyers Claimed Pooh Was Public Domain

by Joe Shea In a "dubious" move by the Walt Disney Co. to recapture rights to Winnie the Pooh from a Tampa, Florida., widow and her daughter has little chance of success, a leading copyright expert says. Persons close to the case say it may have been designed to boost the company's stock just before a recent earnings announcement

Disney Says Christopher Robin's Heirs To Retake Pooh Ownership

by Joe Shea In a stunning announcement, the Walt Disney Co. declared Nov. 5 that it had struck a deal under the 1998 revision of the U.S. Copyright Act with two English heirs of Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard to have the two recapture rights to the world's most popular bear from the American heirs of a literary agent who owned them for more than 72 years and then sell them to Disney in 2004

Schools Using Junk Food To Pump Up Test Scores

The study, published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that on test days many districts fed students high-energy foods with low nutritional value because the empty calories gives students a short-term mental lift much like carbohydrate loading energizes athletes

S Africa Terrorism Linked To White Supremacists

by Anthony Stoppard Nine bomb-blasts that damaged rail links between Soweto -- South Africa's largest township -- and Johannesburg, its economic capital, on Oct. 30 have been blamed on right wingers

U.S. Not Prepared For Iraq War Civilian Crisis, Say Relief Groups

by Donal Brown The directors of several international relief groups say that the Bush administration is unprepared for a huge humanitarian crisis that would be the likely result of a U.S. invasion of Iraq

Why Are All American Terrorists Veterans Of Gulf War?

by Farai Chideya Two killers and one killing suspect -- Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, University of Arizona shooter Robert S. Flores and sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad -- were veterans of the Gulf War, a connection that has yet to be explored

Will Supreme Court Rule "3 Strikes Law" Cruel And Unusual?

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson In February, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of three-strikes prisoner Leandro Andrade in California, citing the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In April, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Andrade's case and the case of Gary Ewing, whose three-strikes sentence was upheld. The two prisoners were not convicted rapists, murderers, pedophiles, bank robbers, arsonists or drug kings. They were petty thieves. Yet a judge tossed the book at Ewing for trying to steal three golf clubs from a golf shop, and at Andrade for pilfering videotapes from two K-Mart stores

A Mad Obsession With Saddam

by Franz Schurmann During the entire post-World War II period, never has an American president so vilified an adversary. But during World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom many historians regard as one of the shrewdest of all U.S. presidents, similarly vilified Adolf Hitler. Sigmund Freud noted that some of his patients could not stop talking about those who inflicted great pain on them. He called it "identification with the aggressor." George W. Bush keeps talking a lot about an evil Saddam Hussein and the world's need to destroy him. On the other hand, he talks much less about Osama bin Laden but much more about his organization "al Qaeda." Does this mean that Bush suffers from a neurotic fixation on Saddam?

Seaport Security And Other Fairy Tales

by Harry Stamper There is no way that waterfront security, or any security for that matter, can be broken down into a formula that will take into account my relationship with the officers and crew of the Sea Light. The leaders of this country are actually convincing people that every rivet can be checked, every fuel tank measured for verification, every sailor in the world authenticated and every enemy discovered. It can't be done, no matter how much money we spend

Bush Rolls Back Air Pollution Controls

by J.R. Pegg The Bush administration has enacted changes to clean air rules that will allow power plants and refineries to avoid new pollution controls when they expand operations. The decision drew sharp criticism from Congressional leaders, state officials, environmental groups, public health organizations and the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who charge the administration has put industry interests ahead of public health and the environment

Bush Plays "What If" Game To Justify War

by Frida Berrigan It's one thing to argue that we need to vigilant in our efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, given the flaws in U.S. intelligence gathering. It's quite another to go to war on the grounds that "we don't know" how close a country is to acquiring them. If nuclear weapons are really the President's concern, he should give UN inspectors the time they need to find out what Iraq's capabilities are, and to eliminate them. And he should commit the United States to a concrete timetable for eliminating its own massive nuclear arsenal, along with a policy of neither using nor threatening to use nuclear weapons first in any conflict

"It Can't Happen Here" ... Right?

by Molly Ivins For those who relish irony, there's a comical extent to which liberals are the new conservatives, exactly where the old principled Republicans used to be -- reluctant to get involved in foreign wars, suspicious of foreign entanglements, harping on fiscal responsibility and worried about constitutional freedoms

Thank GOP For Major Giveaway To Corp Tax Cheats

by Molly Ivins For those who relish irony, there's a comical extent to which liberals are the new conservatives, exactly where the old principled Republicans used to be -- reluctant to get involved in foreign wars, suspicious of foreign entanglements, harping on fiscal responsibility and worried about constitutional freedoms

Osama Is Back, And Bush Doesn't Care

by Molly Ivins We weren't attacked by Iraq, we were attacked by bin Laden's terrorist network. We weren't attacked with nuclear weapons, we were attacked with box-cutters. That hate-crazed religious fanatic, so intoxicated by his own mad rhetoric that he thinks he has a right to kill people, is a clear and present danger. His organization has been striking all over the world, even blowing up Aussies in the paradisiacal Bali. But we're all supposed to focus on Saddam Hussein

Grabbing Away With Both Hands

by Molly Ivins We have already tried letting industry police itself in Texas; it does not work. According to his own environmental commission, W's voluntary legislation for the 850 plants with more than 900,000 tons of pollution "grandfathered" out of the Texas Clean Air standards resulted in a grand total of 134 tons of pollution reductions. The voluntary law was such a failure that immediately after W moved to Washington, the Texas legislature replaced W's program with a mandatory one

It's Christmastime For The Special Interests

by Molly Ivins Let the post-mortems begin! This is not a whine, but I do think the major factor in the last-minute Republican tilt was television coverage. Almost the only political story for the last three days was Bush Barnstorming. It's as though they were covering a presidential campaign with only one candidate rather than a mid-term election

Latest SEC Scandal Just More Bush Admin Corporate Sleaze

by Molly Ivins We used to say of Bush in Texas, "He doesn't care about the topwaters." The topwaters are the bitty fish that swim on the top of the pond; Bush always worked for the big fish that swim underneath. Well, big fish, this is about your money. This is about your getting ripped off by institutionalized corporate corruption, and it cannot be cured by political spin. SEC chairman Harvey Pitt cannot pretend to be a reformer and then immediately cave in

For Bush, Politics Is Job One

by Molly Ivins It's not just the issues. Maybe the Bush gang is less relentlessly focused on elections than on governing. "President Bush has harnessed the broad resources of the federal government to promote Republicans in next month's elections," the Washington Post reports. "From housing grants in South Dakota and research contracts in Florida to Air Force One rides and photos in the White House driveway, Bush has made Republican success on Nov. 5 a government-wide project." This bunch is setting new records for chutzpah daily

Paul Wellstone A Sharp Contrast

by Molly Ivins In this putrid election season, every television ad seems to announce that the other guy sucks eggs, runs on all fours, molests small children and has the brain of an adolescent pissant. It's tempting to join the "pox on both their houses" crowd. They're close to right, but they're still wrong. Here's the good news: All of this can actually be fixed. By me, you, us -- no kidding, no bull. Nothing you can do about it? Just one person? As an American at this time, you have more political power than 99 percent of all the people who have ever lived on earth. And should you round up four friends who don't usually vote, you'll have four times that much political power. Why throw that away?

The September 11 Election Victory

by Norman Solomon The violence of 9-11 and the pledged U.S. war on Iraq are media bookends for the story of BushÕs trajectory to the GOP triumph of Election Day 2002. In the closing months of this yearÕs campaign, the specter of an overwhelming military assault on Iraq effectively swept aside other issues -- notably the economic well-being of Americans -- that could have meant big trouble for BushÕs party on Nov. 5

Marketing War

by Norman Solomon If you doubt that the Executive Branch is run by people who plan U.S. military actions while thinking like marketers, you're (no offense) naive. It was a candid slip of the tongue a couple of months ago when the White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, told the New York Times: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Not coincidentally, the main rollout of new-and-improved rationales for an upcoming war on Iraq did not take place until September

"Eyewitness News" Is Anything But

by Norman Solomon What if thousands of radio stations across the country were augmenting their fine reporting on the latest road conditions with comparable from-the-sky breaking news coverage of social conditions in local communities?

Sham Iraq Vote At UN Security Council

by Norman Solomon Behind all the media euphemisms and diplomat-speak, a cold hard reality about Resolution 1441 is already history: The resolution was fashioned to provide important fig leaves for domestic politics and foreign governments. President Bush and Britain's Tony Blair needed UN cover for the war that they're so eager to launch

Looking Backward At 2002

by Norman Solomon It's now late autumn in the year 2052. Gathered around a canister, the onlookers stare at the rusty container while someone punctures the metal top. Inside, through the stale air, they watch as symbols of early 21st Century media emerge from the past

No, It's Not The Economy, Stupid

by Alexander Cockburn Not only do we have an economy slowly flapping its way to the bottom of the fishtank, we have two men in the White House who, scarcely two months ago, were hiding out in some subterranean war room in the Appalachians, hoping to dodge subpoenas on account of their shady business conduct, even as all their buddies at Enron were striking to make deals with the Justice Department. So, what happened? The public said, "Sure, the economy doesn't look good, but we're not stupid. The economy's sagging, but you can't blame the whole of the '90s on George Bush. Gives us till 2004, and we'll tell you what we think then"

The Anti-War 60s All Over Again?

by Alexander Cockburn If George Bush lets loose the dogs of war on the grounds that Saddam wouldn't submit to a full personal cavity search, will we see a new age of '60s-style protest? Certainly, if the war goes on long enough and Americans get killed in large numbers. As I said, there already is an intervention movement out there, whose senior members cut their teeth in the '60s, with more recent recruits from America's later forays in Central America and other battlegrounds of empire

Blowback: Military Violence Comes Home

by Alexander Cockburn A nation always on the war path mans a nation always under arms and a country to which the war is always coming home -- a potent minority in the form of psychically maimed people, violence-prone drunks, domestic abusers, drug addicts and basket cases. This summer, before John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo embarked on their terrible jihad, the whole issue of Wars Coming Home had turned red hot with the murders and suicides in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Big Brother's Been Here For Years

by Alexander Cockburn The press dutifully howled about Big Brother and Orwell, which is fine, but it misses the sad truth that DARPA is limping along in the wake of reality. For most practical purposes, Total Information Awareness got here years ago. Police reports, criminal record, mortgage records, credit history, medical history, former employment, DMV data ... either lawfully or with artifice any competent private investigator can get the skinny on you

Dare Call It Empire

by Alexander Cockburn Officially, the only empires on display were those in the museum (the old colonial powers) or headquartered in the Kremlin. After 1989, there was no more Soviet Union, and today, all the folks in Congress are safely bought, forever silenced about costs of the military industrial complex. So America can stand forth, an unashamed empire at last

Democrats Could Try Telling The Truth

by Mark Weisbrot The Democrats' betrayal on the war is the latest, and the most morally repugnant, of a series of crucial political decisions in which telling the truth would have been a much better strategy even from the standpoint of their own self-interest

New House Leader A Divider, Not A Uniter

by Jim Lobe Southern, white, intense, angry and self-righteous at the same time, profoundly anti-government in all things except national security, DeLay rarely speaks at any length without inveighing against the ''elite'' and the ''privileged few who are determined to discredit and, ultimately, replace core American traditions'

Conservatives Pushing 'Marriage For Welfare' Plan

by Betty Holcomb The proposal, pushed by the Bush administration, would allot the funds to states that create programs to reduce out-of-wedlock births and promote two-parent families. It's likely the Democrats will sign onto the marriage proposal as a way to ensure that millions of families continue to receive the cash grants, food stamps and medical benefits that are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31

Bush Makes Full Court Press To Confirm Judges

by Rebecca Vesely On Nov. 6, President Bush unveiled a plan to speed up the confirmation process, requiring Senate Judiciary Committee hearings within 90 days of receiving a nomination from the president, and a full Senate vote within 180 days. The proposal came as a surprise to senators on both sides of the aisle

Colin Powell's Star On The Rise - For Now

by Jim Lobe After three months of infighting, it seems that Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was largely marginalized by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, may have clawed his way back into relevance

Kissinger Investigates? Investigate Kissinger

by Marty Jezer An investigation like this demands a trustworthy leader. Kissinger has his admirers, but there are many people in this country and elsewhere who believe him responsible for causing more civilian deaths than Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic together. At best, Kissinger is a polarizing figure who does not command trust. At worst, he's an war criminal who ought to be brought to trial

No Evidence Of Bush Mandate For War

by William D. Hartung The months leading up to the elections witnessed the largest anti-war rallies since the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement -- 100,000 to 200,000 in Washington, 20,000 in New York's Central Park, 40,000 to 60,000 in San Francisco, plus scores of local vigils and sizeable rallies in major cities

Bush Wants To Privatize Half Of Fed Workforce

by Robert Jensen The cautious (dare we say "conservative?") position would be that when the complexity of the job or the nature of the market argues against privatization, we should go forward only after careful study. But the Bush proposal suggests just the opposite: an assumption in favor of privatizing at breakneck speed, which means careful study will be overridden by ideology and good-old-boy politicking. If research and experience on privatization don't support Bush's enthusiasm, why is he pressing for such wholesale change?

Insurance Companies Win Big As Congress Guarantees Bailout

by Lucy Komisar One of the big winners will be Greenberg's AIG, the largest U.S. underwriter of commercial and industrial insurance. AIG does not seem a likely candidate for corporate welfare. It has over $500 billion in assets, a market value of $190 billion, $40 billion in revenue and $5.8 billion in annual profits. It has operations in 130 countries and nearly 77,000 employees. It ranks fourth on Forbes' list of the America's biggest companies, after Citigroup, General Electric and ExxonMobil. Does it need a taxpayer subsidy? The federal program -- giving insurance companies up to $100 billion -- would be triggered once the insurance industry sustains only $10 billion

New Senate Leadership Mostly Hard-Liners

by Cat Lazaroff The Republican leadership has elected new chairs of all Senate committees and subcommittees, choosing leaders who illustrate vividly the shift in legislative priorities that will come with the Republican controlled Congress

Journalist Helen Thomas Slams Bush, U.S. Press

by Sarah H. Wright, MIT News Office "I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war. Bush's policy of pre-emptive war is immoral -- such a policy would legitimize Pearl Harbor. It's as if they learned none of the lessons from Vietnam," she said to enthusiastic applause

The Chickens Have Voted For Colonel Sanders

by Randolph T. Holhut While not every Democrat sided with President Bush, enough of them did so to give him a blank check for unlimited war in the Persian Gulf. Once the Democrats rolled over on that issue, it was pretty much all over. By refusing to take a bold stand against the ruinous policies of the Bush administration and coming up with alternative ideas, the Democratic Party blew it big time

Why The Bush Crowd Hated Paul Wellstone

by Randolph T. Holhut It was no surprise that the Republicans and their media lap dogs were screaming their heads off after the memorial service for Wellstone. More than 20,000 people showed up and twice that many were outside; an impressive turnout for what ultimately was a celebration of Wellstone's progressive ideals and activism. The service was a loud repudiation of the conservatives' attempt to hijack America, and the GOP hated every minute of it

The Booming Economy of War

by Michelle Ciarrocca In the wake of September 11, President Bush requested the largest increase in defense spending in two decades. As the Pentagon and Congress throw money around under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Pentagon has been able to ignore calls for reform and transformation; more than one-third of the $68 billion weapons procurement budget for this year will go to big-ticket, cold war-era weapons systems

The Rush To Execute The Washington Snipers

by Stephanie Gibson Executing Mr. Muhammad and Mr. Malvo won't make us safer. It won't explain how this happened or help us figure out how to stop it from happening again. Adding serial killing to the list of death-eligible crimes in Maryland or lowering the age at which people are eligible for the death penalty also won't make the streets safer. Capital punishment only gives politicians a way to appear tough on crime and addresses a deep lust for revenge. Revenge is not the purpose of justice

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