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U.S. News

U. S. News Postings beginning April 1, 2002

Posted March 31, 2002

Bush's "Nuclear Offensive" for Peace?
(David Corn, Alternet.org, March 29, 2002)
Will someone please buy George W. Bush a dictionary? . . . his administration has been misusing common words and, in the process, perverting political discourse. . . . the master plan for developing and structuring the U.S. nuclear force -- notes that nuclear weapons will be part of the U.S. "offensive deterrence." Offensive deterrence? Is this Orwellian, or merely Stragelovian? . . . The new Bush doctrine of offensive deterrence changes the equation. . . . It also includes the possibility of dropping nuclear bombs on states (or perhaps terrorist outfits) that develop weapons of mass destruction and that are perceived as threats to the United States. In other words, the United States might "deter" an attack by attacking first -- not necessarily with nuclear weapons, but not necessarily without. . . . it should be called by its true name -- offensive preemption. . . . "Offensive deterrence" may have a reassuring sound, but it blurs the line between nuclear and conventional weapons. It is slippery and dangerous language. . . . Bush and his lieutenants have amassed an impressive record of perverted phraseology. His "axis of evil" description of Iraq, Iran and North Korea was deceptive. . . . On the presidential campaign trail, Bush, in his aw-shucks way, often declared, "I'm a plain-spoken fellow." If that were true, he would now be saying, "We're going to be spewing more global warming gases into the air, giving hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy, threatening countries that are unallied and have no known connection to the September 11 attacks, and revising military doctrine to make the use of nuclear weapons just a bit less unthinkable."

Bush Names Critic of Campaign Law to Panel That Will Enforce it, Affirmative Action Critic to Civil Rights Post
(Scott Lindlaw, truthout.org, 3/30/2002)
Two days after signing a new law restricting campaign donations, President Bush bypassed Congress to install one of the law's Republican critics to enforce it. He also named a vocal critic of affirmative action as civil rights chief at the Education Department. . . . Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., led the fight for the campaign finance law, and his adviser John Weaver said it seemed ''schizophrenic'' for the administration to sign the legislation and then appoint an overhaul opponent to the FEC. . . . Bush also used his recess appointment power to install Gerald Reynolds as assistant secretary of education for civil rights, prompting similar criticism that Reynolds will not promote laws he opposes. . . . Reynolds has criticized affirmative action and has worked for or been affiliated with organizations opposed to such assistance for women and minorities. . . . ''This is one more example of the administration's lack of commitment to the enforcement of our nation's civil rights laws,'' said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Enron and Bush: the Mystery Deepens, Energy Papers Yield More Questions
(David Callaway, CBS.MarketWatch.com, March 28, 2002)
Think the flap over the Bush administration and Enron is winding down? Think again. . . . heightened speculation that the Bush team is hiding something by refusing to provide logs of Vice President Dick Cheney's meetings with energy executives. . . . Secretary of the Energy Spencer Abraham met almost exclusively with energy executives while helping formulate taskforce policy last year, while ignoring any submissions from environmental or consumer groups. . . . It's part of a pattern of holding back information that not only taints the administration with Enron, but leads to skepticism about any of its other motives, such as its messing with the Clean Air Act or its developing a shadow government in case of attacks on Washington. . . . we're still getting new bombshells on a weekly basis. . . . [Secretary of the Army] White on Wednesday offered to resign if the flap over his Enron ties hampers his ability to do his job. . . . the fact he would even feel the need to make the offer at a time when his job is so important to the country shows just how hard the administration has been hit by this scandal. . . . this story has legs. And as long as any of the players in this drama refuse to come clean - including at the White House -- it will continue to astound us with fresh revelations, one at a time.

Pentagon Seeks Exemption From Environmental Laws
(Kathrine Q. Seelye, truthout.org, March 30, 2002)
Concerned that several environmental laws are interfering with the military's ability to train soldiers and develop weapons, the Pentagon is seeking a Congressional exemption from an array of measures that have protected endangered species and their habitats for years. . . . seeks exemptions from sections of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Noise Control Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act. . . . The Defense Department controls about 25 million acres for training grounds, about 90 percent of which is undeveloped buffer. It spends about $4 billion a year to comply with environmental laws, money that Pentagon officials say could be better spent preparing the military for combat . . . Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit group representing civil servants who work on military bases and in environmental agencies. "This is seen as a major threat, and there's a growing cast of thousands meeting next week to plan to counter it." . . . If the environmental laws are breached, Mr. Ruch said, the military will be free to contaminate public drinking water with munitions, discharge air pollutants in bombings and exceed noise limits as well as test weapons that could harm whales and other marine life.

We are Governed by Fear: An Interview with Congressman Dennis Kucinich
(Scott Galindez, t r u t h o u t.org, March 14, 2002)
Members of the Administration had retreated to bunkers outside Washington so that they could keep the government going. The bunker mentality I referred to in my speech represents the presence of security and police and national guards, the jersey barriers that are everywhere, where we have to literally negotiate a labyrinth of concrete barriers in order to go to vote. . . . the purpose of a Department of Peace and the motivating factors involve a desire to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our society for domestic as well as international policy, and on an international level to seek to make war archaic. On a domestic level, to deal with issues such as child abuse, spousal abuse, domestic violence in the home, community relations challenges, racial violence, anything that exemplifies a lack of ability to deal with human relations, would be dealt with by the Department of Peace. And it's a cabinet level position, which would raise the whole issue of non-violence and conflict resolution to serious level of discussion in society. . . . Administration that wants to use space as the next platform for its weapons . . . Now it's the United States trying to seize the highest ground in the universe, space. It is not our business to do. There is no other nation that has the capacity to mount an attack against the United States from space. So, what's this about? Perhaps some crude attempt at -- using space as the next junkyard for military contractors. . . . we are organizing a whole new approach to create a new political movement in this country. If you want to keep your eyes at our site,-- which is www.kucinich.us -- we are going to be putting stuff on the website that talks about organizing.




Posted March 29, 2002

Interior Department Report Says Arctic Refuge Drilling Poses Significant Risks to Wildlife
(H.Josef Hebert Associated Press, Mar 28, 2002)
Oil development in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may pose substantial risk to caribou and other wildlife, a government review concludes, contrary to claims made by oil drilling advocates. . . . The report is likely to play a key role in the upcoming Senate debate over whether oil companies should have access to millions of barrels of crude believed to lie beneath the refuge's 1.5 million-acre coastal plain. . . . The 78-page report was developed by scientists at the U.S. Biological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, both agencies within the Interior Department, and peer-reviewed by outside scientists.

Oprah Winfrey declines Bush invite to Afghan trip
(Jeff Zeleny, Chicago Tribune, March 29, 2002)
Seeking to put a softer spin on the public's perceptions of the war on terrorism, the Bush administration quietly asked Oprah Winfrey to join an official U.S. delegation to tour Afghanistan's schools . . . But Winfrey begged off . . . So the White House, lacking its preferred guest, postponed a trip that also was to feature some of the administration's top women . . . Bush's political advisers are concerned that some key voting groups, while supportive of the war on terrorism, may be growing weary of the constant talk of killing and brutality. The Oprah strategy was devised to dampen the images of global violence. . . . The president's strategists are particularly worried that women voters may have growing concerns about the constant news of war as crucial midterm elections approach and Bush begins preparing for an expected re-election campaign in 2004. . . . "If there is going to be a decline in support [for military action], it's going to come from women first," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center.

Bush Tapped Solar Energy Funds to Print Energy Plan
(Tom Doggett, Rueters, March 29, 2002)
The administration took money from the Energy Department's solar and renewable energy and energy conservation budgets to pay for the cost of printing its national energy plan. . . . Documents released under court order by the Energy Department this week revealed that $135,615 was spent from the DOE's solar, renewables and energy conservation budget to produce 10,000 copies of the White House energy plan released last May. . . . Another $1,317.39 was spent for producing 16 "briefing boards" used by administration officials to illustrate and explain the White House energy plan. . . . The newly released documents also show that $176.40 was taken from the energy conservation program to pay for an Alaska trip by Andrew Lundquist, the White House energy task force's staff director, to promote the energy plan. . . . The administration's energy policy called for drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a proposal strongly opposed by environmentalists.

Thoughts On Our War Against Terrorism
(Congresswoman Cynthia A. McKinney, truthout.org, March 28, 2002)
America, the world's only superpower, is stifled in its ability to defend human rights and democracy abroad because it has failed the fundamental test at home. . . . Whose war is this really? . . . In November 2000, Republicans stole from America our most precious right of all: the right to free and fair elections. In an organized manner, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State Katherine Harris, created a list of convicted felons--57,700 to be exact--to "scrub" from the state's voter rolls. The names were created from Florida records and from lists provided by 11 other states, the largest list coming from Texas. We now know that most of the people on that list were innocent of crimes. The list was a phony. . . . Of the thousands who ultimately lost their vote through this scrub of voters, 80% are African-American. . . . Mass arrests, detention without charge, military tribunals, and infringements on due process rights are now realities in America. . . . Moreover, persons close to this Administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war. Former President Bush sits on the board of the Carlyle Group. The Los Angeles Times reports that on a single day last month, Carlyle earned $237 million selling shares in United Defense Industries, the Army's fifth-largest contractor. . . . Now is the time for our elected officials to be held accountable. Now is the time for the media to be held accountable. Why aren't the hard questions being asked? We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, delivered one such warning. Those engaged in unusual stock trades immediately before September 11 knew enough to make millions of dollars from United and American airlines, certain insurance and brokerage firms' stocks. What did this Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?



Posted March 28, 2002

"Saddam Hussein: America's Worst Enemy...or Cheney's Best Customer?" a radio ad produced by GWBush.com
Activists around the country might want to use this professionally prepared radio spot that clearly details Dick Cheney's personal financial connections with Saddam Hussein.

EPA Gets OK for Air Quality Rules
(AP/Las Vegas Sun, March 27, 2002)
The Environmental Protection Agency says it now has "a clear path" to requiring tougher air pollution health standards after winning a five-year legal fight over one of the most controversial Clinton-era environmental regulations. . . . The tougher health standards have been in limbo for years after they were issued by the EPA during the Clinton administration. The regulations were quickly challenged by a wide range of business groups, utilities and the trucking industry, as well as three states. . . . The long legal fight shows "how industry can throw everything it has against a public health standard and in the course of doing so they managed to delay this process for many years," . . . Business and industrial groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and the American Trucking Associations, had argued the new air standards were not based on good science and would be too costly to the economy. . . . The Supreme Court disagreed and concluded that the EPA had acted reasonably and within its authority, that its science was sound and that under the Clean Air Act it need not take into account costs when issuing a health standard. . . . The American Lung Association has estimated that together the tougher smog and soot requirements will prevent 15,000 premature deaths, 350,000 cases of aggravated asthma and perhaps as many as a million cases of children having decreased lung functions. . . . Environmentalists said they hoped the EPA will move swiftly to determine where state and local officials will have to take additional measures to assure their air meets the new federal standards.

With the Party Back in Politics, Populism Is Reborn
(Lauri Apple, AlterNet.org, March 25, 2002)
an estimated 6,000 people showed up for the tour's March 23 kick-off at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin, the liberal capital of conservative Texas. Clad in his usual cowboy hat, button-down shirt and blue jeans, emcee Hightower warmly introduced the day's special guests, including author/filmmaker/rabble rouser Michael Moore, Austin-based columnist Molly Ivins, socially responsible ice cream man Ben Cohen, campaign finance activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock and U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. . . . in the land of George Dubya, Enron, weekly death row executions and abysmal social service spending, there's more to depress progressives than just internal quibbles. Possibly in response to the cloudy outlook, many of Hightower's special guests told stories of silver linings and successes to the Austin crowd. With a bill banning soft money about to be signed into law, Granny D -- who walked across the country at age 90 for campaign finance reform (she's now a spry 92) -- spoke enthusiastically but realistically about her recent victory. "[The bill] does have holes in it, but it's a start," she said. . . . One of the most glaring examples of D.C.'s ignorance, he [Jesse Jackson, Jr.] added, was the Bush Administration's decision to spend $95 billion of taxpayer money -- including $15 billion for the airline industry -- to fight the war on terrorism. "All instigated by one terrorist in a cave in Afghanistan," . . . Progressives must begin to fight for fundamental rights like the right-wing does, and move the vast majority of people towards accepting a new family values platform" -- a human rights initiative that advocates housing, education, and health care instead of corporate subsidies, gun rights, and pro-life initiatives. . . . Hightower and his tour are now headed to various cities around the country (for a schedule of tour stops, see www.rolingthungertour.org . . . . Hightower advises creating an actual coalition focused on actions and solutions intended to wrest power from corporations and restore it to communities. . . . "No movement has ever come from the top down," Hightower said. "There's too much progressive energy focused in D.C., but our power is out here. We have to fight locally, without being drowned out by money."

U.S. Deports Israelis Amid Warnings of Espionage Activities
(Ted Bridis, Associated Press, March 5, 2002)
Authorities have arrested and deported dozens of young Israelis since early last year who represented themselves as art students in efforts to gain access to sensitive federal office buildings and the homes of government employees, U.S. officials said. . . . the youths' actions "may well be an organized intelligence-gathering activity." . . . The DEA report said a majority of the students questioned by U.S. investigators acknowledged having served in military intelligence, electronic signals interception or explosive ordnance units in the Israeli military. The DEA said one person questioned was the son of a two-star Israeli general, one had served as the bodyguard to the head of the Israeli Army and another served in a Patriot missile unit. . . . 120 Israelis had been arrested. . . . The DEA report said that among U.S. sites apparently targeted was Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, home to the military's AWACS surveillance planes and the place where many of the nation's B-1 bombers are repaired.


Posted March 27, 2002

Report Cites Unaccounted Plutonium - Amounts Sufficient to Create 'Dirty Bomb,' Official Says
(Walter Pincus, Washington Post, March 27, 2002)
The Energy Department cannot fully account for small amounts of potentially dangerous plutonium provided under a 1954 Atoms for Peace program to 33 countries including Iran, Pakistan and India . . . The Energy Department inspector general report noted that the plutonium capsules sent overseas were supposed to be followed through a Sealed Source Registry, but that program was discontinued by the Reagan administration in 1984. . . . The Clinton administration disclosed in 1996 that the United States had distributed abroad "approximately two to three kilograms of plutonium mostly in the form of sealed sources to foreign countries since the late 1950s." . . . Robert S. Norris, a researcher for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said yesterday that U.S. nuclear assistance to Iran and India under the program helped those governments' efforts to build a bomb. . . . "The Atoms for Peace program was designed to put a good spin on the atom," Norris said, "and instead it has helped Iran and India to start their bomb programs."

Posted March 26, 2002

Documents Reveal Energy Meetings
(H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press, Tue Mar 26, 2002)
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham held at least eight private meetings with industry leaders but none with environmentalists as the administration crafted its energy plan, newly released documents show. . . . Critics of the administration's energy policies have long argued that industry had an open door to top-level administration policy makers, while those advocating conservation, energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy sources were given largely lip service. . . . But the papers document no top-level meetings with advocates of energy efficiency or renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power. . . . it was the industry executives who had the access to Abraham, a key member of Cheney's task force. . . . In all, three dozen energy executives and lobbyists participated in eight meeting with Abraham from mid-February to late April of 2001. The Cheney energy report was released in May. . . . He met with a top executive of the American Coal Co.; officials of the Independent Petroleum Association of America; the chairman of Utilicorp, a major power company to discuss electricity deregulation; and with a half dozen utility executives and other oil and gas industry leaders. . . . A "drop-by" session to "discuss nuclear energy's role" in the Bush energy plan lasted 30 minutes on March 20 and included the head of the Nuclear Energy Institute, chairman of Westinghouse and the chief executives of a half dozen major nuclear power utilities.

Environmentalists Lose on Energy Bill
(Las Vegas Sun, March 25, 2002)
The Senate was where environmentalists hoped to make their stand on energy policy. But after two weeks of votes and horse-trading, an emerging Democratic energy bill appears to be anything but green. . . . Environmentalists lost in their bid to boost automobile fuel economy and on a string of lesser issues . . . However, the big fight over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is yet to come . . . Whatever the Senate finally approves will have to be merged with an energy bill from the Republican-run House that is far friendlier to industry and anathema to environmentalists. It focuses heavily on increasing development of fossil fuels and would open to oil companies the Arctic refuge . . . On issues large and small, some of the most powerful business interest groups roaming the halls of Congress - automakers, the oil industry, electric utilities and farm groups - have scored significant victories, often turning back initiatives pushed by environmentalists. . . . And the oil industry no longer has to contend with a federal requirement for oxygen in gasoline, or whether an oil-exploration method known as "hydraulic fracturing" might run afoul of clean-water laws. . . . All of those victories [by big business] pale next to the coup by the auto industry, which now has the certainty it will not face tougher federal auto fuel economy requirements anytime soon. . . . They "handed our nation's energy security over to the auto industry," fumed Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. Automakers and auto unions lobbied vigorously against the fuel economy increases and supported a measure that instead would require the Transportation Department to address the issue down the road.

[From the March 26, 2002 edition of The UPGradeMag (or just the "UP"), which is an online global edutainment round-up that is must-reading for all hip cultural leaders around the world.]
MASTERS OF WAR
(Bob Dylan)
     The Vietnam War was the catalyst in the late '60s which succeeded in uniting so many previously disparate elements of protest and 'alternative societies' into a 'Movement' that grew from below and shook the establishment so deeply that is still fighting it (that's why they crack down so heavily on Rave Culture and, of course, plants!. We now have that Missing Link. WAT, the War Against Terrorism! And a huge tectonic shift is happening around that.

     But, if the truly wonderful potential of War was only that it allowed all the Culture's separate evolutionary currents to dissolve their priority differences (save foxes first or ban smoking or push harder for women's' rights?) into the greater flow of a Common Cause against a Common Enemy, that would not be enough (as it wasn't last time) to nudge the whole Culture forwards, and safely beyond the Dinosauric Age..

     BUT WAR BRINGS ANOTHER TRULY WONDERFUL POTENTIAL! It can ALSO force many otherwise uncomplaining, conforming citizens to SEE their 'leaders' FOR WHAT THEY TRULY ARE! I mean we, the alternative 33%, can carp on (negatively?) about how aggressively murderous and plain stupid short sighted they are till the mad cows come home, but WAR brings them out into the Open. How often, after all, does the general populace daily witness a supreme leaders like President Lyndon Johnson being taunted by the nation's children with lines like "LBJ! LBJ! HOW MANY KIDS DID YOU KILL TODAY?!"

     The WAR Against Poor People has been annually killing thousands, starving hundreds of thousands, and disenfranchising millions (while boring the pants off those who've unconsciously chosen not to care) but the real perpetrators remained hidden, politely and very very carefully, behind a complex, anonymous 'Economic System.' 'WAR,' by flushing the Dinosaur tendency onto our media on a daily basis, can jump-start the species into an evolutionarily aware 'take' on the dreadfully inevitable destiny of this level of consciousness and HOW EVEN THE WAR ITSELF IS BUT A LOGICAL EXTENSION OF THE WAR THAT WAS ALREADY GOING ON?!.


Posted March 25, 2002

Stupid White Men — still on top
[From Michael Moore's online newsletter, March 25, 2002]

     “Today's #1 ranking for "Stupid White Men" on the New York Times bestseller list has, I honestly believe, very little to do with me and a WHOLE LOT to do with you and the powerful rebuttal you have given to the media mantra of "GEORGE W. BUSH HAS THE HIGHEST APPROVAL RATINGS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND!"

     “That more Americans are reading this book, this week, than any other book in the country has sent a stunning dagger to the heart of the right-wing agenda -- and they are going bonkers trying to figure it out! Well, there is nothing to figure out. Those approval ratings are the biggest bunch of B.S. since daddy Bush's 90% approval rating one year before he was sent packing. Take heart in this folks. I want you to share this day, this incredible victory with me. Let's hope it's the beginning of the end for those boys who are occupying our Oval Office.


     “Gee, did I just break their new Patriot Act by saying that? Let's hope so!”

Terrorism Fears Push Maryland Toward Wider Police Power
(Matthew Mosk, The Washington Post, March 25, 2002)
Maryland's House of Delegates is preparing to pass anti-terrorism legislation today that would dramatically expand the ability of police to tap phones and eavesdrop on the e-mail and Internet activity . . . "I realize that this bill basically says you can tap someone's phone for jaywalking, and normally I would say, 'No way,' " said Del. Dana Lee Dembrow (D-Montgomery). "But after what happened on September 11th, I say screw 'em." . . . The results have been similar across the country, including in Virginia, as state lawmakers inch their way into the war against international terrorism. . . . will substantially broaden the scope of police rights to probe into private lives. . . . said Del. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), the occasional intrusion into lives "seems worth the risk." . . . "I know it's hard to swallow," Zirkin said. "But I think we need to take a couple steps in that direction right now." . . . The problem with that, Grosfeld said, is that "you're talking about very harsh penalties that could be added based on someone's political beliefs, not because of their actions. That strikes me as very dangerous."

Fund Raising: How Bush Plays the Game
(Michael Weisskopf and Adam Zagorin, Time.com, March 24, 2002)
[Bush] like Clinton, finds ways to make sure important donors get heard. . . . Critics say his reason for refusing to give Congress a list of industry executives who met with Cheney's task force is to hide ties with financial interests . . . a clear pattern of who gave and who got access has emerged. Nearly 50 energy producers or associations had contact with the White House while Cheney's task force was working. . . . Records show that all but a handful gave to or solicited for the R.N.C. [Republican National Committee] . . . Rick Shelby of the American Gas Association, who raised at least $250,000 for the gala at the same time he was getting the task force's blessing for incentives to build 38,000 miles of new pipeline. Nuclear-industry officials gave $150,000 while landing support for a waste-burial site . . . Former Representative Bill Paxon and another lawyer whose firm works for Exxon Mobil raised at least $100,000 apiece as the oil giant was persuading the panel to back a review of trade sanctions. . . . In addition to Exxon Mobil, two other oil giants, Conoco and Phillips Petroleum-each a $25,000 gala donor-have long opposed the sanctions, which deprive them of markets. Conoco president Archie Dunham, an old Cheney pal, visited him March 21 to press the case. Big Oil saw the task force's proposal as a victory . . . Another task-force surprise was a recommendation that the government review its lawsuits against several power companies accused of ignoring legally mandated pollution controls on renovated plants. Six utilities, including gigantic Southern Co. of Atlanta, hired ex-R.N.C. chairman Haley Barbour to lobby for the relaxation of controls. While raising at least $250,000 for the gala, Barbour met with Cheney on May 3 to discuss the matter. Barbour apparently made an impact. The review Cheney called for threw the lawsuits into limbo. And last week EPA assistant administrator Jeffrey Holmstead told an industry trade association that the Administration wants to eliminate the old pollution controls.

Homeland Security: The White House Shows Its True Colors
(Arianna Huffington, March 18, 2002)
Since his much ballyhooed appointment in the wake of Sept. 11, Ridge has kept a lower profile than Mullah Omar -- a strategy that has raised doubts about his effectiveness. . . . When he tried to take on problems at America's airports, he butted heads with the Transportation Department. When he tried to bring order to the administration's chaotic response to the anthrax attacks, he found himself jockeying for control with Health and Human Services. And when he proposed changing our nation's border security strategy, both Customs and the Justice Department cried foul. . . . Even a no-brainer like the need to consolidate the responsibility for protecting the nation's food supply is being resisted by officials in the two relevant agencies -- the Food and Drug Administration and the Agriculture Department. As a result, a mind-boggling system persists where, for example, the FDA oversees the safety of cheese pizza and the Agriculture Department the safety of pepperoni pizza. And all Ridge can say is: "We have to see whether the system that has developed over the past two decades is the one we need in the future." Here's a hint, Mr. Ridge: It's not. . . . "The president has not chosen the right model," [Gary] Hart told me. "The Office of Homeland Security should be a statutory agency with budgetary authority. People obey people who have control over their budgets. What the president has done is the equivalent of putting the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps in separate federal departments and have them coordinated by a White House office instead of a single Secretary of Defense."


Posted March 24, 2002

Was a Secret CIA Operation Responsible for the Outbrake of Anthrax in the U.S.?
America's anthrax attack last autumn was second only to that on the Twin Towers in the degree of shock and anxiety it caused...Some even say the anthrax letters triggered sub-clinical hysteria in the American people...yet this, the first major act of biological terrorism the world has seen remains an unsolved crime... Three weeks ago Dr Barbara Rosenberg - an acknowledged authority on US bio-defence - claimed the FBI is dragging its feet because an arrest would be embarrassing to the US authorities. . . . Some very expert field person would have been given this job and it would have been left to him to decide exactly how to carry it out. The result might have been a project gone badly awry if he decided to use it for his own purposes and target the media and the senate for his own motives as not intended by the govt project...but this is a possibility that I think needs to be considered . . . We now know by piecing together information from well-placed sources that there's another individual. He's been interviewed by FBI agents, and remains under widespread suspicion... But he's no loner. He's likely to have worked on a key government project in the past and to have a network of friends and colleagues he can rely on. The possibility that more than one person is involved may answer some of the perplexing geographical questions about where the attacks originated. . . . immediately prior to the attacks of the 11th, the New York Times carried a major investigation which at any other time would have been a story of huge significance...It revealed three secret bio-defence projects at a time when the American people believed none was taking place. . . . America's desire to protect its biodefense programme from scrutiny at all costs was part of why it walked away from an international agreement to control biological weapons last summer. Could its near obsessive secrecy have come home to roost? breeding a climate that allowed one of its experts to take a step too far and turn bio-terrorist against his own?

Posted March 21, 2002

The new empire loyalists
Former leftists turned US military cheerleaders are helping snuff out its traditions of dissent
(Tariq Ali, The Guardian, March 16, 2002)
What concerns me more is another group: men and women who were once intensely involved in leftwing activities. It has been a short march for some of them: from the outer fringes of radical politics to the antechambers of the state department. . . . This is why they have become the useful idiots of the empire. . . . They have, in other words, to pass the David Horowitz test. Horowitz, the son of communists and biographer of the late Isaac Deutscher, underwent the most amazing self-cleansing in post-1970s America. Today he is a leading polemicist of the right, constantly denouncing liberals as a bridge to the more sinister figures of the left. . . . Compared to him, former Trotskyists Christopher Hitchens and Kanaan Makiya must still appear as marginal and slightly frivolous figures. They would certainly fail the Horowitz test, but if the stakes are raised and Baghdad is bombed yet again, this time as a prelude to a land invasion, how will our musketeers react? . . . What unites the new empire loyalists is an underlying belief that, despite certain flaws, the military and economic power of the US represents the only emancipatory project and, for that reason, has to be supported against all those who challenge its power. A few prefer Clinton-as-Caesar rather than Bush, but recognise this as a self-indulgence. Deep down they know the empire stands above its leaders. . . . At a time when much of the world is beginning to tire of being "emancipated" by the US, many liberals have been numbed into silence.

Was Nixon smoking or was he just insane?
(Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, March 21, 2002)
Tapes from the Nixon White House . . . [Nixon speaking] "You know, it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists." . . . In a previously released rant, Nixon and Billy Graham gnash and froth over how Jews control the media. How can most Jews be psychiatrists and still control the media? Nixon does not explain. . . . The excerpts begin with the Nixon doctrine on why marijuana is much worse than alcohol: It is because people drink "to have fun" but they smoke marijuana "to get high." This distinction was evidently enormously significant to Nixon, because he repeats it twice. . . . Northern California, [Nixon] says, has gotten so "faggy" that "I won't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco." . . . "Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. . . . You know what happened to the popes? It's all right that popes were laying the nuns."

Posted March 20, 2002

More terrorist activity in the U.S. - Forced Drugging OK'd By Federal Court
(The Alchemind Society, March 19, 2002)
Defendants can be forcibly drugged even though they haven't been convicted of any charges and pose no danger to themselves or others. That's the ruling issued March 7, 2002, by the Federal Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the case of United States v. Charles Thomas Sell. The 2 - 1 split decision establishes government power to forcibly medicate a person with mind altering drugs even before trial.

Posted March 19, 2002

APRIL MARCH ON WASHINGTON UNITY STATEMENT FROM THE A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION
- Issued February 27 -
     In response to calls for unity in the anti-war movement the International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) is announcing that it is moving its National March on Washington Against War and Racism from April 27 to April 20, 2002.

     Clearly everyone understands the need for many activists from many movements to be in Washington D.C. to protest the dangerous racist war drive that threatens the people of the planet and to fight Bush and Ashcroft's attempts to dismantle the Bill of Rights, criminalize dissent, and investigate and imprison people based on racial and religious profiling.

     A.N.S.W.E.R. calls on people to rally at the White House at 11 a.m. on April 20, 2002, before marching to the Justice Department and on to a unified rally with the other coalition. This march will be the first that breaks the ban on demonstrations in front of the White House that was unconstitutionally imposed prior to anti-war demonstrations in September during the head-long rush to war.

Amateur Thought Police monitor war critics
(Antiwar.com, March 18, 2002)
The neoconservatives, however, are ready for that: their answer is a new organization, Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT). Heading up the group is William Bennett, former drug czar and self-appointed public scold. . . . AVOT's avowed purpose, according to Bennett, is to "take to task those groups and individuals who fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the war we are facing." Ah, but it may not be just a "misunderstanding" on the part of people like me - for example - who oppose a US policy of global intervention. A full-page ad taken out by AVOT in the New York Times denounced not only bin Laden & Co. but those Americans on the home front . . . "Who are attempting to use this opportunity to promulgate their agenda of 'blame America first.' Both [internal and external] threats stem from either a hatred for the American ideals of freedom and equality or a misunderstanding of those ideals and their practice." . . . In a preemptive first strike, AVOT is going after these internal "threats" by compiling a list of professors, legislators, writers, and others whose zeal on behalf of our endless "war on terrorism" is deemed insufficient by the arbiters of the new political correctness. . . . but who are the real anti-Americans here? The AVOT website is filled with material that would lead the average casual visitor to think that this is a branch of the official Republican party: there is even a link to the White House. But a deeper probe reveals an undercurrent of … well, of anti-Americanism, albeit not of the traditional left-wing variety.

Nuclear arsenal upgrade planned 'Bunker buster' marks a shift in U.S. strategy
(Jonathan Weisman, USA TODAY, March 19, 2002)
Energy Department scientists will begin work next month on a new bunker-busting nuclear weapon that could mark the most significant advance in the U.S. nuclear arsenal in a decade. . . . Research into a weapon that could penetrate deeply buried structures, such as those designed to make nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, is a key part of President Bush's push to rejuvenate the U.S. nuclear weapons program. . . . Bush's father canceled the last major weapons research program, a short-range attack missile warhead, in 1991. He halted all new weapons research in 1992. . . . President Clinton shifted the nuclear weapons program from research, testing and production to dismantling warheads and ensuring the safety and reliability of older weapons without testing.

Posted March 18, 2002

Suddenly, it's cool to be rude about Dubya again
(Lawrence Donegan, The Observer, Sunday March 10, 2002)
As Stevie Wonder took the stage, the President started waving to the blind musician, only to drop his hand when he realised his mistake. 'I know I shouldn't have, but I started laughing,' one witness said. . . . That story was buried deep in the diary page of the Washington Post last week but its very appearance confirms that the post-11 September moratorium on poking fun at the President's inadequacies is over. Suddenly, it's cool to be rude about Dubya again. . . . 'Bush is amateurish and self-serving and, frankly, it's disgusting,' she [Sandra Bernhard] told her . . . audience. 'Everybody is covering their asses with the Enron scandal and it was very convenient that September 11 came along to deflect the fact that they should never have been in the White House in the first place. . . . Bruni's account reveals a welter of detail about Bush's immaturity which runs counter to the White House portrayal of serious, resolute 'leader of the free world'. . . . One of Bush's favourite campaign jokes was to put his hands on the head of bald reporters and shout, 'Heal!', Bruni recounts. . . . 'You've been a drunk, a thief, a possible felon, an unconvicted deserter and a cry baby... for the sake of all that is decent and sacred take leave immediately and bring some honour to your all-important family name,' he [Michael Moore] writes in Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation

Posted March 17, 2002

Axis Of Evil-- In Washington D.C.
(Edward Herman, Znet, March 16, 2002)
Coup d'etat president George W. Bush has designated three poor and unconnected states as an "axis of evil," . . . There IS a political axis of evil running strong in the United States that underpins the Bush regime, which includes the oil industry, military-industrial complex (MIC), other transnationals, and the Christian Right, all important contributors to the Bush electoral triumph, and each of which has high level representation in the administration including, besides Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, O'Neill and Ashcroft. This REAL axis of evil is using 9/11 and the "war on terrorism" to carry out its foreign and domestic agenda on a truly impressive scale, and so far without much impediment at home or abroad. . . . It represents the choice of an overpowerful country's elite, determined to consolidate their economic and political advantage in the short run, at whatever cost to global society. . . . "sensational appeals to patriotic pride and animosity made by victories and defeats...[helps] direct the popular interest to other, nobler, institutionally less hazardous matters than the unequal distribution of wealth or of creature comforts. Warlike and patriotic preoccupations fortify the barbarian virtues of subordination and prescriptive authority. . . . The Washington Axis is also pursuing a "war on the poor" that will merge easily into the "war on terrorism," as the poor will be driven to resist and resistance will be interpreted as terrorism. . . . At every level the Bush team has fought against the basics of democracy and attempted to concentrate unaccountable governmental authority in its own hands. Militarization itself is anti-democratic, but the team has attempted to loosen constraints on the CIA and police, reduce public access to every kind of information, and constrain free speech. . . . They have put in place a secret government and are moving the country toward a more openly authoritarian government, and, if they can keep it going, their planned open-ended war on terrorism should serve this end well.

Safe and Free in Times of Crisis: ACLU Says Terrorist Attacks Have Changed American Law, Society
(ACLU, March 8, 2002)
"Six months after September 11, much has fundamentally changed in America," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "Perhaps the most disturbing change is the government's apparent dismissal of the idea that our society can and must be both safe and free." . . . Specifically, the ACLU pointed to what it called an "ongoing pattern of erosion" of basic civil liberties in America in the name of unproven security measures. . . . the plan to monitor confidential attorney-client conversations, the selective enforcement of immigration law based on race . . . the USA PATRIOT Act and the often-unchecked powers it gave law enforcement agencies. . . . The plan announced earlier this week by Attorney General Ashcroft extends the neighborhood watches to include terrorism prevention, a move critics fear could fuel Cold War-style discrimination and censorship. . . . our government is unconstructively fear-mongering, and fueling the already rampant ethnic and religious scapegoating . . . Congress and the American people must carefully scrutinize actions that the government is taking -- actions that may limit our liberty without adding anything to our safety. . . . this wave of "anti-terrorist" activity has also launched one of the most serious civil liberties crises our nation has ever seen.

Bush says bin Laden no Threat: Options open against rogue states ... including nuclear weapons
(Marc Sandalow, truthout, March 14, 2002)
President Bush declared Osama bin Laden all but vanquished yesterday, saying the al Qaeda leader -- dead or alive -- no longer poses a serious threat to America. . . . Bush also refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against nations like Libya and Syria . . . Many view the Pentagon policy as a departure from a decades-old Cold War strategy of stockpiling nuclear weapons to deter a nuclear attack from other nuclear powers such as the Soviet Union. . . . On the violence in the Middle East: Bush made his strongest criticism of Israel's military offensive against Palestinians, led by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. . . . On the military's capability to fight the war against terrorism: "People shouldn't worry about a draft," Bush said. "We've got ample manpower to meet our needs" and "a vast coalition of nations [Editor's note: Can anyone name the members of this 'vast' coalition?] willing to lend their own manpower to the war."

We are Governed by Fear: An Interview with Congressman Dennis Kucinich
(Scott Galindez, t r u t h o u t, March 14, 2002)
Members of the Administration had retreated to bunkers outside Washington so that they could keep the government going. The bunker mentality I referred to in my speech represents the presence of security and police and national guards, the jersey barriers that are everywhere, where we have to literally negotiate a labyrinth of concrete barriers in order to go to vote. Aesthetically, it is unacceptable, but we're talking about politically, in terms of a democracy, that's definitely not the message that you get. This is architecture worthy of a different form of government, shall we say. . . . the level of security creates a mentality of caution, and an underlying sense of fear . . . it has a way of affecting consciousness, like a virus can adversely affect a healthy organism . . . We have circumstances that are not conducive to healthy decision-making in a democratic society. . . . And the release of the report [stating that U.S. policy includes a 'first strike' use of nuclear weapons] - which I have no doubt came from the Administration itself - was still another attempt to heighten the level of fear in the country and make it impossible for people to be able to make rational decisions as to what their own interest might be. . . . Now it's the United States trying to seize the highest ground in the universe, space. It is not our business to do. There is no other nation that has the capacity to mount an attack against the United States from space. So, what's this about? . . . we are organizing a whole new approach to create a new political movement in this country. If you want to keep your eyes at our site,-- which is http://www.thespiritoffreedom.com . . . We have so much to do. Yet, society is becoming militarized.

Shays-Kucinich: "Theological Fascination With Missile Defense," - Lawmakers Doubt Need for Defense Plan
(The Associated Press, March 12, 2002)
Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the Bush administration's spending on missile defense, arguing that a terrorist is more likely to attack by truck or by boat. . . . "We can't afford to waste billions of dollars" because of the Bush administration's "theological fascination with missile defense," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. "No threat assessment exists to justify the spending." . . . U.S. intelligence agencies say it is far more likely that a bomb would be delivered by a truck or a boat than by a ballistic missile. . . . Kucinich also railed against recent administration comments that the United States might use a nuclear weapon in a first strike, calling it the "height of immorality ... to throw that stuff around as if it were casual locker-room banter." . . . "People are playing with the apocalypse," said Kucinich, top Democrat on the national security subcommittee. "These are doomsday scenarios ... (and) it needs to be challenged."

There is an echo of imperial Rome in Bush's war capital
(Martin Woollacott, The Guardian, March 15, 2002)
The wartime capital that is Washington today is a strange place. . . . Yet, as if that was what the Dubya of his middle initial now stands for, the word "war" itself is rarely off the president's lips, or those of his ministers and advisers. . . . The president thus uses "the war" as a sort of broom for sweeping aside the opposition on all kinds of issues . . . But if the administration is at war, it is less than clear that the American people feel themselves to be fully engaged. . . . But the fighting now, whether in Afghanistan or the occupied territories or in Iraq or elsewhere in the future, is or will be in distant parts. It is being prosecuted, as far as Americans are concerned, by a professional and not a conscript army. It is being directed, in Washington, by a secretive government, one which even neglected to properly inform its own party, let alone the opposition, about the setting up of a shadow administration . . . The strategy is being shaped by a small inner group who offer no logical connection, to take the prime example, between the campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida and a possible invasion of Iraq, while denying all connection between American support for the Sharon government and the disaffection of the Arab world. . . . "They are riding a wave of military patriotism," according to Anatol Lieven of the Carnegie Foundation, "and utilising it for their own purposes, first for knocking down America's rivals abroad and second to win elections at home." . . . The other issue on which serious debate has been largely avoided in this wartime capital is American support of the Sharon government. The overwhelmingly strong argument that Sharon's policies were and are a disaster for Israel, for the Palestinians, and for the US has never been properly put. Instead the terms of the American debate have been largely set by the Israeli right.



Witnesses seek immunity, open hearings to end government coverup
(Billy Cox, Florida Today, May 20, 2001)
Witness after witness - many of them retired military and government officials - stepped forward to accuse the government of erecting a 50-year cover-up through intimidation around unidentified flying objects. Among the most troubling scraps of evidence were documents and witness accounts of UFOs destabilizing advanced weapons systems, including the shutdown of nuclear missiles inside ICBM silos. . . . "We have existed in a national security state since 1947 with the creation of the National Security Act," said Sheehan, who went on to declare that former chief executive George Bush had sabotaged President Carter's efforts to access classified UFO files when the former still was CIA director. . . . It was called the Disclosure Project, and it went on for nearly three hours, with each witness telling the media audience they wanted to submit open testimony to Capitol Hill under oath. . . . Michael Smith, a retired Air Force sergeant, said he was astounded by the capabilities of a UFO that showed up on his early-warning radar when he was stationed near Klamath Falls, Ore., in 1970. It hovered at 80,000 feet for 10 minutes, then reappeared 200 miles from its initial location within a single sweep of the radar scan. When he queried the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Smith was told, "you keep it to yourself." . . . Greer said he was satisfied with the screening process. "This field is filled with hoaxes and scams," he said. "But it doesn't mean that all of it is. In fact, after eight years of research, we have found the documents and insiders willing to testify under oath before Congress that this is true."

Posted March 15, 2002

New Security Devices at Fla. Airport
Mike Branom, Associated Press, Mar 15, 2002)
The airport security systems of the future can see through clothes for weapons, sniff a person for explosives and determine what's in a bottle without opening it. . . . That future has landed at Orlando International Airport, as six prototype security systems will begin operation over the next few days. . . . The scanner that can see through clothes leaves nothing to the imagination, and the bomb sniffer also can test for drugs. Both of these systems concern civil liberties advocates that these searches may go too far. . . . One system, the Rapiscan Secure 1000, uses low-energy X-rays to search a person through clothing. When Rapiscan project manager Bryan Allman scanned himself, detected was a plastic knife hidden in his shirt pocket. . . . However, the outline of his body - every inch of it - also was clearly visible. Perhaps proving the machine's revealing nature, airport officials refused to put a woman in the scanner. . . . The potential for complaints about the invasiveness of the search didn't seem to bother Allman. . . . "Everybody has to learn that the world has changed since Sept. 11, and the world needs a much more thorough type of screening," Allman said. . . . But the American Civil Liberties Union says the scan is too intrusive. . . . "This, of course, is a virtual strip-search," ACLU associate director Barry Steinhardt said. "There's no question this has tremendous potential for embarrassment." . . . The Ionscan also can be quickly adjusted to test for 60 types of drug residue, which Hood praised as a bonus stemming from the war on terrorism. "The ability to use technology to be able to stop some of the drug trafficking, we're always looking for the opportunity to deal with that war, as well," Hood said.

Much of U.S. in Grip of Dangerous Drought
(FoxNews, March 15, 2002)
Gripped by drought, states from the Atlantic Ocean nearly to the Pacific have become a veritable tinderbox ready for the spark - and there's no relief in sight, weather forecasters said Thursday. . . . In New York City, reservoir levels are at 50 percent below normal. Rain and snowfall in Washington, D.C., is 70 percent below normal for the September to February period, a 13-inch deficit. Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Arizona and Massachusetts posted their driest September-to-February period ever. . . . "This is comparable to missing a full year of rain," National Weather Service Director Jack Kelly said. . . . "Water supply forecasts are also bleak for parts of the West. In some areas, snow cover is only half of the normal and forecasts indicate flows on rivers, critical to meeting water supply needs, are also expected to be half of normal," Kelly said.

Lawmakers Slam White House 'Attitude Problem'
(Reuters, March 15, 2002)
White House Budget Director Mitch Daniels apologized for any "inadvertent" impression created that the White House was slighting Congress' constitutional role . . . That anger has been fed by Ridge's refusal to testify on how the tens of billions of dollars set aside for U.S. homeland security efforts are being spent. The White House maintains he does not have to appear before Congress because he is a presidential adviser, not a Cabinet secretary or agency head. . . . "I have to be direct, I am dissatisfied with both the quantity and quality of information coming out of the administration as it relates to homeland security," said Oklahoma Republican Rep. Ernest Istook, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee on Treasury and General Government, which controls the White House's budget. . . . "I hope that the lack of necessary information does not compel us to withhold funds for the priorities established by the president," he said. . . . Obey added, "No information, no money." . . . "There are transcendent priorities; the protection of America and the defeat of a foe that's out to harm us," he said. "Individual and provincial and territorial priorities, however important they may be in isolation, may have to give way this year, will have to give way."


Posted March 14, 2002

Am I 'Anti-American'? (A voice from the right)
By Joseph Sobran
How did I go from being superpatriotic to being anti-American, or even, as some have called me, "treasonous"? I haven't joined the Taliban, endorsed terrorism, waged war against the United States, taken bribes from foreign governments, or sold sensitive military secrets to Chinese or Russian spies. Wherein, then, have I offended? . . . That's easy. I haven't joined in the spirit of primitive patriotism that is expected of us in wartime. In fact I deny that such patriotism deserves to be honored as patriotism. . . . If, for example, you think the U.S. Government should abide by the Constitution even during wartime, you are [called] anti-American. If you think the government should at least declare war before waging it, you are [called] anti-American. If you deprecate a war that hurts and kills innocent people without achieving its stated goals, you are [called] anti-American. . . . That's not all. If you judge your own country's government by the same standards that you apply to other countries' governments, you are [called] anti-American. If you think America is not immune to the sins that have often afflicted other countries, you are [called] anti-American. If you think our government has made us enemies we don't need, you are [called] anti-American. . . . If you think that even America's "good wars" - the Civil War and World War II - had terribly tragic results for this country and the world, you are [called] anti-American. . . . So if you consider the ruin of a noble experiment in limited government "Americanism," just set me down as anti-American.

Does anyone have a picture of the plane that hit the Pentagon?
As everyone knows, on 11 September, less than an hour after the attack on the World Trade Centre, an airplane collided with the Pentagon. The Associated Press first reported that a booby-trapped truck had caused the explosion. The Pentagon quickly denied this. The official US government version of events still holds. Here's a little game for you: Take a look at these photographs and try to find evidence to corroborate the official version. It's up to you to Hunt the Boeing!

National Missile Defense: Blowing The Whistle On Bad Science
(Arianna Huffington, March 14, 2002)
as is made clear in a classified Pentagon report leaked last week detailing the Bush administration's willingness to significantly lower the threshold for going nuclear. Apparently the bar has now been set at "in the event of surprising military developments." But as recent events in the Shah-i-Kot Valley proved, there are rarely any other kind. So this pretty much means "at the will of the president." . . . Last week also saw the release of a report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) that details how the Pentagon, two major military contractors, TRW and Boeing, and a team of high-powered MIT scientists fabricated the success of the nation's first missile defense test -- turning an embarrassing failure into a phony triumph. . . . "As an adopted citizen of this beautiful country," she told me, "I would do anything to be able to protect what I love so dearly. But we've wasted a decade, and billions of dollars, in a quest for a missile defense shield based on a technology that will never work." . . . Her commitment to exposing the truth has come at a high price. A gifted scientist with a Ph.D. in physics and engineering, and the holder of 24 United States patents, Schwartz has found herself effectively blackballed since filing her suit -- unable to land a job in her field despite having sent out over 300 resumes. . . . "She is definitely a hero," Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), who has requested a Congressional hearing on this issue, told me. "She's like a 21st Century Paul Revere who is warning that this fundamentally flawed technology will not protect the American people, and at the same time it's being used to destroy the ABM treaty."


Posted March 13, 2002

Backward on Global Warming
(New York Times, February 16, 2002)
The obvious conclusion to be drawn from President Bush's latest global warming strategy, unveiled this week, is that he does not regard warming as a problem. There seems no other way to interpret a policy that would actually increase the gases responsible for heating the earth's atmosphere. That the policy demands little from the American people, while insulting allies who have agreed to take tough steps to deal with the problem, only adds to one's sense of dismay. . . . The White House described Mr. Bush's strategy as aggressive and bold. The only thing bold about it are accounting tactics worthy of Enron that are designed to make an increase in emissions look like a decrease. . . . Mr. Bush's long-awaited substitute for Kyoto is a disappointment. The essence of his strategy is a concept that seems to have been minted for the occasion, called "emissions intensity," under which carbon dioxide pollution would be allowed to grow, but at a slower rate than economic output. That sounds attractive, but it misses the point. The buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, already alarmingly high, is a cumulative process. Thus the name of the game is to stop adding new emissions to the vast amounts already up there, not simply to slow their growth. . . . We cannot abandon existing law for a promise. Meanwhile, Congress is obliged to do something, and soon, to develop a credible national strategy on global warming. On this score Mr. Bush has fallen well short of the mark.

Posted March 12, 2002

San Diego police raid book signing for Stupid White Men
(Michael Moore, March 11, 2002)
It's a few minutes before midnight, on Friday night on 3/8/2002. I'm in San Diego, and I have just escaped being arrested by the San Diego police. . . . In the past six days, I have spoken to 15 separate mobs of people. I don't know what other word to use because, quite simply, wherever I go, there is this unbelievable pandemonium. Every day, every night, hundreds -- or thousands -- jam themselves into halls, arenas, churches, auditoriums to listen to me talk about my book and whatever else is struggling to make its way through my brain. Forget about standing room only -- these venues look more like breathing room only. . . . And then there was San Diego. . . . Over a thousand people are packed inside the 800-seat auditorium. Outside, another thousand people are on the lawn trying to get in. The traffic on the street is tied up and the stream of San Diegoans keeps filing up the sidewalk. . . . Somewhere around 11:30pm, I hear a commotion at the back of the auditorium. I see people start to scatter. The San Diego police are coming down the aisle, their large flashlights out (the auditorium lights are still on, so we all understand the implied "other" use of these instruments). The police are telling everyone to "VACATE THESE PREMISES IMMEDIATELY OR YOU WILL ALL BE ARRESTED!" I cannot believe what I am hearing. "YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANOTHER WARNING. LEAVE NOW -- OR FACE ARREST!" . . . I have never been arrested, strange as that may seem. I could not believe that, of all I have done, all I have stood for over the years, that it has come down to this -- and I was about to be hauled away for autographing books! . . . "OK," I said. "We'll leave." I then mumbled something about the last time I checked, this was still the United States of America -- even if we were just five miles away from where it ends. They escorted me and the few remaining souls out of the building. . . . I finish the last book and hop in my sister's car. She remembers to give me a plaque that had been presented to me in abstentia (while I was outside talking to the people who couldn't get in). It was from the city councilwoman from the area of San Diego we were in. It read "Official Proclamation: City of San Diego Declares -- March 9, 2002, 'Michael Moore Day.'" . . . "Maybe we should have shown this to the cops, " she says. [Full text of Michael's letter]

What to do if your local bookstore says Michael Moore's new book is out of stock
[The following is from the P.S. to the above email sent by Michael Moore] “I have heard from so many of you about how hard it is to find my book in the bookstores. It's true -- the book does not exist in most stores. Yet it is #1 in most cities across the country on the bestseller lists. I don't get it. HarperCollins has been very slow to print books and get them out there. Why this is, I do not know. No doubt they have been caught by surprise with the overwhelming response to the book. You can't really blame them -- they thought the "president" had an 80% approval rating. Bookstore owners have been desperately pleading with me to help them get books shipped to their stores. I called HarperCollins, and their official line is that "There are plenty of books out there and the book has never been out of stock." Everything that I and others have personally seen says the exact opposite. So, I need your help. If you go to a bookstore and they don't have the book, please send an email to HarperCollins at

http://www.harpercollins.com/hc/aboutus/contactus.asp

... and be sure to c.c. me at ... StupidWhiteMen@aol.com

Hopefully, this will help. You can also call the Customer Service Hotline at ...800.242.7737 (Punch in 1,1,0 to get to message center.)”

Or click here to order Stupid Whitee Men directly from Amazon

 

Shades of COINTELPRO !
Denver Police Keeping Illegal Files
Robert Weller, Associated Press, Tue Mar 12,11:09 AM ET)
DENVER (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the Denver Police Department of keeping illegal files on peaceful protest groups including Amnesty International and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning American Friends Service Committee. . . . "These are a small sampling of documents we have that show Denver police are monitoring peaceful protest activities of individuals and law-abiding groups," . . . Stephen B. Nash, who was identified in one of the files as an event organizer for Amnesty International, said police could not say the files were needed for security because of the Sept. 11 attacks. "My file goes back to 2000, well before Sept. 11," Nash said. . . . The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group, "acts in the best tradition of nonviolence," said Barry Leaman-Miller, who was identified in one file as a member of the "American Friends Service Committee (criminal extremist G)." There was no immediate explanation for the "criminal extremist" note. . . . Among the events mentioned in the files were a protest of an Italian-led parade honoring Columbus, protests of a killing by a police SWAT team that went to the wrong house, protests against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank , and demonstrations by the Chiapas Coalition against alleged civil rights violations in Mexico's poorest state. "This is really outrageous to me ... since Sept. 11 immigration equals terrorism," said Luis Espinosa, a member of the Chiapas group.

Nepotism in Washington
In Appointments, Administration Leaves No Family Behind
(Dana Milbank, The Washington Post, Tuesday, March 12, 2002; Page A19)
Two weeks ago, the State Department announced that Elizabeth Cheney, the vice president's daughter, would become a deputy assistant secretary of state. Her husband, Philip Perry, last week left the Justice Department to become chief counsel for the Office of Management and Budget. There, Cheney's son-in-law will join OMB Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., whose sister, Deborah Daniels, is an assistant attorney general. . . . That's just the beginning. . . . The Bush administration bloodlines begin at the top and flow through the rank and file. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is the father of Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. . . . Some appointments have brought questions of nepotism. Federal law, passed after Robert F. Kennedy was made his brother's attorney general, requires that "a public official may not appoint, employ, promote [or] advance" a relative in an agency "in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control."

Lawmakers Question Need for Missile Defense, Criticize Administration Over First-Strike Comments
(Carolyn Skorneck, Associated Press Writer, Mar 12, 2002)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the Bush administration's spending on missile defense, arguing that a terrorist is more likely to attack by truck or by boat. . . . "Why would someone send a missile when they can just put it in a suitcase?" Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., asked a panel of experts at a hearing on protecting the United States from terrorism. "It's inexcusable for this administration not to recognize that possibility and act on it." . . . "We can't afford to waste billions of dollars" because of the Bush administration's "theological fascination with missile defense," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. "No threat assessment exists to justify the spending." . . . U.S. intelligence agencies say it is far more likely that a bomb would be delivered by a truck or a boat than by a ballistic missile. A non-missile attack would be cheaper and more reliable and it could not be traced easily to the country responsible. . . . "People are playing with the apocalypse," said Kucinich, top Democrat on the national security subcommittee. "These are doomsday scenarios ... (and) it needs to be challenged."


Posted March 10, 2002

Investigator: EPA not properly testing WTC air
(CNN.com, February 24, 2002)
One of the agency's own says EPA providing false info.
"I believe EPA did not do that because they knew it would come up not safe and so they are involved in providing knowingly false information to the public about safety," said Hugh Kaufman, chief investigator for the EPA's Ombudsman Office, at a public hearing Saturday with scientists, residents, and small business owners. . . . "Not just EPA, the state and the city, too," he said. "We also had testimonies that all the agencies -- local, state, and federal -- have been consorting together every week to discuss these issues." . . . Kaufman has said earlier this month that he believes the air quality at Ground Zero is worse than the EPA will admit, and that he believes the agency has been misleading the public about the inherent risks for residents and workers in the area.

Food Irradiation Threatens Public Health, National Security
(Samuel Epstein, M.D., Environmental News Service, March 8, 2002)
Consumers are wary of irradiated food, and with good reason even if they don't understand the dangers involved. Irradiated meat is a very different product from cooked meat. . . . As well documented since the 1960s, these massive doses of ionizing radiation produce profound chemical changes in meat. These include elevated levels of the carcinogenic chemical benzene, and also the production of unique new chemicals, known as radiolytic products, some of which have been implicated as carcinogenic. . . . Food irradiation plants pose grave dangers to national security. They are relatively small, unregulated, and unlikely to be secure. As such, they are highly vulnerable to sabotage. . . . Of particular current concern are terrorist attacks to steal radioactive cobalt pellets. These could be mixed with conventional explosives to produce so-called "dirty bombs," whose effects could be devastating. . . . Rather than sanitizing the label in response to special interests, Congress should focus on sanitation, not irradiation of the nation's food supply.

Posted March 7, 2002

Instant Runoff” Elections (Prop A) wins 56% - 44% in San Francisco. In a hard-fought campaign against big money and well organized opponents, Proposition A sailed through to victory in the recent California elections. This is truly a people's measure, and it will bring voter's rights in the U.S. a step closer to the democratic ideal. One of the tactics used by supporters of this proposition was to leverage the power of the Internet to counter-balance the large sums of money opponents spent on traditional political advertisements.

[from the Prop A website] Proposition A completes our elections in November so we don't have to hold a second election in December. This has several advantages:

  • Saves tax dollars, up to $2 million per year
  • Frees voters from having to deal with elections in December
  • Raises voter turnout. Turnout dropped by nearly 50% in December 2000.
  • Supports campaign finance reform, since candidates don't have to raise more money for a second election.
  • Reduces negative campaigning. With Prop A, candidates have incentive to build and mobilize voters instead of tearing down their opponents.

 

Runaway Best Seller: Michael Moore's new book is a national sensation

Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list this week, and at #1 on the Publisher's Weekly nonfiction bestseller list for independent bookstores. It's still #1 for all books on Amazon, and, my personal favorite for a good laugh, #4 on the bestseller list for the Wall Street Journal. By the fifth day of release, the book had gone into its 9th printing. . . . Last night in Santa Rosa, at the local high school, they had a thousand people packed inside and another 500 out on the lawn who couldn't get in. It's like this in all the places I visit. Hundreds, thousands, turning out to discuss all the sorry excuses for the state of the nation. . . . People have had it with keeping silent for the past 6 months. They resent having felt like if they chose to question what the government is up to or, God forbid, dissent, they would somehow be considered unpatriotic.

Also, be sure to read Michael Moore's letter to George W. Bush

. . . and don't miss the story about his near-arrest in San Diego

 

Posted March 5, 2002

Bush forms Secret Government, does not tell Democrats
White House says Congress informed of shadow government plans
(Ron Fournier, YahooNews, Mar 5,11:19 AM)
President Bush's spokesman disputed complaints from lawmakers who said they were not informed that the administration had established a "shadow government" outside Washington in case nuclear-armed terrorists strike the nation's capital. . . . He did not reveal what lawmakers or legislative aides were advised of the plans, which include housing 75 to 150 senior administration officials in secure underground facilities. The officials rotate in and out of the secret sites, spending days at a time away from friends and family, to ensure that top government officials survive an attack on Washington. . . . A spokesman for Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., who as Senate president pro tempore follows Hastert in the line of succession, knew nothing about the plans, said Byrd spokesman Tom Gavin. . . . "Senator Byrd has not been briefed and neither has his staff," Gavin said. . . . Daschle's remarks were part of a broader complaint about the administration's efforts to keep Congress informed about the war's developments, including plans to expand beyond Afghanistan.

Posted March 4, 2002

The Caligulian American Justice System--U.N. Intervention is Necessary
(By John Stanton and Wayne Madsen)
At this critical moment in U.S. history when the American justice system is needed to stem the tide of American totalitarianism, it finds itself incapable of doing so. . . . High school students in America know that the right amount of money and influence can buy a favorable decision, a legislative loophole, timeshare at a low security Federal Prison Camp, and even the US presidency as the Election of 2000 demonstrated. . . . The notorious Roman emperor Caligula would have marveled at the viciousness of these monstrous creations [the War on Drugs and the War on Terror] and relished the opportunity to wield these weapons against the population. . . . Each day, the National Guard is involved in 1,300 counterdrug operations and has approximately 4,000 troops on duty. Without warning or prior notification to civilian authorities, the U.S. military will 'mock' invade communities across America, often causing panic, and in some cases, death. . . . According to groups as diverse as the Christian evangelical Operation Starting Line and Human Rights Watch, the American Panopticon houses 6 million people in some form of 'correctional supervision -- incarceration, probation or parole'. . . . those numbers give the U.S. the horrific distinction of having the 'highest per capita incarceration rate in the history of the world'. . . . The disproportionate number of minorities living and working in the American Panopticon is nothing short of criminal. . . . Considering the fact that the Bush administration installed John P. Walters as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, investors can look upon private prisons and their population as a growth industry . . . Like his predecessor, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Walters seems more interested in recruiting more slave laborers for America's prison-industrial complex. . . . With recent revelations that the Bush administration set about to create a secret shadow government in two underground bunkers near Washington, it is worth looking at the history of U.S. government list keeping and plans to incarcerate political subversives. . . . The USA PATRIOT Act, drawn up in a frenzy only matched in history by the scrapping of the German Constitution in the wake of the Reichstag Fire, certainly criminalizes a range of what can be construed as 'political crimes against The State. The State's prison-industrial complex, therefore, stands to benefit from a whole new population of 'criminal.' . . . The United Nations must recognize that one of its founding members is drifting dangerously towards totalitarianism -- a prospect that endangers the peace and freedom of the entire world. Perhaps it's time they intervene.

Posted March 1, 2002

The Enron-Cheney-Taliban Connection? (Ron Callari, Albion Monitor, February 28, 2002)

The coverups are still very much a mystery. What were the documents that were fed into the shredder -- even after the corporation declared bankruptcy? What is the White House fighting to keep secret . . .Was a deal in Afghanistan part of a desperate last-ditch "end run" to bail out Enron? . . . In 1997, Enron announced that it was going to spend over $1 billion building and improving the lines between the Dabhol plant and India's network of gas pipelines. . . . There was one gotcha: It looked like the trans-Afghan section of the pipeline might never be built. Afghanistan was controlled by religious extremists who didn't want to cooperate. . . . By the time George W. became president, the India project was in serious trouble. Enron's reputation as a bully in India was legion. . . . Scarcely a month after Bush moves into the White House, Vice President Cheney has his first secret meeting with Ken Lay and other Enron executives on February 22, 2001. . . . It's clear the Cheney had his own conflicts of interest with Enron. A chief benefactor in the trans-Caspian pipeline deal would have been Halliburton, the huge oil pipeline construction firm which was previously headed by Cheney. After Cheney's selection as Bush's Vice Presidential candidate, Halliburton also contributed a huge amount of cash into the Bush-Cheney campaign coffers. . . . Until there is a full investigation, questions will remain about how far the Bush team went to try to save their buddies at Enron. Vice President Dick Cheney's refusal to release details about his private April meeting with Lay is suspicious. It is already known that Cheney accepted seven out of eight national energy policy recommendations made by Lay; so what are they so damned determined to keep secret? What could be more incriminating than that? . . . Is the White House covering up that it was molding foreign policy as well as energy policy to suit Enron? Did the Bush Administration know that Enron's collapse was coming as early as August? If any of these are true, the largest bankruptcy in American history may well connect with the greatest political scandal in American history.

Posted February 27, 2002

Enron and the Myths of Runaway Capitalism (Marjorie Kelly, from Alternet.org, February 20, 2002)
It's about many gut-level issues that confront us: corporate control of politics, executives getting rich while their company sinks, employees laid off by the thousands, 401(k) plans tanking, messes left by deregulation, a corporate board asleep at the switch. All are themes in the Enron soap opera, yet not one is unique to Enron. The problems the scandal reveals are systemic. . . . The most basic issues of Enron are system issues. These come down to two, not unrelated truths: 1) The ideal of the unregulated free market is flawed, and it's time we said goodbye to the invisible hand. 2) Managing a company solely for maximum share price can destroy both share price and the entire company. . . . Why did the system design lend so much power to greed? Because doing so was in the interest of the financial elite, including Enron executives and Wall Street. Lay and Skilling both were "laser-focused" on shareholder gain . . . A federal contractor responsibility rule could prohibit the government from contracting with egregious corporate law-breakers. Such a rule was put in place by President Clinton as he left office, but was overturned by President Bush.

Marjorie Kelly is a founder and editor of Business Ethics magazine. Her recent book, The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy, is one of the most important books of the year and should be read by anyone who either works for a corporation or invests in the stock market.


American Democracy: R.I.P - The Emergence of the Fascist American Theocratic State (John Stanton and Wayne Madsen, February 10, 2002)
This new fascist era was designed and implemented primarily by Republican organizations and individuals who funded, supported and ultimately inserted George Bush II in office. Equally complicit in this atrocity was the Democratic Party, itself having become corrupt and beholden to its own interests. But the greatest tragedy in this horrific turn of events was that the public and media embraced fascism's coming. . . . an inaptly named USA PATRIOT Act and the establishment of US Military Tribunals would be enacted in the same lightning fashion as when Adolph Hitler scrapped the German Constitution in the wake of the 1933 Reichstag fire. . . . the FBI began scanning the Internet for web sites that contained what The State considered seditious and unpatriotic content and, in a few cases, began shutting them down in a sort of cyberspace version of Nazi book burning. . . . This hypocrisy and the overarching influence of oil over The State's foreign policy is described in a new book (See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism) by ex-CIA agent Robert Baer, a veteran covert operator in the Islamic world. He states that he found "that the tentacles of big oil stretch from the Caspian Sea to the White House." . . . Big Oil would convince the Bush administration to turn an ill-advised and ineffective counter-drug war in Colombia into a counter-insurgency operation aimed at protecting the pipelines of US oil companies. . . . Government officials would proclaim on many occasions that any dissent to and from the government's initiatives would be branded as unpatriotic and terrorist. In that environment thousands of Americans and those of color were pilloried by the government and their fellow citizens for questioning The State's actions. Demonstrators who opposed the corporate power grab in a world that ignored labor and social protections were described as commercial and economic terrorists. The White House Press Secretary urged Americans to watch what they say and do in response to barbs by a television comedian. . . . The State's sanctioned religion was literal biblical paternalism, militant in its own way. In this environment it was no surprise that women, once again, lost dominion over themselves and their wombs as the state proclaimed the unborn, born, and subject to The State.


Ashcroft Scolded Over MS Case (Reuters/WiredNews.com)
A senior House Democrat said on Thursday that Attorney General John Ashcroft should have recused himself from the Microsoft antitrust case just as he did from the investigation of collapsed energy giant Enron. . . . noting that Ashcroft had received $20,000 worth of contributions from the software giant during the 2000 election. In November the Justice Department agreed to settle the case against Micosoft after the company agreed to measures designed to give computer makers more flexibility to configure the software on the machines they sell. However, the settlement has since come under attack from some consumer groups and some Democrats in Congress who say the settlement is weak and ineffectual. Nine of the 18 state attorneys general in the case have refused to sign on to the deal and are continuing to press for stricter sanctions. . . . Conyers has expressed concern that the Microsoft case had been subjected to "inappropriate political influence."


The Invisible Whiteness of the Olympic Beer Riot (Tim Wise, Alternet.org, February 25, 2002)
That the coverage of the Olympic "beer riot" was decidedly different than that for any riot ever led by people of color goes without saying. . . . Naturally, the racial identity of the Salt Lake rioters passed without mention in the press, and probably without notice by most Americans, in a way it most assuredly would not have -- in fact never does -- when the shoe is on a darker foot. When "they" tear things up and attack police we call them thugs and animals. But when we do it, we're just "hooligans," or perhaps "out of control youth," caught up in the moment. . . . Since the mid-'90s, white riots have occurred on more than twenty college campuses, mostly as the result of crackdowns on underage drinking or earlier closing times for local bars. Whites also have taken to rioting as the result of college football or basketball games. Unlike people of color, who at least choose important issues to raise hell over -- like police brutality, poverty and racism -- we whites lose our minds over the twin oppressions of cover charges and midnight last-calls. . . . For whites, drinking and rioting are merely two more things we can do without facing the risk or stigma encountered by people of color who might do the same things.


The Most Dangerous President: Pro-Oil, Pro-Israel, Anti-World (Mohamed Khodr, Media Monitors Network, September 22, 2002)
Bush's Military-Industrial-Energy Complex (The Real Axis of Evil) saw an opportunity to bleed the trillions of dollars of surplus to enrich themselves by sky rocketing the defense budget while the war in Afghanistan presented him with the unheard of opportunity to establish permanent military bases in nations around the treasured Caspian Sea oil and gas reserves. The Christian Coalition seized the opportunity to further their Anti-Islamic agenda in the goal of containing the 'Islamic threat.' But more importantly they saw an opportunity to further support Israel and Sharon's plan to totally transfer and/or eliminate Palestinians from the occupied territories thereby establishing Israel over the entire holy land, thus expediting their vision of Christ's Second coming. . . . Just as Bush's father, the former President said: 'We're doing the Lord's Work' when meeting with the troops after Desert Storm (Hitler also uttered the same words when justifying the Holocaust), it seems Junior has found his 'Lord's Work' too. It doesn't hurt if one also gets rich along the way of the new 'Crusade.'

 


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