default.html Issue 126
Table of Contents

A Decisive Debate Victory At A Decisive Time

by Jack Random Kerry defeated George W. like the Yankees defeated Toronto in the race for the pennant. The voice of an elder against the voice of an adolescent, the mind of reason against the posturing of a pretender, and the appeal of wisdom against the platitudes of an empty mind. Let me go out on a limb: John Kerry defeated George W. Bush in the greatest triumph of discourse since Carter versus Ford. The defeat was so resounding it deserves the careful study of finer minds. In the meantime, it deserves acknowledgement

The Great Bush Disconnect

by Ira Chernus Throughout the debate, Bush stuck doggedly to his script, re-telling the most popular American myths. Millions of us, watching his performance, were not sure whether to laugh or cry. Issues fall by the wayside whenever Bush's heroic character takes center stage -- which is just what the Republicans want

The Smarts Gap

by Randolph T. Holhut There will be many contrasts between U.S. Senator John F. Kerry and President George W. Bush but I think the biggest one that Americans will have to consider is the difference between having an intelligent and intellectually curious man in the White House and having a man who seems to be proud of his lack of intellectual curiosity

Where To Find The Missing WMDs

by Douglas A. Borer The Baathists were fat and happy until years later, when UN inspectors and the CIA started cross-checking the official books with the inventory of destroyed material. They assumed the books were accurate and concluded Hussein was lying. In retrospect, it appears he was apparently telling the truth about WMD, even though he knew very well that the books did not tell the whole story of how he and his cronies had skimmed billions from state contracts. Indeed, corruption helped keep Hussein in power for three decades

Cowardice In The Newsrooms

by Edward Wasserman The underlying problem is that news then becomes a negotiation -- not a negotiation among discordant pictures of reality, as it always is, but an abject negotiation with a loud and bullying sliver of the audience. News of great significance becomes not an honest attempt to reflect genuinely contradictory realities, but a daily bargaining session with an increasingly factionalized public, a corrupted process in which elements of the news reports become offerings -- payments really -- in a kind of intellectual extortion

What If We Were Iraq?

by Juan Cole There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted acts of violence. What if there were private armies totalling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and Federal troops could not go into those cities?

This Time Hannity & Co. Will Take The High Road... Right?

by Steve Young Rove will try to spin it. He'll claim that, even if Barnes did 'help,' the Georges have no knowledge of the assistance. That Barnes must have made the fix without input from the Bush family. That Barnes chose on his own to do a little favor for the Bush family without desiring any political or financial gain. That it was an abundance of rarified coincidence that seems to have been organic in Texas politics

The Real U.S. Divide: Can You Handle Satire Or Not?

by Steve Young It's fun (at least in a democracy) attacking the influential and their institutions. You get to expose the pomposity and faults normally hidden by lies and deceit. Jon Stewart is able to do just that while getting to the heart of a politician's real character

Talk Radio: We Come To Bury Kerry, Not To Praise Him

by Steve Young John Kerry has become the poster boy for being the target of the most insidious mangling of logic since pineapple landed on a pizza. If you tried any of Republican/talk radio twisted-logic attacks in a high school debate, you'd be thrown off the team. In politics, you might be elected president

Class Action Suit By Ground Zero Cleanup Workers

The total number of people who may eventually experience adverse health effects from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero and at the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, where the debris from the World Trade Center was disposed, said Worby, could be as many as 400,000

Latino Casualties In Iraq Higher Than Average

by Jesus Davila So far this year, the Pentagon has identified 63 soldiers with Latino names among those who have died in Iraq. This represent close to 13 percent of the total fatalities for the year thus far, a disproportionate number when compared to the Latino population of the United States, which does not reach 10 percent of the total population

Bush Destroying National Guard With Iraq War

by Floyd J. McKay Perhaps because of his special treatment, Bush has found it easy to abuse the ordinary National Guard soldier in what is in effect a back-door draft to fight his war in Iraq

Riots In Nepal After Killing Of Hostages In Iraq

by Surendra Phuyal A haunting spectre grips Nepal as the Himalayan kingdom mourns the deaths of 12 of its workers murdered in Iraq. There is a strong possibility that the relatives of the dead will never see the return of the bodies of the victims and this has incensed many Nepalis

Free Trade Pact Could Spur Cigarette Boom In Asia

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Asia's march to create a regional free trade area by 2018 is causing heartburn among public health experts, given that this push to end tariff barriers could open the doors for an avalanche of cigarettes to flood local stores

600 Pro-Choice Repubs Hold Gala Outside GOP "Big Tent"

by Cynthia L. Cooper The Republican Party platform is profoundly anti-choice and calls for an amendment to the constitution giving equal rights to fetuses, use of an anti-abortion litmus test in the naming of judges and the removal of funding from organizations that offer abortion counseling. Nonetheless, pro-choice Republicans used the convention -- in a city and state with a pro-choice Republican mayor and governor -- to highlight what they say is a distortion of the true position of a majority of party members' tolerance for reproductive rights.

Mercenaries Find Africa Good For Business

by Moyiga Nduru The role of mercenaries increased after poor countries, some under pressure from donors, began cutting back on their defense budgets and downsizing their military forces. In South Africa, the trend was given added impetus by the demise of apartheid, which left well-trained soldiers out of jobs

UN May Pull Most Staffers Out Of Afghanistan

by Thalif Deen The United Nations, which was forced to withdraw its international staff from Iraq last year because of a terrorist attack on its headquarters, is weighing the possibility of downsizing its operations in Afghanistan following the weekend destruction of four of its offices in the war-ravaged country

2008 Olympics Will Open China To World's Scrutiny

by Antoaneta Bezlova As Athens handed the Olympic flag to Beijing this week, the prospect of increased international scrutiny over the next four years of everything -- from China's human rights record to its minorities' policies -- is beginning to dawn upon the communist government

Bush and the Christian Zionists

by Stephen Zunes In recent years a politicized and right-wing Protestant fundamentalist movement has emerged as a major factor in U.S. support for the policies of the rightist Likud government in Israel. To understand this influence, it is important to recognize that the rise of the religious right as a political force in the United States is a relatively recent phenomenon that emerged as part of a calculated strategy by leading right-wingers in the Republican Party who -- while not fundamentalist Christians themselves -- recognized the need to enlist the support of this key segment of the American population in order to achieve political power

Deserter's Hearing Could Expose N Korea's Secrets

by Suvendrini Kakuchi As the legal drama unfolds soon in the desertion trial of Charles Robert Jenkins, wanted by the U.S. Army for abandoning his patrol, close attention will be paid to his testimony for possible secrets of North Korea -- the place where Jenkins made his home for nearly 40 years. Of particular concern to Japan will be the fates of Japanese abductees who were spirited away to Pyongyang during the Cold War

Venezuela's Media A Study In Bias

by Pilar Marrero Maybe the reason a lot of people seemed to be genuinely in shock when the results were announced -- Chavez won with 58 percent of the vote -- is because the opposition, and the corporate owned media, rarely look at the other side of Venezuela, the ones who never get covered except in the crime pages: the poor, the forgotten half. In fact, much more than half, they comprise about 75 percent of Venezuela's population

Bill O'Reilly's War With Hip-Hop

by Steven Strong Jr. O'Reilly's attack on hip-hop was further exemplified when he attacked Ludacris and stated that black rappers and the negative images that they portray are the roots of evil in black American culture. O'Reilly criticized Ludacris for doing Pepsi commercials, though he said nothing about the Osbourne Pepsi commercials. He failed to criticize the negative language and images portrayed by the Osbournes, an extremely popular reality show on MTV about Ozzy Osbourne, a white rock star known for his sadistic lyrics, drug binges and his off-the-wall family

A Flash Of Honesty From Bush: The Rich Dodge Taxes

by Emad Mekay When none other than President George W. Bush announces that the real rich dodge taxes, is that an inadvertent flash of honesty about the shady secrets of offshore shell companies and tax shelters?

Israeli Makes Another Hit On Syria With Hamas Assassination

by Don Hill Observers say the Khalil assassination could be in retaliation for last month's killing of 16 Israeli civilians by suicide bombers in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. Hamas announced that it was responsible for the attacks

Rebels Control More Of Iraq Than They Did Last Year

by Peyman Pejman Armed insurgents and foreign volunteers have established new bases in central Iraq as U.S. and government forces attack rebels in the north and south, officials say

Bush Targets Orthodox Jewish Voters

The White House is heavily touting its faith-based initiative among Jews, even though many mainstream Jewish organizations object to it on church-state grounds and Democrats point out that hardly any Jewish institutions have qualified for the funding

After New Israel Bombings, Construction Of The Wall To Speed Up

by Ferry Biedermann In response to the suicide attack in Beer Sheva, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered work to be speeded up on the southern section of the separation barrier on the West Bank

Bush Sends Russia Sympathies For School Terror, But Gave Asylum To Chechnya Separatist

by Andrew Tully In the wake of the Beslan hostage tragedy, President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will increase efforts to extradite people with suspected ties to terrorism. At the top of the Foreign Ministry's extradition wish list is Ilyas Akhmadov, a former official in the separatist Chechen government of Aslan Maskhadov, who has been granted asylum in the United States

Despite Schwarzenegger's Pitch, GOP No Immigrant's Friend

by Roberto Lovato Blockbuster California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his personal story and star power to deliver one message to the immigrants watching this week's Republican Convention: Immigration is still the stuff of dreams. But many immigrant rights advocates in New York and the rest of the country say that since 9/11, the Republican Party has transformed the story of immigrants in America from one of hopes and dreams into one of deferred dreams and extended nightmares

Millions Of Low-Wage Asian Jobs Going To Lower-Wage China

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Close to one million garment factory workers may be forced out of their jobs by the end of December, most of the workers women from poor rural areas. China is expected to be the major beneficiary of the MFA drawing to a close, due to its cheap labor market serving as a magnet for clothing companies to relocate their factories from other developing nations where wages are a little better

Interview: Ex-DIA Career Officer Says No True Intel Reform

by Margie Burns "We need a sociological and philosophical change in our government, in our leadership. If we're going to fix the Intelligence Community we may have to clean house first, from top to bottom"

Blame Global Warming For Florida's Hurricane Conga Line

by Stephen Leahy Ivan was a Category 5 according to wind speeds and destructive potential. Category 5 hurricanes have winds that blow continuously above 250 kilometers an hour. Ivan's gusts topped 320 kilometers an hour at times, making it the sixth most powerful hurricane on record for the Atlantic Basin

Poor Women Gave Veneuela's Chavez His Win

by Nicole Karsin During past three-years of anti-Chavez marches, strikes, street violence, a brief coup in 2002 and a combative signature drive to endorse the referendum, women have often been at the forefront, charging Chavez with a host of ills, from monopolizing television time with his long speeches, causing unemployment and increasing street crime

Disenfranchisement Of Ex-Felons May Again Guarantee Bush Election

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The disenfranchisement of former felons may happen again in 2004, and this time it may not be occurring just in Florida but in many of the so-called swing states

Big Donors Carefully Give To Both Bush, Kerry

by Emad Mekay Four of the 10 top financial services corporations are the most lavish contributors to both the George Bush and John Kerry presidential campaigns. Until this cycle, most of Kerry's top contributors had come from the telecommunications industry and law firms. Most of Bush's largest donors are financial corporations with executives who have pledged to raise money for his reelection

Kerry Invited Backlash By Cultivating War-Hero Image

by Jorge Mariscal The controversy over Sen. John Kerry's service in Vietnam raises a number of tough issues for peace activists and voters. But one thing is clear: Kerry is trapped by the hawkish image he has so carefully cultivated

Bush Health Care Plan Windfall For Industry

by Terry Brauer As 45 million Americans live without health insurance, Bush is promising health care reform. His proposals, however, will make only the fat cats happy, writes Terry Brauer, the CEO of HealthCare Initiatives, Inc. and HealthCare Management Consultants, Inc

Muqtada Al-Sadr Emerges As Key Player In Iraq

by Jalal Ghazi In the first uprising, the Americans underestimated the extent of Al Sadr's support base. This time around the U.S. misread his inelegance. The Americans thought Al Sadr's provocation was a good opportunity to get rid of him. They were wrong. Ayatollah Al Sistani, Iraq's most respected religious leader, who sees Iran (via Al Sadr) as a threat to his religious authority, even willingly went on a three-week medical trip to London on the same day the Americans attacked Al Sadr's Mahdi army. Analysts saw this trip as an implicit blessing on the U.S. move. Al Sadr, however, turned the attack to his advantage

Ashcroft's Planned Terrorist Show Trials Not Making It To Court

by Christopher Brauchli Another arrest that was loudly trumpeted as an example of success in the war against terrorism was the arrest of Yaser E. Hamdi, an American citizen captured in Afghanistan and held incommunicado in solitary confinement for more than two years. At the time of Mr. Hamdi's arrest Mr. Ashcroft suggested that Mr. Hamdi was responsible for the death of CIA agent Johnny Spann (although that was mere speculation on his part since he gave and had no evidence to support the charge.) He also created the impression that Mr. Hamdi was directly involved in the events of 9/11

Tom DeLay's Triple Bank Shot Of Corruption

by Molly Ivins Corporate money was passed through DeLay's national political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, back to an affiliate Texans for a Republican Majority, where it was funneled into 17 statehouse races that would give Republicans a majority in the Ledge

The View From Red Country

by Molly Ivins A fair number of dedicated supporters of both parties use weekends to descend on the nearest swing states. Now the poor swingers -- who are already inundated with nasty TV ads, computer-inspired phone calls, door hangars, campaign mail, e-mail, radio ads and call-in shows -- are getting small armies of political Jehovah's Witnesses, as it were, at the door. This is not an easy election for anyone

Putin's Chechnya, Bush's Iraq

by Molly Ivins One trouble with defining terrorism as absolute evil is, as the saying goes, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Second, we appear to be stuck -- permanently stuck -- with war of unequal forces, since no country is dumb enough to declare war on the United States. So we need to learn every thing we can about how to fight these people effectively

Bush Ignoring The First Rule Of Holes

by Molly Ivins Ignoring the First Rule of Holes (when in one, quit digging), the geniuses in the White House are actually busy making this fiasco worse

The Questions Are About Bush, Not Ben Barnes

by Molly Ivins The question is not whether Ben Barnes is a Democrat. Ben Barnes has never claimed to be nonpartisan or not to have any affiliation with the Kerry campaign. Of course he does. He's been a major Democratic player for years. The question is whether Ben Barnes is telling the truth about how he got George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard

Pay Attention To The People Who Actually Run Things

by Molly Ivins Forget Bush -- the people around him are a complete disaster. John Kerry will basically re-hire the Clinton team and presumably remain faithful to his wife. Of course, Clinton didn't get Osama bin Laden, either. But his people worked harder at it.

And The Lies Flowed Like Wine

by Molly Ivins I thought the saddest theme was about how Sept. 11 had united us -- and then, for reasons never explained (except by Zell Miller at his worst), half the country and most of the rest of the world just sort of drifted away. How could that have happened? Could George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have had anything to do with it? For example, did they tell us a lot of things that aren't true? Republicans seemed to find it all a great mystery

GOP Proves It's Not Two Americas, But Two Different Planets

by Molly Ivins This convention alone would be enough to convince me that John Edwards is right about 'two Americas, except I don't think he's gone far enough. These folks are in from another planet. They're living in an alternative reality. When is a fact a fact to these people? When did anyone ever find evidence Saddam Hussein had dog to do with Sept. 11?

Did Any Of Us Sign Up For This Four Years Ago?

by Molly Ivins The Department of Justice has asked libraries to destroy five publications the department has deemed 'not appropriate for external use.' Of the five publications, two are texts of federal laws. All the documents concern either federal civil or criminal forfeiture procedure, including to how to reclaim items that have been confiscated by the government during an investigation. I don't know how you feel about living in a country where the citizens are not allowed to read the law, but I find it ... surprising

Forced Sterilization Of Europe's Roma Charges Raised

by Pavol Stracansky Reports of forced sterilization in the Czech Republic come a year after the government in neighboring Slovakia was forced to investigate claims by NGO groups of similar practices there

Cat Stevens Incident Pulls Rug From Under Moderate Muslims

by Hasan Zillur Rahim Islam has denied link to any organization such as Hamas. He states that he is an unabashed supporter of Palestinian rights and has made humanitarian contributions to charities that he felt were building schools and orphanages in the Occupied Territories. But he is also on the record stating that he has never knowingly supported any terrorist groups, past, present or future

Iraq Sinking From Bad To Worse

by Jim Lobe   After weeks of hurricanes and controversies over swift boats in Vietnam and Texas and Alabama National Guard records, Iraq is beginning to creep back onto the front pages, and the news is uniformly bad

Bush To Turn Neighborhood Watch Program Into Operation Snitch

by M.C. Blakeman The decades-old volunteer crime prevention strategy most people recognize from the signs featuring a large eyeball and the warning that "suspicious activities will be reported to police." This fall, the National Crime Prevention Council plans to train Neighborhood Watchers to include in their definition of 'suspicious activities' anything that could be linked to terrorism

It's Kerry By A Landslide... If Other Countries Could Vote

by Jim Lobe The survey, which was released by GlobeScan and the University of Maryland', found that Kerry was favored over Bush by an average of 46 percent to 20 percent in the 35 countries polled, but by a much larger margin among respondents in traditional U.S. allies in Western Europe

Operation Condor Still Alive, Ex-President's Daughter Says

by Diana Cariboni The links put in place by Operation Condor, the U.S.-created intelligence program in which South American regimes in the 1970s cooperated in the elimination of dissidents, still exist, Chilean Senator Carmen Frei says. Signs that the coordination is still active emerged in 1991 and 1992 when an intelligence agent in the Pinochet regime was secretly taken to Uruguay, apparently hidden or kidnapped for more than a year, and then killed

Bias Is Always The 13th Juror

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The trial of Kobe Bryant in the largely white town of Eagle presents a knotty problem of juror selection for both the prosecution and the defense. Bryant is wealthy enough, as was O.J. Simpson, to hire a top legal team that filed torrents of pre-trial motions to level the legal playing field. But he still must face the juror that defense attorneys, prosecutors, and jury consultants fear most, and that's the thirteenth juror -- bias

Will Iraq Erase Saddam Years From History Schoolbooks?

by Peyman Pejman The biggest task lies beyond repairing buildings and reprinting books. Nowadays the biggest challenge before the ministry is how to change the curriculum. What some people in Iraq mean by 'changing the philosophy' is cleansing the textbooks of any reference to Saddam and the Baath Party which Saddam led for his decades in power

Indonesia In Denial About Home-Grown Terrorists

by Andreas Harsono It is not easy to convince most Indonesians, especially certain Muslim leaders, to believe that the Jemaah Islamiyah did bomb Bali, the Marriot, and that they were responsible for some other, smaller explosions over the last three years in Indonesia, as well as the Australian embassy bomb, which again brought to the surface conspiracy theories that appeared in the previous bombings

The NSC Is Trying To Discredit Me, Chalabi Says

by Peyman Pejman Chalabi says he is investigating reports that the U.S. National Security Council may have instigated the recent political attacks against him. Chalabi said he has not seen the memo himself. But he said some of his allies have and claim the events of the past few months correspond to the topics raised in the memo

Bush Could Lose Australia Support For Iraq War In Oct. Election

by Aidan Doyle Opposition leader Mark Latham wants to withdraw Australia's troops from Iraq and is challenging conservative Prime Minister John Howard in what looks like a close federal election on Oct. 9; a nervous Bush administration is watching closely

If Only Kerry Were From The Bronx

by Robert Scheer It drives me crazy that he doesn't have the street smarts to call those GOP bums out. He's got to be outraged. Not only have his combat-shy opponents stood idly by as their surrogates trashed his Vietnam War record, Vice President Dick Cheney, stooping to a despicable low, said a vote for Kerry was tantamount to a vote for Osama bin Laden and terrorism

GOP Convention's Looney Tunes

by Robert Scheer This is the Orwellian cartoon we live with every day that Bush remains president, in which supporting troops means sending them to die while occupying a deeply troubled country that posed no threat to us; in which a man hit with 'only shrapnel' when serving his country is considered akin to a traitor for speaking out against an immoral war when he returns

Israel's Albatross: U.S. Neo-cons

by Robert Scheer The neo-cons are unstable ideologues, more in love with their own radical dream of breaking the world to remake it in their image than they are with protecting Israel or the U.S. Such unbounded arrogance, embraced by Bush, has greatly amplified the voices of those persistent anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists in the Muslim world and beyond who are now seizing upon the latest Israeli spy rumors

True Conservatives Would Back Kerry

by Robert Scheer A century's worth of conservative ideals are tossed out the window for political expediency. Soaring budget deficits suddenly don't matter, and not a tear is shed for the wasted surplus accumulated during Bill Clinton's tenure. Despite two huge tax cuts for the super-rich, Bush turns out to be a big believer in that old GOP boogeyman, Big Government. An equal-opportunity spendthrift, he throws billions into the sinkhole of Iraq as easily as he doles out corporate handouts

Afghan Warlords Will Control Voting In Most Of Country

Human Rights Watch says the country's warlords are hijacking the elections with pressure and intimidation. Even the commander of the U.S. coalition there, Lieutenant General David Barno, said Al-Qaeda operatives and remnants of the country's former ruling Taliban are disrupting preparations for the elections

Israel, Neo-Con Ties At Core Of New Spy Probe

by Jim Lobe The burgeoning probe over claims that a Pentagon official passed highly classified secrets to a Zionist lobby group is part of a much broader network of FBI and Pentagon investigations of prominent U.S. neo-conservatives and their ties to Israel dating back some 30 years

Groups Coming To U.S. To Monitor Nov. Election

by Andrew Tully The observers for Global Exchange will be sent to five states. These include Florida, to see how that state has improved its election infrastructure since 2000, and Ohio, a central state considered one of the most hotly contested in the presidential race

Wal-Mart Building Megastore Next To Famed Historic Site

byDiego Cevallos Less than two km from the heart of the Mexican archaeological zone of Teotihuacan and its awe-inspiring pyramids, the U.S.-based retail giant Wal-Mart is overcoming the resistance of a group of local residents and, to the amazement of UNESCO, building one of its hypermarkets

The Wolf Is At The Door In Darfur -- But Nobody's Listening

by Salih Booker The U.S. cried wolf in Iraq -- there were no weapons of mass destruction, but there was oil and the possibility of redrawing the map of the Middle East to suit the narrow interests of the few. Enter Darfur, western Sudan, site of the world's worst humanitarian crisis, born of a government-sponsored campaign of genocide

Bush Admin Has Weakened Heath, Safety Agencies, Watchdog Group Says

by Katherine Stapp In addition to a nearly glacial pace in passing new rules, the agencies have dropped dozens of proposed rules dating back as far as the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s

GOP Convention Overlooks U.S. Approved Terrorists

by Roberto Lovato Nowhere are the terrorist double standards and danger to Americans clearer than in the case of Luis Posada Carriles, who admitted in a 1998 New York Times interview that he planned a series of bombings of hotels and other buildings in Cuba

Arab Media Watches GOP Convention Anxiously

by Jamal Dajani Arab media is providing wall-to-wall coverage of the GOP convention because the stakes for the Middle East are high. For pundits in the Middle East the American presidential election is nothing short of electing the next emperor

Ex-General Wins Indonesia Election By Landslide

by Fabio Scarpello As Yudhoyono gets ready to take the reins of the country, there are no clear indications on how he will deal with the country's many problems. Indonesia suffers from a lacklustre economy that has never fully recovered form the 1998 East Asian financial crisis. The country is also still fighting with separatist movements in Aceh and Papua and has become a hotbed for international and local terrorists and a target of attacks

Haiti's Blood-Stained Army Returns

by Jane Regan Haiti is once again a tinderbox. In addition to the still-armed gangs and the usual collection of known criminals, there are now three armed corps deployed around the country: the ex-soldiers, the demoralized and understaffed Haitian National Police force, and about 2,750 nervous United Nations peacekeepers. And while there have been no direct armed confrontations so far, there have been near-misses

Iraq Police Attacked Hope Of Democracy In Najaf Bloodshed

by Franz Schurmann When Iraqi police fired upon and killed 35 Iraqis who were among the thousands responding to their spiritual leader's call to march to the holy city of Najaf, they sent out ominous signals for the future of the democracy President Bush promises to build in the region

Latin America's Brutal Prisons Called Schools For Crime

by Diego Cevallos In Latin America's penitentiaries, where riots, violence and overcrowding are part of the everyday landscape, there are thousands of inmates, mainly from the lowest socioeconomic strata, serving sentences for minor crimes like shoplifting because they could not afford an adequate legal defense

Brazil Debates Future Of The Amazon: Privatize Or Not?

by Mario Osava A new bill involving the Brazilian Amazon has been labeled by the media as plan to 'privatize' the vast expanse, but others argue that the bill's intention is just the opposite: to halt the illegal appropriation of public lands by private parties, a phenomenon that accelerates deforestation

Darwin Back In Serb Schools After Public Outcry

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic   In the Balkans, only mostly Catholic Croatia dropped Darwin's theory from textbooks in 1992, under the pressure of the influential Church. The decision was reversed a year later, due to a strong public outcry. Within a few days of declaring that Darwin's theory of evolution was being banned from Serbian schools, the government has reversed the controversial decision.

No Trespassing

by Amanda Griscom National parks and other federal spots could be off-limits to presidential and congressional candidates for certain types of campaign events, thanks to a recent advisory issued by the Bush administration's U.S. Office of Special Counsel, released on the very same day that John Kerry made a campaign stop at the Grand Canyon and criticized Bush for not adequately funding the park system

Why Bush Said We Can't Win War on Terror

by Ira Chernus The Bush administration seems content to have a permanent war on terrorism. That gives us a permanent excuse to overthrow governments, wherever and whenever the U.S. chooses

Bush Convention Speech Ignored Realities Of Iraq

by Rahul Mahajan You hear almost nothing about Iraq the country from Democrats; for them, it's at best a symbol of Bush's lies, nothing more. For John Kerry, it's just a distraction from the real issue: Vietnam. Still, few Democrats can match the Republicans when it comes to dissociating from reality. George W. Bush's performance Thursday night was something to behold, a combination of rehashed non-arguments from the buildup to the war and hallucinatory rhetoric about what's actually happening in Iraq and the Middle East today, building up to a grand, messianic finale in which he seemed at times to forget that he was a presidential candidate rather than Jesus on the Mount

Another World Inside The Convention Hall

by Mark Engler Outrage at the Bush administration in New York ran not only deep, but wide. For every cocktail party, pro-life breakfast, or black-tie fundraiser that the Republican delegates soaked up during the week, there was a march, a poetry reading, or a civil disobedience somewhere in the city challenging their agenda

The Convention Of Fear

by Tom Engelhardt These are certainly not typical Americans. They're a politically mobilized minority of a minority; but with Iraq as the driving issue of the moment and given the way the Democratic presidential candidate has sidestepped the war, positioning himself so much in the President's policy shadow as to remove himself from contention on the issue, given the number of Americans who still believe in those al-Qaeda ties and Saddam's arsenal, given the fear still loose in the land, the Republicans are potentially capable of playing a powerful emotional chord likely to stir deep and real fears -- and they may be relatively unopposed even as, within the next month, perhaps sooner, the thousandth young American soldier dies in Iraq

Kerry's Pro Iraq War Position Troubling Many Voters

by Katherine Stapp By avidly pursuing a small number of voters in the political center, Kerry risks low voter turnout among progressives who have become disenchanted with the two-party system, says Roger Smith, who teaches journalism at Ithaca College in New York. "The larger issue is that the Democratic Party has never, in its whole history, allowed the American public a referendum on an ongoing war by nominating an anti-war candidate"

Iraq Chaos Puts January Elections In Question

by Peyman Pejman The government of U.S.-appointed prime minister Iyad Allawi has said, with U.S. and British backing, that elections will be held as planned even if people in areas under rebel control do not vote. These areas now spread from the north near Mosul to cities such as Fallujah and Ramada, Sadr City in Baghdad and down to places in the south.

Battle Of Najaf Ends In Stalemate

by Nagem Salam Anger against the presence of U.S. forces continues to brew in Najaf and Baghdad. Many Iraqis are once again blaming U.S. occupiers for the violence and instability everywhere

Arms Sales May Top $1 Trillion For 2004

by Thalif Deen After declining in the post-cold war era of the early 1990s, global military spending is on the rise again -- threatening to break the one trillion dollar barrier this year, according to a group of UN-appointed military experts

Flame Retardant Chemicals Found in Food On Grocery Shelves

Flame retardant chemicals have been found in foods taken straight from supermarket shelves in Dallas, Texas, a team of researchers from the University of Texas’ School of Public Health has found. The highest concentrations were found in animal fats, particularly salmon

Russia Blocked, Harassed Reporters Trying To Cover School Terror Story

by Mark Baker As the Beslan school siege unfolded last week, journalists from Russia and around the world sped to the scene. Many reporters -- from organizations ranging from CNN to the main wire agencies and newspapers -- made it to North Ossetia without incident and were able to report relatively freely on the siege. But a handful of reporters -- including two of Russia's best-known journalists on Chechnya -- were prevented from traveling, under highly unusual circumstances. And they were not the only ones

Assault Weapons Legal Again, Thanks To NRA, Congress, Bush

by Juliet A. Leftwich Prior to the adoption of the assault-weapons ban, the NRA succeeded in adding provisions to weaken the law's impact, including a 10-year sunset provision. Although Bush pledged his support for renewal of the ban during the last presidential campaign, he failed to lift a finger to act on that pledge, despite the fact that renewal is supported by an overwhelming majority of the American public, including gun owners. The Republican leadership in the House has refused even to bring a renewal bill to a vote, stating it would only take action if urged to do so by Bush. But Bush has failed to act, saying simply that he would sign such a bill if it 'reached his desk'

Spain's Zapatero Tells UN: New Alliance Of Peace Needed

by Alicia Fraerman Only an alliance of civilizations, religions and cultures can bring peace to the world. This belief is shared by a range of public figures in Spain who represent different positions and nationalities, yet concur in their support for the proposal to this effect put forward in the United Nations by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero

Back To School, Back To Junk Food

by Michele Simon In May, a national survey by the Center for Science in the Public Interest revealed that 75 percent of beverages and 85 percent of snacks sold in school vending machines were of poor nutritional quality -- soda, chips, cookies and candy. While nominal nutrition standards apply to federal school meals, anything goes for all other foods, which are sold mere steps away from the lunch line

Iraqis, Afghans Wary Of Joining U.S.-Created Armies

by Thalif Deen Fear of being linked to U.S.-backed regimes that lack authority has inhibited potential recruits in violence-torn Iraq and Afghanistan from heeding calls to join national armies, say U.S. academics and political and military analysts

TB and AIDS Becomes Joint African Epidemic

by Wilson Johwa Fuelled by a burgeoning AIDS problem, tuberculosis is resurging in southern Africa where health officials are beginning to talk of integrating programs to fight the two diseases

New Cold War With Russia Looms In Middle East

by Franz Schurmann It looks like both sides are now in the second stage of the new Cold War. The American media give accounts of the return to authoritarianism and the waning of democracy in Russia. The Russian media keep vilifying Bush about Iraq. In Afghanistan rumors are flying about American officials talking with 'moderate Talibans.' The Russians are worried that the ethnic groups they supported, who made up the Northern Alliance and now dominate the Afghan government, could lose power. For Russia that would mean another defeat in Afghanistan.

Who Will Shape The Next Supreme Court?

by Norman Solomon Vacancies are very likely during the next presidential term. Chief Justice Rehnquist, 79, is expected to step down. So is Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, 74, a swing vote on abortion and other issues that divide the court in close votes. Also apt to retire soon is 84-year-old Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, who usually votes with the more liberal Justices

The Brave Posturing of Armchair Warriors

by Norman Solomon A large uprising is underway in Iraq, and not only from diehard Sunni supporters of the fallen regime. The current Shiite resistance is debunking the touted expectations from the White House and the Washington press corps

Rove's Brain and Media Manipulation

by Norman Solomon For all his deft skullduggery, Rove is smart enough to always remember that you can't beat something with nothing. It's not enough to tar the opponent with accusations and innuendos. It's also necessary to tout Rove's candidate as a guy just this side of the angels. And so, the Bush campaign is combining out-of-sight stilettos and out-front verbal attacks with elaborate poses of ultimate Goodness

Slave-Like Conditions In Brazil's Charcoal Industry

by Mario Osava Remote charcoal ranches, sugar plantations and areas where land is being cleared for growing monoculture crops like soybeans or for raising cattle in northern Brazil are the main exploiters of forced labor

Central Asia Finds Independence A Mixed Bag

by Antoine Blua Thirteen years ago, Kyrgyzstan became the first Soviet Central Asian republic to declare its independence from the Soviet Union. Uzbekistan followed the next day, and Tajikistan about a week later on September 9. By the end of that year, all five Soviet Central Asian republics were free nations. After years of Soviet domination, independence was hoped to usher in a period of rapid political and economic development. But the reality hasn't yet lived up to the expectations.

"Recovered Factories" Argentina's Great Victory

by Eduardo Stanley In Argentina, hundreds of factories closed their doors in the late 1990s, leaving thousands of workers unemployed. But today, with the recovery factories movement, many of these same workers are reactivating factories on their own terms and breathing life into the national economy

Forgeries, Fingerprints, And The Desire To Believe

by Alexander Cockburn There's nothing easier to fall for than a forgery, and nothing easier than to find an expert to give that same forgery a vibrant testimonial as the genuine thing

Bungled Kerry Campaign Swatting At Flies

by Alexander Cockburn When historians come to dissect the Kerry campaign, they will surely marvel at the rich platter of issues handed to the Democratic candidate, which he has thrust from him with shudders of distaste and instead turned back, like Mencken's Bryan, to swat at flies

The Stench Of Doom

by Alexander Cockburn Does Kerry's bid carry the stench of doom? You'd have thought just the economic news would carry him to victory, but doom is what it's beginning to smell like. Maybe only the CIA, an agency fighting for its life, can save him, with some sort of October surprise

Note To Ralph: Book A Flight To Baghdad

by Alexander Cockburn There are ripe opportunities for candidate Nader to remind people that on the No. 1 issue on the election agenda -- the war in Iraq -- between Bush and Kerry, the electorate is offered no choice. He should give press conferences with the parents of soldiers killed in Iraq, file suit on behalf of Ms. Niederer for wrongful arrest and array himself with those dragooned into the war on Iraq

With 6 Weeks To Go, Kerry Finally Confronts Iraq

by Jim Lobe Kerry's remarks, which were clearly designed to sharpen his position on Iraq and put Bush on the defensive, came at the start of a week which the White House had planned to use to highlight his international leadership, particularly on Iraq

A Shrill New Voice Demands More Flogging Of 9/11

by Steve Young The newest addition to the Laura Ingram, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, AM radio Ladies of Loud, Tammy Bruce is fighting fang and nail to garner the How Shrill Can I Annoy and Distort The Truth While Spewing Hate trophy, which I actually believe Coulter has retired

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