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Table of Contents

The Population Bomb Explodes

There is increasing pressure on the planet due to wasteful and unbalanced consumption patterns and growing numbers of people, raising demand for food and water. One fourth of the world’s people will face chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water by the year 2050. Crop lands continue to shrink, and global per capita grain output has been stagnant for more than a decade


When Push Comes to Shove

by Donella Meadows We can't go on drawing down forever, or even much longer. We don't get a choice about that. If we don't reduce our load on the planet voluntarily, the planet will do it for us. That will solve our population problem


Study Says Earth at Crossroad for Year 2100

by Roger Segelken 100 years from now, democratically determined population-control practices and sound resource-management policies could have the planet's 2 billion people thriving in harmony with the environment. Lacking these approaches, a new Cornell University study suggests, 12 billon miserable humans will suffer a difficult life on Earth by the year 2100


Legal Victories in Judi Bari Bomb Case

by Nicholas Wilson For more than eight frustrating years, the FBI and Oakland Police fought tooth and nail to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Earth First! activists Darryl Cherney and the late Judi Bari. Lawyers for the cops used every possible appeal and procedural trick to drag out the case, hoping their accusers would run out of money and energy. And finally, a strong ray of hope: a court has slapped down not one, but two, of the cop appeals


Still no Certainty That Pinochet Will Face Trial

Pinochet's supporters rallied in the days before the court decision. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher went so far as to call Pinochet the victim of "judicial kidnap" that would "do credit to a police state." Most followers pressed for clemency based on his "delicate physical and mental health." The 83-year-old retired general suffered two strokes last month


Worries Grow Over Fate of E Timor Refugees

by Farhan Haq The population of East Timor was about 850,000 before the vote for independence at the end of August. Fewer than 50,000 have returned to the capital, Dili, where many have set up tents on the razed sites of their former homes. Another 230,000 are estimated to be refugee camps in West Timor. Where are the other 500,000 people?


Indonesian Leaders Ordered Militia, Diplomat Says

by Richard S. Ehrlich Indonesia military "at a very senior level" unleashed the militias in East Timor, and the government believed the United Nations was "biased" in the election, Canada's Ambassador Kenneth Sunquist says


Militia Makes Plans For Guerrilla War

Amid reports of continued harassment of pro-independence people in refugee camps and the killing of two journalists, this week the Indonesian state Antara news agency quoted militia leader Eurico Guterres as ordering his members to prepare to fight guerilla war


Humanitarian Aid not Reaching Refugees

by Niccolo' Sarno, Monitor Wire Services Refugees are in a "critical condition" according to relief workers, and aid agencies are anxious to enter the territory to provide food, water and sanitation, medical care, and shelter. They blame the Indonesian army for the restrictions. Apart from the Red Cross and the relief organization Caritas "no other NGO has been allowed to get in (East Timor), despite (reassuring) statements by the Indonesian interior ministry"


Journalist's Death Shows Who Controlls E Timor

by Andreas Harsono Both Indonesian and UN forces promised to investigate the violence. But it is hard to believe that the Indonesian military -- which had six times broken its earlier promises to bring order to East Timor -- has the political will to arrest and sacrifice its own men in the interest of justice for a dead foreign correspondent. The UN forces have also just arrived in the area. Most of the foreign soldiers do not speak the local language or even know what kind of strange land they are working in now


Possibility of Terrorism Looms in Japan's Nuclear Accident

by Yoichi Clark Shimatsu Granted, Tokaimura workers may be sloppier than the average Japanese worker, even after a management shakeup following the 1997 incident, but they are highly skilled, highly paid, and have a personal stake in their own survival. Another possibility that should not be discounted arises from a mysterious letter sent to a Japanese magazine in late 1995 by the underground Vajryana wing of the Aum Shinrikyo, the sect accused of releasing poison gas in the Tokyo subways earlier that year


"Keep that spirit. Keep talking"

by Warren Beatty "The primary cancer in this sick system, the big money in politics, has so metastasized into every area of government that we can't afford any longer to ignore that the life of the patient -- American Democracy -- is in mortal danger of dying on the table"


Gary Bauer Self-Destructs

by Christopher Caldwell At his Wednesday press conference, with his wife and children in the audience as the political equivalent of human shields, Bauer at first claimed to be taking the high road, saying he wouldn't engage in the "trashcan politics" his opponents practiced. But under the gentlest of followup questions, he began to drop hints of the I'm- not- tellin'- but- his- name- begins- with- F- and- he's- got- a- horrible- complexion variety. Finally he couldn't hold it in any longer


Buchanan's Worst Enemy

by David Corn The 2000 election presents "a golden opportunity for a third party to emerge and be credible and give the Democrats and Republicans some competition," notes John Anderson. Yet the Buchanan raid on the Reform Party, and the Trump talk, threatens to trivialize or marginalize the third-party movement. It's time for the Reform Party to shove Ross Perot off the stage and, in a sense, grow up. Buchanan and Trump do not represent political maturity


Three-year-olds for Bush

by Jim Hightower On March 24th, Price wrote a $1,000 check to George W. So did his wife. So did two of his children. So did his children's spouses. So did five of his grandchildren. All on the same day -- a "spontaneous" outburst of familial support for George W! Well, Alexandra and Hannah didn't exactly write their checks, since they were only three


House Clamps Down on Class-Action Lawsuits

by Tate Hausman The House of Representatives passed a bill on September 23 that would make it far more difficult for aggreived citizens to file class-action lawsuits against large corporations. If approved by the Senate and President, the legislation would make irresponsible companies virtually immune from lawsuits such as the recent anti-tobacco and anti-gun claims that have significantly reigned in corporate abuses


Pat Buchanan's New Clan

by David Corn The Reform Party is ripe for Buchanan's plucking. Not only does it have a dowry of $12.6 million in federal funds for its next presidential nominee, its rules are wide open and afford anyone with an active following a solid chance of snatching the nomination. Buchanan, with the diehard supporters of his Buchanan Brigades, probably could not be stopped from gaining the nomination and then taking over the Reform Party -- unless a stronger candidate emerges


Waco Whiplash

by David Corn Wht do Republicans hate Attorney General Janet Reno so much? Reno hasn't been such a bad attorney general for the Republicans. She's requested independent counsels to investigate several of her fellow Cabinet members, including Bruce Babbitt, Henry Cisneros, Ronald Brown, Mike Espy and Alexis Herman. She authorized Kenneth Starr's expansion of his Whitewater inquiry to include the Monica matter. Republicans remain pissed that she said no to an independent counsel investigation of Clinton's fundraising practices. But had she taken the advice of Common Cause and asked for an independent counsel to probe the shady finances of both parties in the 1996 campaign, the GOP would have been quite inconvenienced


Chinese "Threat" to Panama Canal was GOP Creation

by Eric Jackson Let's be blunt about this. Congressional Republicans are talking complete nonsense about Panama, and it's not because they're ignorant. They have polling and focus group data that show a lot of fear and loathing of China these days, they can make a pretty strong case that the Clinton administration took unseemly "soft money" campaign contributions from Chinese interests and they think that it all makes sticky mud for next year's election campaign. The accusations that are being made about Chinese domination of Panama have nothing whatsoever to do with reality here. They're just cynical myths for domestic consumption


Reagan's Blank Pages

by David Corn In the end, Edmund Morris was an appropriate selection as Reagan's chronicler: To catch a weaver of fiction send a weaver of fiction. It is unfortunate that the grand opportunity offered Morris -- to tell us what life was really like in Reagan's world -- was subsumed by the author's ego, arrogance and misjudgment


Error 404: News Not Found in Your Daily Paper

Now that Dan Quayle has dropped out of the presidential race, we may never learn more about his forgotten involvement with Iran-Contra; also, four important details of East Timor ignored by the American press


World Church of the Creator Holds Convention

by Ken Picard Matt Hale and seven of his followers gathered at high noon Saturday on the steps of the Mineral County Courthouse to exercise their First Amendment rights via Hale's well-rehearsed brand of racist demagoguery. Standing before them were no more than 40 or 50 people, most of us representatives from local and national news agencies, but also a handful of curious onlookers and a smattering of supporters, not to mention an unknown number of agents from state and federal law enforcement agencies


U.S. Sold 1 Million Handguns to Third World

by Thalif Deen The United States has sold more than one million handguns to developing nations in the past three years -- even while pushing for a new convention to restrict the thriving global trade in small arms. Washington appeared to be focusing solely on "illicit" arms transfers for two reasons: first, it would avoid upsetting the powerful domestic firearms lobby, and second, such a convention left the door open for the U.S. export of small arms and light weapons, which Albright considered "legitimate"


Plutonium to Arrive in Japan Amid Protests

by Suvendrini Kakuchi Ignoring widespread international protests, two armed British-flagged ships carrying enough plutonium-uranium oxide to produce at least 60 nuclear weapons, are expected to arrive off the coast of Japan this week


And What Does the Darwin - Fish Logo Mean to You?

Finding a way to gather data on those who use the Darwin fish on cars presented daunting problems for Dr. Tom Lessl, an associate professor of speech communication at the University of Georgia. He considered using a survey on the Internet, but there is no way to be sure respondents actually have the fish on their cars. So he set out on foot in parking lots in several states, looking for the symbols and leaving questionnaires under windshield wipers. He asked three simple questions


Bankers Smell Profit in Pollution

by Abid Aslam Emissions trading is permitted under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Signatories have put off deciding the size and rules of the new commerce until next year but potential market players already are gearing up for a multi-billion-dollar market. These would result in "carbon offsets" which could be certified and converted into corresponding credits -- or licenses to spew equivalent amounts of carbon


KLA Complains That UN Isn't "Cooperating"

by Farhan Haq The KLA has supported the formation of a "Kosovo Corps" that would largely comprise its fighters, which could circumvent the need to retire too many soldiers. But UN officials have contended the Kosovo Corps should be a lightly-armed force representing all of Kosovo's ethnicities. Meanwhile, the demilitarization has proceeded, with reports that the KLA is turning in only lesser-quality arms while stockpiling weapons in neighboring Albania and Macedonia


PG&E: Selling the Dam Business

by J.A. Savage The utility has a plan to transfer its dams to a sister company -- a move that could raise and lower levels on Lake Almanor in an instant, leaving retirees' RVs high and dry or sopping wet, as well as take drinking water out of state regulation, manipulate the price of electricity and put watersheds in the hands of timber companies


PG&E: Striking a Deal With Diablo

by J.A. Savage With the unexpected $6 billion windfall, most observers think that PG&E's dams will be valued or sold by mid-2000, a couple years ahead of schedule. And when that happens, Diablo becomes a big liability. A PG&E spokesperson says that the costs to run the plant are below the subsidized price, but is extremely uncomfortable discussing the matter (think hemorrhoid commercials) and steadfastly refuses to say how much below the subsidized price Diablo can run, or whether Diablo can even begin to meet the average retail price of electricity from other sources


Colombia Numb From Daily Reports of Corruption

by Maria Isabel Garcia There are Colombians who believe that corruption could be the powder keg that ignites a major crisis in the country. "Neither the organs of state control like the attorney general and the public accounting office, or the private sector, like superintendents, offer guaranties. And the political parties barely even exist"


B.C. Loggers Attack Forest Activists, Burn Camp

In what has been called the most violent assault in 15 years, eight forest conservationists were violently assaulted in the old growth forest of the Elaho Valley September 15 about 125 miles north of Vancouver. The victims allege they were beaten by a gang of 100 loggers from International Forest Products and Elaho Valley Logging Co.


DEA Swoops Down on Birdseed

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has seized a tractor trailer of sterilized Canadian hemp seed on its way to a large U.S. company that has been selling hemp birdseed blends legally for years. The agencies have taken these actions even though all of the products are exempt under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, and many have been sold in the United States for 60 years. There has never a time when sterilized hemp seed or oil or meal was illegal


Most of U.S. Liquid Toxic Waste Injected Underground

by Donald Sutherland Maybe it is not a secret, but nobody seems to acknowledge that 60 percent of America's liquid hazardous waste is injected underground where it can contaminate drinking water supplies


Central Asia at Boiling Point

by Ted Rall This is the first time since the Soviet collapse in 1991 that border tensions among the southern breakaway republics (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan) has led to a wholesale collapse of relations. In a region groaning with the largest oil deposits in the world, but where the great mass of people earn $20 to $30 per month, social stability is in short supply. More troubling for America, which props up the "stans'" ex-communist strongmen with CIA cash: We're deeply entrenched both politically and economically in a region that is unviable in both respects


Bhopal's Legacy: Poisoned Water, Toxic Waste

By Meena Menon The walls still carry murderous messages -- "Hang Warren Anderson," written in dark letters outside the tomblike Union Carbide factory 15 years after the world's worst industrial accident in this central Indian city. The factory's solar evaporation ponds still contain waste, poisoning cattle that has died after drinking water from the ponds


Seed Companies Hauled Into Court

by Mario Osava and Gumisai Mutume Activists from 30 countries have taken action against the world's biggest life science companies by taking them to court over the question of genetically-modified food which, they say, represents an attempt to free agriculture from the control of a few


Are Ancient Viruses Lurking In Polar Ice?

by Matt Walker Prehistoric viruses are lying dormant in the polar ice caps -- and a bout of warm weather could release them into the atmosphere, sparking new epidemics. This chilling warning follows the discovery, for the first time, of an ancient virus in Arctic ice


Organized Crime Thriving Under Globalization

by Thalif Deen Looking at the darker side of the new economic phenomenon, Jospin said that globalization, among other things, also was changing the nature of organized crime. "This has positively exploded," he said, "In point of fact, the very great fluidity in movements permits criminal networks to exploit the contradictions among national laws, and the weaknesses of some of them, to find a haven against justice"


Japanese Trying to Patent Curry

by Ranjit Dev Raj There have been other overseas claimants to the ownership of curry. Not long ago, the British Tourist Authority (BTA) declared it Britain's national dish in acknowledgment of its phenomenal popularity among restaurant clientele in London. But the BTA was never so proprietorial about curry as Hirayama Makoto and Ohashi Sachiyo -- two enterprising Japanese who have a patent application pending on the pungent preparation. If granted, the patent could give them exclusive rights to the process of making curry


Nuclear Insecurity

by Ira Shorr The post-Cold War world offers no relief from nuclear uncertainty. Consider the case of the Norwegian research rocket launched on Jan. 25, 1995. Russian technicians picked up the rocket on their radar screens and, thinking it was a U.S. nuclear missile that could scatter eight nuclear bombs over Moscow, they prepared to retaliate. For the first time in history, they activated the "nuclear briefcase" that accompanies the president


U.S. Has No Defense Against Bioweapons

by Clark L. Staten Interview with ex-Soviet Colonel Kanatjan Alibekov, First Deputy Chief of the secret Soviet germ warfare program


Granny D's Crusade

by Randolph T. Holhut Doris "Granny D" Haddock started walking from Los Angeles on January 1. Her destination is Washington, D.C., and her goal is to show Congress that people are sick of dollars being more important than votes in our democracy. She's been averaging about 10 miles a day, in spite of arthritis, emphysema and the rest of the aches and pains that comes with being nearly 90. As of this week, she's headed to Nashville, Tenn., and hopes to reach Washington by her 90th birthday on Jan. 24. Along the way, she's been hearing from people who are sick of the status quo


Remembering My Personal Soviet Spy

by Clarence Brown The brazen stupidity of former Soviet officials is almost touching. Pavlo Lazarenko, once the Ukrainian Prime Minister, buys, for $6.7 million cash, a California mansion that had belonged to Eddie Murphy. Where did he get that kind of money? He'd been careful, scrimped and saved, it was all perfectly legit. A generation ago, in the Sixties, when I was living in Moscow State University, I knew this man. Or if not this exact man, one close enough to be his clone


Alternative Media Shocked by Pending Sale of Largest Papers

by Don Hazen The September 22 announcement by Stern Publishing that it is putting its stable of alternative papers on the block sent shock waves through the alternative media industry. The pending sale raises serious questions about the survival of politically activist, advocacy journalism for wide audiences. Stern's holdings include The Village Voice and LA Weekly, arguably the two most successful of the more than 125 alternative weeklies across the country. It's not far fetched to imagine all the profitable alternative weekly properties being sold to big corporate owners in the near future, given the new dynamics of the Internet


Newspapers Are Dumbing Down America, Author Says

by Allan R. Andrews Sommerville's extended argument suggests this "striptease" approach to news mitigates against reflective and wise decision making. Journalism -- especially daily journalism -- in Sommerville's eyes has been a profit-hungry contributor to what his book's subtitle describes as "The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society." We journalists are leading the charge toward a world without wisdom


Is Russia Considering Genocide in Chechnya?

by Franz Schurmann If that political class thinks that wiping Chechnya off the face of the earth can eradicate the "Wahhabis" off their back, then they are stricken with criminal amnesia. They tried that in Afghanistan and today a fundamentalist Islamic movement has triumphed there which sends out revolutionary ripple-out effects deep into Russia


Another Expert "Oops!"

by Molly Ivins It makes such perfect sense. It's a better way to count and actually easier, as well. But I've always put the need for conversion to the metric system somewhere around 724th on my list of Things We Really Need to Do in this country. After losing $125 million down the tubes, I suppose we should move it up a few notches


D.C. Blind to Real World Problems

by Molly Ivins One of my most implacable prejudices -- undisturbed by the fact that I have never done more than visit Washington briefly from time to time -- is that the political culture of this city is so phony, shallow, nasty, disconnected from reality and appearance-obsessed that it amounts to a giant, stinking garbage dump. And Washington always obligingly reinforces that prejudice, which is a great saving of mental energy, since it takes a lot of work to change a good prejudice


Finding New Ways to Cheat the Poor

by Molly Ivins Tommy Thompson, the Republican governor of Wisconsin who really started welfare reform, would be the first to tell you that the only way to make it work is to spend MORE money than we were spending on the old system, at least for the first several years. But in Texas, practically no one in government saw it that way -- they only saw a chance to save themselves money. When they say, "We reduced the welfare rolls," all they're talking about is cutting the welfare budget


Straight Talk From Gov. Jesse

by Molly Ivins Ventura often has the charm of the little boy who pointed out that the emperor wasn't wearing any clothes. Minnesotans like him precisely because he so often points out the obvious. Politicians aren't supposed to say the kinds of things that Ventura does, which is what makes him so refreshing


Pro Wrestling Over Budget

by Molly Ivins Republican congressional leaders made three vows concerning this year's budget process: It would be done on time, they would observe the spending limits to which they committed in 1997, and they would not touch the Social Security surplus. So far, they're one for three and working on blowing the last one


Squinting at the Fed Budget

by Molly Ivins Last week, the Senate -- despite a noble effort at filibuster by Barbara Boxer of California -- passed Kay Bailey's rider yet again by a vote of 51-47. Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who does favor campaign-finance reform, stood there and read aloud the oil company contributions to various senators before the vote, and you should have heard them howl


No Truce in Psychological War on Kids

by Norman Solomon It's known as advertising, but we may as well call it psychological warfare. Our entire society is a free-fire zone for nonstop commercial assaults. Everyone is in the cross hairs -- no matter how young. And quite a few professionals with formal training in psychology have enlisted in the never-ending war


Media Flops on Reporting Fed Budget

by Norman Solomon Lost in the media's play-by-play are some grim facts. While leading Democrats and Republicans fire off more rhetorical salvos, neither of the warring parties wants to preserve even the current (woefully inadequate) level of social spending. Neither party even has the decency to insist that federal programs for low-income Americans be adjusted for inflation


What to Put in Our Time Capsule?

by Norman Solomon As the moment nears to open old time capsules, we might consider what would be appropriate to put in new ones. For this high-tech age of super-duper mass communications, quite a few objects could go into a media time capsule. For instance: a set of handcuffs


The Feudal State of the Labor Movement

by Alexander Cockburn At the end of November, the eyes of every labor militant in the country will be on Seattle, where the central labor council has been organizing demonstrations against a meeting of the World Trade Organization. It promises to be a tremendous week, but the AFL-CIO has recently been distancing itself from any strident protest


Mangling the Constitution

by Alexander Cockburn Because of the regrettable reverence in which this same constitution is held, "we" are forced to stand "helplessly by while ordinary people are gunned down by a succession of heavily armed maniacs." I'm not sure who the "we" is here. The time I most vividly remember as an occasion for standing helplessly by while ordinary people were gunned down by heavily armed maniacs was when we all watched the Branch Davidians burn. And later, we had to watch the federal building in Oklahoma City crumbling into rubble in revenge. Should we ban fertilizer and rent-a-trucks?


Feinstein's Horrid Quincy Library Bill

by Alexander Cockburn Under pre-Quincy logging plans, the Forest Service has been selling around 125 million board feet a year. Under the Quincy plan, the Forest Service will be able to sell 319 million board feet a year, a radical increase by any standard. In order to sell that much volume, the Forest Service will have to put up for cutting not just small overgrown thickets of forest that some ecologists term fire risks, but old-growth groves that are home to the California spotted owl and other rare wildlife species. In order to haul out that timber, the Forest Service would have to build more than a hundred miles of new logging roads in the Lassen, Plumas and Tahoe national forests


E Timor: The Elephant and the Fleas

by Alexander Cockburn As the UN peacekeepers move into East Timor and deploy throughout the capital, Dili, the unfortunate inhabitants gratefully salute relief from the savage attacks of the Indonesian militias. Thankful though we should be at any stay to their suffering, we should not for one moment forget the utterly shameful role of successive governments of the United States in this bloody tale



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