JULY 21-11, 02 Archives

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War Rumours July 21, 2002 - While the Pentagon is launching an investigation into who leaked information on plans for an attack on Iraq, as reported in the Associated Press, Israel's Ha'aretz reports a leak from a "high-level source in the French government" saying that the US will attack Iraq before the November elections. The newspaper adds that other Washington sources predict instead a post-election attack so that a failed mission wouldn't adversely affect Republican candidates. Meanwhile, Roland Watson of the London Times reports that US officials are planning to keep an occupying force in Iraq for at least one year following an invasion. The debate over the actual invasion -- if, when, and how -- continues, and Khatya Chhor of Radio Free Europe supplies a good sampling of international points of view. In other Iraq news, one Iraqi civilian was killed this weekend after American and British planes patrolling a no-fly zone carried out two attacks on alleged defense facilities, reports the BBC. motherjones.com

Bush hurting US economy, Jay, Byrd say
July 21, 2002 By Paul J. Nyden Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Robert C. Byrd, both D-W.Va., worry about the future effect of Bush administration budget cuts, especially in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. During the 2001 fiscal year, before Bush’s tax cuts, the federal budget had a surplus of $127 billion. At the end of this fiscal year, the federal budget will have a deficit of about $165 billion. That’s a $292 billion change in one year. sundaygazettemail.com

Bear market complicates Bush’s Social Security plan
By FINLAY LEWIS, July 21, 2002 — President Bush’s ambitious plan for overhauling Social Security appears to have suffered a major setback at the hands of the bear market now stalking the life’s savings of millions of Americans. timesreporter.com

ACLU Challenges Arizona Law That Censors
Anti-Death Penalty Web Sites
July 20, 2002 PHOENIX-Acting on behalf of anti-death penalty and other advocacy groups, the American Civil Liberties Union today filed a lawsuit in Arizona federal district court seeking to invalidate a state law that bans all information about Arizona prisoners from the global Internet. "It is extraordinary that Arizona prison officials believe they can tell international groups opposed to the death penalty what they can and cannot say online about prisoners in Arizona," said Eleanor Eisenberg, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona. "It is equally absurd that this law punishes prisoners even when they are not responsible for the posting of information about them on these outside websites," she added. aclu.org

Dow Plunges 390 Points
July 20, 2002 The Dow Jones industrials shattered their post-terrorist attack lows Friday in a dramatic 390-point selloff that began with news of a government investigation at Johnson & Johnson and quickly turned into a full retreat by bruised investors. It was the average's seventh biggest point drop ever, and its lowest close in nearly four years. Analysts attributed the declines to Wall Street's unwillingness to make any bets in a market that appears capable of only falling farther - stocks have now fallen sharply for nine straight weeks. miami.com

Bush Administration rejects Senate prescription drug plan
July 20, 2002 WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Bush administration Thursday rejected Senate Democrats' proposal for a Medicare prescription drug benefit. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said the administration's position "lets down the millions of Americans struggling with high drug prices and who deserve a Medicare prescription drug benefit that truly helps all seniors." The criticism came on a day when the Senate passed, 56 to 43, an amendment that allows states to use Medicaid's buying power to force drug companies to offer discounts. startribune.com

Who is stonewalling the US anthrax investigation? 20 July 2002 By Patrick Martin Two commentaries by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, published July 12 and July 19, raise further questions about the refusal of the FBI and the Bush administration to take any action against the most likely suspect in the anthrax terrorist attacks that killed five people last fall. These columns—and the near-universal silence in the rest of the media—underscore the high-level complicity in the suppression of any serious investigation into the terrorist attacks that targeted two leading Democratic senators. wsws.org

85% of Alaskan glaciers melting at 'incredible rate' July 20, 2002 Tim Radford The Guardian Glaciers in Alaska are melting at "an incredible rate" according to US researchers. They report in Science today that 85% of the glaciers they examined had lost vast portions of their mass in the last 40 years. Some were now thinning at double the rates of the 1950s. "Most glaciers have thinned several hundred feet at low elevation in the last 40 years and about 60 feet at higher elevations," said Keith Echelmayer of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, who with four colleagues has systematically flown over 67 of Alaska's ice streams, and checked glacier thickness against measurements made by the US geological survey in the 1950s. He calculated that at least 9% of the sea level rise in the last century could be explained by the melting of Alaska's glaciers. guardian.co.uk

Slouching Toward The Gulag
July 19, 2002 A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL Bush is after more power, using "Homeland Security" as an anvil of fear in order to pressure Congress to give him unprecedented powers to deny us our liberties and freedom. Now he is proposing more secrecy and the right to use the military to intervene in domestic affairs. The Bush administration grab for Soviet style powers is abhorrent and should be a non-starter for any freedom loving American. buzzflash.com

Wall Street plunge swells US government deficit
19 July 2002 By Patrick Martin The Bush administration announced July 12 that the federal government would run a deficit of $165 billion during the current fiscal year, a turnaround of nearly $300 billion from the $127 billion surplus in the fiscal year which ended last September 30. Budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. blamed the reversal largely on the dramatic decline of revenue from taxes on capital gains, a result of the plunge in stock prices. Daniels said there was no precedent in nearly half a century for the sudden drop in federal tax revenues, which fell $124.4 billion below projections. The six percent drop was largest in percentage terms since 1955. This is before the full impact is felt from last year’s huge tax cut for the wealthy, which is being phased in over 10 years and has had only a marginal effect on current federal revenues. wsws.org

Bush Administration Opposes Renewables Requirement WASHINGTON, DC, July 19, 2002 (ENS) - The Bush administration and several utilities are opposing a provision of the Senate energy bill that would require utilities to produce 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. The Senate energy bill includes a renewable electricity standard that requires major electric companies to increase sales of electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources from two percent today to about 10 percent by 2020. This would result in a quadrupling, by 2020, of the amount of clean, renewable energy produced. ens-news.com

Bush and the Billionaire: How Insider Capitalism Benefited W July 19, 2002 by David Corn It's awfully tough to be Mr. Corporate Responsibility after you have profited from the actions of an irresponsible corporation that engaged in a shady deal. George W. Bush is finding that out, for as he tries desperately to stay ahead of the assorted corporate scandals, his own past as a failed oil man has emerged as an issue for reporters, columnists, and the cable-news crowd. What's drawn the most attention is Bush's handling of his 1990 Harken stock deal. Much of that story was public during the presidential election of 2000 (and it had been a minor issue when Bush first ran for governor of Texas in 1994). But two years ago, few seemed to care that Bush had made a bundle through his association with an oil company that employed phony accounting, that he benefited by selling shares in this troubled company (in which he happened to be a director) before these problems became known publicly, and that he failed to meet the federal deadline for disclosing this stock dump (as well as several others). thenation.com

War, Incorporated
July 18, 2002 By Mike Ferner "So what is our mistake? We are also human beings. Treat us like human beings," says Gulalae, a 37 year-old Afghan mother living in the dust, hunger and fear of the Shamshatoo refugee camp in Pakistan. She calls Osama bin Laden an "outsider" and says that because of him, "Afghanistan is made into a hell for others." Grim does not begin to describe the conditions Gulalae and her family endure. In one three-month period, in just one district of Shamshatoo, bacteria-related dehydration killed a child nearly every day. The misery in this refugee city is like a grain of sand on the beach of suffering that is Afghanistan. But Americans know little of it. If you only watch mainstream press accounts you'd never know that within the first three months of "America's New War," civilian deaths from U.S. bombing in Afghanistan surpassed 3,700-more than were killed in the attacks of September 11. The toll from unexploded cluster bombs, land mines, destroyed water and sewer systems and depleted uranium shells will no doubt reach into the hundreds of thousands. Add the additional innocents marked for retaliation as the international cycle of violence continues, and our war to end terrorism seems calculated to do just the opposite. counterpunch.com

'Corporate Socialism' July 18, 2002 By Ralph Nader The relentless expansion of corporate control over our political economy has proven nearly immune to daily reporting by the mainstream media. Corporate crime, fraud and abuse have become like the weather; everyone is talking about the storm but no one seems able to do anything about it. This is largely because expected accountability mechanisms -- including boards of directors, outside accounting and law firms, bankers and brokers, state and federal regulatory agencies and legislatures -- are inert or complicit.washingtonpost.com

White House remains committed to stock market investing for Social Security accounts July 18, 2002 By LEIGH STROPE, Associated Press WASHINGTON — The plunging stock market and recent corporate implosions won't stop the White House from driving ahead with plans to overhaul Social Security to allow personal investment accounts. President Bush's views haven't changed, spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday. But even Republicans are skittish about running on Bush's Social Security plans this election year, and GOP strategists have warned rank-and-file lawmakers that the issue poses a serious political threat. Control of the House and Senate is at stake in November. naplesnews.com

Attorneys general criticize Bush on global warming
July 18, 2002 BOSTON - Democratic attorneys general from 11 states accused the Bush administration Wednesday of ignoring global warming and favoring energy policies that will boost greenhouse gas emissions. In their letter to Bush, the attorneys general denounced the administration's climate change policy, arguing states have been left to address a global problem with a patchwork of inconsistent regulations. They said Bush has failed to create a plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and power plants. gainesvillesun.com

Bush's praise could damn Cheney July 18, 2002 Matthew Engel President Bush yesterday gave a vote of confidence to the vice-president, Dick Cheney, who is facing an investigation into his business practices. But just as the president's attempts to calm Wall Street last week saw the markets nosedive, this set of remarks only increased the pressure on his deputy. Mr Bush expressed confidence that Mr Cheney would be exonerated by the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the accounting practices of Halliburton, the oil company he ran from 1995 to 2000. "I've got great confidence in the vice-president. He's doing a heck of a good job. When I picked him, I knew he was a fine business leader and a fine, experienced man," Mr Bush said. Others are also confident that Mr Cheney will be exonerated by the SEC, but that is largely because it is run by a Bush appointee, Harvey Pitt, who has already been criticised for his lax approach towards corporate fraud. "The president caused a problem today by wading into the case," said a Democratic party spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri. "Before his comments, the notion that Harvey Pitt was going to conduct an impartial investigation was thin, and I think that the president's comments raise more concerns about the SEC's ability to be objective." guardian.co

E-mails bare coverup Curtain lifted on Justice Dept. statue scandal July 18, 2002- The Justice Department apparently didn't tell the whole truth when it denied that new curtains were meant to hide a bare-breasted statue that loomed over Attorney General John Ashcroft's news conferences. The department said the blue curtains provide a better background for cameras - but internal memos obtained by the Daily News make it clear the $8,650 worth of drapery was part of a Department of Justice coverup. In a Nov. 29, 2001, E-mail, an aide was instructed to "obtain three bids for the permanent drape hiding the statues," "Spirit of Justice" and her male companion, "Majesty of Law."  Initial reports said the curtain went up because Ashcroft, an Assembly of God minister, was offended by the one bared breast of the female statue that has graced the Great Hall since 1936. The breast was often visible over Ashcroft's head or shoulder in news conferences and photos. - The Justice Department apparently didn't tell the whole truth when it denied that new curtains were meant to hide a bare-breasted statue that loomed over Attorney General John Ashcroft's news conferences. The department said the blue curtains provide a better background for cameras - but internal memos obtained by the Daily News make it clear the $8,650 worth of drapery was part of a Department of Justice coverup. In a Nov. 29, 2001, E-mail, an aide was instructed to "obtain three bids for the permanent drape hiding the statues," "Spirit of Justice" and her male companion, "Majesty of Law."  Initial reports said the curtain went up because Ashcroft, an Assembly of God minister, was offended by the one bared breast of the female statue that has graced the Great Hall since 1936. The breast was often visible over Ashcroft's head or shoulder in news conferences and photos. nydailynews.com

Ex-U.S. officials warn that U.S. policies threaten repression
July 17, 2002 LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and former FBI and CIA chief William Webster challenged administration policies dealing with terrorism suspects Tuesday, and Christopher warned that secrecy threatens to lead America down a path to repression. "When I was in the Carter administration, I was in Argentina and I saw mothers in the streets protesting, asking for the names of those being held, those who had disappeared," Christopher said. "We must be very careful in this country of not holding people without revealing their names. It leads to the 'disappeared,"' he said. "The names of people should be revealed so that relatives will know what has become of their loved ones. It's a good precaution against having the 'disappeared."' sfgate.com

Highly RecommendedBush Endorses National ID and New Government Secrecy Measures; July 17, 2002 ACLU Slams Parts of President’s Homeland Security Plan as Shortsighted WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today strongly criticized provisions in the newly announced Bush Administration homeland security proposal that could lead to forcing a national ID system on the American public and weaken federal and state government openness laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act. “This plan proposes a national ID -- an internal passport -- pure and simple,” said Katie Corrigan, an ACLU Legislative Counsel on privacy rights. “It’s astonishing that the Bush Administration would back a proposal that has been slammed from all sides of the political spectrum as ineffective, expensive, easily compromised and dangerous to core American liberties.” aclu.org

Bush job performance July 17, 2002- Zogby Newswire Bush job performance drops 7 points to 62%; One in three are worse off today than one year ago; Nearly one in three worse off than two years ago; Majority less likely to invest because of scandals  zogby.com

Bad News For Bush
July 17, 2002 Our practice is to look not only at the job approval rating, but also at another, different poll number: The percentage of Americans who would actually choose to re-elect Bush were the election to be held today. We think this disaggregates people who like Bush from people who support "the president." And by that measure, the latest numbers from the Ipsos-Reid/Cook Political Report are bad news for Dubya: Last weekend, only 42 percent of the public said they would vote for Bush were an election to be held today. (His rolling average from mid-June to mid-July was only slightly higher, at 45 percent.) prospect.org

Navy Cleared To Use a Sonar Despite Fears of Injuring Whales by Marc Kaufman July 17, 2002 The Navy won approval yesterday to deploy two ships that use controversial low-frequency sonar to detect faraway submarines, despite continuing questions about whether the system's loud blasts will injure whales and other ocean mammals. commondreams.org

Market upheaval puts heat on Bush
July 16, 2002 - Dow plunges as president pleads for faith from public, investors By William Walker WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush begged Americans to keep faith in the economy as stocks continued to tumble yesterday. "In order for us to have the security we all want, America must get rid of the hangover that we now have as a result of the binge, the economic binge, we just went through," Bush said in a speech at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "The American public doesn't feel he's leading right now," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's, the bond rating agency. "They feel he's trailing certainly what the stock market thinks of this thing." The economy and the presidency, two fortunes that tend to rise and fall in tandem, may be at a historic turning point. Plunging stock prices have panicked investors. Millions are postponing or reversing their retirements. The U.S. dollar is sagging, equalling the Euro yesterday for the first time in two years. The federal deficit is spiralling. And more cases of corporate accounting fraud are waiting to be discovered. thestar.com

New bombing raids on Iraq as US seeks pretext for war
16, July 2002 By Bill Vann US warplanes over the weekend carried out an intensive bombardment of both military and civilian targets in Iraq’s Dhi Qar province, about 200 miles south of Baghdad, as Washington continued casting about for a pretext for another war against the Arab country. An Iraqi spokesman said that at least seven civilians were injured in the July 13 bombings, which occurred as US and British warplanes carried out scores of sorties from bases in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. wsws.org

US Planning to Recruit One in 24 Americans as Citizen Spies
16, July 2002 Sydney Morning Herald US Planning to Recruit One in 24 Americans as Citizen Spies By Ritt Goldstein The Bush Administration aims to recruit millions of United States citizens as domestic informants in a program likely to alarm civil liberties groups. The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS, means the US will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany through the infamous Stasi secret police. The program would use a minimum of 4 per cent of Americans to report "suspicious activity". Civil liberties groups have already warned that, with the passage earlier this year of the Patriot Act, there is potential for abusive, large-scale investigations of US citizens. disc.server.com

War Clouds Gather as Hawks Lay Their Plans July 15, 2002 But some in the US are asking why a blueprint for the conflict was leaked at the moment when sleaze scandals hit a new peak by Jason Burke and Ed Vulliamy by Jason Burke and Ed Vulliamy A series of stories indicating that a war with Iraq in the new year was certain shared the headlines with the appalling news from the world's stock markets. To some it was proof of cynical manipulation. In recent weeks there has been a plunge in public confidence in the ability of the President and his party to manage the economy and the administration's own personal honesty. 'It's certainly strange that the more the finance scandals approach the White House, the harder and sharper the plans for an attack on Iraq,' said one staffer in the office of Democrat congressman Henry Waxman of California last week. Critics of Bush point out that the battle plan was leaked just as the sleaze scandals reached a climax and began to implicate the President himself. commondreams.org

Wall Street's brutal week
July 15, 2002 By Alexandra Twin For the week, the Dow lost 694 points, or 7.4 percent, its biggest weekly decline since the week of Sept. 21, the first week of trade after the markets were closed amid the attacks of Sept. 11. It was also the fourth-biggest weekly point loss ever for the Dow, according to Ned Davis Research. For the year, the Dow is down more than 13 percent. The S&P 500 index lost 6.8 percent for the week, also its worst week since Sept. 21st. Year-to-date it has lost nearly 20 percent. For the week, the Nasdaq lost almost 5.2 percent, its worst weekly drop in about three months. It is down nearly 30 percent year-to-date. "It's a brutal market. I've been doing this for more than 30 years and I've never seen anything like this," Peter Mancuso, a New York Stock Exchange member of Performance Specialist Group, told CNNfn's cnn.com For the week, the Dow lost 694 points, or 7.4 percent, its biggest weekly decline since the week of Sept. 21, the first week of trade after the markets were closed amid the attacks of Sept. 11. It was also the fourth-biggest weekly point loss ever for the Dow, according to Ned Davis Research. For the year, the Dow is down more than 13 percent. The S&P 500 index lost 6.8 percent for the week, also its worst week since Sept. 21st. Year-to-date it has lost nearly 20 percent. For the week, the Nasdaq lost almost 5.2 percent, its worst weekly drop in about three months. It is down nearly 30 percent year-to-date. "It's a brutal market. I've been doing this for more than 30 years and I've never seen anything like this," Peter Mancuso, a New York Stock Exchange member of Performance Specialist Group, told CNNfn's cnn.com

Bush wants to limit funding for child care at colleges July 15, 2002 By Katherine Hutt Scott  WASHINGTON -- More than one-quarter of undergraduate college students have children, but colleges have shown only lukewarm interest in tapping the only federal program that helps pay for child care on campuses. That has prompted the Bush administration to propose slashing the program's $25 million program's budget to $15 million next year and to propose barring new applications. Child care supporters say that would be a mistake. They argue that short-staffed campus child care centers need more help in applying for money from the Child Care Access Means Parents In Schools (CCAMPIS) program. "There's a tremendous unmet need for child care access in this country, in general," said Adele Robinson of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which represents child care workers. "To start whittling away at the little access there is, is the wrong direction for public policy." detnews.com

Bush squirms in sleaze scandal July 14, 2002 Ed Vulliamy in New York The tide of sleaze engulfing corporate America lapped closer to President Bush this weekend with the revelation that official documents appear to show he provided a misleading account of a controversial share deal. The documents emerged at the end of a week in which Bush went to Wall Street to launch a crusade to clean up business and announce a package of reforms generally greeted as having more jawbone than backbone. They relate to Bush's sale of stocks in an oil company of which he was a director in June 1990 - a transaction that catapulted him to massive wealth and on to the political stage in Texas and thereafter the world. The papers show that, despite his claims to the contrary, Bush was advised that the value of shares in his company, Harken Oil, were about to plummet. He sold them off just in time, reaping a profit of $835,807 (553,514). It is a breach of US regulations to trade in stock with inside knowledge observer.co.uk

Questions on Corporate Crime Cop He's Linked to Firm Accused of Fraud July 14 by Chuck Squatrigia The man President Bush tapped to lead his corporate crime watchdog team was a director of a San Francisco credit-card firm that just two years ago paid more than $400 million to settle charges that it cheated consumers. Larry Thompson, named to lead the Bush administration's white-collar crime task force, served on the board of directors of Providian Financial Corp. at the same time regulators found that the firm systematically charged excessive fees and used deceptive sales tactics to bolster its bottom line. Thompson sat on Providian's board and served as chairman of the firm's audit and compliance committee from June 1997 until his unanimous confirmation by the Senate as deputy attorney general on May 10, 2001. He sold his Providian stock -- said to be worth as much as $4.7 million -- to comply with ethics rules. The sale came just months before the firm disclosed looming problems with credit card defaults that led to the collapse of its stock and thousands of layoffs. commondreams.org

Human Rights Activists Sentenced to Prison for Civil Disobedience at School of the Americas
July 14 /U.S. Newswire / COLUMBUS, Ga., Web site: www.soaw.org/newsroom Photos Available at www.soawne.org/Photos1Trial37.html --Twenty-nine human rights activists were given sentences today ranging from three to six months in federal prison. Fines ranged from none to $5000. Thirty-seven defendants had been in federal court all this week for civil disobedience at the School of the Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) in Columbus, Ga. All of the defendants (excepting the one acquitted) were sentenced well into the night. The "SOA 37" were among 10,000 who gathered last November to call for the closure of the notorious SOA/WHISC. The defendants peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school. Judge Faircloth is known for giving the maximum of six months to SOA/WHISC opponents. Seventy-one people have served a total of over forty years in prison for engaging in non-violent resistance in a broad-based campaign to close the school. Last year 26 people were prosecuted, including Dorothy Hennessey, an 88 year-old Franciscan nun who was sentenced to six months in federal prison. usnewswire.com

Thompson at left, and Pitt, two ethically and morally challenged Bush administration cronies. Ironically, they attended a meeting Friday of President Bush's corporate fraud task force.

Fraud Investigates Corporate Fraud? "outrageous!"
July 13, Then there were the compromised auditors of Enron and WorldCom, paid lucrative consulting fees from the companies they audited. In the 1990s, Clinton's SEC chairman, Arthur Levitt, waged a long and bitter campaign to ban this basic conflict of interest. The accountants' lobby -- led by one Harvey Pitt -- blocked the reforms, with Republicans Billy Tauzin in the House and Phil Gramm, threatening to gut the SEC's budget if Levitt went forward. / Justice official served at Providian  By Anitha Reddy THE WASHINGTON POST - President Bush’s top official on corporate crime and responsibility, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, was a director of a credit card company that paid more than $400 million to settle allegations of consumer and securities fraud. Larry Thompson and Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, seen here after a meeting Friday of President Bush's corporate fraud task force. msnbc.com

WHITE HOUSE ASKS CONGRESS TO SHIELD ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS FROM PENALTIES FOR BREACH OF TRUST AND DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION July 13, 2002 In stark contrast to President Bush's urgent call for "corporate responsibility," and to stop the scandals rocking Wall Street, The White House along with Secretary of the Interior and the Attorney General are seeking legislation to obstruct the ability of the United States District Court in the landmark Indian trust lawsuit, Cobell v. Norton, to uncover the full scope of malfeasance in the government's mismanagement of billions of dollars of assets held in trust for 500,000 individual Indian trust beneficiaries. indiantrust.com

Wall Street crisis staggers Bush
12 July 2002 By Barry Grey In the wake of George W. Bush’s Wall Street speech July 9, it is becoming clear that his administration is in the grips of a political crisis that places its very survival in question. The manner in which the administration has come unstuck over the past month has exposed all the claims of pundits and pollsters of its supposed invulnerability. Bush was already in deep crisis after his first nine months in office, shaken and perplexed by the collapse of the stock market boom, the onrush of recession and the increasing isolation of his government internationally. Bush’s bellicose posture arose from weakness, not strength. The underlying economic and political contradictions continued to mount, and have now reasserted themselves at an even higher and more explosive level. The verdict of the markets on Bush’s effort to distance his administration from the corporate scandals and restore confidence in the “free enterprise” system was swift and brutal. On Tuesday, the day of his Wall Street speech, the Dow Jones industrial index plunged 178.8 points. This followed a fall on Monday of 104.6 points. wsws.org

Keep Drug Coverage Private, Bush Says July 12, 2002 By Amy Goldstein Federal Control Would 'Stifle Innovation' MINNEAPOLIS, July 11 -- President Bush warned Congress today not to adopt a system of prescription drug coverage for older Americans that is run directly by the government, saying such federal control would "stifle innovation" in drug treatments and restrict patients' ability to get the medicine they need. washingtonpost.com

White House Expected to Project a Deficit Topping $150 Billion July 12 By RICHARD W. STEVENSON WASHINGTON, The Bush administration is expected to disclose on Friday that the federal government will run a deficit of $150 billion to $160 billion for the current fiscal year, largely reflecting a downturn in tax receipts from capital gains because of the weak stock market, Republicans said today. nytimes.com

Bush Speech Ensures Capitalism Without Conscience, Wealth Without Character July 12, 2002 by Politex Surfing the airwaves and the print media, the general consensus is that Bush's speech on corporate corruption was vague and lacking in meaningful specifics. For example, he indicated that he wants to double the penalty for certain kinds of corporate crimes, but double nothing is still nothing. Most willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt say that they'll wait and see the specific legislation that follows behind such vague language, but all assume that Bush at least set up the outline of his future actions. That's the problem, because in his speech Bush didn't even point to doing anything about, according to Lou Dobbs, Jeff Greenfield, and others, the root of today's corporate corruption problem: stock options. Just about everything bad that's happened, from Enron to WorldCom and probably into the future, can be traced back, one way or another, to the immense number of stock options corporate executives are given and how those executives manipulate the system to gain their corrupt ends. bushwatch.net

Bush in more trouble as markets crash
July 12, 2002 Matthew Engel in Washington As Wall Street collapsed around him, President Bush was yesterday faced with another embarrassing revelation about his own business dealings. In response to morning newspaper stories the White House admitted that the president had benefited from low-interest loans from a company of which he was a director - precisely the kind of deal he said he wanted banned in his speech on corporate ethics on Tuesday. guardian.co

The Conservative Bubble Boys July 12, 2002 By Robert L. Borosage It is no accident that the current wave of costly corporate scandals followed the rise of modern conservatism to political power two decades ago. Ronald Reagan governed while denigrating government as "the problem, not the solution." He starved agencies of resources and placed committed ideological opponents in charge of them. Reagan's Commerce Department drew up a hit list of regulations resented by business ("the Terrible 20"). And of course Reagan signed the law that deregulated the savings and loans associations, while his appointee revoked requirements that any S&L have 400 shareholders. The resulting infamies cost taxpayers many billions. The conservative assault on government reached fever pitch when Newt Gingrich led the "perfectionist" caucus of the Republican right to take over Congress. For Gingrich conservatives, government regulation was creeping Stalinism. House Majority leader Dick Armey said that in the New Deal and the Great Society, "you will find, with a difference only in power and nerve the same sort of person who gave the world its Five Year Plans and Great Leaps Forward -- the Soviet and Chinese counterparts." And it wasn't just rhetoric. "Regulatory agencies have run amok and need to be reformed," said Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority whip, as he invited business lobbyists to detail the regulations they wanted gutted. A centerpiece of Gingrich's Contract With America was "securities reform." Passed in 1995 over President Clinton's veto, the bill shielded outside accountants and law firms from liability for false corporate reporting, and made it more difficult for shareholders to bring suit against fraudulent reporting. A flood of corporate misstatements has followed, with nearly 1,000 companies restating misleading reports in the past five years. Then there were the compromised auditors of Enron and WorldCom, loathe to risk lucrative consulting fees from the companies they audited. In the 1990s, Clinton's SEC chairman, Arthur Levitt, waged a long and bitter campaign to ban this basic conflict of interest. The accountants' lobby -- led by one Harvey Pitt -- blocked the reforms, with Republicans Billy Tauzin in the House and Phil Gramm, threatening to gut the SEC's budget if Levitt went forward. washingtonpost.com

Bush, Cheney have some explaining to do
July 11, 2002 Mercury News George Bush and Dick Cheney want American CEOs to vouch personally for the accuracy of financial statements. Fine. Let's begin at home. Let's ask for a fuller accounting of what happened in their companies. This much is clear: Both men come from cultures that pushed the envelope of accounting standards. Neither can claim a bully pulpit. In fact, they'd have trouble claiming a broken soapbox. After looking at the two cases, I'm persuaded that the accounting issues at Halliburton (HAL), the Texas conglomerate Cheney headed in the late '90s, are more serious -- if only because they're more recent. Bush's actions at Harken Energy -- which surround the sale of stock before the company reported a big loss -- raise questions, too. siliconvalley.com

Humanity Will Pay for Abuse of the Environment, Warns WWF July 11, 2002 by Steve Connor, Science Editor Future generations can expect to see a severe fall in living standards as humanity begins to pay for its huge environmental "overdraft" with planet Earth, a leading conservation group has claimed. Human development will begin to plummet within 30 years because we are fast running out of space and resources to sustain the turbo-charged lifestyle of the developed world, says WWF International. Unless governments take urgent action to encourage a more sustainable way of life, human welfare will go into drastic decline by 2030 with falls in average life expectancies, lower educational levels and a shrinking economy, the WWF's Living Planet Report 2002 says. Exploitation of the Earth's renewable resources has grown by 80 per cent in the past 40 years and is now 20 per cent higher than the natural capacity of the planet to replenish itself, the report, published yesterday, says. commondreams.org

 

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