JANUARY 8-1, 03 Archives

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Burning Bridges into the 21st Century January 8, 2003 - Bridget Gibson I have been trying to reeducate myself to the vision of the Bush family’s New World Order. I know I must attempt to shoehorn my thinking into the proper current of thought and advancement of our modern society so that I can finally get over the loss of democracy and freedom. The vision of rule by the monied elite that is soon to come has me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I realized that we had been living an “eight-year long nightmare” of peace and prosperity, and am relieved to know that within the very short span of just less than two years our current administration has succeeded beyond our wildest imaginings... fp.enter.net

Bush's multibillion-dollar tax cut for the rich January 7, 2003 Suzanne Goldenberg Deal is unfair to poor, say Democrats  President George Bush will be forced today to defend a massive regeneration package designed to kick-start the US economy which has come under withering attack as a sop to the rich. The centrepiece of the White House proposals to spur on the anaemic economy, which President Bush will unveil in a speech in Chicago, is the abolition of tax on shareholder dividends. The elimination of the tax has helped to double the expected cost of Mr Bush's economic package to around $600bn (£373bn) over the next decade. It has also exposed the White House to charges from Democrats and moderate Republicans that the Bush administration is seeking to take advantage of the economic recession to reward wealthy Americans and Republican party supporters at the expense of the poor and the middle classes. guardian.co.uk

The Hole in the Rhetoric Jan. 7, 2003 J.G. Schwam Is this the GOP's vision of America? A land of sad patriots forced to turn to God alone to reconcile their love of country and family against the trashed and ruined horizon of the American dream they grew up believing they would some day share? While a government acting in their name merely placates them with vapid rhetorical statements that they share their values. Then through bill after bill, executive order after executive order they cast aside the simple dreams of these hard working patriotic families whose children and husbands are willing to die in war after war they believe is being fought to protect the freedom and country they so love... enter.net

George Bush's war on nature Jan. 7, 2003 By Glenn Scherer Republicans are pushing the most radical assault on the environment in modern times. But history warns of catastrophe for leaders who trust ideology over science. | Jubilant Republicans, focused solely on headlines and human events, may imagine that the most significant harbinger for America's future was the banging of a gavel on Jan. 6, 2003, opening the 108th Congress. Finally, GOP partisans may conclude, they call the shots. But the Republicans could be wrong. Last September, a significantly more powerful event occurred in the windblown silences of the Arctic. In 2002, the second hottest year on record, scientists saw Arctic Ocean ice coverage shrink by more than at any time since satellite measurements were first made a quarter century ago. And, they say, continued melting could leave the Arctic nearly ice-free by summer 2050. In a related report, University of Colorado researchers found that globally warmed glaciers are melting faster than expected, possibly upping ocean levels by as much as 1.5 feet by 2100, far exceeding earlier U.N. estimates of the 2- to 4-inch contribution made by glacial ice to sea rise. salon.com

Troubling surge in long-term unemployed Jan. 7, 2003 By Alexandra Marks Both parties want to extend jobless benefits, which have run out for almost 2 million people. – Nydia Montanez is waiting impatiently for Congress to get back to work on Jan. 7. The video producer has been hunting for a full-time job since she was laid off last April. She's had no success. And because Congress adjourned without extending unemployment benefits last November, hers have run out along with most of her savings. She's given up her apartment, and now lives with an aunt. "This is a scary thing," she says. "I've never been laid off before in the 22 years that I've been working." Ms. Montanez is one of almost 2 million Americans out of work - and out of unemployment benefits. They're the casualties of this recession which, while mild by some measures, has taken a toll on American employees, from Silicon Valley's high-tech wizards to service workers at the out-of-business Calvin Klein Outlet in Clinton, Conn. csmonitor.com

Jan. 7, 2003 By: Ed Henry I'm really getting tired of the extreme right wing radicals trying to argue that Social Security is nothing more than a tax and welfare scheme and that the retired have no legal right to their monthly checks. That it all depends on the kind hearts and graciousness of the politicians and bureaucrats of the District of Corruption. Can you imagine anyone in their right mind going before 40 million retired geezers who paid payroll taxes all of their working lives and telling them that they have no right to the payments they're receiving? You would have to believe that the elderly can't shoot straight. etherzone.com

Traffic stop traumatizes family Couple handcuffed, dog shot to death over lost wallet World Net Daily Losing your wallet in Cookeville, Tenn., can get you handcuffed on the side of the highway and your dog shot to death by police – at least, that was the experience of a North Carolina family returning from a vacation in Nashville. James Smoak apparently left his wallet on the roof of the family station wagon New Year's Day while getting gas prior to pulling onto Interstate 40, reports the Cookeville Herald-Citizen. He discovered it was missing after three police cars swarmed his vehicle in what appeared to be a traffic stop. But this was no ordinary traffic stop. According to Smoak, a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer broadcast orders over a bullhorn for him to toss the keys out of the car window, get out with his hands up and walk backwards to the rear of the car. Smoak obeyed and was subsequently ordered onto his knees and handcuffed at gunpoint. Officers similarly handcuffed his wife, Pamela, and their17-year-old son with their guns drawn. As the troopers were putting the family members inside the patrol car, one of the Smoak family bulldogs came out of the car and headed toward one of the Cookeville officers who were assisting the THP troopers. "That officer had a flashlight on his shotgun, and the dog was going toward that light, and the officer shot him, just blew his head off," Pamela Smoak told the Herald-Citizen. "We had begged them to shut the car doors so our dogs wouldn't get out, [but] they didn't do that." worldnetdaily.com

British sex tourists turn killing fields of Cambodia into paedophiles' playground 07 January 2003 By Kathy Marks in Phnom Penh Svay Pak does not figure in any guidebook, but by late afternoon the squalid shanty town on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, is thronged with Western men. The tourists lounge on plastic chairs in the shade, drinking Angkor beer and surveying the scenery: young girls, barely 11 or 12, wearing low-cut tops and come-hither smiles. The air is full of American drawls, Australian twangs – and the unmistakable sound of a Geordie accent. British sex tourists are flocking to Cambodia, helping to put the South-east Asian nation on the map as the new haunt of globe-trotting paedophiles. Gary Glitter, the former pop star and convicted child pornographer, recently reappeared in Phnom Penh after being hounded out of the country last year. independent.co.uk

Jesus 'healed using cannabis' January 7, 2003 Duncan Campbell Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings. The anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine, High Times, entitled Was Jesus a Stoner? The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims. "There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion," Carl Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University said. guardian.co.uk

WE DISTORT YOU DECIDE *LINK* January 6, 2003 By: Art Bishop FOX QUESTION OF THE DAY : CAPTURE KILL COUP? " This was the daily question from Fox and Fiends Friday, January 03, 2003 (LINK BELOW)Saddam's swan song: Capture, kill or coup? Capture Kill or Coup????????????? "The U.S. has ordered an infantry division from Georgia to prepare to ship to the Persian Gulf, Fox News has learned.The troops, from the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), received prepare-to-deploy orders earlier this week, Army officials said. A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed they were going to the Persian Gulf region as a part of the U.S. military's buildup of forces there. It is the largest single ground force sent to the region since the Bush administration indicated its willingness to go to war against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein more than a year ago." SO, Saddam's swan song: Capture, kill or coup?"Capture KILL or Coup? KILL? KILL? Who the hell do we think we are?Going around the world KILLING people?What do we think this is? Nintendo? thepeoplesvoice.org

Mainstream journalism: Shredding the First Amendment January 6, 2003 By Jon Prestage The national broadcast and print news media's inability to critically assess George W. Bush's foreign and domestic policies and to serve as a watchdog for the public's interest is nothing less than a threat to the country's democratic processes. Not only has the national news media been unable to piece together a cogent and balanced review of Bush's policies, it has helped the administration to shape and spin national debate and muddy the waters to cover its actual intentions. The Radio-Television News Director's Association (RTNDA) says broadcast journalists should serve as "public trustees who seek truth and report it fairly with integrity and independence." If news directors really think their journalists live up to these standards, they are either delusional or hucksters. RTNDA is the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. It boasts more than 3,000 members, mostly news directors. The associations ethics code is full of lofty language that sets standards for broadcast journalists. It says they should "pursue truth aggressively and present the news accurately, in context, and as completely as possible." It says they should place a "primary value on significance and relevance." onlinejournal.com

Bush's War on the World's Poor January 6, 2003 by CHRIS FLOYD Each day, one turns to the latest news from the bowels of the Bush Regime with Dorothy Parker's immortal words sounding in the mind like a tocsin: "What fresh hell is this?" Last week, the news was particularly shameful--and the "hell," though fresh indeed, was in no way metaphorical. For last week saw two new examples of the Regime's most egregious ongoing crime against humanity--its cold, calculated, covert war against the world's poor. Although it's being waged with words and policies--and not the flesh-devouring hardware now massing on Iraq's borders--make no mistake: Bush's war on the poor is a real war, with real casualties, and death tolls in the tens of thousands. It's war on a global scale, on many fronts, but it's being fought for two reasons only: personal political ambition and financial profit. Ever since he seized office, Bush has taken every opportunity to derail or destroy UN efforts to provide reproductive health services to the world's poorest women. He has filled American delegations to policy-setting conferences on these issues with religious extremists from his devoted "Christian Right" political base. He has arbitrarily cut off funding to the UN's family planning program for developing nations: money that health experts say could have prevented 4,700 maternal deaths and 77,000 infant and child deaths in the past year alone. counterpunch.org

Lamest excuse yet for war January 6, 2003 LINDA MCQUAIG The future of both leaders may be largely determined on accurately reading the mood of the Ontario voter. It may have its drawbacks but, according to George W. Bush, nuclear war could prove an indispensable tool for maintaining a buoyant economy. This is only the latest twist in the U.S. president's struggle to come up with the top 10 reasons for invading Iraq — or at least one reason that stands up to minimal scrutiny. "Our economy is strong, it's resilient, we've got to continue to make it strong and resilient." Why rely on the old tools of monetary and fiscal policy to shore up a stagnant economy when pre-emptive nuclear attack is quicker and more reliable? Still, Bush's suggestion that protecting the U.S. economy from recession would be grounds to justify an invasion of Iraq is remarkable for its sheer depravity. It is one thing to argue that Iraq poses a threat to the survival of the U.S. and its allies (a case that has never been substantiated); but it is quite another to argue that the West has the right to kill tens of thousands of people in another country in order to keep the economy over here resilient. At what point does the personal comfort level of Americans and their allies cease to be the most important thing on the planet, for which everyone else in the world is simply expendable? And we wonder why they hate us? What will be next? Biological warfare against any nation exporting scratchy sweaters or food that gives us gas? ContentServer

Privatizing Social Security - what you don't know' January 6, 2003 by Bajan Man As Shrub the Select enters the second half of his reign, numerous pundits predict he'll use his "political capital" from last November's elections to "reform Social Security." Never mind the thousands of 401ks and state pension funds lacerated from the stock market carnage- the Bushies are adamant about putting Social Security at risk as well. Expect in the coming months to be pumped senseless by the corporate-dominated media, trumpeting all the wondrous things privatization will accomplish. How it'll miraculously transform many seniors into affluent and happy retirees, and oh, by the way..."save Social Security" for future generations too. And - if you believe that - I have a piece of oceanfront land off Barbados east coast to sell you. At cut rate prices. smirkingchimp.com

Charting the hidden force at street corners January 6, 2003 There's a steadily growing conviction among some researchers that electromagnetic fields can promote bad things — cancer, miscarriages, depression, Lou Gehrig's disease and, possibly, Alzheimer's disease. But there's all-too-scanty knowledge of how much exposure people get in the course of a day. To help bridge this knowledge gap, Magda Havas, who teaches in the Faculty of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, has taken readings on the main streets of 60 Ontario communities ranging in size from Toronto (2.3 million people) to Burk's Falls (1,000). She found that 49 of the communities (82 per cent) had readings above the level that is associated with childhood leukemia. The worst of all the communities, by far, was Kingston, followed by Oshawa, London, Peterborough, and Toronto. thestar.com

Thousands of US nuns abused by priests: study January 6 2003 Up to 40 per cent of nuns in the United States have been sexually abused, often at the hands of a priest or another nun, according to an independent study. The survey - conducted by researchers at St Louis University and partly paid for by several orders of Catholic nuns - was completed in 1996 but kept under wraps because some Catholic officials feared the information would create a scandal. It was reported yesterday in the St Louis Post-Dispatch. smh.com.au

Bush rallies nervous troops: President makes his case for war with Iraq as some soldiers express doubts January 5, 2003 By SCOTT LINDLAW FORT HOOD, Texas - Fired-up soldiers cheered President Bush on Friday as he told them they may be called into combat ``to secure our country and to keep the peace.'' Privately, they showed more anxiety about the prospect of being sent to fight Iraq. If it comes to war, ``this generation of Americans is ready,'' Bush said. ``We accept the burden of leadership. We act in the cause of peace and freedom. And in that cause we will prevail.'' Fort Hood is home to some 42,000 soldiers - the most at any U.S. military base. More than 25,000 fought in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and soldiers here would almost certainly be deployed in another war with Iraq. While the soldiers Bush met here Friday brimmed with confidence, others speaking privately, expressed doubts about the need for war with Iraq. Bush delivered his rationale while emphasizing war is a last resort. As he laid out his case, the boisterous crowd of 4,000 camouflage-clad soldiers fell silent. Iraq, he said, is a ``great threat to the United States,'' and Saddam Hussein has ``publicly proclaimed his hatred for our country.'' registerguard.com

Totalitarianism nears Without protest, Americans are giving up freedom January 05, 2003 By GLEN T. MARTIN In Nazi Germany at this time of year, people freely shopped in large department stores for gifts for family and friends. The streets were full of traffic. It was "business as usual" for most of the citizens. While in the colonial states conquered by the Nazis, and in the concentrations camps for Jews, gays and communists, life was a living nightmare of dehumanization and human-rights violations. In the United States today, people freely shop in large department stores for gifts, and the streets are full of traffic. While in our most recent victim states of Afghanistan, Iraq under murderous sanctions, Argentina after engineering its economic collapse, and Colombia under U.S. military aid for repression, life is a living nightmare of dehumanization and human-rights violations. roanoke.com

Bush accused of civil rights clampdown January 5, 2003 Ed Vulliamy President George Bush is presiding over the most secretive administration in 'living memory', according to American civil rights groups and congressmen. Critics accuse him of orchestrating an unprecedented clampdown on freedom of information and the press. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in documents and proceedings being classified secret and an overall shutdown of the free flow of information over the government's political and legal conduct. They are also concerned over what they see as alarming restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act. Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy, first elected in 1974, said: 'Since I have been here, I have never known an administration that it has been more difficult to get information from.' The administration, under the aegis of Vice-President Dick Cheney, has outlined a new philosophy of emphasis on executive privileges and power. Cheney was at the center of one of the most controversial clashes over secrecy, when he refused to hand over records of the consultations behind the government energy plan, which involved and benefited many of his personal connections in the business and featured the disgraced Enron corporation. observer.co.uk

Bush's Master Plan For The Internet January 5, 2003 By Kurt Nimmo Bush and his Machiavellian minions will no longer put up with you roaming free into dangerous territory on the internet. You need to be corralled, electronically tethered, kept away from sites promoting conspiracy theories -- in other words, information the corporate media, the official US Ministry of Disinformation, does not want you to read or see. It's now increasingly obvious the Bushites want to lock us up in a hermetically sealed informational box and throw away the key. All the information they consider worthwhile will be pumped in through a one-way hole. During war, as they say, the first causality is truth. And war -- all the time and everywhere people resist -- is what Bush will deliver. It will be easier for him to accomplish this if you can't read the truth, if you remain ignorant, or if you are obstructed from organizing and speaking out on the internet against war and madness. Bush knows this -- or, at least, those around him know this. The internet, regardless of its trashy and lame commercial characteristics, is a nearly perfect medium for organizing. It's a thorn in the side of neo-cons and fascists everywhere. rense.com

HOMELAND INSECURITY Terror alerts manufactured? FBI agents say White House scripting 'hysterics' for political effect January 5, 2003 By Jon Dougherty Intelligence pros say the White House is manufacturing terrorist alerts to keep the issue alive in the minds of voters and to keep President Bush's approval ratings high, Capitol Hill Blue reports. The Thursday report said that the administration is engaging in "hysterics" in issuing numerous terror alerts that have little to no basis in fact. worldnetdaily.com

UN inspectors fear Bush will ignore them January 5, 2003 Peter Beaumont, and Ed Vulliamy UN weapons inspectors in Iraq fear their work - which has failed to turn up any evidence thus far of weapons of mass destruction - will still be used as an excuse to trigger a US-led invasion of Iraq. Leaks from the inspections teams - and the two agencies in charge of them, Unmovic and the International Atomic Energy Agency - have fuelled an increasingly frenetic diplomatic effort among opponents of the war. The weapons inspection teams in Iraq have visited breweries and former nuclear plants, and raided missile factories and pharmaceutical production lines. They have examined former weapons factories and interviewed scientists and university technicians. As of yesterday they had checked 230 sites in all. If one is to believe the few inspectors who have been prepared to be interviewed anonymously, they have found absolutely nothing. observer.co.uk

Preemptive impeachment Law professor stands ready to draft articles for any member of the House January 5, 2002—"We sentenced Nazi leaders to death for waging a war of aggression," says International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. By contrast, Prof. Boyle wants merely to impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft for their plans to invade Iraq and create a police state in America. onlinejournal.com

Bush to propose bigger-than-expected tax cut January 5, 2003 By Edmund L. Andrews President Bush will propose as much as $600 billion in tax cuts and new spending measures over the next 10 years, an economic stimulus package nearly twice as big as even Republican lawmakers had been expecting, administration officials said Friday. Bush may also push for an even bigger cut in dividend taxes than the 50 percent reduction administration officials were considering in late December refuting speculation that he might slow down on reductions for people in the top tax bracket. timesstar.com

Making a Killing: The Business of War January 5, 2003 Gone is the superpower ideological divide that once gave a strange sort of order to the world’s wars. In its place are entrepreneurs, selling arms or military expertise and support, and companies, whose drilling and mining in some of the hottest spots often prolong conflict and instability. A nearly two-year investigation by the Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists into the business of war has found that these non-state actors – despite their appearance of being freelancers – have copious connections to intelligence services, multinational corporations, political figures and criminal syndicates in the United States, Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East. Often, they work as proxies for national or corporate interests whose involvement is buried under layers of secrecy. "Private military companies, or PMCs as the new world order’s mercenaries have come to be known, allow governments to pursue policies in tough corners of the world with the distance and comfort of plausible deniability. publicintegrity.org

The Religious Self-Obsession of George Bush January 5, 2003 by Lakshmi  While liberals have spilled plenty of ink excoriating Dubya and his bomb-Saddam policy, few can match the eloquence of conservative columnist Georgie Anne Geyer. Under the guise of reviewing Bob Woodward's latest tome in the American Conservative, she launches a scathing attack on Bush and the rest of the War Party -- "the radical, macho, neocon, Likudnik, former Cold Warriors who are not .. at all conservatives in any traditional sense. She writes, "It is these “warriors,” or the “War Party,” or the “cabal,” as different elements in the press have dubbed them, who would soon weave their own obsession with Iraq over a Texas president first totally inexperienced in foreign affairs and finally obsessed himself that he and he alone -- through his instinct rather than his intellect -- has been called to a religious duty in the Middle East to rid the world of Saddam Hussein!" But why stop at Saddam! Dutiful Bush is just as happy to, in his words, "export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation." alternet.org

US stores have blue Christmas January 5, 2003 David Teather and Richard Wray Asda may be powering ahead but its parent Wal-Mart and fellow US retailers have had a tough Christmas season. On Boxing Day, Wal-Mart cut its estimates for sales growth in December from 3%-5% to 2%-3%. Even though sales had taken off in the weekend before Christmas and into Christmas Eve - with sales of more than $1bn on two of those days - it was not enough to offset a slump earlier in December. This bad news was underlined yesterday when Home Depot, the world's second largest retailer behind Wal-Mart, saw its shares fall to six-year lows on Wall Street. The DIY chain disclosed late on Thursday that December sales were 10% lower than 2001. It warned that full-year earnings would be lower than expected and said it had little hope for improvement in 2003. Radioshack, the largest retailer of mobile phones in the US, also cited sluggish holiday sales as it cut forecasts for fourth quarter profits yesterday. The warning hit the main mobile phone networks in the US with Sprint PCS shares falling 7%. The bad news from retailers put the brakes on a rally from the Dow Jones. At mid-day, the index was 30 points lower at 8577. guardian.co.uk

Layoffs report falls victim to cuts January 5, 2003 By AMBER VEVERKA A federal program that tracks large corporate layoffs nationwide has ended, the victim of budget cuts. The "mass layoffs statistics" program, run by the U.S. Department of Labor, will no longer report the number of U.S. companies laying off 50 or more workers at a time. States use the information to know which industries are bleeding and to get help to layoff victims. The program's death comes at an especially bad time for the Carolinas, which are hard hit by manufacturing layoffs and textile mill closings. Ted Gladden of the S.C. Employment Security Commission said of the mass layoffs program. "We use this information to try to find out what happens to people after layoffs. ... This is the information you've got to have to make good decisions, for people deciding the careers and job market they should be training for." miami.com

Los Alamos Directors Resign - 4Lab Had Ties To 911?January 5, 2003 By Nico Haupt 2 directors at Los Alamos resigned- Alamos has also Sep11th and Iraq ties! January 3rd, 2002 Globalfreepress.com ewing 2001Today the NY Times revealed, that last year's mini scandal at Los Alamos finally led to some new results. Both directors resigned: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/03/national/03ALAM.html "...The director of the nation's pre-eminent nuclear weapons laboratory has resigned amid investigations of corruption and missing equipment, officials said yesterday. John C. Browne, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico since November 1997, submitted his resignation on Dec. 23, according to the University of California, which manages the laboratory for the Department of Energy. Joseph Salgado, the laboratory's principal deputy director, also resigned. The resignations will take effect on Monday..."  Ignored however in the US Media, are also some disturbing ties of Los Alamos to the Sep11th-story -and Iraq! On February 28th, 2001, Los Alamos entered into a support contract with Nuclear Solutions, who merged last year with RTS. As learned, secretly hidden in some business news, 911-Insider trader suspect, former FBI agent Derrick M Cleveland, sold some stocks of Nuclear Solutions Inc. shortly after the Sep11th- attack, a company which is connected with Los Alamos. http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/fbi/uselgindy502ind.pdf http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/25/business/25FRAU.html In May 2002, Cleveland was arrested together with other 2 FBI agents Jeffrey A. Royer and Lynn Wingate, who had been accused of having prior knowledge on the Sep11th attack. rense.com

Dollar stands on a precipice January 5, 2003 As the late Herbert Stein, former chairman of the US council of economic advisers, once said: "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." The combination of an ever-rising US current account deficit with a strong dollar must cease. Indeed, it already is doing so. The currency weakened in 2002. It is rather likely to weaken further in 2003. The present course of the US economy is unsustainable. Net US liabilities to the rest of the world are some 25 per cent of gross domestic product - in the neighbourhood of $2,500bn (£1,562bn). In the first three quarters of 2002, the current account deficit ran at close to five per cent of GDP. As recently as 1997, however, the deficit was only 1.5 per cent of GDP. It is bigger this year than two years ago, despite last year's economic slowdown. news.ft.com

Fall in dollar undermines manufacturing January 5, 2003 Charlotte Denny Manufacturers in Britain and Europe entered the new year in a dismal state, after the fall in the dollar undermined exports to the American market last month, new surveys showed yesterday. The Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply blamed the dollar's slide for the first fall below 50 in its key activity indicator for UK manufacturing since July. Readings below 50 signal that the sector is contracting. "Total order books were reported to have been undermined by the uncompetitive nature of UK manufacturers abroad. US dollar markets were reported to have been particularly tight, owing to the weakness of the American currency," CIPS said. guardian.co.uk

White House Silent on Racial Controversy GOP Official Expresses Regret Over Distributing Article Critical of Civil War Outcome January 5, 2003 By Thomas B. Edsall The White House and the Republican National Committee declined to comment yesterday on a racial controversy involving a Bush administration ally who is campaigning to become chairman of the California Republican Party. Bill Back, the California party's vice chairman running for the top job, sent out an e-mail newsletter in 1999 that reproduced an essay that said "history might have taken a better turn" if the South had won the Civil War and that "the real damage to race relations in the South came not from slavery, but from Reconstruction, which would not have occurred if the South had won." washingtonpost.com

The Bush Vision and the Culture of Power January 5, 2003 by SAUL LANDAU "Why do they hate us?" George W. Bush asked. I waited for his answer as did millions of others after the 9/11 events. We had lost our collective virginity when we had to acknowledge that some serious characters did not have our best interests at heart. W went on to say that they hate Americans because we re free, referring, I presumed, to the great institutions our founding fathers left us. He implied that the mass murdering fanatics of Al Qaeda loved a non-free system. And while he assured us of our safety, Attorney General Ashcroft and Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, periodically warned us about the imminent threat of another terrorist assault. Well, one learns to live with contradictions, but where, I ask myself, does George W. Bush intend to lead us? The head of a large empire needs a world vision, some sense that he knows that his policies coincide with the future, a road map that takes us beyond they hate us and we love freedom. President Bush s speeches, remarks at infrequent press conferences and occasional off the cuff quips, however, don t offer much clarity about how he sees the coincidence between his policies and say, the future of the environment or the fate of the more than half the world s desperately poor people, factors one must consider when thinking about the future in any reasonable form. counterpunch.org

The Easy Way Out January 5, 2003 By: Mike Schiller Some lawmakers are taking the tactics of holding the lives of innocent children hostage as a bargaining chip to "avoid war". Yet it strikes me as predictable that these lawmakers would sooner sacrifice the lives of innocent people to prove a point, than they would sacrifice their own political careers to prove a point. Only one Democrat thus far has made such a sacrifice, and that was Cynthia McKinney. I admire her and respect her, and to this day I maintain she may have been the last respectable Democrat, for she willingly subjected herself to ridicule and political defeat in order to make the point that an independent investigation of the events of September 11th was necessary. The lawmakers who now propose to sacrifice other people's lives in the name of avoiding war continue to refuse to carry Cynthia McKinney's message. McKinney's message was a much more potent tool in helping the public understand why a war with Iraq would only serve business interests while such a war would undermine national security. Yet no lawmaker is willing to stand up and speak the truth. These lawmakers would rather threaten the lives of Generations X and Y than admit their own knowledge of information that could damage this administration. They would let America's youth die in vain in order to cover up their complicity in the ongoing destruction of everything America once was. They would sooner kill the American people than kill the system of campaign contributions and lobbying that has put the fate of America into the hands of the military-industrial complex. fp.enter.net

The credibility of Dictator Bush’s multibillion-dollar missile defence plans are being questioned January 5, 2003 by leading scientists after claims that the results of key tests were falsified. [Editor's note: Since the *entire* Bush mis-ministration was installed under false pretenses, it is no surprise that dictator Bush would falsify missile test results. --Lori Price] timesonline.co.uk

Now Corporations Claim The Right To Lie January 4, 2003 By THOM HARTMANN While Nike was conducting a huge and expensive PR blitz to tell people that it had cleaned up its subcontractors' sweatshop labor practices, an alert consumer advocate and activist in California named Marc Kasky caught them in what he alleges are a number of specific deceptions. Citing a California law that forbids corporations from intentionally deceiving people in their commercial statements, Kasky sued the multi-billion-dollar corporation. Instead of refuting Kasky's charge by proving in court that they didn't lie, however, Nike instead chose to argue that corporations should enjoy the same "free speech" right to deceive that individual human citizens have in their personal lives. If people have the constitutionally protected right to say, "The check is in the mail," or, "That looks great on you," then, Nike's reasoning goes, a corporation should have the same right to say whatever they want in their corporate PR campaigns. thepeoplesvoice.org

America's Destructive Devotion To Greed and Violence January 4, 2003 by Tom Turnipseed As 2003 begins, greed and violence are being glorified, romanticized and marketed by the U. S. power structure in a manner unparalleled in recent history. Not since the out-of-control acquisitiveness and martial madness of ancient Rome destroyed its arrogant empire has such material and military excessiveness so dominated a culture. The Bush administration's intentions to control much of the world's energy resources with military might and become the top cop to an unruly world are evident beneath the guise of economic globalization and the continuing "war against terrorism" and an "axis of evil". commondreams.org

New US pension rules to cut benefits for millions of retirees 3 January 2003 By Shannon Jones The Bush administration is preparing to end a moratorium on the implementation of so-called cash balance pensions plans. New pension rules proposed by the US Treasury Department could result in substantial benefit reductions for millions of future retirees, with companies phasing out traditional plans. The rule changes meet a major demand of US corporations, which have made lifting the moratorium one of their top priorities. A spokesman for the Pension Rights Center said he expected a rash of protests from workers as a result of the changes, which threaten the already precarious retirement security of millions of American families. wsws.org

States Worry New Law Sets Schools Up to Fail Use of Test Scores Would Label Most Poor Performers January 3, 2003 By Michael A. Fletcher NEW ORLEANS -- State education officials are warning that a new federal education law's requirement that each racial and demographic subgroup in a school show annual improvement on standardized tests will result in the majority of the nation's schools being deemed failing. The likelihood that the law would force them to label the majority of their schools "low performing" is complicating efforts by state educational officials to meet a Jan. 31 deadline for submitting plans for implementing key parts of the federal "No Child Left Behind" law. They say federal regulations outlining how to assess the quality of schools are dangerously arbitrary and inflexible and will result in schools being treated as failures -- even if they are improving by most measures. washingtonpost.com

New revelations about Guantanamo Bay prisoners 3 January 2003 By Richard Phillips A recent story in the Los Angeles Times reports that at least 10 percent of the 625 war prisoners captured in Afghanistan and now held at the notorious US naval base prison in Guantanamo Bay have “no meaningful connection” with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Citing military sources, the December 22 article revealed that a group of US army officers in Afghanistan last year called for scores of detainees not to be sent to Guantanamo Bay. Senior US military commanders in Afghanistan, Kuwait and America, however, ignored their advice. The article also reported that Maj. Gen. Michael E. Dunleavy, operational commander at Guantanamo Bay until October, visited Afghanistan last year complaining that there were “too many ‘Mickey Mouse’ detainees” being sent to the naval base. wsws.org

U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds January 2, 2003 By Michael Dobbs High on the Bush administration's list of justifications for war against Iraq are President Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons, nuclear and biological programs, and his contacts with international terrorists. What U.S. officials rarely acknowledge is that these offenses date back to a period when Hussein was seen in Washington as a valued ally. Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an "almost daily" basis in defiance of international conventions. The story of U.S. involvement with Saddam Hussein in the years before his 1990 attack on Kuwait -- which included large-scale intelligence sharing, supply of cluster bombs through a Chilean front company, and facilitating Iraq's acquisition of chemical and biological precursors -- is a topical example of the underside of U.S. foreign policy. It is a world in which deals can be struck with dictators, human rights violations sometimes overlooked, and accommodations made with arms proliferators, all on the principle that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend." washingtonpost.com

Bush relaxes clean air rules for industry Nine Northeast states file lawsuits to protest January 2, 2003 By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration issued rules Tuesday to make it easier for industrial plants and refineries to modernize without having to buy expensive pollution controls -- and immediately was sued by nine states charging that the changes undermine their efforts to protect public health. The Environmental Protection Agency regulations, which go into effect in March, amount to a major change in the way older industrial plants will have to deal with air pollution when they expand, make major repairs or modify operations to increase efficiency. sanmateocountytimes.com

Bush Administration Overturns Environmental Keystone "Dolphin-Safe" Tuna Standard to Fall January 2, 2003 /U.S. Newswire/ -- An eleventh-hour announcement today by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Department of Commerce will mean that tuna fish caught by chasing and encircling schools of dolphins that swim with them in the eastern Pacific - a technique that has killed more than seven million dolphins - can still be labeled "Dolphin Safe" in U.S. grocery stores. usnewswire.com

Chairman of 9/11 Commission had business ties with Osama's Brother in Law January 02, 2003 by Michel Chossudovsky Now you would think that being a business partner of the brother in law and alleged financier of "Enemy No. 1" would be considered  a bona fide "conflict of interest", particularly when your mandate --as part of the 9/11 Commission's work-- is to investigate "Enemy No. 1". Unknown to most, UNOCAL's partner in the Cent-Gas trans-Afghan pipeline consortium, the Saudi Company Delta Oil is owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans which allegedly have ties to bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. According to a 1998 Senate testimony of former CIA director James Woolsey, powerful financier Khalid bin Mahfouz’ younger sister is married to Osama bin Laden,. (US Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Federal News Service, 3 Sept. 1998, See also Wayne Madsen, Questionable Ties, In These Times,12 Nov. 2001 Bin Mahfouz is suspected to have funnelled millions of dollars to the Al Qaeda network.(See Tom Flocco, Scoop.co.nz  28 Aug. 2002) Now, "by sheer coincidence", former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, the man chosen by President Bush to lead the 9/11 commission also has business ties with bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi. Thomas Kean is a director (and shareholder) of Amerada Hess Corporation , which is involved in the Hess-Delta joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia (owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans). globalresearch.ca

LUNATIC-in-Chief on Display at His Texas Country Estate " January 02, 2003 An attack from Saddam Hussein or a surrogate of Saddam Hussein would cripple our economy," Bush said as he stopped for lunch at a local diner near his Texas ranch. "This economy cannot afford to stand an attack." We need to ask His Royal Nuttiness just how Iraq is going to attack the United States ... With long-range pigeons carrying rotten tomatoes (biological weapons, you see), maybe? dailynews.yahoo.com / Associated Press/San Diego Union-Tribune

Everything But The Truth: Mainstream Media’s Big Lies and the Patience Required to Defeat Them
January 02, 2003 By Kevin Newsom While enjoying Christmas break with my family last week, I found myself in the unusual position of having several days of nothing to do but think. With no deadlines, no errands to run, and no appointments to set or keep, it was a good time to sit down and observe the mainstream media’s messages for the American people. After a few hours of watching the big news networks, I noticed these messages are arranged in layered form. On the first level are the mindless distractions, such as the continual soap operas of Trent Lott and Hans Blix’s gang of UN weapons inspectors. This layer, while thick in coverage, is paper thin in content. While actually having very little true meaning to the average American, these stories are always presented as the most pressing issues of our time. They are disseminated to occupy the minds of the people, to provide them with visible “allies” and “enemies” that operate within the government, and to give Joe and Jane something to argue about at the dinner table or water cooler. These “pressing issues” also have the strange ability to disappear completely after a few weeks or months (see Elian Gonzalez) at which time a new set of shockingly unimportant stories are unleashed. The level that lies beneath the distractions and gossip, however, is where the truth resides. Within this second layer of the media machine is contained the actual direction the current political establishment wishes to take America. prisonplanet.com

Dr. Bill Frist, Moral Monster: He'd Do Anything for Pussy; January 2, 2003 by ALEXANDER COCKBURN We'll come to Tennessee's pussy hunter shortly, but first a word about his predecessor as Senate majority leader, that bruised son of Mississippi, Trent Lott. How was Lott finally induced to quit the post he loved so much, and from which vantage point he was able to guide so many millions to public works to his home state? counterpunch.org

Blair's grim New Year message January 2, 2003 Michael White Britain enters the New Year facing some of the most "difficult and dangerous" problems of recent times and cannot hope to survive them unscathed without a combination of luck, hard work and good judgment, Tony Blair warns voters today. In the most gloomy New Year's message of his five-year premiership, Mr Blair admits publicly what he has already told cabinet colleagues: that fears for the world economy are as serious as the threat to world security posed by looming war with Iraq and the menace of global terrorism. politics.guardian.co

Why I Am a Republican in 2003 January 2, 2003 by Joel S. I am pro-life, as long as it's in the womb. I could care less about it the second it's out of the womb, which is also why I'm pro-death penalty, and anti-welfare. It doesn't matter to me that women of affluence will still be able to obtain abortions in other countries - whether they believe in it or not. It doesn't matter to me that both child and mother are endangered, the second Roe V. Wade is overturned, by unscrupulous "doctors". I believe in an ideal world, and people shouldn't be having sex. Especially if they can't deal with the consequences. buzzflash.com

"Total Information Awareness" January 2, 2003 - It may be the closest thing to a true "Big Brother" program that has ever been seriously contemplated in the United States. Be aware! Read the ACLU's questions and answers about the program -- and other anti-civil liberties initiatives - that threaten to kill privacy in America. Privacy Beware

Our Quality of Life Peaked in 1974. It's All Downhill Now January 2, 2003 With the turning of every year, we expect our lives to improve. As long as the economy continues to grow, we imagine, the world will become a more congenial place in which to live. There is no basis for this belief. If we take into account such factors as pollution and the depletion of natural capital, we see that the quality of life peaked in the UK in 1974 and in the US in 1968, and has been falling ever since. We are going backwards. The reason should not be hard to grasp. Our economic system depends upon never-ending growth, yet we live in a world with finite resources. Our expectation of progress is, as a result, a delusion. commondreams.org

Killing the Messenger, Burying the Message January 2, 2003 by Tamara Baker On the one hand, Bush's Junta smothers the "Bad News Bearers"; on the other, the "liberal" US Corporate Media hides facts in order to boost Junior and his buddies  -- ST. PAUL (APJP) -- Anyone remember the old joke, "If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of"? Well, in finest Don Karl Rove Corleone fashion, yet another set of facts -- and their transmitters -- are being fitted with cement overshoes and readied for their one-way trip into the Potomac. Here's the scoop, from what's left of the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mass Layoff Statistics Program Is Discontinued This is the final news release for the Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program. Since 1994, the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has funded the program. That funding will end on December 31, 2002. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has been unable to acquire funding from alternative sources and must discontinue the MLS program. Limited historical data will continue to be available at http://www.bls.gov/mls/ on the BLS Web site. Yupper: Just as the pace of layoffs has increased dramatically under the Bush regime (the MLS's data for November 2002 being especially grim), the Bushies react by doing their damnedest to sweep this information under the rug. It's the old Memory Hole trick, of course: If we don't report it, none of the proles will know it happened. Except that they can't keep us proles from noticing how things have slacked off in the last two years. They can't keep us from noticing the stores that are empty of shoppers, even with 50% pre-Christmas discounts. They can't keep us from noticing when we get laid off. They can't keep us from noticing that this is all happening even as Georgie's buddies on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page want to shaft those "lucky duckies" who, unlike them, don't make enough money to escape payroll taxes. americanpolitics.com

Deflation threatens world economic growth January 2, 2003 By Nick Beams The close of 2002 has seen the prospects for the long-term expansion of the global capitalist economy become increasingly problematic. Accounting for more than 70 percent of world production, the three main regions—the US, European Union and Japan—determine the future direction of the global economy. But it is here that the main problems reside. wsws.org

Online Action For Media Diversity January 1, 2003 As the January 2 deadline for public commentary on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media ownership rules draws near, many media activists are joining an electronic action to prevent further consolidation of corporate media. FCC Chairman Michael Powell, son of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, has expressed his desire for less regulation. You can express your views to the FCC through a simple web form available democraticmedia.org



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