JULY 11-1, 02 Archives

E-mail this page link

11 July As civilized countries move out of the darkness into the light, giving their people more freedom of choice, America moves backward toward repression, control, and punishment. Marijuana has been decriminalized in most of the democratic countries of Europe, the Netherlands, and in Canada. Only the more extreme right wing governments continue their attacks on the personal liberties of their people.
Cannabis laws eased by Blunkett 11 July, 2002 Cannabis is to be reclassified as a less dangerous drug to free-up police resources to fight hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, Home Secretary David Blunkett has announced. He unveiled the controversial measure in the House of Commons just hours after the government's former "drugs czar" Keith Hellawell said he had quit his role as a government adviser in protest. It came shortly after Tony Blair defended the move during prime minister's question time. Mr Blunkett also announced that the controversial cannabis experiment, currently under way in London's Brixton, would be extended across London. The decision to reclassify cannabis was in response to a report by MPs arguing that drugs policy should focus on tackling the problems caused by heroin addicts. bbc.co.uk

Judicial Watch Suing Cheney Halliburton’s accounting practices to be challenged MIAMI, July 10 — Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton Co., the oil company he ran for five years, are being accused of accounting fraud by a watchdog group. Washington Based JUDICIAL WATCH said it would file a shareholder lawsuit on Wednesday against Cheney and Halliburton. Cheney was chairman and chief executive of the oil field-services giant from 1995 to 2000. Halliburton announced on May 28 that it received notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission that the commission was looking into Halliburton’s accounting methods — adopted in 1998 — for reporting cost overruns on construction jobs. The SEC has not filed any charges against Halliburton. Judicial Watch alleges those accounting practices resulted in the overvaluation of Halliburton’s shares, deceiving investors. “We’re seeking actual and punitive damages for allegations of securities fraud, for changing accounting practices and not advising the public of these changes,” Judicial Watch chairman and general counsel Larry Klayman said Tuesday night in Miami. Messages seeking comment from Cheney and the White House were not immediately returned late Tuesday. msnbc.com

Bush speech leaves Wall Street doubting July 10, 2002 By Reuters Wall Street on Tuesday voiced skepticism about President George W. Bush's proposals on accounting reform, saying strong words alone are not enough to allay deep distrust of corporate America. "If we actually saw some guys go to prison for these scandals--that would do something," said Bev Hendry, portfolio manager at Phoenix-Aberdeen. "We need more action, less talk. These things take a long, long time to be enacted." Bush, the first president with a master's degree in business, traveled to the heart of Wall Street to recommend more jail time for those convicted of corporate fraud and other proposals aimed at restoring confidence battered by waves of accounting scandals and executive wrongdoing. news.com.com news.com.com

Daschle seeks SEC file on Bush
July 10, 2002 - Democrat requests release of data on 10-year-old stock trading probe - Washington -- Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle called Sunday on the Securities and Exchange Commission to release the file of its decade-old investigation into possible insider trading by President Bush when he was a corporate director of a Texas energy company. Democrats also stepped up their attacks on Bush's top appointee to the watchdog agency, as House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi urged Bush to fire SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt because of his past work as a lobbyist for the accounting industry. sfgate.com

Bush jibe angers black leaders
July 10, 2002 Matthew Engel Relations between the White House and black American leaders slumped to a new low yesterday after President Bush gave a dismissive answer when asked why he was not addressing the convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples, the most respected black pressure group in the US. At his press conference on Monday night, Mr Bush answered: "Let's see. There I was sitting around the table with foreign leaders looking at Colin Powell and Condi Rice _ " His voice then trailed away, he shook his head and moved on to the next question; the implication being that two black people in his inner circle was a substitute for outreach to the rest of the community. His words were certain to cause outrage, and seemed an uncharacteristic piece of political ineptitude. "You can't be president of all the people when you only want to be president for some of the people," said the NAACP chief executive, Kweisi Mfume. guardian.co.uk

US preparing full-scale invasion of Iraq 10 July 2002 By Bill Vann Recently leaked Pentagon documents as well as reports on strategic preparations by the US military indicate that the Bush administration is preparing a massive invasion of Iraq within the next several months. Such a war would rank as one of the great imperialist crimes of the century—an unprovoked attack by the world’s biggest military power against a nation that has been ravaged by more than a decade of sanctions and subjected to unceasing military and political provocations. Washington’s basic war aims, behind the rhetoric about “weapons of mass destruction” and the “war on terrorism,” are entirely predatory. The US wants to seize control of Iraq’s oilfields and turn the country into an American protectorate. President Bush again threatened military action against the Arab nation at a July 8 White House press conference, declaring, “It is the stated policy of this government to have a regime change ... and we’ll use all the tools at our disposal to do so.” These “tools” are being readied. The Pentagon has placed record orders for precision-guided munitions, the so-called “smart bombs” that allow US forces to rain death and destruction on virtually defenseless peoples from many miles away. wsws.org

Welcome to Bush's 1984 July 9, 2002 by Clay Evans When I read that the Bush administration's proposal for a labyrinthine "Department of Homeland Security" included an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act, a thought that had been scratching the back of my mind like an industrious mouse scurried into the open: There is something Orwellian about the amorphous "war on terrorism." The proposed new department would combine 22 federal agencies and have more armed agents than any other agency. But the Bush administration doesn't want you to be able to find out what the hell it's doing. National security, you know. This and constantly trotting out "the war" as justification for whatever the Bush crowd wants to do reminded me of Orwell's anti-totalitarian classic, "1984." I don't want to overstate the case, but flipping though my old paperback, there are creepy similarities. In the nightmare world of Orwell's 1984, "Airstrip One" (aka England) is ruled by an all-powerful Party, and is in a constant state of war; the Party's motto reads, in part, "WAR IS PEACE." But the "enemy" shifts all the time between two distant nations, Eastasia and Eurasia. Not unlike Bush's slowly expanding "axis of evil." commondreams.org

The Declaration of Independence
... from Dubya July 9, 2002 BY JOHN SUGG (With apologies to Thomas Jefferson) Dear Mr. Bush: It is quite likely, considering the blank, empty smirk with which you greet the world, that you may not recognize the document I, with humility and not arrogance, update below. The original was the statement of men who staked their lives to affirm our right to live free; and they penned their names in abhorrence of and opposition to a tyrant with whom you share more than a name. Although the repeated mendacities of your administration are beyond comprehension -- far greater by many powers than your predecessor's peccadilloes with Whitewater, White House travel agents or even Monica's semen-stained dress -- you earn credit for telling one chilling truth. Shortly after your brother enabled your undermining of our democracy by illegally disenfranchising thousands of Florida voters, followed by the five Republicans on the Supreme Court halting recounts and selecting you president, you made a surprisingly candid jest to congressional leaders, saying: "If this were a dictatorship, this would be a heck of a lot easier." Laughing at your own humor -- a malignant hahaha considering the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died battling tyranny and totalitarianism -- you then quipped: "Just so long as I'm dictator." atlanta.creativeloafing.com

Bush acting as imperial president July 9, 2002 By HELEN THOMAS HEARST NEWSPAPERS WASHINGTON -- The imperial presidency has arrived. On the domestic front President Bush has found that in many ways he can govern by executive order. In foreign affairs he has the nerve to tell other people that they should get rid of their current leaders. Amazingly, with Americans turning into a new silent majority and Congress into a bunch of obeisant lawmakers, he is getting away with such acts. The lawmakers are worried that Bush will play the "patriot card" in the November elections to attack dissenters and opponents. The Democratic leaders have already rolled over. They have given him a blank check by passing the USA Patriot Act, which permits outrageous invasions of privacy, and by seconding Bush's foreign policy with a weak "me too." seattlepi.nwsource.com

Fouling Our Own Nest July 9, 2002 by Bob Herbert For me, Pig-Pen's attitude embodies President Bush's approach to the environment. We've been trashing, soiling, even destroying the wonders of nature for countless ages. Why stop now? Who is Mr. Bush to step in and curb this venerable orgy of pollution, this grand tradition of fouling our own nest? Oh, the skies may once have been clear and the waters sparkling and clean. But you can't have that and progress, too. Can you? This week we learned that the Bush administration plans to cut funding for the cleanup of 33 toxic waste sites in 18 states. As The Times's Katharine Seelye reported, this means "that work is likely to grind to a halt on some of the most seriously polluted sites in the country." commondreams.org

Bush’s past business dealings come back to haunt him
9 July 2002 By Barry Grey On the eve of a much publicized speech to business executives on Wall Street, George W. Bush held an impromptu press conference Monday at which he was peppered with questions regarding his own dealings as a board member of Texas-based Harken Energy more than a decade ago. Even as he read a prepared statement pledging to take a tough stand against corporate law-breakers, Bush could not suppress his trademark smirk. Asked about the 1991 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) probe into his sell-off of Harken stock only weeks before the company reported massive losses, Bush continued to stonewall. wsws.org

Daschle, Gephardt to Meet with Former Worldcom and Enron Employees
9 Jul U.S. Newswire Leader Tom Daschle, House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt, former WorldCom employee Cara Alcanter and former Enron employee Debbie Perrotta will hold a press conference (July 9) at 10:30 am in 138 Dirksen, calling for an Investors' Bill of Rights to restore corporate integrity and trust. usnewswire.com

NAACP chairman denounces Bush administration on civil rights law, use of surveillance
July 8, 2002 By DEBORAH KONG HOUSTON (AP) -- NAACP board chairman Julian Bond criticized the Bush administration Sunday, saying it had failed to enforce civil rights laws, and he denounced the FBI's use of increased surveillance powers in fighting terrorism. "We have a president who owes his election more to a dynasty than to democracy," Bond told about 3,000 people at the 93rd annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Two years ago, President Bush "promised to enforce the civil rights laws," Bond said. "We knew he was in the oil business -- we just didn't know it was snake oil." nj.com

Earth Will Expire By 2050 July 8, 2002 by Mark Townsend and Jason Burke by Mark Townsend and Jason Burke Earth's population will be forced to colonize two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week. A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to be released on Tuesday, warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life. In a damning condemnation of Western society's high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted. The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.  commondreams.org

US 'to attack Iraq via Jordan'July 7, 2002 The Observer Military planners prepare to use British forces in an allied assault within months American military planners are preparing to use Jordan as a base for an assault on Iraq later this year or early in 2003, The Observer can reveal. Although leaked Pentagon documents appear to show that Turkey, Kuwait and the small Gulf state of Qatar would play key roles, it is believed that Jordan will be the 'jumping-off' point for an attack that could involve up to 250,000 American troops and forces from Britain and other key US allies. observer.co.uk

Bush readies corporate scandal plan Jul. 07, 2002 AP

US media silent on anthrax cover-up charge 5 July 2002 By Patrick Martin Several days have passed since a leading writer for the New York Times charged that the FBI and the Bush administration were refusing to arrest the man believed responsible for last fall’s anthrax attacks that killed five people. But not a single major American media outlet has reported or commented on the charge, nor has the issue been raised at the daily press briefings given by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and other government officials. The American media is thus complicit in the cover-up being orchestrated by the Bush administration. The media justifies the repression and anti-democratic actions of the government as necessary steps in the “war on terrorism,” even while the administration is protecting a suspected terrorist who shares its right-wing, militaristic standpoint. wsws.org

Bush and Cheney face scrutiny in financial scandals
July 04, 2002 By Rupert Cornwell in WashingtonSome financial skeletons are starting to rattle in the cupboard for both President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, increasing the political danger to the Republican Party posed by the series of accounting and insider trading scandals. The Vice-President's potential embarrassment is the most recent, revolving around alleged accounting irregularities at the Halliburton oil services company between 1998 and 2000 when Mr Cheney was its chief executive. Halliburton is said to have massaged its figures by booking more than $100m of disputed costs as revenues in statements approved by Andersen, the accounting firm convicted of obstruction of justice in the Enron affair. Mr Cheney's office has refused comment on the matter, but Harvey Pitt, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) watchdog body, has been been forced to make clear that the SEC will examine the Halliburton allegations without fear or favour. news.independent

Stocks Hammered, Close at Multiyear Lows
  July 4, 2002 By Reuters | New York Times, NEW YORK  - Stocks sank to closing levels not seen for 4-1/2 years on Tuesday as investors fled shares of companies with any hint of accounting irregularity and worried about the outlook for corporate profits. Stocks fell through lows touched in September, after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, and kept sliding past levels touched in October 1998 when financial markets were roiled by the blow-up of hedge fund Long Term Capital Management. ``One word to sum it up is nervous, investors are very nervous,'' said Gary Wedbush, head of trading at regional investment bank Wedbush Morgan. ``Investors are worried about a terrorist attack around the July 4 holiday, and worried about corporate accounting fraud and also about fundamentals of companies.'' truthout.com

Bush's business practices under question
July 4, 2002 The Associated Press The Associated Press WASHINGTON - As a Texas oilman, President Bush engaged in some of the same kinds of business practices he's now promising to clean up in response to a wave of corporate scandals. Bush was a board member of Harken Energy Corp. in 1989 when the company engaged in a transaction that later prompted an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC forced the company to amend its books to reflect millions of dollars in losses that had been masked by the sale of a subsidiary to a group of insiders. And Bush, who was on the company's audit committee, was the subject of a separate insider stock trade investigation by the SEC. The SEC now is investigating insider deals and questionable bookkeeping at Enron, WorldCom and other companies, and Bush is promising to crack down on corporate wrongdoers. Questions about Bush's past business practices prompted the White House to acknowledge Wednesday that he had failed to promptly disclose the 1990 sale of his Harken stock as required by federal law. gainesvillesun.com

Bad judgment by Bush July 4, 2002 The Boston Globe When President George W. Bush decided in May to "unsign" the Treaty of Rome creating an International Criminal Court in The Hague to try individuals for war crimes, he chose to point the world's sole superpower right at a craggy protuberance marked Isolation Reef. Bush compounded his error by having his UN ambassador, John Negroponte, cast a veto Sunday against a Security Council resolution extending by six months the mandate for a UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia. By endangering a crucial UN mission in Bosnia to allay a groundless anxiety about the International Criminal Court, Bush has made the United States look every bit as unilateral as the country's critics contend it is, and he has allowed the United States to be utterly isolated on the world  iht.com

US warplanes massacre villagers in central Afghanistan
July 3, 2002 By Peter Symonds The bombing of the village of Kararak in central Afghanistan in the early hours of Monday morning adds another tragic chapter to the long list of criminal acts carried out by the US military since its invasion of the country last October. Full details are not yet available and estimates vary as to the number of civilian casualties. The lowest, provided by an Afghan Defence Ministry official Dr Gulbuddin, puts the death toll of men, women and children at 30. Bismullah, a spokesman for Uruzgan province where the village is located, stated that there were around 40 dead and 70 injured. Other sources put the number of dead and injured at over 300. According to Afghan officials, US warplanes attacked a wedding celebration in the village, mistaking the traditional exuberant firing of shots into the air as a hostile attack. Abdul Saboor, a resident, told the BBC: “We managed to transfer some of the wounded to Kandahar in the morning. Some of the foreigners’ choppers also came to help. There are no Taliban or Al Qaeda or Arabs here. These people were all civilians, women and children.” Reports from hospitals in the Afghan city of Kandahar, about 160 km south west of the village, gave a clearer picture of the extent of the disaster. A number of children were among the injured, including Paliko, a six-year-old girl, who was still in her party dress. Villagers said all of her family were dead. Another injured child, Malika, 7, lost both her parents as well as a brother and sister. Hospital officials said that most of the dead and injured were women and children. One nurse Mohammed Nadir told the press: “We have many children who are injured and who have no family ... Everyone says that their parents are dead.” wsws.org

Business Scandals Creating Political Peril for the White House
July 3 By RICHARD W. STEVENSON WASHINGTON,  ˜ George W. Bush is the first president with an M.B.A., and his administration once proudly promoted its corporate experience as evidence of how it could bring boardroom smarts to governance and policy. But as the hard-charging, profit-producing, globe-conquering chief executive of the 1990's gives way in popular culture to the disgraced, book-cooking defendant of the post-boom era, the political appeal of a corporate pedigree is no longer so certain. nytimes.com

Why is the US government protecting anthrax terrorist? July 3, 2002 By the Editorial Board An extraordinary commentary published in Tuesday’s New York Times declares that the FBI is refusing to arrest or seriously investigate the most obvious suspect in the anthrax attacks last fall which killed five people. The allegations made by Times columnist Nicholas Kristof are so serious that they deserve immediate and thorough public investigation. But so far, both the Bush administration and the media have remained silent on what is, without exaggeration, one of the most astounding articles ever to appear in a major American newspaper. Kristof indicts the FBI’s “lackadaisical ineptitude in pursuing the anthrax killer,” writing: “Almost everyone who has encountered the FBI anthrax investigation is aghast at the bureau’s lethargy. Some in the biodefense community think they know a likely culprit, whom I’ll call Mr. Z. Although the bureau has polygraphed Mr. Z., searched his home twice and interviewed him four times, it has not placed him under surveillance or asked its outside handwriting expert to compare his writing to that on the anthrax letters.” Kristof confirms that the identity of the prime suspect is well known in media and government circles, although he chooses not to name the name. “If Mr. Z. were an Arab national,” Kristof comments, “he would have been imprisoned long ago. But he is a true-blue American with close ties to the US Defense Department, the CIA and the American biodefense program.” wsws.org

Recommended ReadingUS Supreme Court authorizes school vouchers: July 2, 2002 By Don Knowland A simultaneous assault on freedom of thought and public education. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution sought to guarantee freedom of thought in word and deed—freedom of speech and freedom of the press; freedom to associate, peacefully assemble, and petition the government for redress; and, critically, freedom of and from religion. Underscoring its signal importance to the country’s Enlightenment-steeped founders, the very first clause of the First Amendment prohibited Congress from making any law respecting the establishment of religion. As Thomas Jefferson explained, the purpose of the “Establishment Clause” was to build “a wall of separation between Church and State.” That prohibition was later extended to the several states shortly after the Civil War by the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

On June 27 the right-wing majority of the US Supreme Court took a pile driver to that wall of separation. The Court decided in a 5-4 ruling in the case Zelman v. Harris-Simmons that Ohio’s school voucher program, which funds almost all of the tuition for low-income Cleveland students who attend private religious schools, did not violate the Establishment Clause. To reach this result the Court’s majority was forced to depart sharply from longstanding Supreme Court jurisprudence, and to otherwise engage in factual distortion and verbal and logical subterfuge. That this sweeping social intervention occurred for political reasons is transparent: school vouchers have long been the main educational program of right-wing opponents of both public education and constitutional prohibitions against government sponsorship of religion. wsws.org

BUSH VETOES TRIBUNAL Jul 2, 2002 The world's first permanent war crimes tribunal was officially born today. But the International Criminal Court was immediately threatened, as the US President George Bush expressed his opposition to the project. The US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to UN peacekeeping in Bosnia because it did not exempt US troops from prosecution. dailyrecord.co.uk

July 1, 2002 By Richard Reeves WASHINGTON -- The presidency seems to be going to George Bush's head. With each morning's paper or evening's news, depending on your preference, our leader is jumping up and saying truly extraordinary things, some of them preposterous, some stupid, some terrifying. Ariel Sharon, he says, is "a man of peace." I must have missed something. If Yasser Arafat, that other sometimes man of peace, wins an election, the election doesn't count. Nothing counts unless we like it. We are now in the first-strike business, ready to launch pre-emptive or preventive strikes against countries or groups judged hostile to our interests by someone at Central Intelligence or the Republican National Committee. Frankly, I prefer what a bit more experienced Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, said on that subject in 1954: "Preventative war ... I don't believe in such a thing, and frankly I wouldn't even listen seriously to anyone that came in and talked about such a thing." Ah, what did he know? Now, the United States can do anything it wants, right? World's only superpower and all that. We define morality now. yahoo.com

Bush slashing aid to Superfund sites
July 1, 2002 By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE The New York Times WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has designated 33 toxic waste sites in 18 states for cuts in funding under the Superfund cleanup program, according to a new report to Congress by the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency. The cuts, imposed because the cleanup fund is hundreds of millions of dollars short of the amount needed to keep the program on schedule, mean that work is likely to grind to a halt on some of the most seriously polluted sites in the country, confronting the surrounding communities with new uncertainty over when the work will resume, how quickly it will proceed and who will pay for it. timesargus.nybor.com

If He Runs Again, Gore Says, 'To Hell With the Polls'
July 1, 2002 By Dan Balz Washington Post Former vice president Al Gore conceded today that his 2000 presidential campaign was too heavily influenced by polls, consultants and tactical maneuvering, telling key supporters here that, if he runs in 2004, he will "let it rip" and "let the chips fall where they may." "If I had it to do over again, I'd just let it rip," Gore told a private gathering of many of his most significant donors and fundraisers, according to an aide who relayed the remarks to reporters. "To hell with the polls, tactics and all the rest. I would have poured out my heart and my vision for America's future." Gore's comments won a standing ovation from those supporters, who were near-universal in their encouragement for him to run again. His remarks came after both his wife, Tipper, and eldest daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, emphatically said they would like to see him challenge President Bush in 2004. washingtonpost.com

Gore derides Bush hunt for Bin Laden July 1, 2002 Oliver Burkeman in New York  Al Gore has launched a vociferous attack on the Bush administration's handling of the war against terrorism, accusing it of incompetence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Mr Gore's senior foreign policy adviser added to the force of his boss's remarks by accusing the White House of fuelling anti-Americanism abroad. The Gore team's comments were interpreted as a strong indication that the former vice-president, who lost to George Bush in the 2000 election after a splenetic legal dispute, intends to seek the Demo- cratic nomination in 2004. They haven't gotten Osama bin Laden or the al-Qaida operation," Mr Gore told donors and fundraisers from his 2000 campaign, meeting in Memphis on Saturday night. "They have refused to allow enough troops from the international community to be put into Afghanistan to keep it from sliding back under control of the warlords." His adviser, Leon Fuerth, said Mr Bush's lack of commitment to supporting democratic movements overseas had contributed to a "deterioration in support for America" around the world. guardian.co.uk



FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted articles and information about environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. This news and information is displayed without profit for educational purposes, in accordance with, Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Thepeoplesvoice.org is a non-advocacy internet web site, edited by non-affiliated U.S. citizens. editor