default.html Issue 112
Table of Contents

Karl Rove's Nightmare: Liberal Talk Radio

by Thom Hartmann The handwriting is on the wall for right-wing talk radio: To build profits, programmers must reach beyond diehard Republicans to unserved listeners. This means bringing in the center and left of the political spectrum. Thus, we're today seeing the early fuse-fizzing of the Next Big Boom in talk radio, and many in the industry openly acknowledge it (including Fox, which just syndicated liberal Alan Colmes)

You, Too, Can Be A Conservative Gasbag

by Robert Gelfand Anyone can write a conservative newspaper column. To borrow from the Wizard of Oz, lots of people with no more talent or brains than you or me do it. Just think of Jack Kemp, Mona Charen, Larry Elder, and Thomas Sowell, whose syndicated columns appear in our nation's daily newspapers. The tricks they use are remarkably similar

GOP Senate Seeks To Undermine Endangered Species Act

by J.R. Pegg Some Republican senators believe the requirement that federal agencies consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure their actions do not jeopardize endangered species has become too costly and time consuming. The process is burdening federal agencies without producing measurable conservation benefits and should be reformed, the senators said hearing

Bush Euro Tour Anything But A Victory Lap

by Jim Lobe While Bush's popularity ratings remain very high (albeit not as high as his father's at a comparable moment after the last Gulf War) and U.S. military power has proven once again how completely dominant globally it is, serious doubts are being raised about how well clothed the emperor really is

FCC To Relax Media Ownership Restrictions

by Akhilesh Upadhyay Hundreds of thousands of people opposing the FCC move have asked the agency to delay its action to allow an open national debate on the high-stakes vote and to reveal all the details of its proposed amendments. But FCC chairman Michael Powell -- the son of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell -- is unlikely to defer the vote

Canada's Relationship With Bush Now Ice Cold

by Mark Bourrie Ottawa's refusal to join the invasion against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was the first Canadian rejection of a major U.S. foreign policy action since the 1960s, when Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister Lester Pearson refused to take part in the Vietnam War. But the current cold relations between the leaders of the two major trading partners set in long before the invasion of Iraq. While Chretien, who leads the Liberal Party, was a regular golf partner of Bush's predecessor and Democrat Bill Clinton -- whom he also talked to weekly by telephone -- before Saturday he had not met the far more conservative Bush since late last year and had talked to him only once in the past three months

In Iraq, Now Everyone Needs Food Aid

by Ricardo Grassi The war in Iraq has made the entire population of 27 million dependent on food aid, leaders of aid programs say. Before the war that the U.S. and Britain launched March 20 to remove the Saddam Hussein regime, 60 percent of the population had depended entirely on food aid. "Today, the lives of 100 percent of the Iraqi population, 27 million people, depend on the provision of monthly food rations"

The "Great Game" Continues -- With U.S. In Charge

by M B Naqvi All the speculation about 'After Iraq, Who?' has served to hide a bigger story. This is the renewal of the 19th century struggle for power in much of Asia between an Imperial Britain and Tsarist Russia, known then as the "Great Game," although many thought that demise of the Soviets meant that one side had finally lost. The game is still alive, though the 'dramatis personae' are slightly different

Iraq War Deceptions Spell Trouble For Bush

by William O. Beeman Americans were in full support of the war, because it was sold to them using principles in which they already believed. In many ways, they were provided with rhetoric they could not resist. It was the sales job of the century

Bush Set To "Protect" Forests By Building More Roads

by J.R. Pegg Veneman says the proposals are designed to give states the needed flexibility to manage the health of roadless areas and balance the needs of rural communities with environmental protections. Environmentalists contend the administration is undermining a regulation it never had any intention of supporting, despite overtones to the contrary. "The administration's clear objective here is to mask its intention to log and drill in roadless areas of our national forests until after the 2004 election," said Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust

Iraq Chaos Still Threatens UN Relief Ops

by Thalif Deen A growing number of military attacks on U.S. forces over the last few weeks are also adding to the difficulty of carrying out humanitarian relief operations inside Iraq. The strongest criticisms of the security situation have come from two UN agencies on the ground: WHO and UNICEF

Iraq Guerrilla War Leads U.S. Launch Of "Project Desert Scorpion"

by Jim Lobe It is clear that the 10 weeks of chaos that followed the collapse of Hussein's government in early April have taken a serious toll on U.S. hopes that Iraqis, either out of fear and awe of Washington's military might or out of gratitude, would simply do what they were told by their supposed liberators

U.S. Reported In Secret Peace Talks With Taliban

by Syed Saleem Shahzad Observers familiar with Afghan resistance movements say the one that has emerged since Taliban's fall is stronger than the movement that opposed Soviet invaders for nearly a decade starting in 1979

Burma Junta Arrests Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

by Larry Jagan Eyewitnesses say the opposition leader was injured during an attack on her car. The window was broken and the shattered glass cut and grazed her face and shoulder. Since then, she has been taken to Rangoon, where she is being held incommunicado in a military camp some 40 kilometers outside the capital. But the military regime has dismissed these reports. "She is totally unharmed and in no need of medical treatment," Burma's deputy foreign minister Khin Maung Win told diplomats in Rangoon. But no one is convinced by this, as diplomats and UN officials have tried repeatedly to see her over the past week but without success

Neocon Guru Michael Ledeen Sets Sites On Iran And "Total War"

by William O. Beeman From “creative destruction” to “total war,” the guiding beliefs of the most aggressive foreign policymakers in the Bush administration may originate in the works of an influential yet rarely seen neoconservative

Leo Strauss: The Strong Must Rule The Weak

by Jim Lobe "Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing," because it leads to individualism, liberalism and relativism, precisely those traits that might encourage dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. "You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty"

Saddam Atrocities Top Story In Arab Media

by Jalal Ghazi Arab commentators refer to the war in Iraq today as a political earthquake. In fact, since the war, Arab media have both described and influenced a huge shift in Arab thinking. Before the conflict, Arab news organizations mirrored and reinforced the Arab world's vehement opposition to an American invasion of an Arab country. Since the fall of Baghdad, however, the 280 million people in the Arab world have been mesmerized by media revelations of Saddam Hussein's crimes against his own people

Palestinians Wary Of "Road Map To Peace"

by Ferry Biedermann Israel's acceptance of the roadmap puts new onus on the Palestinians to rein in their violence. New Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas made some far-reaching offers to get Israel to check its own warmaking and agree to the roadmap. In talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before the Israeli cabinet accepted the plan, he said the Palestinians would start taking action against the militants the moment Israel approved the roadmap

Israeli Colonists Wary Of "Road Map To Peace"

by Ferry Biedermann Many settlers he knows would be "more than happy" to pack up and leave if they are properly compensated. Some may be reluctant to leave the scenic but isolated and often dangerous hilltop, but most say they will leave if the government so decides

One Week After Agreement, Israel Pushes Bush Aside

by Jim Lobe Fourteen months ago, President George W. Bush demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon halt incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas, withdraw from cities Israeli forces had re-occupied, and refrain from further unilateral actions that would inflame the conflict. "Enough is enough," snapped the U.S. president, who had conquered Afghanistan four months before. Sharon, of course, treated Bush's demands in much the same way as he would the yapping of a chihuahua, politely explaining that protecting Israeli citizens from suicide bombs was his first responsibility -- and otherwise ignoring him

Top Australian Leader Wants Media Crackdown For Iraq War Criticism

by Sonny Inbaraj The attack by a top Australian minister on what he saw as anti-U.S. coverage of the Iraq war by the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) is raising concerns that the news outlet may be hit with restrictions. "AM's Iraq war coverage could be characterised by the following themes: constant questioning of the motives of the coalition and U.S. military; repeated claims the war was not going as planned; assertions the coalition's military action was despised by the Iraqi people; and implying there was a looming humanitarian disaster"

Australia Govt. Fighting Probe Of Pre-War Iraq Intel

by Sonny Inbaraj A joint parliamentary committee to examine if Australian troops were sent to war on the basis of flawed intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- accusations being faced also by the U.S. and British governments -- is meeting strong hostility from the Australian government

U.S. Nearly At Cold War Arms Spending

by Thalif Deen The world spent $784 billion on arms last year, a sharp acceleration from $741 billion the previous year. The U.S. accounted for almost three-quarters of that increase. The Department of Defense has estimated U.S. military spending for 2004 at about $390 billion, rising to $400 billion in 2005. The war and occupation of Iraq is expected to cost the United States more than $150 billion, compared to the 1991 Gulf War, which cost about $61 billion

Rightwing Think Tank Attacks Independent Orgs

by Jim Lobe The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is setting its sights on those groups with a "progressive" or "liberal" agenda that favors "global governance" and other notions that are also promoted by the United Nations and other multilateral agencies

U.S. Court Says Nothing Wrong With 9/11 Detentions

by Jim Lobe A court decision that backed the government's policy of withholding names and other information about hundreds of Muslims and other immigrants rounded up after the 9/11 terrorist attacks could lead to more secret detentions

Israel Presses On With Its Own Berlin Wall

by Peter Hirschberg For Israelis it is an anti-terror bulwark against the suicide bombers trying to get into their cities to kill them. For the Palestinians it is the "Apartheid Wall," another instrument of the occupation, another attempt by Israel to annex the land on which they hope to construct an independent state. A UN rights expert compares it to the Berlin Wall built by the Soviets to divide the conquered German city

Aceh And The Grim Shadows Of Civil War

by Andreas Harsono Gunfire is a daily routine for most villagers in Aceh. Rights groups estimate that more than 20,000 people have been killed since Indonesian soldiers began fighting Free Aceh Movement (GAM) forces that declared independence from Indonesia in December 1976

Law Experts Call U.S. Plans For Terrorist Trials Illegal

by Jim Lobe The Pentagon's plans to try detainees at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba and elsewhere for terrorism and war crimes fall far short of minimum international legal standards, according to two major U.S. human rights groups and law experts. Indeed, they fall so far short that some national and state bar associations that deal with military justice may advise members against participation in the tribunals -- which are called "military commissions" -- unless the rules governing them are substantially changed

Rights Groups Want U.S. Tried For Iraq War Crimes

by Thalif Deen Less than two months after the invasion of Iraq, there are no definitive figures of the civilian casualties -- unarmed men, women and children who died in the 44-day military assault. But there are a growing number of attempts to determine that number and to hold Washington and its allies responsible

Doubts Cast On U.S. Explanation Of Iraqi Protesters' Deaths

by Jim Lobe In the 18-page document, HRW called for an independent and impartial investigation by U.S. authorities of the two incidents in the central Iraq city. It also challenged the military's contention that its troops came under direct fire in the two incidents April 28 and 30. HRW also took issue with the military's insistence that its soldiers responded with "precision fire" against what they assumed to be Iraqi gunmen. Separately, rights group Amnesty International reiterated its call for the UN Security Council to immediately deploy human rights monitors to the occupied country

Saddam Used Same Offshore Banking Methods Favored By U.S. Corporations

by Lucy Komisar Italy's chief prosecutor has obtained thousands of documents that show how for more than 20 years Saddam Hussein used the Western bank and corporate secrecy system to launder bribes skimmed from oil revenues to pay his security forces and buy Western arms during international embargoes

"Good News Only" Biotech Conference Met By Protests

by Alexander Cockburn They're saving the world from hunger again. This time, the bold crusaders have been mustered in Sacramento to proclaim the glories of chemical-industrial agriculture, biotech, genetically modified crops and livestock, and kindred expressions of the modern age. The forum has been a federally sponsored Ministerial Conference and Expo of Agricultural Science and Technology. Under the approving eyes of bigwigs from firms like Monsanto, U.S. officials like Agriculture Secretary Helen Veneman pounded the drum for high-tech agriculture

France Gloats As Bush & Blair Squirm Over Missing Iraqi WMD

by Julio Godoy The newspapers Le Monde and Liberation devoted whole sections to alleged distortions put out by the U.S. and British governments before and during the attack against Iraq. The cover of the weekend edition of Liberation carried a photograph of U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair walking together, under the title "Iraq - Liars?"

How Their Big Lie Came to Be

by Robert Scheer Now that the "imminent threat" posed by Iraqi chemical or biological weapons has turned out not to be so imminent, the question is: Did our gazillion-dollar spy operations blow the call, or was the dope they developed distorted or exaggerated by our political leaders? Though United Nations inspectors found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the Pentagon hawks found some Iraqi exiles in Washington who were more than willing to provide handy lists of the precise locations of deployed WMD

U.S. Bars UNESCO From Iraq Because Team Had French Librarian

by Julio Godoy

A UNESCO team had to leave a senior librarian out of a visit to Iraq's libraries and archives last month because U.S. occupying forces denied him a visa. He was denied a visa because he is French, and because France opposed the war on Iraq, an observer told IPS

Russia And U.S. Square Off Over Iran

by Sergei Blagov

Russia is going ahead with construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite U.S. concerns that Iran could use the $800 million project as cover for a nuclear weapons program. Russia is scheduled to supply enriched uranium to fuel the Bushehr reactor in the coming months

Radical Israelis Prepared For Confrontation Over Outposts

by Peter Hirschberg

Many of the 61 hilltop outposts that have sprung up across the West Bank without government authorization since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took office in March 2001 are not even inhabited. The upheaval over removing them will be dwarfed by a showdown that would come if an Israeli government attempts to evacuate any of the 144 established settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. A total of 220,000 settlers now live in the West Bank and Gaza

Bad Iraq Data From Start to Finish

by Robert Scheer A leaked report from the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency indicated the depth of our government's confusion as to the nature of the Iraq WMD threat. One weapons expert went so far as to say the government's "white paper" on the labs "was a rushed job and looks political."

What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?

by Robert Scheer Three senior administration officials told the Knight Ridder reporter that Vice President Dick Cheney and officials on the National Security Council staff and at the Pentagon ignored the CIA's reservations and argued that the allegation should be included in the case against Hussein. Perhaps the Republicans think they can stall until fragments of evidence of weapons of mass destruction are found, which would clear Bush's name. However, that won't do the trick

No, Newt, the Ends Don't Justify the Means

by Robert Scheer Our track record of military interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere would lead any competent historian or Vegas bookie to conclude that a stable secular dictatorship is about the best outcome we can predict

Phony Jessica Lynch Story Nearly Same As 1897 "War Outrage"

by Jim Lobe The stories of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, held captive by "cruel" Iraqi officers in Nasiriyah in the latter part of March 2003, and Evangelina Cisneros, held captive by "cruel" Spanish officers in 1897, are striking similar not only in their basic plot line, but also in their effect on rallying public opinion behind a war. The only major difference is the color of the two heroines' eyes and hair

Delegation From Postwar Iraq Grilled By UN Press

by Thalif Deen Al Hashimi said she could not estimate when a new Iraqi government would be in place or when the first elections would take place. As soon as an Iraqi government is in place, "everything will be OK," she added. While she spoke, UN television cameras panned to a U.S. official seated in the audience giving the thumbs-up, evidently pleased with the answers

U.S. Reveals Blueprints To Open Iraq To Multinationals

by Emad Mekay Paul Bremer said the United States' immediate priorities are reforming Iraq's financial sector in order to provide liquidity and credit for the economy, followed by simplifying regulations to lower barriers for new firms, "domestic and foreign." In the next phase, officials would change Iraq's commercial laws, lift restrictions on property rights and develop anti-trust and competition laws

Bechtel Deal In Iraq Leads Privatization Of U.S. Military

by Pratap Chatterjee Bechtel's travelling trade show illustrates the central role that business has played in the attack and occupation of Iraq by U.S.-led forces, and to what extent the lines between Wall Street and the Pentagon have become blurred

Crime, Violence On Increase In S America Cities

by Mario Osava The security measures affect passersby as the fortresses take over the sidewalks, streets are cut off to traffic by groups of families in neighborhoods that organize their own protection systems, and public spaces are thus privatized, she added. The desperate attempts by city residents to feel safe has fuelled the growth of a "market" that profits from fear, and a booming business in electronic security and surveillance equipment, private security guards, electric fences, and bullet- proof, polarized windows for homes

Does Iraqi General Hold Key To Why Baghdad Fell Quickly?

by Peter Dale Scott Making headlines around the world -- but not in U.S. media -- are reports that a notorious Republican Guard commander mysteriously left off the U.S. card deck of 55 most-wanted Iraqis was bribed by the United States to ensure the quick fall of Baghdad

Elusive Iraqi Weapon Evidence Looking More Like Coverup

by Jim Lobe What the administration knew about WMD and when it knew it -- to paraphrase the famous Watergate questions -- are now claiming the limelight, to the administration's clear discomfort

Conservation Voters Report Card Gives Bush An "F"

by J.R. Pegg In a report card issued June 24,, the environmental political lobby blasted Bush for undermining environmental protections on all fronts, including air, water, land and wildlife and gave him an "F" for his administration's environmental performance

In A Nation Of Laws, Bush Must Be Impeached

by Randolph T. Holhut Lying about a consensual affair between two adults seems pretty inconsequential compared to lying our nation into an unnecessary war that was actively opposed by most of the world; a war that has so far killed nearly 200 American soldiers and thousands of Iraqis

Bush Seeks Power To Appoint Foreign Aid Czar

by Margie Burns A bill pushed by the White House that would let President George W. Bush appoint a foreign aid czar to dole out assistance to poor countries was amended by Republicans on the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after senators expressed skepticism about expanding Executive Branch oversight of foreign aid to the Treasury Dept. and the Office of Management and Budget

Iran Could Be Key To Bush Re-Election

by Franz Schurmann The more chaos in post-war Iraq, the more votes President Bush loses in November. But more than 30 years ago, a visit to China helped end the Vietnam War and pushed President Richard Nixon to a landslide re-election. Today, with some prominent Iranians hinting at rapprochement with America, a U.S. visit to Tehran could have the same effect for Bush

Loss Of Key Aide Marks New Setback For Colin Powell

by Jim Lobe Long targeted by neo-conservative forces centred in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, as well as their counterparts outside the administration, Haass has served as an influential voice in favor of traditional Republican realism

Inability To Find Iraqi WMD Puts Bush Hawks On Political Hot Seat

by Jim Lobe The failure of the U.S. military to find any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD), let alone links between former President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, is creating growing tension between Congress and the Bush administration

Iran Blames Student Protests On U.S.

by Ramin Mostaghim Continuing student protests, the largest in months, reflect the uncertainty that many young people feel about their future under the country's clerical leaders, many Iranians observers say. But in a message broadcast on state television Thursday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said the unrest was being fueled by the United States

Bush Hawks Eye Northern Iran

by William O. Beeman Bush administration meetings with a charismatic leader from one of Iran's most fiercely independent regions suggest the White House is plotting its next regime change

Burma In Crisis Over Arrest Of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

by Larry Jagan The future of Burma pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi may depend on the outcome of a power struggle within the military which has detained the elected leader, allegedly for her own protection

Iraq Should Heed Lessons From U.S. Occupation Of Japan

by Suvendrini Kakuchi The plight of Japan under the U.S. occupation easily bring to mind similar issues being debated in relation to Iraq -- be it in discussions about how long U.S. troops will stay in Iraq, the leadership dominated by the U.S. military, plans for a new Constitution and talk about U.S. military bases in Iraq. "Basically the success of Japan's experience can be tied to its stance of being a 'good' loser," explains Tetsuya Ozeki, director of the respected think tank called At the World Institution. "Japan's high regard for social order allowed it to humbly accept defeat and take the next step to move ahead with its victors," he adds. "In turn, the U.S. government installed progressive policies that received support"

Industry Finds New Angle To Beat Injury Suits: Dispute Science

by J.R. Pegg A group of legal experts and scientists believe a 10 year- old Supreme Court ruling is undermining the role of science in many of the nation's courts

Newly-Released Documents Show Enron Ties To Bush White House

by Emad Mekay Enron, a bankrupt company that allegedly paid no taxes in the 15 years before it went broke in 2001 despite earning billions of dollars in declared profits, regularly and aggressively called on staff from Treasury, the State Department, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the World Bank to meet with foreign officials to favorably resolve its problems and disputes with their government

Bush Terror War Threw Refugees Worldwide Into Limbo

by Jim Lobe Providing yet more evidence that the "war on terrorism" has had deep impacts worldwide, the U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) has called on the administration of President George W. Bush to re-open its doors to tens of thousands of people in limbo since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001

Pakistan Region Moves Toward Taliban Police System

by Christopher Nadeem Scholars, lawyers and some community activist groups are worried that Pakistan, by creating an Ombudsman's office, could be paving the way for "virtue police" -- impacting the country even more than the recent passage by Pakistan's North West Frontier Province of a bill on Islamic law or 'sharia'. Right after unanimous passage by the NWFP government of the 'sharia' bill on June 2, officials of the ruling Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) religious alliance were already talking about the next step in the road to what they think is a puritan society faithful to Islam

Iraqi Farmers Face Uncertain Future

by Salaam al-Jubouri Mehda'in is a typical Iraqi farming community -- a once tranquil town whose way of life has suffered double as a result of the U.S. led war to topple Saddam Hussein. Both the Iraqi and the U.S. armies have trampled this land. Both have littered it with weapons. Both have targeted the homes of simple farm folk

David Horowitz Gets It All Wrong

by Alexander Cockburn Prime among the whiners and howlers is the right-wing agitator (and, long ago, former leftist) David Horowitz, who lashes out at "Sid Vicious." I have to say that the endless claims on the right that Sid Blumenthal is some sort of heavy, or thug, have always made me laugh. I don't know him that well, but Sid has always reminded me more of Bernie Wooster's descriptions of Gussie Fink-Nottle

Iraqi, Afghan Refugees Find No Welcome In France Or UK

by Julio Godoy and Sanjay Suri France and Britain have had their differences over Iraq, but they have found complete agreement on joint measures to keep Iraqi refugees out of both countries

Poll Finds Muslim World View Of U.S. At New Low

by Jim Lobe "The bottom has fallen out of support for America in most of the Muslim world," with overwhelmingly negative views that were confined mainly to Arab countries last summer having now spread to a much broader band, from Nigeria in the west to Indonesia in the East

Robert St. John, Peaceful Warrior

by Randolph T. Holhut With the various scandals and misdeeds of late, journalism has fallen into a general state of disrepute. We who still believe in the power of journalism to affect social change are starving for inspiration. And then, the story of Robert St. John came into my life

Bush Uses Iran War Threats To Distract From Mideast Roadblocks

by Franz Schurmann Part of an explanation for Bush's new war talk is that his image as peacemaker in the Middle East seems to be taking a battering at the hands of both Ariel Sharon and Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin. But a much greater part of the explanation is that since 9/11, Bush has learned some important political truths. He now knows that war unites people and politicians behind their Commander in Chief

Bush Counting On Weak Dollar To Assure Re-Election

by Franz Schurmann As Bush is now maneuvering to get into his re-election campaign, he has three aims. First, pull the American and global economies out of recession. Second, bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East, with substantial American corporate profits. Third, create enough grateful voters to re-elect him in November 2004. Bush hopes the weak dollar will help him accomplish all three

Necessities Cut With Tax Cuts

by Molly Ivins Look at what's happening here, beloveds. The Houston Chronicle reported on June 11: "Soccer moms, firefighters and community activists overflowed City Council chambers Tuesday, pleading that their programs not be eliminated or reduced in the already squeezed 2004 budget. The crowd of supplicants grew so large at one point that police had to direct people to the council's annex building. That's what it comes down to, all this big talk about tax cuts from Washington and about not raising taxes from Austin -- it's taking away after-school programs and health clinics and firefighters

The Great Iraq Gold Rush Is On

by Molly Ivins One has to scramble to keep up with the Gold Rush and its players. Tim Shorrock has an excellent article in the June 23 issue of The Nation detailing the state of play: Hundreds of major corporations are interested in getting a piece of this pie. Meanwhile, the invaluable Rep. Henry Waxman of California is keeping an eye on Halliburton. He is raising questions about the company's ties to countries that sponsor terrorism, specifically Iraq, Iran and Libya

White House Pressured EPA to Whitwash Environment Report

The National Wildlife Federation has published an internal memorandum showing that the White House's insistence on alterations to the global climate change section of the draft report prompted the EPA to delete the section to avoid responsibility for publishing information that is not scientifically credible. The White House's unwillingness to include all data undermines the report's conclusions, said Greg Wetstone, director of advocacy for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It is notable for what is not there,” Wetstone told ENS. “There is a section on global issues that does not say a word about the most important or serious challenge we have ever faced -- global warming. That detracts from credibility of the whole effort,” Wetstone said-p

White House Edits Out The Bad News

by Molly Ivins I realize the energy industry and auto industry and other major campaign contributors would prefer to think global warming does not exist, but how long do you think it will take before reality catches up with all of us? The White House editors (hi, Karl) instead chose to insert a new study on global non-warming funded by ... ta-da! ... the American Petroleum Institute

Prescription Drug Political Stalemate

by Molly Ivins Theoretically, everybody's in favor of a plan to help senior citizens with prescription drug costs, which are truly appalling. Many seniors literally have to choose between their meds or food. Everyone agrees it's awful -- the question is whether the bills currently in the House and Senate are actually an improvement

Blumenthal's "Clinton Wars" Required Reading

by Molly Ivins I had to force myself to start Blumenthal's book, "The Clinton Wars," because I'm still exhausted from the whole megillah, but then I couldn't stop reading it. It's perversely fascinating. The year this country wasted on the impeachment was the most tawdry, the nastiest, the ugliest, the sorriest chapter I've ever seen in politics

Bet The Farm On Wind

by Molly Ivins Wind power makes so much sense that no one really needs to make the case for it. It's at competitive prices now, and it beats the tar out of nuclear power plants and scraping the top off every mountain in West Virginia. Just put a windmill on top of the mountain instead. The only known drawback to this is that one of the early wind farms in California, near Palm Springs, was built in a bird flyway. Killed a lot of birds. Since bird flyways can be mapped, no one needs to make that mistake again. Otherwise, we're looking at completely clean energy, infinitely renewable, and it can only get cheaper

Setting Up The Photo-Op, Not Peace, At Conference

by Molly Ivins I was pleased to see that the Stagecraft Administration has already set up the "money shot" for this peace conference, whether any progress is made or not. The New York Times reports the Big Photo-Op is ready to go. The president and the two prime ministers are to appear together on a bridge over the swimming pool behind the King of Jordan's palace. This is the kind of attention to detail that got that aircraft carrier turned around so when Bush landed on it, we couldn't see San Diego in the background. Some details are more important than others in this administration

Whom Is Deceiving Whom

by Molly Ivins The Wall Street Journal editorial board June 1 editorial "Weapons of Mass Distortion" is a masterpiece. In this version, those who ask the WMD question are attempting "to damage the credibility of Mr. Blair, President Bush and other war supporters." "But who's trying to deceive whom here?" thunders the Journal. "That Saddam had biological or chemical weapons was a probability that everyone assumed to be true, even those who were against the war." So there! And why did everyone assume it? Either because we were lied to or because there was a massive intelligence failure. To get off Orwell and back to the facts here, we were told we were going to war because Iraq had 5,000 gallons of anthrax, several tons of VX nerve gas, between 100 tons and 500 tons of other toxins, including botulinin, mustard gas, ricin and Sarin, 15 to 20 Scud missiles, drones fitted with poison sprays and mobile chemical laboratories

Howard Dean No Progressive's Champion

by Norman Solomon Despite its setbacks, the Democratic Leadership Council need not despair. Most of the nation's political journalists, including pro-Democrat pundits, insist that the party should not nominate someone too far "left" -- which usually means anybody who's appreciably more progressive than the DLC. That bias helps to account for the frequent mislabeling of Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who has risen to the top tier of contenders for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination

Trust, War and Terrorism

by Norman Solomon It would be bad enough if the leaders of the Washington-London axis of "anti-terrorism" were merely duplicitous in their rationales for going to war. Or it would be bad enough if those leaders were honest about their reasons while ordering their own activities that terrorize civilians. But flagrant dishonesty is integral to broader and deeper problems with basic policies that tacitly distinguish between "worthy" and "unworthy" victims -- that encourage us, in effect, to ask for whom the bell tolls

The Media Politics Of Impeachment

by Norman Solomon Midway through 2003, there's plenty of smoke as clear evidence emerges that President Bush and several of his top foreign policy officials lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq during the lead-up to the war. In this context, impeachment is a reasonable idea

No Comparison Between U.S. And British Media

by Norman Solomon While several syndicated columnists at major newspapers have been raking Bush over the coals on this issue, no one can accurately claim that Bush is on the political ropes. A key factor is that few Democrats on Capitol Hill are willing to go for the political jugular against this deceitful president. But Blair's troubles and Bush's Teflon owe a lot to the different media environments of the two countries

Do We REALLY Want "Anyone But Bush?"

by Alexander Cockburn Is the task of booting George Bush out of the White House paramount? Out with the imperial Crusader, the death-penalty-loving, Bill-of-Rights-trashing, drug-war-advocating corporate serf! By all means. But whoa! Who's this we see, galloping out of the mists of rosy-fingered dawn, a knight errant sent by the gods to give the kiss of life to all our fainting hopes? It's ... why, it's ... yes, it's another imperial Crusader, a death-penalty-loving, Bill-of-Rights-trashing, drug-war-advocating corporate serf. Only he's a Democrat, not a Republican. That changes everything. Or does it?

Bush Peace "Road Map" In Doubt As Mideast Violence Explodes

by Ana Ruth Jerozolimski The adoption of the road map is a divisive issue not only between Israel and the Palestinians, but between those on each side who support it and those who see it as dangerous

Tony Blair Bets Everything On Finding Iraqi WMD

by Sanjay Suri "I have absolutely no doubt at all that they will find the clearest possible evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," Blair told the House of Commons about members of the British, U.S. and Australian team that have begun to arrive in Iraq for the search. Blair has placed not just his credibility but also his political future on the line. Few see him continuing as Prime Minister past this year if he loses this gamble

Why Do Africans Get AIDS?

by Alexander Cockburn After analyzing 20 years of epidemiological studies, he and his colleagues concluded that unsafe injections, blood transfusions and other medical procedures may account for most of the AIDS transmission in African adults. Their analysis indicates that no more than 35 percent of HIV in that population is spread through sex

After The Fact Baying Of The Press

by Alexander Cockburn It's hard to choose which deserves the coarser jeer: the excited baying in the press about the non-discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the wailing in the press about the 3-2 decision of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this week to allow corporate media giants to increase their domination of the market

Iran Sees British Conspiracy Behind Every Mullah

by Shahla Azizi As a war of words heats up between Iran and the United States, a strange mixture of conspiracy theories and apathy abounds in Tehran

Rachel Corrie

by Lois Pearlman To this woe-begotten corner of the Holy Land Rachel Corrie came in late January to set up a sister city between Rafah and her hometown of Olympia. According to Smith, she planned to stay in Rafah for at least two months to make the necessary connections. By that time, she was dead

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