JULY 31-21, 02 Archives

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Stop the Corporate Takeover of our Water
Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown
July 31, 2002

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own,
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

--English Nursery Rhyme c. 1764

--English Nursery Rhyme c. 1764

The greater villains are loose in our world today, literally thirsting to take things that are yours and mine -- and this time they might make off with the greatest plunder of all: our water. Yes, the ideologues and greedheads who brought us the fairy tale of energy deregulation and the Ponzi scheme of Enron are aggressively pushing for deregulation and privatization of the world's water supplies and systems. They are determined to turn this essential public resource into another commodity for traders and speculators -- a private plaything for personal profiteering. alternet.org

Pentagon holds largest-ever exercise to prepare for future warfighting July 31, 2002 By Pauline Jelinek SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) It's the year 2007 and a rogue military commander has staged a coup in an earthquake-stricken nation of the Middle East. That's the hypothetical scenario 13,500 men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are reacting to in the largest exercise in U.S. military history an event aimed at planning for warfighting of the future. boston.com

White House acts to shed arrogant image
, New PR office to sell Bush policies and war on terror July 31, 2002 Julian Borger The White House will set up a new office to try to salvage America's plummeting image abroad, it was announced yesterday as an independent taskforce reported that even the country's allies saw the US as "arrogant", "hypocritical" and "self-absorbed". guardian.co.uk

Lawmakers Say Bush May Roll Back Part of Reform Law
July 31 By Adam Entous WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hours after President Bush signed a law on Tuesday to combat corporate crime, key lawmakers said they were concerned he may be trying to roll back provisions that protect whistle-blowers who come forward with allegations of fraud. iwon.com

America forced me out, says Robinson July 31, 2002 Oliver Burkeman The UN's outgoing human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, says she was prevented from continuing in the job because of pressure from the US, which she has accused of neglecting human rights during the war against terrorism. guardian.co.uk

As U.S. Prepares for War on Iraq, a Former UN Official Speaks
July 30, 2002 U.S. Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has scheduled hearings on war plans for Iraq. They are to be held on Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, August 1, just before the Senate takes summer recess. These hearings will be the first public congressional debate on the Bush administration's plans to attack Iraq. These hearings could be used to further these war preparations by only calling pro-invasion witnesses, or by the asking of superficial questions. Last week, Mr. Hans von Sponeck, the former UN Humanitatarian Coordinator for Iraq who resigned in protest of the sanctions policy, spoke in Madison, Wisconsin about the situation in Iraq [ audio and video ]. Other speakers included Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness, and Free Speech Radio News reporter Jeremy Scahill, both of whom discussed the devastating effects of economic sanctions on the Iraqi people http://indymedia.org/

Americans for Insurance Reform Launched to Fight Insurance Industry Mismanagement and Price-Gouging July 30, 2002 Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR) Web site: http://www.insurance-reform.org NEW YORK,  /U.S. Newswire/ -- In its first official act as a major new force to fight back against insurance industry mismanagement and abuse of consumers, Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR), a new coalition of over 70 consumer and public interest groups representing more than 50 million people, has asked insurance commissioners in all 50 states to end insurance industry price-gouging by instituting major new industry regulatory reforms. usnewswire.com

UN calls for inquiry into American bombing Staff and agencies July 30, 2002 The United Nations office in Kabul has ordered an in-depth investigation into the US airstrike that killed almost 50 villagers earlier this month, arguing that such a strike must never be repeated. The UN stressed in a statement last night that "the paramount necessity that such incidents do not recur, both from a humanitarian and political perspective". guardian.co.uk

Public Overwhelmingly Rejects Bush `Clear Skies' Plan, Says Clean Air Trust
July 30, 2002 / WASHINGTON, U.S. Newswire/ -- The voting public overwhelmingly rejects the new, industry-friendly approach to air pollution control being touted by the Bush Administration, according to the results of a new national public opinion survey. Instead, voters overwhelmingly want enforcement of clean air laws to "get stronger," the nonprofit Clean Air Trust noted today. The Bush plan was very quietly introduced last Friday by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) right before the House of Representatives broke for a summer vacation. "If it were up to the voting public, the Bush plan would be dead on arrival," said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the Clean Air Trust. The survey of registered and likely voters, conducted for the Clean Air Trust, found that voters by nearly a three-to-one margin reject the notion that electric power companies should be able to buy "pollution credits" usnewswire.com

Learning to love Big Brother George W. Bush channels George Orwell
July 29, 2002 By Daniel Kurtzman Here's a question for constitutional scholars: Can a sitting president be charged with plagiarism? As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell. The work in question is "1984, " the prophetic novel about a government that controls the masses by spreading propaganda, cracking down on subversive thought and altering history to suit its needs. It was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism -- not a how-to manual. sfgate.com

The last thing the US wants is democracy in Iraq July 29, 2002 By Nick Cohen Although everyone is lining up for or against a war on Iraq, few are asking what the war would be for. We know it would be against Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. But what will the Americans and their British sidekicks be fighting to replace the tyrant with? It's impossible to say with certainty, but most reports from Washington suggest that Bush wants another tyrant and Blair will concur. The alternative is the Iraqi National Congress, a loose and fractious coalition, but one which, for all its faults, is committed to democracy. The CIA and State Department hate it and the bad example a liberated Iraq would give to the repressed people of Saudi Arabia. guardian.co.uk

Foundations are in place for martial law in the US July 28, 2002 By Ritt Goldstein Recent pronouncements from the Bush Administration and national security initiatives put in place in the Reagan era could see internment camps and martial law in the United States. When president Ronald Reagan was considering invading Nicaragua he issued a series of executive orders that provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with broad powers in the event of a "crisis" such as "violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a US military invasion abroad". They were never used. But with the looming possibility of a US invasion of Iraq, recent pronouncements by President George Bush's domestic security chief, Tom Ridge, and an official with the US Civil Rights Commission should fire concerns that these powers could be employed or a de facto drift into their deployment could occur. smh.com

Marchers Say No to Fast TrackFast Track Trade Authority Passed in Dead of Night July 28, 2002 - After more than a year of lobbying, a single vote passage in the U.S. House on December 6, 2001, and passage in the Senate this June, House Republicans along with numerous "free trade" House and Senate Democrats pushed through a conference committee version of fast track for a vote on Friday, July 26. Debate opened on H.R. 3009 at 2 am EDT on Saturday, July 27, and the bill was passed at 3:30 am EDT. The final vote tally was 215 to 212, with 25 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. Corporate oligarchs and their friends in the U.S. government lobbied aggresively for fast track authority in order to move ahead with the next round of WTO negotiations and the FTAA/ALCA. This bill, surrendering Congressional authority to the Bush Administration, was rushed to a final vote while giving House members less than eight hours to study the final bill. This legislation gives George W. Bush five years of "trade promotion authority" (aka fast track), that endangers workers' rights, threatens environmental protections, and undermines laws against the discrimination of women and the exploitation of children worldwide. Viewed as nothing short of class warfare and consolidation of corporate power by many of its critics, an intense effort was made to defeat the legislation. http://indymedia.org/

White House Security Rebuffs Attempt to Serve Lawsuit on Dick Cheney July 28, 2002 By Susan Jones - The legal group that's made a name for itself by filing numerous lawsuits against the nation's leaders is having trouble serving its latest complaint against Vice President Dick Cheney. Judicial Watch says a process server was threatened with arrest when he went to the White House on Monday, July 22, to deliver a copy of the legal complaint against Dick Cheney on behalf of Halliburton shareholders. Judicial Watch accuses Cheney, the former chairman of Halliburton, of overstating company revenues. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced it is investigating how Halliburton accounted for cost overruns on construction jobs. According to Judicial Watch, a White House security officer refused to accept any papers for the vice president. The process server said he was told he would be arrested if he simply dropped the federal court summons and complaint on the ground and left. Judicial Watch notes it is a crime to interfere with the "service of process." "We have served many a lawsuit on Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton when they were in the White House," said Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman. "The Clinton White House accepted the papers. Never before have our process servers been threatened with arrest. cnsnews.com

Bush set to flout test ban treaty July 28, 2002 Peter Beaumont Global treaty sidelined as scientists gear up to develop next generation of weapons - America's nuclear weapons laboratories have begun preparations to test a new generation of arms after strong signs that the Bush administration may be about to pull out of the landmark Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Amid renewed evidence that pro-nuclear hawks are increasingly holding sway, the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration is increasing funding for nuclear weapons research and testing programmes. The funding would allow the US to be ready to return to underground tests within 12 months - a requirement of the US Nuclear Posture Review, which was unveiled by the Bush administration this year. guardian.co.uk

Bush faces storm over 'Enron' judge
July 28, 2002 Ed Vulliamy Ed Vulliamy Controversial choice for appeal court accused of favouring big business Open warfare has broken out between the White House and Capitol Hill over President George Bush's most controversial nomination to date to the bench of American high courts. The Bush White House intends Judge Priscilla Owen from Texas to be on the powerful fifth circuit Appeals Court, the tier beneath the US Supreme Court. Senators and a host of organisations petitioning their judiciary committee say Owen has used the bench to advance a a zealous right-wing ideology, contesting the right to abortion and favouring big oil and energy companies, including the disgraced Enron, which has been one of her - and the President's - biggest financial backers. They are in turn accused by the White House of detonating a 'judicial crisis'. The committee's chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, particularly demanded that the White House 'look into' Owen's Enron connection, after being passed a report by a research group, Texans for Public Justice, detailing the firm's contributions, after which she ruled in their and other donors' interests many times. In one instance she wrote an opinion overturning another court, exempting Enron from paying school taxes. The director of another group, Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice, said: 'Mention her name and people say "Oh, Judge Enron".' guardian.co.uk

South Dakota School Officials Terrorized Kindergarten Classes with Drug-Sniffing Dogs, ACLU Charges July 28, 2002 SIOUX FALLS, SD--The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of 17 Native American students - some as young as six years old - who were terrorized when public school officials and law enforcement officers brought in a German Shepherd to conduct a suspicionless drug sweep of all K-12 classrooms. "What this school administration allowed is truly shocking," said Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project and lead counsel in the case. "Officials at this school, along with law enforcement officers, seem to be pioneering a practice of treating even the youngest students like hardened criminals." Boyd said this appears to be the first reported incident of drug-sniffing dogs being used directly on elementary school children. "As schools look for legitimate ways to address drug and alcohol abuse, we need to be vigilant against the war on drugs becoming a war on our youngest children," said Boyd. "This incident could only occur in an environment that places the war on drugs over common sense." aclu.org

Bush and Blair agree terms for Iraq attack July 27, 2002 Simon Tisdall and Richard Norton-Taylor Military hatch new option for invasion. Tony Blair has privately told George Bush that Britain will support an American attack on Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to accept resumed UN weapons inspections. President Bush's "understanding", based on conversations with the prime minister, is that he can count on Mr Blair, according to well-placed Bush administration officials. The agreement between the leaders comes as diplomatic, military and intelligence sources revealed details of a new plan for the invasion of Iraq, which could take place sooner than had previously been presumed. guardian.co

House passes homeland bill
July 27, 2002 WASHINGTON - The Republican-led House voted Friday to create an enormous Homeland Security Department, the biggest government reorganization in decades. It grants President Bush broad personnel powers. Democrats were dissatisfied, saying the bill could undermine worker civil service and union protections, shroud too much information in secrecy and threaten air passenger safety. Reaffirmed on a narrow 217-211 vote, a one-year delay in this year's deadline for airports to begin screening checked baggage for explosives. Defeated, a Democratic effort to scrap the bill's exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act. Approved, a provision Democrats say expands the bill's lawsuit immunity protections. It was the personnel and labor issues, however, that sparked the most impassioned, partisan debate in a House narrowly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Adding to the tensions, AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney issued a statement calling Bush's veto threat ''misguided.'' ''History has proven that guaranteeing workers their rights does not imperil national security,'' Sweeney said. sunone.com

Ashcroft tells senators TIPS program won't affect civil liberties
July 27, 2002 By JESSE J. HOLLAND WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General John Ashcroft says a new government program that asks Americans to report suspicious activity won't create an Orwellian database that could be used against innocent citizens. Instead, Operation TIPS will be "a clearinghouse for people who think they see something suspicious", nj.com

Bush not just 'hard-nosed'; Rangers deal fleeced public July 27, 2002 In his July 17 column "Harken bad, but land grab worse," Nicholas Kristof reviewed President Bush's years as an owner of the Texas Rangers, during which land was obtained for a new stadium through condemnation proceedings at prices well below fair value. Mr. Kristof concludes that Mr. Bush simply was being a "hard-nosed businessman" and did an intelligent job of leading the Rangers so lucratively. He points to the $14 million profit Mr. Bush made on the sale of his Ranger stock. The facts behind that profit, however, suggest that he helped fleece taxpayers rather than intelligently managed the deals. gopbi.com

Bush backs Harris' extension request July 27, 2002 By Jim Ash TALLAHASSEE -- Question: When is a deadline not a deadline? Answer: If you're Secretary of State Katherine Harris, it depends. Harris was an official in George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2000 when, acting as the state's elections chief, she refused to extend a deadline to allow a crucial recount of the presidential vote in Florida. It was one of several decisions leading up to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that handed Bush the White House. Fast forward to Friday, hours after a FedEx Boeing 727 cargo plane crashed near the Tallahassee Airport, closing the facility and blocking candidates from meeting a noon qualifying deadline for the November elections. Harris rushed a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush requesting an "emergency" declaration -- the airplane's three crew members were only slightly injured -- to extend the qualifying deadline. Bush complied with an executive order pushing the deadline to 5 p.m. today. "I find it interesting that they decide to be gracious on this one," Florida Democratic Party Chairman Bob Poe said Friday. "I'm sure the people of Palm Beach County would have liked the same courtesy extended to them in the November of 2000." gopbi.com

Is Fighting Iraq Worth the Risks? 26 July 2002 By MICHAEL E. O'HANLON and PHILIP H. GORDON WASHINGTON — For months, President Bush has been asserting his intention to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. That goal appears to have broad support from the American people and Congress. Through careful diplomacy, he can probably also gain at least the acquiescence ˜ if not the active support ˜ of a number of European and Arab allies. A military operation to remove Mr. Hussein, however, would be the most momentous use of force by the United States since the Vietnam War. If President Bush undertakes such a mission, it will dominate the remainder of his term, radically reshape the politics of the Persian Gulf and Middle East, and have major repercussions for the global economy. Yet there has been little debate about the pros and cons of such a war. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings planned for next week will be a start, but only a start. nytimes.com

US corporate reform bill: much fanfare for a fig leaf 26 July 2002 By Patrick Martin The corporate reform bill passed by the House of Representatives and Senate July 25 and embraced by the Bush administration will have little impact on financial fraud and does nothing to compensate the victims of the colossal decline in share values over the past two years. The near-unanimity in the final vote—423-3 in the House and 99-0 in the Senate—is proof enough that the bill does not threaten the vested corporate interests that finance and control both the Republican and Democratic parties. wsws.org

UN Torture Prevention Plan Adopted Despite US Opposition July 25, 2002 by Agence France Presse UNITED NATIONS -- A new UN protocol on torture prevention was adopted, despite stiff US opposition to allowing outside inspection of individual countries' prisons and terrorist detention centers. The "optional protocol" to the Convention against Torture was adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) by 35 votes to eight with 10 abstentions and will now go to the UN General Assembly for approval commondreams.org

Antiwomen, antichildren 7/25/2002 THE BUSH administration's rescission of $34 million to the United Nations Population Fund is not just an international embarrassment but a threat to the lives and health of millions of women overseas. No other nation has ever pulled funding from the Population Fund, which promotes family planning, AIDS education, and improved pregnancy and childbirth conditions in 142 countries. boston.com

Bush stands by plan to allow Social Security funds in stock market despite wild swings in stock prices July 25, 2002 By TOM RAUM WASHINGTON — Despite the stock market's recent roller coaster ride, President Bush is sticking by his proposal to allow younger workers to divert some of their Social Security taxes to stocks and other private investments. "Clearly, young people are paying taxes in now for a Social Security system that is going bankrupt," presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer said. naplesnews.com

U.S. Working to Derail Another Human Rights Treaty... Against Torture July 24, 2002 by Jim Lobe by Jim Lobe Two months after withdrawing from the United Nations treaty to create a permanent international war crimes court, the administration of United States, President George W. Bush is trying to sideline a new treaty to prevent torture, according to several human rights groups. The draft Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture is due to be considered for adoption by a key UN committee Wednesday, but Washington has introduced a resolution to create a special working group to discuss it further, according to a draft letter from the U.S. mission at the UN obtained Monday by OneWorld. Rights groups claim that the resolution is an attempt to prevent the Protocol's adoption, even though the U.S. would not be bound by its terms if it declined to sign it. "This fits a pattern we've seen for some time under the Bush administration," said Rory Mungoven, global advocacy director for New York-based Human Rights Watch. "Yet again the Bush administration is on a collision course with its allies over an important new mechanism to protect human rights." commondreams.org

How Bush could lose
July 24, 2002 Suddenly, corporate fraud and the the stock market collapse have made US Republicans look vulnerable. Like the Prince of Denmark, the president of the United States is haunted by his father. Nothing disturbs the sleep of George W Bush so much as the experience of George HW Bush - especially now. Bush the First waged war on an evil Arab bogeyman and garnered through-the-roof poll numbers as his reward. He then saw those ratings tumble, as people forgot about the war and worried about their wallets instead. Along came a Democratic challenger who understood: "It's the economy, stupid." The voters agreed, thought Bush had no answers to the downturn and promptly ejected him from the White House. guardian.co.uk

EU replaces cash denied to UN family planning by US July 24, 2002 Ian Black The European Union is to fill the gap left by the US decision to stop funding the UN's family planning organisation with €32m (20.3m) aid for sexual and reproductive health work in 22 countries, the Guardian has learned. The aid, to be announced later this week, will replace the $34m US contribution to the UN Population Fund (UNPFA), which helps poorer countries with family planning and advice on population control, health and sexual matters. The state department announced on Monday that George Bush was ending payment. guardian.co.uk

ACLU Urges CA Police Not to Let Federal Spying Rules Override State Privacy Rights
July 24, 2002 SAN FRANCISCO -- In letters sent today to seven Bay Area police and sheriff's departments, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and several other civil rights groups are urging law enforcement agencies to take immediate steps to ensure that the state constitutional right to privacy is not overridden by intrusive new federal policies on domestic spying. "We are urging local departments to take immediate steps because we fear that this precious constitutional right will be compromised by anti-terrorism investigations encouraged by new federal policies," said Mark Schlosberg, Police Practices Policy Director of the ACLU of Northern California. "These policies allow federal agents to spy on religious and political organizations in the absence of any suspicion. Quick action is needed to ensure that local police follow the California constitution -- not dangerous federal guidelines that violate our state constitution," he added. The letters were sent to police and sheriff's departments identified by the FBI as participating on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a task force made up of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The letters are being sent in response to Attorney General Ashcroft's recent unilateral decision to roll back longstanding guidelines that were put in place as a result of the gross intelligence abuses of the 1960's. The letters urge local law enforcement working with the FBI to follow California's constitution. aclu.org

US moves closer to war against Iraq
  23 July 2002 By Patrick Martin Last week’s visit to Turkey by US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz marks another step towards full-scale American military action against Iraq. Wolfowitz is the Bush administration policymaker most closely identified with plans for war with the oil-rich Persian Gulf country. The purpose of his trip was to hold top-level talks with the regime whose cooperation is most vital to such an attack. A US onslaught against Iraq would be one of the great crimes in the history of American imperialism, rivaling only the bloody wars in Korea and Vietnam. Internal Pentagon studies have already predicted tens of thousands of civilian casualties in the event of a US invasion. If fighting extends to the streets of Baghdad—or if the Bush administration acts on its hints of earlier this year, and uses tactical or strategic nuclear weapons—the death toll would rise immeasurably. wsws.org

Calls Mount for Bush, Cheney, to Come Clean House GOP Shelters Offshore Shelters 23 July 2002 As corporate executives accused of malfeasance find temporary shelter behind the Fifth Amendment, the last thing shaken investors need is the nation's two top cops nuzzling in next to them. Calls are mounting for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to come clean on their previous business dealings. So far, both have refused to do so. And, as the war on terrorism costs taxpayers some $35 billion a year, GOP House members continue to protect corporate offshore tax shelters that cost the US Treasury at least twice that much each year. Read more at the DailyEnron.com

Bush re-election support falls July 23 By Alex Johnson Scandals, stocks drag down president’s popularity — The economy and the accounting scandals surrounding large corporations appear to be taking a heavy toll on President Bush’s popularity, according to two opinion surveys released Monday. In one of the polls, fewer than half of the likely voters questioned said they believe he should be re-elected. msnbc.com

Bush bullish on economy while markets gyrate
July 23, 2002 ARGONNE, Ill. (AP) — President Bush had no advice for investors as the stock market plunged anew Monday — ``I'm not a stock broker or a stock picker'' — but he said corporate profits are improving. cantonrep.com

Free markets have failed a continent
July 23, 2002 Isabel Hilton Latin America is gagging on the prescriptions of the Bush family. When George Bush came to power, he was not reputed to be a man with an extensive grasp of the world outside the US. There was, though, one area that he was thought to know a little about. As governor of Texas, he had charge of the largest Latino communities in the US and, it was said, spoke Spanish. Latin America, at least, now had a US president who might understand. Bush's reputation as a master of the Latin American brief took a knock when he confessed his amazement to Brazil's urbane and intellectual president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, that Brazil's population was not entirely white. "You mean, you have blacks too?" he said. guardian.co.uk

Civil rights groups ask Bush to remove appointee after comments on Arab-Americans 7/23/02 By WILL LESTER (AP) -- Two civil rights groups asked President Bush Monday to remove Peter Kirsanow from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights after he said people might demand internment camps for Arab-Americans if Arab terrorists strike the United States again. Kirsanow, who was appointed by Bush and finally took his seat in May after a heated legal fight with the commission chairwoman, said if there was another attack by Arabs on U.S. soil, "not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops and more profiling." "There will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights," nj.com

Moving towards martial law and shadow government July  22 - The 'Posse Comitatus Act' makes it a crime to employ any part of the Army of the United States as a domestic police force, "except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress". 'The 'Posse Comitatus Act' also addresses a need to control the military role in domestic law enforcement, and represents a philosophical commitment to subordinating military power to civilian authority.
U.S. Should Consider Giving Military Arrest Powers, Ridge Says July 22, 2002 By Alex Canizares Washington, -- The government should consider reversing a more than a century of tradition and law to give the military authority to make arrests and fire their weapons on U.S. soil in the event of a terrorist attack, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said. bloomberg.com

Social Security Accounts Thievery 22 July 2002 By Charles P. Blahous, assistant to the president for economic policy criticizing our analysis of the Social Security commission's proposals. The commission's plans rely on $2 trillion to $3 trillion in transfers from general revenues despite large anticipated federal deficits. The proposals would drastically reduce traditional benefits below those currently scheduled for retirees and for the disabled, even for those not opening individual privatized accounts. The proposals would have Social Security pay large subsidies to the individual privatized accounts and further reduce traditional benefits for those opening these accounts. The plans require 70 to 80 percent as much revenue over the next 75 years as the fiscally reckless course of financing scheduled benefits from the rest of the budget with no other reforms. nytimes.com

Mounting anger over US atrocities in Afghanistan 22 July 2002 By Peter Symonds Three weeks after an American AC-130 gunship killed and injured more than 100 civilians in the small Afghan village of Kakarak, US military officials have refused to admit that the raid was a mistake or to rule out similar actions in the future. The massacre and the dismissive attitude of US officials have added to the mounting anger among ethnic Pashtuns in Uruzgan and neighbouring provinces in the country’s south and east. Comments by US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in Afghanistan last week simply underscore the callous indifference of the Bush administration to the rising civilian toll caused by American bombing and military operations. Speaking to reporters at the Bagram air base north of Kabul, Wolfowitz said the US had “no regrets about going after the bad guys”. wsws.org

Bush wants confidence? I'm confident we've been ripped off
July 21, 2002 By CHARLES F. TRENTELMAN Standard-Examiner staff President Bush wants me to be confident in the economy, but I dunno. He hasn"t seen my latest 401K retirement account statement. I have, and it does not inspire confidence. Terror, maybe. Or despair. But confidence? Well, I"m confident the steak dinners I hoped for in my golden years are now generic macaroni and cheese. Does that count? I don"t get it. Consider people like Bush"s pal Kenneth Lay, ex-CEO of Enron, a rich man running a huge, rich company and who, if we can believe even half of what we read, felt a need to rob us. You, me, my 86-year-old mother. Everyone. It"s clear the company he ran did rob us, you know, and don"t give me that "Lay was just the poor stupid CEO, he didn"t know" crud. The stockholders paid him big bucks to know. standard.net President Bush wants me to be confident in the economy, but I dunno. He hasn"t seen my latest 401K retirement account statement. I have, and it does not inspire confidence. Terror, maybe. Or despair. But confidence? Well, I"m confident the steak dinners I hoped for in my golden years are now generic macaroni and cheese. Does that count? I don"t get it. Consider people like Bush"s pal Kenneth Lay, ex-CEO of Enron, a rich man running a huge, rich company and who, if we can believe even half of what we read, felt a need to rob us. You, me, my 86-year-old mother. Everyone. It"s clear the company he ran did rob us, you know, and don"t give me that "Lay was just the poor stupid CEO, he didn"t know" crud. The stockholders paid him big bucks to know. standard.net

Gore: Bush administration has lied to Americans about nation's economy 7/21/02 By BILL POOVEY MORRISON, Tenn. (AP) -- Al Gore accused the Bush administration Saturday of lying to Americans about the nation's economy. Gore told Democrats the Bush administration has "lied about the future liabilities they have put on our shoulders as taxpayers," The recent spate of corporate corruption cases reflects the administration's policies and its appointees, who are supposed to police big business, Gore said. He compared the administration's handling of the economy to business decisions that led to the collapse of Enron, saying Bush is creating a huge deficit. "It's going to lead to bigger deficits than when the first Bush was there," Gore said. He said the administration should "completely scrap its economic plan and its team on Monday ... start over from scratch and start rebuilding this economy." nj.com



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