SEPTEMBER 13-1, 02 Archives

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September 11, Black Tuesday: A Tragedy That Could Have Been Stopped September 13, 2002 By Chris Grant —Now we come to the portion of this commentary that becomes pure speculation with common sense and some facts thrown in. This is where you're going to think that maybe I'm making this stuff up or I'm a real conspiracy nut. But I ask you to think about these possibilities and the questions that come with them just for a moment and then decide what the truth is. As previously mentioned in Part 1, there exists no videotape footage of Mohamed Atta or any of the other alleged hijackers walking through any of the three airport terminals on September 11. Surely there are cameras rolling in each of these, especially Logan and Dulles, considering both are in the major metropolitan cities of Boston and Washington, D.C., respectively. So I'd like to ask where this footage is and if it does exist, wouldn't it be to the benefit of the government to release it?

A Global Cry for Peace September 13, 2002 -- People around the world are marking the one year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and western Pennsylvania. They have come together to plan commemorations that do not fall victim to the pro-war rhetoric that predominates most officially sanctioned anniversary events. These activities mourn both the suffering caused by the attacks, and the violent and undemocratic policies that have been implemented throughout the world since. Though not so visible in the dominant media, those seeking this sort of remembrance are everywhere. In the U.S. for the last week, peace and education events have been held across the country, with a focus on New York City. Among other places, in Atlanta, organizing against war in Iraq is increasing, a human chain for peace was linked in Ann Arbor, a candlelight vigil was held at Kirtland Air Force base in New Mexico, another in Oakland, hundreds rallied in Raleigh, and 15-20,000 gathered for peace in San Francisco. More events are planned in these places, as well as in Buffalo, Madison, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, San Diego, and across Oregon.

Bush sets the war clock ticking September 13, 2002 Julian Borger Iraq gets last chance to comply with UN, US starts military build-up in Gulf - A diplomatic scramble began yesterday to avoid a war in Iraq after President George Bush laid down an ultimatum at the United Nations, warning that "action will be unavoidable" unless Saddam Hussein complies with a litany of past UN resolutions. In his address to the general assembly, Mr Bush offered the hope of a peaceful resolution brokered by the security council and did not set a deadline for Iraqi compliance, but diplomats at the UN were in no doubt that the speech set the clock ticking. In tandem with its diplomatic offensive, the US has steadily upped the pace of its military preparations. Headquarters staff are moving out to the Gulf where thousands of tonnes of equipment are being stockpiled. In order to fight in the winter, when desert temperatures are bearable, a decision will have to be made by December.

One year after the terror attacks: still no official investigation into September 11 13 September 2002 By Patrick Martin One year after the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people, there has not been a single public congressional hearing, no official report has been prepared, and many of the most basic facts remain shrouded in secrecy. Despite its public show of sympathy for the victims and their families, the Bush administration is denying them what is their most basic right: a thorough investigation into the causes of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the circumstances in which they took place. It is now twelve months since the worst terrorist attack in history—one that was carried out without any interference from the US national security apparatus, the largest in the world. Yet not a single person has been held accountable.

ACLU and Community Groups Ask Court to Reject Proposed Justice Department Changes to Police Abuse Monitoring September 13, 2002 PITTSBURGH - In preparation for a hearing tomorrow to determine whether Justice Department oversight should be lifted from the troubled Pittsburgh police department, 18 civil rights, community, religious and minority-police-officer organizations have filed a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the proposed changes and asking the court to order increased federal oversight to address serious problems with internal affairs investigations into misconduct allegations. Witold Walczak, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and author of the legal brief, criticized the Justice Department's willingness to reward the city when a court-appointed auditor's most recent reports documented serious systemic problems. "Countless police officers, including some with long histories of abuse, continue to patrol the streets with serious misconduct allegations pending against them," he said. "The system to investigate misconduct is still broken and, according to the auditor, getting worse. Why is the Justice Department proposing to lift federal oversight now, when the City's compliance with the consent decree is at an all-time low? The people who live and work in the City deserve better from the Ashcroft Justice Department."

Concord Coalition Offers Key Questions Voters Should Ask
Candidates About The Budget, Social Security & Medicare
WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Concord Coalition today released "Key Questions Voters Should Ask Candidates About the Budget, Social Security and Medicare," a brochure proposing six questions that citizens and members of the media should ask candidates for federal office. Each question features background information to provide context on these critical issues. "Political campaigns are the ideal time to question candidates. Well-informed voters can use these exchanges to find out where
candidates really stand and to let the candidates know what they think. But many politicians have a tendency to gloss over tough issues, minimize problems and offer easy-sounding solutions instead of giving detailed, specific answers. While there is no single correct answer to any of the questions, these issues need to be debated on the campaign trail. Concord's key questions provide a framework for ensuring that candidates address some of the toughest choices they will face about the budget, Social Security and Medicare if they're elected," said Executive Director Robert Bixby. Key Questions Voters Should Ask Candidates About the Budget,
Social Security and Medicare:
1. Do you believe that Congress and the President should agree on a new plan to balance the budget, and if so, should that plan exclude the Social Security surplus?
2. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 a strong bipartisan consensus has developed to increase spending on national security at home and abroad. Do you believe that this new spending should be offset with cuts in other areas, paid for by tax
increases, or deficit financed?
3. Is debt reduction a priority for you, and if so, how would you balance debt reduction against other priorities?
4. Last year when large surpluses were expected throughout the decade, Congress and President Bush agreed to a tax cut plan that won't be fully phased in until 2010. Now that deficits of $100 billion or more are expected for the next few years -- $300 billion if the Social Security surplus is excluded -- do you believe the tax cuts that have not yet taken effect should be delayed until the budget is back in balance?
5. Social Security will begin spending more than it collects in taxes by 2017. After that, Social Security will run growing annual cash deficits in the trillions of dollars. How do you propose to reduce the growing financial burden on future taxpayers, while at the same time protecting the retirement security of future beneficiaries, or do you support the "Do Nothing Plan?"
6. Leading proposals in Congress for adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare would cost from $350 billion to $800 billion over the next 10 years. But Medicare's costs are already projected to double over this time, even before most of the huge baby boom generation qualifies for benefits. If you agree that a prescription drug benefit should be added to Medicare, how do you propose to pay for it?
For the full text of The Concord Coalition's "Key Questions
Voters Should Ask Candidates About the Budget, Social Security and
Medicare" in pdf format, please visit
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Florida's election curse strikes again September 12, 2002 Duncan Campbell Nearly two years after the Florida voting system became an international joke, history has repeated itself. In the first statewide elections since the chaotic 2000 presidential race, Floridians turned up to vote yesterday and found polls closed, machinery malfunctioning and officials walking off the job. Confusion reigned and some voters were turned away before registering their choices. Hundreds of voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties - both at the centre of the presidential vote scandal - found themselves unable to vote in the state primaries. Three hours after the polls were due to open, some stations were still closed. In Broward county, some precinct clerks and polling officials failed to report for duty. In Miami-Dade, where voters had to decide on whether to sanction an attempt to repeal legislation prohibiting anti-gay discrimination, some of the new cash machine-style machines were not working. Even Janet Reno, the former Clinton administration attorney general hoping for the Democratic guvernatorial nomination, was delayed as she tried to vote. The machines were not up and running. Ms Reno said: "I think it is important that the voters overcome mistakes made by others or failure to plan by others."

Republican Senators Seek to Ease Restrictions on Logging 9/12/2002 (AP) WASHINGTON - Environmental groups are opposing an effort by Western Republican senators to make it easier for loggers to thin forests on up to 10 million acres of federal land, a proposal the lawmakers say will help prevent wildfires. Sens. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Pete Domenici, R-N.M., introduced the plan on Tuesday. A vote could occur this week and is expected to be close, though the sponsors are working behind the scenes to fashion a bipartisan compromise in an effort that could stretch into next week.

One year since September 11: an unprecedented assault on democratic rights 11 September 2002 By Bill Vann Any objective consideration of the political changes that have taken place since the attacks of September 11, 2001 must lead to the conclusion that the tragic events of that day were the starting point for a vast change in American domestic as well as foreign policy. Neither the eruption of US militarism abroad, however, nor the assault on civil liberties at home can be explained merely from the events, however horrific, of a year ago. Rather, the shock of thousands of civilian deaths was exploited by the Bush administration to force through policies that had long been demanded by the most right-wing sections of America’s ruling elite. In the space of just one year, this administration has carried out the most sweeping assault on democratic rights in the country’s history. What is involved is not merely a strengthening of police powers, but the dismantling of constitutional protections against tyranny that date back to the American Revolution. The very structure of the government is being radically altered, transforming the relationship between not only its three branches—executive, legislative and judicial—but between the people and the armed power of the police and military.

UN summit subordinates environment and development to corporate interests 11 September 2002 By Joseph Kay The United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development came to an end on September 4. After much haggling, the nearly 200 countries represented reached a non-binding agreement that calls in vague terms for an improvement in human and environmental health and sustainability. What above all distinguished the Johannesburg conference was the overriding influence of the giant multinational corporations that flocked to South Africa. An estimated 700 companies were represented, including many—such as those involved in oil and mining—that are deeply implicated in creating the problems the conference was supposed to address. Corporate giants such as DaimlerChrysler and Hewlett Packard, the American information technology conglomerate, sponsored the summit. An entire day was set aside as “Business Day.”

Iraq War Hawks Have Plans to Reshape Entire Mideast September 11, 2002 by John Donnelly and Anthony Shadid WASHINGTON - As the Bush administration debates going to war against Iraq, its most hawkish members are pushing a sweeping vision for the Middle East that sees the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq as merely a first step in the region's transformation. The argument for reshaping the political landscape in the Mideast has been pushed for years by some Washington think tanks and in hawkish circles. It is now being considered as a possible US policy with the ascent of key hard-liners in the administration - from Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith in the Pentagon to John Hannah and Lewis Libby on the vice president's staff and John Bolton in the State Department, analysts and officials say.

Police say cocaine found on Gov. Bush’s daughter at rehab center September 11, 2002 By MIKE BRANOM Gov. Jeb Bush’s 25-year-old daughter was found with crack cocaine at a rehabilitation center, police said Tuesday. If confirmed, it would be her second lapse since entering court-ordered drug treatment. Police were called to the Center for Drug Free Living in Orlando late Monday, where workers gave them a “white, rocklike substance” they said they found in Noelle Bush’s shoe, Police Sgt. Orlando Rolon said. The 0.2-gram rock tested positive for cocaine in a police field test, but Bush wasn’t immediately arrested because police couldn’t obtain sworn statements from people at the center, Rolon said. Center staffers tried to persuade the officer who first responded to let the matter be handled in-house, said police spokeswoman Teresa Shipley. A staffer who had been filing out a statement for the officer ripped the document up and threw it into a trash can after talking to a supervisor, but the officer retrieved the torn paper and tagged it as evidence, she said. Its contents were released.

Mosquito Fleet of Broadcasters Provide Soundtrack to NAB
September 11, 2002 From September 12 to 15, Seattle will play host to thousands of commercial radio broadcasters, hundreds of independent media makers and community radio aficionados, and a small but highly audible swarm of license-free microbroadcasters who say that it is giant conglomerates like Clear Channel and Infinity who are the real pirate broadcasters. The NAB, representing the interests of a concentrated and wealthy elite group of broadcasting owners, has worked hard to prevent public access to the airwaves - most infamously in its attacks on Federal Communications Commision (FCC) plans to license low power FM (LPFM) community radio stations two years ago, when it successfully lobbied Congress to enact the industry-written "Preservation of Broadcasting Act." With entertainment provided by keynote speaker and Fox News spin-surgeon Bill O'Reilly, the NAB has themed their conference "Radio Promotes. Radio Provides. Radio Has Power."

Overview of Changes to Legal Rights September 10, 2002 By The Associated Press Some of the fundamental changes to Americans' legal rights by the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act following the terror attacks:
* FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigation.
* FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records requests.
* FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.
* RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.
* FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.
* RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.
* RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.

On Eve of One-Year Anniversary, ACLU Says Terrorist Attacks Have Changed American Law, September 10, 2002 Society Statement of Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director NEW YORK- One year after the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, much has fundamentally changed in America. Some of these changes, like a renewed sense of national purpose, are heartening. Yet much else is deeply disturbing to those who cherish freedom and the American way of life. And perhaps the most disturbing change is the government’s apparent belief that our society cannot be both safe and free.

ACLU Condemns Secret Review of Wiretap Court's Ruling on Government Abuse of Surveillance Powers September 10, 2002 NEW YORK -The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned as undemocratic a first-ever secret meeting of a special federal appeals court in which only the government was allowed to present arguments about whether Attorney General John Ashcroft had overstepped constitutional bounds in conducting surveillance and searches. "Hearing a one-sided argument and doing so in secret goes against the traditions of fairness and open government that have been the hallmark of our democracy," said Ann Beeson, Litigation Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program. "As a federal appeals court judge said recently in rejecting the government's attempt to close off certain immigration hearings, "Democracy dies behind closed doors," she added.

Behind German Chancellor Schröder’s opposition to war on Iraq 10 September 2002 By Peter Schwarz National elections set for September 22 in Germany could well be decided on the question of war. Support for the SPD (German Social Democratic Party) and the Greens has risen in the polls following the clear rejection by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (Green Party) of any German participation in a US invasion of Iraq. Broad sections of the German people reject the plans for war against Iraq. This popular opposition is rooted in both the traumatic experiences of two world wars and open scepticism towards the arguments of those who favour military action. In the case of Iraq, it is all too evident that the main objective is oil.

Current Threats to America Include "a Loose Alliance of Left-Wing Groups" September 10, 2002 A recent "threat assesment" issued by the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center has identified global justice activists as a potential terrorist threat. The bulletin, which has attracted mainstream media attention, goes on to contend that "prior protests against the IMF and WB in Washington, D.C. were disruptive and resulted in limited clashes with police...historically, tiny contingents of individuals associated with the protests belonged to violent groups." While this is not the first time that elements of the Global Justice Movement have been the targets of FBI scrutiny, the inclusion of WB / IMF protests in a memo dealing with largely foreign terrorism may represent an escalation of US Government harassment. Read and discuss the full memo.

Oppose US war against Iraq! Build an international movement against imperialism! 9 September 2002 Editorial Board The World Socialist Web Site condemns the US war drive against Iraq and calls on all working people, youth and opponents of militarism in America and around the world to launch a popular movement against imperialist war, in opposition to Bush, the Democrats, and all other representatives of the US corporate and political elite. In making an assessment of a great historical event—the headlong drive by American imperialism towards global war—it is necessary to call things by their right names, and not be disoriented or overawed by the flood of propaganda which emanates from the White House, Pentagon and Congress, amplified through the American media.

Blair and Bush Face Revolt Over Attack on Iraq September 9, 2002 by Roland Watson PRESIDENT BUSH and Tony Blair ran into a wall of international opposition to their proposed military action against Iraq yesterday, after world leaders from Paris to Moscow and Beijing urged them to shelve their plans. On the eve of the Prime Minister’s trip to Camp David for talks with Mr Bush, President Putin of Russia led a diplomatic counter-attack. Mr Bush and Mr Blair telephoned the leaders of the other permanent members of the UN Security Council to convince them of the need for action against Iraq. But the tactic appeared to backfire when Mr Putin told both men that their strategy was wrong and potentially disastrous. “In the course of the discussions, the President expressed his serious doubts concerning the basis — both in international law, and the global-political sense — of using force against Iraq,” a Kremlin spokesman said. Mr Blair, who will visit Russia next month, was warned of the “serious, negative consequences for the situation in the Gulf region, the Middle East and for the future of the US-led anti-terrorism coalition”.

'Cowboy' Talk May Hurt Bush Cause, Critics Say September 9, 2002 by Charles M. Sennott LONDON - In a land where language defines the culture and words are often measured as carefully as pound sterling, the things that come out of President Bush's mouth are often met with either bewilderment or horror. So when Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain meets with Bush today at Camp David in Maryland, the words they exchange will matter a great deal in how the British public reacts to Washington's diplomatic push to gain support for possible military action against Iraq. The cowboy talk doesn't really wash - not in old England, or really anywhere else in Europe - and some observers contend that Bush's folksy Americanisms have more than a little bit to do with the mounting opposition in Europe to his military threat to topple the regime in Baghdad. Many Britons recoiled, for example, when Bush said Wednesday that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq had ''crawfished'' out of previous agreements with the United Nations to allow weapons inspectors back into the country and that Hussein was ''stiffing the world.''

Bush is ripping the Constitution to shreds. And a pathetc US Congress is wimpering like cowardly dogs to give this American Caesar all that he wants. September 8, 2002 It is clear from the following story that the war has started ... Congress will only be allowed to "approve" whatever Bush wants; they will not be permitted to exercise their Constitutional power NOT to declare war. In otherwords, Bush is an American Caesar. Just as in ancient Rome, the days of our Republic are now over and the era of dictarorship has begun. The only thing that can now save this nation --- founded on the principles of the rule of law, liberty, and equality is ---'regime change' HERE! And as soon as possible.

Most Think U.S. Partly to Blame for Sept.11 September 8, 2002 by Shawn McCarthy A vast majority of Canadians believes the United States bears at least some responsibility for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks because of U.S. policies in the Middle East and around the globe, according to a Globe and Mail/CTV poll. And a significant, but smaller, majority said Canada is doing enough to support the United States in the war on terrorism, the Ipsos-Reid survey released yesterday says.The poll was released as Prime Minister Jean Chrétien prepares to head to New York next week for the first anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center that killed almost 3,000 civilians.

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the “Free Energy” September 8, 2002 This article by Jacco van der Worp a Dutch physicist, explains the “free energy” Magnetic Energy Generator MEG simply, in layman’s terms.  I worked closely with Jacco on this project and sent a polite request to Lee Kenny, one of the MEG principals for assistance. His quick response was controlling and reeked of paranoia. “You are NOT AUTHORIZED by MEL to publish any information regarding the MEG.”  (Readers can view and comment on the full text via the YOWUSA message board post, MEG -- Masters and Kenny.) At first, his paranoid reply puzzled me, but as we further investigated the MEG we came to understand the paranoia and it chilled our blood.  Perhaps this particular genie should be left in the bottle. GO

US layoffs mount—68,000 lost factory jobs in August
7 September 2002 By Bill Vann Layoffs in both manufacturing and the service sector continued last month at near record rates, giving the lie to claims by both government economists and private financial analysts that the world’s largest economy is well into a recovery. While stocks traded modestly upward September 6 on the strength of a monthly Labor Department report showing a slightly lower than expected unemployment rate, a series of economic indicators showed the slashing of jobs in every major sector continuing with even sharper cuts anticipated in coming months. Consolidated Freightways Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy September 3, citing debts of more than $100 million. The trucking company’s 15,500 employees learned of the news a day before when they dialed a toll-free number and heard a recorded message from Consolidated President John Brincko: “I have some extremely urgent and sad news to share with you today.... Your employment ends immediately.”

(*Editors Note | We're in a recovery, we're in a recovery, it is slow and sometimes uncertain, but we're in a recovery. This is the economic forecast that has been as a drumbeat from the Bush administration. Mr. Prechter thinks otherwise. The following is not in any way offered as financial advice. It is merely some more writing on the wall. I hope you saved that $300 tax return. If you voted for Bush, I hope it was worth it. - wrp)

There's Safety in Numbers: Tips for Managing the Coming Crash September 7, 2002 By Thom Calandra In the coming bad months and years, a period that will annihilate nearly all paper assets and shrink the oceans of debt and credit sloshing around the world, investors and workers will be asking what they can do to sidestep a meltdown of their personal portfolios. "It a question everyone should be asking themselves right now, and it's not too late," Elliott Wave International forecaster Robert R. Prechter Jr. told me Thursday. "What's going to happen when the stock market finally bottoms? You'll be able to go in there and buy stocks that used to trade at $85 a share for maybe half a dollar or a quarter of a dollar." The coming meltdown, in the eyes of Prechter and others alarmed by the global credit expansion of the 20th century, will include homes, bank deposits, insurance policies, even paychecks. Here are some starter-tips, gleaned from many fine sources, including the Weiss Safe Money Report, Prechter's new book, "Conquer the Crash," and "Crisis Investing" author Doug Casey's International Speculator.

The Bully's Pulpit September 7, 2002 By PAUL KRUGMAN War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Colin Powell and Dick Cheney are in perfect agreement. And the Bush administration won't privatize Social Security. Ari Fleischer's insistence that Mr. Powell and Mr. Cheney have no differences over Iraq seems to have pushed some journalists into facing up, at least briefly, to the obvious. ABC's weblog The Note described it as a "chocolate-is-vanilla" claim, admitting that "The Bush team has always had a credibility problem with some reporters because of their insistence on saying 'up is down' and 'black is white.' " But the administration needn't worry; if history is any guide, many reporters will soon return to their usual cringe. The next time the administration insists that chocolate is vanilla, much of the media ˜ fearing accusations of liberal bias, trying to create the appearance of "balance" ˜ won't report that the stuff is actually brown; at best they'll report that some Democrats claim that it's brown. The Bush team's Orwellian propensities have long been apparent to anyone following its pronouncements on economics. Even during campaign 2000 these pronouncements relied on doublethink, the ability to believe two contradictory things at the same time. For example, George W. Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security always depended on the assertion that 2-1=4 ˜ that we can divert payroll taxes into high-yielding personal accounts, yet still use the same money to pay benefits to retirees.

Bush tries to drum up support for attacking Iraq in SB speech September 7, 2002 By DANIEL PRZYBYLA SOUTH BEND — President George W. Bush took a forceful step at South Bend Regional Airport Thursday afternoon in his ongoing campaign to convince people an attack on Iraq is necessary. It was only a day earlier when the president for the first time publicly said he would request congressional approval before imposing a military offensive on Iraq aimed at removing its leader, Saddam Hussein. The 30-minute speech witnessed by around 5,000 people inside a hangar at the airport had Bush continuing to rally support for his military objectives to rid the world of terrorism and Hussein. “I believe the world cannot allow the world’s worst leaders to threaten America with the world’s worst weapons,” Bush said emphatically.

(*Editors Note | 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.

Senators: Smoke 'em if you got 'em Committee says it's time to legalize cannabis use in Canada
September 06, 2002 Tim Naumetz A Senate committee has unanimously called for the legalization of marijuana in Canada, with government licensed production and sale of the drug to any Canadian citizen over the age of 16. The proposal could lead the way to marijuana being sold in government-run stores or even corner groceries, like tobacco or wine, said Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, chairman of a special committee that conducted a two-year investigation into the use of cannabis. Mr. Nolin and the committee's co-chairman, Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, said yesterday all inquiry members agreed more harm than good is being done by making marijuana possession a criminal offence. "Whether or not an individual uses marijuana should be a personal choice that is not subject to criminal penalties," Mr. Nolin told a news conference, adding the committee believed keeping the drug illegal, but subject to non-criminal laws, would not end its production and distribution by organized crime gangs. "We have come to the conclusion that, as a drug, it should be regulated by the state as much as we do for wine and beer, hence our preference for legalization over decriminalization," said Mr. Nolin. The committee also called for an amnesty for the 300,000 to 600,000 Canadians who have been convicted of possession. The amnesty could include freeing prisoners who are serving time solely for a marijuana-possession offence. They also recommended improvements to ease access to medicinal marijuana for people undergoing cancer chemotherapy or those suffering from glaucoma or chronic pain.

Bush administration again refuses to release energy records September 6, 2002 By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Citing constitutional concerns, Vice President Dick Cheney and the White House are refusing to turn over information in two lawsuits against the Bush administration's energy task force. In court papers filed this week, the Justice Department said that requiring Cheney's energy task force to produce documents and provide written answers to Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club would interfere with the executive branch's authority to give confidential advice to the president. "Further responses" by Cheney and the task force "would impose upon the Executive unconstitutional burdens," the Justice Department wrote. The information the two private groups are seeking is "under the direct control of — and therefore from — the president of the United States." Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club are attempting to learn the details of industry influence on the national energy plan which Cheney's task force formulated more than a year ago. The results of that plan, a comprehensive energy package, are before a House-Senate conference committee.

Wilderness Society Analysis: Bush's Legislative Proposal on Wildfire September 6, 2002 --  /U.S. Newswire/ WASHINGTON,    The following analysis of President Bush's legislative proposal on wildfire was released today by the Wilderness Society: ANALYSIS: Bush's Legislative Proposal on Wildfire Following is a quick analysis of the Bush Administration's legislative proposal to implement the President's "Healthy Forests Initiative," which Secretaries Veneman and Norton transmitted on September 5, 2002 to leaders of the House and Senate. As discussed below, the Bush Administration's bill is a blatant and extreme attack on environmental laws and public participation in national forest management. By eliminating all requirements for environmental review and all opportunities for public comment and administrative appeal, the Administration's bill is even more extreme than the 1995 Salvage Rider. The bill is divided into four sections: (1) Emergency Hazardous Fuels Reduction Plan, (2) stewardship contracting, (3) repeal of the Appeals Reform Act, and (4) expedited procedures and standards for judicial review. This analysis focuses on the bill's impact on environmental laws, public participation, administrative appeals, and judicial review. Section 1 of the bill provides a blanket exemption from all environmental analysis, public comment, and administrative appeal on millions of acres of federal forest lands

Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11 Sept. 5, 2002 By David Martin,  CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks. That's according to notes taken by aides who were with Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center on Sept. 11 – notes that show exactly where the road toward war with Iraq began, reports.

Reclaim the Media! Upstaging the NAB, Sept 10-15 Six years of the deregulatory "reforms" of the 1996 Telecommunications Act have brought unprecedented concentration of ownership to our broadcast and print media industries. Most of the media Americans watch, read and hear every day is controlled by fewer than ten massive conglomerates. While the corporate captains celebrate their "freedom of the press" by covering the Earth in advertising and pandering to the priorities of US power elites, current FCC leadership has made clear its allegiance to the Love of Money rather than to the Public Interest, and is clearing the way for still more media consolidation, threatening to make the Internet and print media as uniformly outfitted as today¦s commercial FM radio. Sept 10-15 Six years of the deregulatory "reforms" of the 1996 Telecommunications Act have brought unprecedented concentration of ownership to our broadcast and print media industries. Most of the media Americans watch, read and hear every day is controlled by fewer than ten massive conglomerates. While the corporate captains celebrate their "freedom of the press" by covering the Earth in advertising and pandering to the priorities of US power elites, current FCC leadership has made clear its allegiance to the Love of Money rather than to the Public Interest, and is clearing the way for still more media consolidation, threatening to make the Internet and print media as uniformly outfitted as today¦s commercial FM radio.

Support For 1st Amendment Slipping September 4, 2002 (AP) NASHVILLE, Tenn., Support for the First Amendment has eroded significantly since Sept. 11 and nearly half of Americans now think the constitutional amendment on free speech goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to a new poll. The sentiment that the First Amendment goes too far was already on the rise before the terrorist attacks a year ago, doubling to four in 10 between 2000 and 2001. The poll released Thursday found that 49 percent think the First Amendment goes too far, a total about 10 points higher than in 2001.

Fear of global slump sparks share market plunge 4 September 2002 By Nick Beams World share markets took a plunge on Tuesday, suffering their biggest falls since the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The slide began in the East with a 3.2 percent drop in the Tokyo market and followed the sun as first European markets, and then Wall Street, fell by between 3 and 5 percent.While there were particular national factors involved in the decline of each market, the overriding sentiment behind the falls is that the world economy is not making a recovery and may well be sliding into recession.The Nikkei index set the tone for the day, falling by 3.2 percent to close at 9,217—its lowest level in almost 19 years. Since the peak of the Japanese share market bubble in 1989, the index has lost more than 75 percent.

The protocol Bush tried to kill lives to fight another day 04 September 2002 By Geoffrey Lean in Johannesburg George W Bush has snatched defeat from the very jaws of victory. Just as the US President was doubtless beginning to congratulate himself on achieving almost all his objectives at the Earth Summit – most notably blocking targets for increasing renewable energy by rallying oil exporting countries – he has been unexpectedly routed on the environmental issue closest to his heart. Canada and Russia have announced, despite strong US pressure, that they are taking steps to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Their ratifications will bring into force the treaty on fighting global warming that Mr Bush has been trying to destroy ever since taking office.

Bush runs out of credit September 3, 2002 Matthew Engel America floats on an ocean of credit. After a couple of months' good behaviour, you get overwhelmed by junk mail and calls from organisations desperate to lend you money. It is common for families to run themselves up to the maximum on a stack of different cards. It is easy to assume it will last for ever. Then comes the reckoning. Now the government has been seduced in just the same way. A year ago, sympathy for the United States was close to unanimous across the planet. The murderous attacks raised the country's moral credit rating sky-high. But it was not limitless. And the Bush administration dissipated it all on a spending spree of ideological indulgences and hubris. Leave aside the question of whether its Iraq policy - whatever it actually is this morning - might possibly be right. What is indisputable is that the US government has wrecked, possibly beyond repair, its hopes of persuading any other country to that effect by simple, arrogant incompetence. It is terrifying to watch. It could be the next bestseller: How to Lose Friends and Influence No One, by George W Bush. America floats on an ocean of credit. After a couple of months' good behaviour, you get overwhelmed by junk mail and calls from organisations desperate to lend you money. It is common for families to run themselves up to the maximum on a stack of different cards. It is easy to assume it will last for ever. Then comes the reckoning. Now the government has been seduced in just the same way. A year ago, sympathy for the United States was close to unanimous across the planet. The murderous attacks raised the country's moral credit rating sky-high. But it was not limitless. And the Bush administration dissipated it all on a spending spree of ideological indulgences and hubris. Leave aside the question of whether its Iraq policy - whatever it actually is this morning - might possibly be right. What is indisputable is that the US government has wrecked, possibly beyond repair, its hopes of persuading any other country to that effect by simple, arrogant incompetence. It is terrifying to watch. It could be the next bestseller: How to Lose Friends and Influence No One, by George W Bush.

New 2001 Federal Data Reveals that 4.8 Million Low- to Moderate-Income Working Households Have Critical Housing Needs Sept. 3 / U.S. Newswire/ WASHINGTON -- Working the equivalent of a full-time job does not ensure working families a decent, affordable place to live. This is the somber finding from The Center for Housing Policy (CHP) in Washington, D.C., the nonprofit research subsidiary of the National Housing Conference (NHC). CHP is in the process of completing an analysis of recently released 2001 federal data. Its review and analysis of the data thus far indicates that there are 14.5 million households with critical housing needs; that is, they pay more than half their income for housing, and/or live in a substandard unit. This represents a nine percent increase from just over 13 million in 1999. Alarmingly, the number of low- to moderate-income working households with critical housing needs jumped 24 percent -- from 3.9 million to 4.8 million -- over the two-year period. We need to recognize the tremendous burden faced by working families who in growing numbers are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase, maintain or rent decent affordable housing. Our research underscores the need to act now to increase the current supply of affordable housing in this country."

Workers Struggle as Labor Day Arrives in U.S. and Canada September 2, 2002 - While Mayday is considered the real day to honor working persons in most of the world, in the U.S. and Canada the holiday is celebrated in September. For the most part, the day's significance is currently lost to retail sales and just another long weekend. As far as the corporate ruling class is concerned, this works to their advantage. However, the labor movement in the U.S., while diminished, is far from dead. The ongoing critical struggle of the ILWU longshore workers and their supporters is a classic example of corporations and government colluding against workers. Janitors', clerical workers', and other labor disputes loom, as well . A recent farmworkers march across California demonstrates the growing strength of labor in the face of corporate agribusiness. The line between working families in the U.S. and ruling class corporate interests are more sharply defined than ever. Threats to union organizing are increasing daily, but go unreported by the corporate and 'public' media. The Bush regime has shown its disdain for working citizens through a seemingly endless series of corporate-friendly actions. Despite all his rhetoric the man from Big Oil and his government and corporate handlers are enemies of working people everywhere.

Relax, the Republicans' days are numbered September 2, 2002 Martin Kettle The US needs regime change, and shifting demographics may deliver it. The US State Department is holding a two-day conference this week on the spread of anti-American attitudes around the world. It sounds too good to miss. But miss it most of us will, unfortunately. The closed conference in an undisclosed location is an invitation-only affair restricted to 20 scholars and 50 government officials. The State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announced last week that the conference on Thursday and Friday would explore "various manifestations and roots of anti-Americanism around the world, what it means for the United States and how the United States may address it". According to Boucher, it is the culmination of a major in-house project on anti-Americanism in Europe, Russia and the Muslim world. Just what Latin America, that historic bastion of anti-Americanism, has done to be excluded is not clear.

Will Bush go to war against Saddam? September 1, 2002 Peter Beaumont As the arguments about what to do with Iraq drag on, the hawks and doves have been fighting their own ruthless battle for the undecided mind of the President President George W Bush's ranch, the locals in Crawford, Texas, will tell you, is a lonely but lovely place. The massive windows of his single-storey architect-built home - designed in the shape of an S - open on to rolling meadows, a man-made fishing lake and stands of oak set in 1,600 acres of land. When Bush bought the property and built his house in the mid-1990s, he told the architect that he wanted a house where he could lounge on his sofa and enjoy a hamburger and beans. But Bush's second Crawford summer, which comes to an end this weekend, will be remembered not as one where the President relaxed. Instead it will go down in history as the summer when the 'hawks' and 'doves' in his Republican Party fought for his ear over whether to invade Iraq. At the end of this summer break the questions remain unanswered: Will Bush go to war over Iraq? If so, how and when? The world is no closer to knowing, despite the urgent flow of visitors to Crawford, all on Iraqi business.

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