FEBRUARY 7-1, 03 Archives

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Nobel winners slam Bush economics February 7, 2003 Bush plans record budget deficits like his dad Ten Nobel prize winning economists have attacked President George W Bush's tax cutting policies which he hopes will revive the US economy. On Monday Mr Bush sent his budget to Congress which also includes a big increase in military spending and record budget deficits last achieved by his father more than 10 years ago. "Regardless of how one views the specifics of the Bush plan, there is wide agreement that its purpose is a permanent change in the tax structure and not the creation of jobs and growth in the near term," the economists said in a statement published by the Economic Policy Institute. news.bbc

Colin Powell is Lying February 7, 2003 By Mike Hersh Bush and his people repeatedly mislead us trying to shore up support for an unprovoked attack on Iraq. The Bush Administration wants to attack Iraq. If not now, soon. Impatient with inspections, Team Bush's claims increase in volume if not veracity. The case against Saddam is strong, but the case for war remains unconvincing because it contradicts known facts. UN chief inspector Hans Blix testified there is no sign Iraq has mobile mass destruction labs. There are no indications Iraq is working with Al Queda. In short, there is no evidence Iraq threatens the United States or US interests. Bush's team -- now including Colin Powell -- misstate and misrepresent Blix' findings, even more cause for concern. I doubt everything about Powell's act. Powell's empty vial and lectures on anthrax remind me of some things. mikehersh.com

Control, fear, and the New World Order Part 1: Carnegie Mellon University and the federalization of academia February 7, 2003 By Joyce Lynn The story of the benefits the Bush administration has reaped in the wake of 9–11 is more than a political or even a geo-political one. It is a fabric woven of historical, social, and spiritual threads as this two-part series on the federalization, fear and academia shows. The federal government is extending its control into academia and into yet another arena of our lives. Government power has already co-opted media as large conglomerates with defense holdings also own networks, and newspapers curry favorable government rulings on mergers. The government has already made it difficult for ordinary citizens to seek redress from industry wrongdoing, granting liability exemptions for drug and insurance companies and pandering to corrupt corporate leaders. onlinejournal.com

Arrogance: What Is It Good For? Absolute Disasters! February 7, 2003 Bernard Weiner The Bush Administration believes it has a lock on all wisdom, it knows what is best for us Americans, and for everyone else in the world -- because, as Bush told us in his State of the Union address, America acts in the world under God's divine protection, and he, Bush, is the representative of the nation and thus, we are led to believe, operates under God's aegis as well. Given this arrogant, we-know-it-all attitude, there was no reason, then, for Bush and his subordinates to listen to the technical experts who warned early last year, and even as recent as last August about the disaster-in-the-making for the Space Shuttle and its crews unless certain procedures and processes were fixed. These NASA experts were ignored by Bush and his advisors, and removed from their positions. And, given this same arrogant tone, there is no reason to listen to the millions of Americans, and to most of our allies abroad, who tell Bush and his war-bent cronies that attacking Iraq at this moment, more or less unilaterally with no U.N.-authorized international coalition at our side, is the height of folly, and will bring ruin and chaos not only to Iraq but to the United States as well...fp.enter.net

Texas executes British citizen despite international protests February 7, 2003 By Kate Randall The state of Texas put to death British citizen John “Jackie” Elliott on Wednesday despite pleas for clemency from the British foreign secretary, home secretary and 100 members of Parliament. Elliott, who maintained his innocence to the end, had no comment before lethal chemicals were pumped into his veins at the execution chamber in Huntsville, Texas. He became the 296th person, and the sixth foreign national, executed in the state since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Elliott, 42, was born to American parents in Suffolk, England and possessed dual US/British citizenship. He was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 18-year-old Joyce Munguia in 1986. His lawyers said that new evidence had emerged since his trial which might have exonerated him. Elliott had always contended he was convicted solely on the basis of the testimony of police informers covering their own guilt. In the days leading up to his execution, his defense team discovered 40 police reports identifying other key suspects, which they claim were suppressed by the prosecution. gooff.com

Wilderness Society Reaction to the President's Address on Energy February 7, 2003 /U.S. Newswire/ The following is a statement by William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society, on the President's address on energy: In his State of the Union speech, and again in his speech today, President Bush outlined a bold vision for the future -- that a child born today could earn her driver's license in a fuel-cell powered car. Yet that vision is tarnished by the Administration's continued insistence on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. If the President's predictions are on target, then hydrogen cars could be a reality within the next two decades. They would reach the market about the same time that any oil discovered in the Arctic Refuge would start flowing through the pipeline, in the unlikely event that Congress were to approve drilling there this session. The irony would be breathtaking; drill rigs despoiling the Arctic Refuge just as a technological breakthrough begins to deliver us from our addiction to oil. The American people have made it clear that they don't want to see that happen: they want to pursue clean alternatives and greater efficiency now instead of drilling in our most special places. usnewswire.com

Greens: Bush's hydrogen bandwagon too slow February 7, 2003 By Hil Anderson LOS ANGELES, Moving too slowly in ending the nation's continuing dependence on oil. Hydrogen fuel cells produce energy that can power automobiles and other mechanical devices and emit only harmless water rather than the collection of noxious gases and particulates blamed for smog and global warming. Automakers and environmental groups have embraced the hydrogen concept, although the reaction to Thursday's speech pointed out the schism between the White House and the green lobby. The primary difference of opinion is the pace of fuel cell development and the prominent place that oil and natural gas will hold in the nation's near-term energy mix for the next couple of decades. The National Environmental Trust was sharper in its criticism, calling the administration's backing of the hydrogen-powered "Freedom Car" project a "campaign vehicle" that allows the president to claim to be an environmental champion while at the same time putting real progress on the back burner. "Research is the political solution when a president is unwilling to take on the auto manufacturers and require that they manufacture more fuel-efficient cars now," scolded Philip Clapp, the group's president.  upi.com

How does Powell know the amount of anthrax that was sent to the Senate? February 7, 2003 By Bev Conover Secretary of State Colin Powell's UN performance yesterday was reminiscent of the teenage boy with raging hormones telling his girlfriend, "Don't worry, you won't get pregnant." Powell, who apparently has joined his boss, Liar-in-Chief George W. Bush, in Sociopath Land, laid before the UN Security Council the "evidence" that Saddam Hussein is a lowdown, rotten, conniving murderer who aspires to become the Hitler of the 21st century and, therefore, there is no time to lose in taking out Saddam by flattening Iraq. onlinejournal.com

Record budget deficit is double January forecast February 06, 2003 By Moti Bassok The government's spending deficit in January was NIS 2.661 billion - more than double the NIS 1.27 billion projected in the 2003 budget, the treasury said yesterday. Nir Gilad, the treasury's accountant general, rejected the argument that the reason for the surprisingly large deficit was "creative accounting" by the treasury at the end of 2002 in an effort to make sure the government appeared to have met its deficit targets for 2002. According to Gilad, the unusually large January deficit was the result of low tax revenues collected last month - a reflection of the deep recession in the economy. He said the treasury would be holding intensive discussions on the matter in the coming days. haaretzdaily.com

ACLU Highlights Real-Life Threat of Pentagon Super-Snoop Program to Average Americans February 6, 2003 The American Civil Liberties Union today warned against the likely ineffectiveness of and danger to average Americans posed by the vast cyber-surveillance system known as Total Information Awareness. “The Pentagon’s plan for the most extensive data surveillance network in history will have real effects on real Americans,” Katie Corrigan, an ACLU Legislative Counsel, told a nationwide teleconference with reporters and editors. “It will place millions of innocent Americans under government scrutiny in an epidemic of privacy invasions.” Today’s news conference featured Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), sponsor of an amendment limiting Total Information Awareness, and Barbara Simons, head of the Association for Computing Machinery’s policy wing and a critic of the technical ideas underpinning the Pentagon’s program. Representatives of a broad, right- and left-leaning coalition, which includes the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Eagle Forum, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Free Congress Foundation and People for the American Way, were on hand to answer questions. Much of the briefing focused on the practical dangers inherent in Total Information Awareness for average Americans and how the system will erode the ability of communities across the country to maintain control over their personal information. aclu.org

Mexico sides with 'Old Europe' on Iraq February 06, 2003 By Michael Forbes Mexican President Vicente Fox surprised many this week when he said Mexico coincided with Germany in its opposition to unilateral military action in Iraq by the United States. In a brief press conference in Berlin after meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Wednesday, Fox said Mexico would go forward with Germany because the two countries had similar viewpoints. "It's clear we don't want war," said Fox, adding that a multilateral solution to the Iraq problem is the most desirable approach. Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Luis Derbez said that Fox spoke with French President Jacques Chirac the evening of Tuesday, January 28. "We found that President Chirac has a position that approximates with ours," Derbez told the Mexican press. Both Germany and France were singled out by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last week as representing "Old Europe" and being out of touch with modern reality. A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, France has said it will not support a U.S.-led war with Iraq unless the United Nations approves such action. guadalajarareporter.com

The Feds vs. Ed Rosenthal (Jurors) February 06, 2003 by CLAY S. CONRAD A Guide to Being a Real Juror Government has a boundless appetite to inflict senseless pain on Americans, in the guise of the war on drugs, even at the cost of degrading Federalism and the needs and values of the American people. A recent case demonstrates this arrogance handily. Ed Rosenthal was a medical marijuana supplier who, in compliance with the California Compassionate Use Act, had been growing marijuana for seriously ill people under a doctor's advice and care. Rosenthal was arrested in February, 2002 and accused of supplying marijuana to the Harm Reduction Center in San Francisco. Rosenthal had been deputized by the city of Oakland, California and made the official supplier of a city-sponsored medical marijuana dispensary. counterpunch.org

Down and out in America February 5, 2003 David Walker As social spending in the US plummets, the poor and hungry are feeling the pinch, and a war against Iraq will only add to their problems. This week, as President Bush presents his latest budget, half of American cities report that they can no longer provide an "adequate quantity" of food to those applying for emergency help. Yet demand for hunger relief on the streets of urban America is rising - the number of free meals served in Kansas City last year went up to 3m. According to the US conference of mayors, 48% of the hungry are from families with children. For America's poor (many of whom are in work but paid below subsistence level) things can only get worse. Last week I visited a Rockefeller Foundation jobs project in Gilmor Homes, a 570-unit public housing project in Baltimore. It is trying to improve job prospects for residents. But US unemployment is now 6%, and rising. Hope VI, a federal subsidy for revitalising and demolishing city housing - Baltimore, with 250,000 more dwellings than households, certainly needs it - is now being abolished by President Bush. guardian.co.uk

Homeless, poor freeze in US cold wave 5 February 2003 By a team of WSWS correspondents The recent cold spell in the central and eastern US has claimed dozens of lives and led to widespread hardship among the poor, the elderly and the homeless. After several exceptionally mild winters, the weather has returned to more normal patterns. The impact of the season’s cold wave highlights the desperate conditions facing millions of people in the United States confronted with rising unemployment and the relentless slashing of social services at the federal, state and local level. The very limited assistance provided to the poor and the homeless is inadequate in many cases to even maintain the bare essentials of life. In cities across the US the winter of 2003 has brought scenes reminiscent of the nineteenth century: people huddled in unheated homes or sleeping on the floor in overcrowded homeless shelters; thousands seeking refuge on door stoops, in alleyways or under bridges. wsws.org

Bush Support for 2004 Dips Below 50% February 5, 2003 By Ronald Brownstein Results suggest a close partisan balance is reemerging. Lieberman and Kerry emerge as early Democratic leaders in the race. The share of Americans favoring President Bush's reelection in 2004 has fallen below 50%, while Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and John F. Kerry of Massachusetts have emerged as the leaders for the Democratic nomination to oppose him, a new Los Angeles Times poll has found. Just 45% of registered voters said they are now likely to support Bush for reelection, latimes.com

Behind Colin Powell's Legend - My Lai February 5, 2003 By Robert Parry & Norman Solomon On May 16, 1968, a bloodied unit of the Americal division stormed into a hamlet known as My Lai 4. With military helicopters circling overhead, revenge-seeking American soldiers rousted Vietnamese civilians -- mostly old men, women and children -- from their thatched huts and herded them into the village's irrigation ditches. As the round-up continued, some Americans raped the girls. Then, under orders from junior officers on the ground, soldiers began emptying their M-16s into the terrified peasants. Some parents desperately used their bodies to try to shield their children from the bullets. Soldiers stepped among the corpses to finish off the wounded. The slaughter raged for four hours. A total of 347 Vietnamese, including babies, died in the carnage that would stain the reputation of the U.S. Army. But there also were American heroes that day in My Lai. Some soldiers refused to obey the direct orders to kill. While a horrific example of a Vietnam war crime, the My Lai massacre was not unique. It fit a long pattern of indiscriminate violence against civilians that had marred U.S. participation in the Vietnam War from its earliest days when Americans acted primarily as advisers. In 1963, Capt. Colin Powell was one of those advisers, serving a first tour with a South Vietnamese army unit. Powell's detachment sought to discourage support for the Viet Cong by torching villages throughout the A Shau Valley. While other U.S. advisers protested this countrywide strategy as brutal and counter-productive, Powell defended the "drain-the-sea" approach then and continued that defense in his 1995 memoirs, My American Journey. consortiumnews.com

Networks milk story of shuttle disaster February 5, 2003 By Jennifer Harper News coverage of the lost Space Shuttle Columbia has become mired in a culture of grief and mourning for days. Enough already. While thoughtful or straightforward stories about loss or memorial services are appropriate, the unabated use of sorrow as a theme and dramatic device gets old, and ultimately serves to trivialize the event. "It's as if the media has become the wailing chorus at a wake," said Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media & Public Affairs. "Wall-to-wall mourning has become a way to get and hold viewers," Mr. Lichter said. "There has been an almost Pavlovian rush to lead the nation in mourning, particularly in television, which is tailor-made for it." The genuine heroic nature of our astronauts always will resonate with Americans. "But there's some ambulance-chasing going on, and it gets morbid," Mr. Lichter said. washtimes.com

Rare crime, homicide by natural causes, gets 10-year sentence February 5, 2003 KRT NEWSFEATURES Binta Baraka was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her father - a man who was felled by a heart attack as he threatened to kill her. Price was screaming at his daughter. "Get out! Get out!" he bellowed. Baraka, drunk, replied: "Please, daddy ..." "I'm going to kill you," Price shouted. Go ahead, Baraka said. Price, a 64-year-old mason, abruptly fell silent, struck down by a heart problem that had never been diagnosed. The police charged Baraka with murder that night, and she has spent the past 1-1/2 years in jail awaiting trial. centredaily.com

Bush-Linked Company Handled Security for the WTC, Dulles and United February 4, 2003 by Margie Burns George W. Bush's brother was on the board of directors of a company providing electronic security for the World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport and United Airlines, according to public records. The company was backed by an investment firm, the Kuwait-American Corp., also linked for years to the Bush family. The security company, formerly named Securacom and now named Stratesec, is in Sterling, Va.. Its CEO, Barry McDaniel, said the company had a ``completion contract" to handle some of the security at the World Trade Center ``up to the day the buildings fell down." commondreams.org

Hidden Holocaust, USA February 4, 2003 From Dirty Truths by Michael Parenti "I've had grown men wet this floor with tears, begging for a job. We have to pray with some to keep them from killing themselves. So many say they just want to die," says Charlie Tarrance, a director of a private social agency. His task is to deal with growing lines of despairing people looking for jobs, housing, and food. The place is Gadsden, Alabama, but it could be anywhere in the United States. It could be Washington, D.C., at a Safeway supermarket a mile or so from the White House where an elderly man is crying and holding a can of dog food. When asked what's wrong, he says, "I'm hungry. I'm hungry." It could be New York City, where a woman begins screaming at the landlord who evicts her and her several children. The Bureau of Child Welfare takes her children, which distresses her all the more. She herself is transported to a New York mental hospital crying angrily--only to be diagnosed and committed by the all- knowing psychiatrists as a "paranoid schizophrenic." There is misery and cruelty in the land. As U.S. leaders move determinedly toward their free-market Final Solution, stories abound of hunger, pain, and desperation. Such things have existed for a long time. Social pathology is as much a part of this society as crime and capitalism. But life is getting ever more difficult for many. Some Grim Statistics; Conservatives are fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous nation this is. The only thing that matches their love of country is the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it. To their ears the anguished cries of the dispossessed sound like the peevish whines of malcontents. They denounce as "bleeding hearts" those of us who criticize existing conditions, who show some concern for our fellow citizens. But the dirty truth is that there exists a startling amount of hardship, abuse, affliction, illness, violence, and pathology in this country. The figures reveal a casualty list that runs into many millions. Consider the following estimates. In any one year: michaelparenti.org

Bush's $2.2 Trillion Budget Proposes Record Deficits February 4, 2003 By ELISABETH BUMILLER President Bush sent Congress a $2.23 trillion budget today — with record deficits — that would speed up billions of dollars in income tax cuts, provide huge increases for the Pentagon and offer a modest jump in spending for NASA. Mr. Bush's budget forecasts a deficit of $304 billion in the current fiscal year, and projects a deficit of $307 billion for the 2004 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Over the next five years the total projected deficit would be more than $1 trillion, a potentially problematic number for Mr. Bush, who as a presidential candidate vowed that he could both cut taxes and eliminate the national debt. nytimes.com

Bush, like his enemies, needs a wrathful God February 4, 2003 By G. Jefferson Price III God is everywhere in these frightening times, His name and his blessing invoked by an astonishing variety of conflicting forces. Last week, I heard two important people talking about the practically inevitable war against Iraq. One was my pastor, the Rev. Bill Watters, a Jesuit who runs St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore. The other was the president. I preferred what Father Watters had to say. He compared America to the Roman Empire at the brink of its decline and demanded: "Why should a republic take on the risks of empire? Won't it run a chance of endangering its identity as a free people?" Speaking as a Christian, he cited the Gospel - "a Gospel of truth, not deception or deceit; a Gospel of love, not of belligerence and hostility; a Gospel of justice, not of power and hubris; a Gospel of peace, not of war and aggression." sunspot.net

Lies Are Truth February 4, 2003 by Bob Wallace George Orwell's novel, 1984, is getting more and more prophetic. Everyone should memorize Orwell's three laws: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength. Everyone should also keep in mind, Report Thoughtcrime, and Big Brother is Watching You. Oh, yeah, and don't forget the Ministry of Truth. You could just go on and on with these Doublethink sayings. Death is Life. Promises are Prosperity. Bankruptcy is Wealth. Innocence is Guilt. Guilt is Innocence. Lies are Truth. All of these sayings have one thing in common. We're From the Government, and We're Here to Help You. Oops, I forgot – The Check is in the Mail. Because of the above, I believe that whatever the government says, the truth is the exact opposite. Recently, Donald Rumsfeld has been making noises about how there is no need for the reinstatement of the draft. A little bell went Ding! Ding! Ding! in my head. Rumsfeld's comment is a trial balloon the administration is sending up. They're thinking about reinstating the draft. They're trying to get the public's reaction. Unfortunately, right now the public is not paying much attention to the war because, so far, we're not in a major war, even though it is World War III. lewrockwell.com

Sharon and Settlers Destroy the Infrastructure of Palestinian Existence February 4, 2003 by NEVE GORDON and CATHERINE ROTTENBERG Nine Palestinian farmers were taken to the nearby military base. When they arrived soldiers jumped on them, tied their hands behind their backs and fixed a piece of cloth around their eyes. They were led to a deserted area in the base and told to sit on the ground, while the soldiers threatened, and cursed them, hour after hour. Whoever dared to ask why he was being held, requested to go to the bathroom, or complained in any way, was kicked, slapped, or held down with his head to the ground. The farmers, turned prisoners' only offence was an unsuccessful attempt to plow their land. counterpunch.org

FOIA smackdown Homeland Security Act exemption threatens public's right to know February 4, 2003 By Bill Berkowitz Retired Admiral John Poindexter's sprawling Internet spying plan, dubbed "Total Information Awareness," garnered the lion's share of attention in the run-up to the passage of the Homeland Security Act (HSA). But there's another provision of the Act that could have profound implications for the public's right to know. Tucked into the legislation is Section 214, a Freedom of Information Act exemption that is indicative of the Bush Administration's predilection for secrecy. Here is how OMB Watch, a longtime Washington, DC-based government watchdog group, described the exemption: "Information 'related to the security of critical infrastructure or protected systems' that companies voluntarily give to the new Department will now be automatically withheld from public disclosure. Moreover, the information cannot be used in civil suits and any Department employee providing such information will face criminal penalties, thereby undermining basic whistleblower protections." The new bill "pre-empts state law to insure that the information is not disclosed by state openness laws." Under the Homeland Security Act, in order to qualify for the FOIA exemption, a company would simply inform the government about the critical infrastructure vulnerabilities of their project. As the St. Petersburg Times noted, "Industry could submit all sorts of information and call it critical infrastructure. That way, regulators, consumer groups and the media would be precluded from seeing it, giving industries a tool to insulate themselves from a degree of government and public oversight. Industries, however, wouldn't be released of their responsibility to submit regular safety and environmental reports to other regulatory agencies, and those would remain as accessible as they are today." Homeland security promises to be a gold mine for technology and security companies. Microsoft, for example...workingforchange.com

Bush Sr. was the first to use horrific depleted uranium weapons on the earth. Soon Bush Jr. will use them again.

Letter from Iraq: February 3, 2003 The Children's Ward Inside an Iraqi hospital, where the Gulf War's effects are still felt. Zainab is 40 days old and has spent her entire life at the Basra hospital. After all this time, her doctors think she just might pull through because she now weighs four and a half pounds. But even if she survives, her future is bleak. Zainab was born with underdeveloped limbs. Her mother Nazad says she knew the reason as soon as her newborn daughter was shown to her. "It is because my womb is poisoned," she said, rocking the tightly wrapped bundle of her child. "The baby became sick and came out early." Doctors have a different explanation, but Nazad's reasoning is close enough. Her family lives in Al Zubair, a town on Iraq's border with Kuwait. This area was heavily bombed during the Gulf War. According to the U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute, more than 900,000 depleted uranium tipped bullets were fired. When they exploded, say experts, toxic substances were released in the ground and air, and after four or five years, entered the food chain, affecting human lives. Gulf War syndrome has been reported in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and even among American soldiers on the ground. (Washington denies that the illnesses are caused by depleted uranium.) The Iraqi government has noted a remarkable increase in cancer, reduced fertility, miscarriages and children born with congenital defects. time.com

Bush proposes sweeping changes to Medicaid February 3, 2003 The Bush administration on Friday proposed fundamental changes to the Medicaid programme, giving states almost unlimited authority to run their health-care plans for the poor while limiting the amount of federal money they could receive. Administration officials and advocates for the joint state-federal programme agreed that the sweeping proposal was designed to force states to cut their Medicaid spending. But they disagreed sharply over the impact it would have on the 44 million poor children, parents, elderly, blind and disabled Americans who get basic health care through Medicaid. business-times.asia1.com

Beginning of the end
February 3, 2003 Madeleine Bunting The US is ignoring an important lesson from history - that an empire cannot survive on brute force alone. The European left is lumbered with a debilitating fatalism. The benign imperium is only a set of US interests cobbled together, and what Old Europe - the rightful place of Britain - knows intimately from bitter recent experience is how empires are lost: how they overstretch themselves and collapse under the weight of their own illegitimacy. Ironically, it was America that proved the most adept at exploiting this in the course of the 20th century by championing the self-determination of nations. How has the US lost that wisdom? How does it overlook the fact that imperial longevity is determined not by demonstrations of brute force, but by securing minds and hearts? guardian.co.uk

Bush’s Al-Qaeda claim ‘baffling’ 3 February 2003 Efforts of the White House to build a case for war against Iraq by linking it to the Al-Qaeda terror network have baffled the country’s state intelligence agencies, the New York Times reported yesterday. Several analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have complained that the US administration had overblown scant evidence linking Iraq with Al-Qaeda, the paper quoted officials as saying. Some CIA analysts have complained that senior administration officials have exaggerated the significance of some intelligence reports about Iraq, particularly about its possible links to terrorism, in order to strengthen their political argument for war, the report quoted officials as saying. arabnews.com

IRS enforcement gets boost in Bush's $2.23 trillion budget February 3, 2003 By ALAN FRAM of the Associated Press WASHINGTON - President Bush would strengthen the Internal Revenue Service's ability to pursue tax scofflaws, rich and poor, in a $2.23 trillion budget for 2004 that he will send Congress on Monday. The initiative will be part of a fiscal blueprint that will project federal deficits for each of the next five years, though the shortfalls will decline annually, a Republican familiar with the Bush administration's plans confirmed Saturday. The unbroken string of red ink seemed all but certain since Friday, when administration and congressional sources said Bush's plan envisioned record deficits of $307 billion this year and $304 billion in 2004. missoulian.com

So You Wanna Go To War February 3, 2003 By Mark Morford A young person's guide to understanding ShrubCo's murderous attack on Iraq, and whomever else. Where do babies come from? Why does the sun go away at night? Does Saddam Hussein really deserve a swarm of painful rectal polyps followed by utter screaming death at the hands of the Great Liberator? Why do old people shrink? Why are evildoers always so oily? Why is that priest being so nice to me? Why are we launching yet another unwinnable war? What's nuclear nonproliferation? Isn't it pronounced "nuclear" and not "nukuler"? Is Barney the Dinosaur gay? Is Dick Cheney actually alive? Why is Mr. Rumsfeld so black eyed and sneering, and why does Mr. Ashcroft always look like he just swallowed a moldy slug and why is the world now run by cadres of crusty tight-lipped warmongering hawks? How about Spongebob? Is he gay? He sure seems gay. These are the questions your children want to know. Future generations will want to know. Maybe you, too, want to know. But of course, you can't know. Isn't that cute? Isn't that patriotic? Of course it is. sfgate.com

US Judge Railroads Ed Rosenthal in Fed's War on Medical Marijuana; February 3, 2003 by ALEXANDER COCKBURN Pee-Wee, Townshend and Ritter: the Sex Police at Work Cowed by a federal judge, a reluctant jury found Ed Rosental guilty last Friday afternoon. Rosenthal remains free on bail, pending sentencing in June. The defense will appeal. Rosenthal faces life in prison. Within hours of finding famed marijuana expert Ed Rosenthal guilty on three felony counts of conspiracy and marijuana cultivation, a sobbing juror was overheard saying she and others jurors had been terrified that US District Judge Charles Breyer would throw them in prison if they had found Rosenthal innocent, although she herself had had a strong disposition to do so. counterpunch.org

Our Nuclear Talk Gravely Imperils Us February 3, 2003 By Edward M. Kennedy Notion of a first- strike use in Iraq carries the seed of world disaster. A dangerous world just grew more dangerous. Reports that the administration is contemplating the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in Iraq should set off alarm bells that this could not only be the wrong war at the wrong time, but it could quickly spin out of control. Initiating the use of nuclear weapons would make a conflict with Iraq potentially catastrophic. President Bush had an opportunity Tuesday night to explain why he believes such a radical departure from long-standing policy is justified or necessary. At the very minimum, a change of this magnitude should be brought to Congress for debate before the U.S. goes to war with Iraq. The reports of a preemptive nuclear strike are consistent with the extreme views outlined a year ago in President Bush's Nuclear Posture Review and with the administration's disdain for long-standing norms of international behavior. According to these reports, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has directed the U.S. Strategic Command to develop plans for employing nuclear weapons in a wide range of new missions, including possible use in Iraq to destroy underground bunkers. latimes.com

Bush's Showdown With Americans February 3, 2003 by kavkaz The breathtaking site of the Anti-War rally in San Francisco left many Americans skeptical about people’s support for Bush administration’s unilateral war on Iraq. On January 18 a chain of a human mob slowly crawled toward San Francisco Civic Center to deliver one message: «No Blood for Oil». In an outrage people called Bush «Empty Warhead». An estimated 200,000 people sacrificed one day in their weekend to support the Iraqi people’s self-determination and oppose a possible military hazard in the Middle East. Similar demonstrations were held in Washington D.C. and worldwide. Commentators said that this was third largest protest the city has ever seen since the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. Resistance on a scale this large proves that there is no «consensus» for war. «Not in Our Name» was another frequent message on the demonstration landscape. «Bush’s Preemptive War is American Terrorism», read one sign, «Democracy Not Hypocrisy» read another one. There was a mob of intellectuals that tried to advice some sanity to Whitehouse war hawks. They placards read: «You cannot Escape Hole by Digging Down» «Give Reason a Chance» «Democracies Should not Provoke Wars» «May Power of Love Overpower the Love of Power». indybay.org

Cops Obstruct International Peace Demonstrations February 3, 2003 It hardly seems a coincidence that police departments in London,New York,and Budapest are witholding permits and using obstructionist tactics to prevent massive international peace demonstrations planned for February 15. The national governments of those nations and others are beating the drums of war frantically as the U.S. led invasion of Iraq looms near. Some even went so far as to proclaim themselves spokesmen for the New Europe in a letter to the hawkish Wall Street Journal. Yet, the majority of their citizens and even many local governments in the U.S. remain opposed to pre-emptive war. UN weapons inspector Hans Blix sees no reason for the U.S. to go to war. Even senior Pentagon officials have reservations! Apparently big city police departments no longer take their orders from city hall, or if they do, city hall isn't listening to the taxpayers who pay their salaries. http://indymedia.org

France & Russia warned support US war on Iraq or no Iraqi oil February 3, 2003 (Cairo) France and Russia have been warned they must support the US military invasion and occupation of Iraq if they want acess to Iraqi oilfields in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. According to a report in today's Tehran Times, US Senator Richard Lugar, a leading member of the Bush administration and Republican Party chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Russia and France "must be ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in any US-led military intervention" if they want a share of Iraqi oil. oilandgasinternational.com

"If You Want To Win An Election, Just Control The Voting Machines" February 2, 2003 by Thom Hartmann Maybe Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel honestly won two US Senate elections. Maybe it's true that the citizens of Georgia simply decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a wildly popular war veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was, as his successful Republican challenger suggested in his campaign ads, too unpatriotic to remain in the Senate. Maybe George W. Bush, Alabama's new Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot Republican candidates really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them losing in the last few election cycles. Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it's now sometimes used to verify how clean elections are in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United States in the past six years and just won't work here anymore. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots. thepeoplesvoice.org

World Views: Bush and Hitler February 2, 2003 By Wayne Madsen Adolf Hitler would be proud that an American President is emulating him in so many ways. Hitler, it will be remembered, routinely ignored his military, other world leaders, and the clergy. Bush seems to think that this policy, which ultimately failed for Hitler, will work for him. First, we should consider what Christian leaders are saying about Bush. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, Frank T Griswold III, says “I’d like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States” and blasts George W Bush for his saber rattling. Apparently, poppy Bush, an Episcopalian, believes that the head of his church is wrong and his wayward son is right. dailytimes.com

Bush’s claims on Iraqi weapons--lies in pursuit of war 2 February 2003 By Patrick Martin In his State of the Union speech last Tuesday George W. Bush resorted to the “big lie” technique in an attempt to terrify the American people with the prospect of a September 11-style attack, this time employing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, attributing that danger to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Bush presented no evidence, simply asserting a wholly invented connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda that contradicts everything known about the politics of both the Islamic fundamentalists and the secular Ba’ath Party dictatorship in Baghdad. (The Los Angeles Times, citing “a senior US intelligence official who asked not to be identified,” reported January 30 that there was no evidence linking Iraq to Mohammed Atta or the September 11 attacks, and that claims of other Iraqi connections to Al Qaeda were “wildly overstated” and lacked a “factual basis.”) wsws

The Empty Chair February 1, 2003 Last Tuesday night, the war mongering, Supreme Court selected President of the United States George W Bush gave the obligatory State of The Union Address to Congress, the American people and the world. I won't get into a review of the entire speech as there are many who have already advanced their opinions on the tragic, comic farce that it turned out to be. Suffice to say that billions of dollars in spending were promised for any and all special interest projects on both the left and the right. The comedy was the promise to cut taxes for the wealthy even further than they already have been. The tragedy, of course, is that the USA is returning to the voodoo economics of the Red Ink Reagan years as deficit spending is now once again the law of the land. The American people are now experiencing the final twist of the knife as Newt Gingrich's "Contract On America" comes to fruition. A far more tragic moment took place that night, however. Before the speech even commenced, the TV audience's attention was drawn to on an empty chair in the Presidential family's box. members.shaw

Bush to project record $307 billion budget deficit for this year February 1, 2003 By ALAN FRAM WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush will project a record $307 billion federal deficit for this year in the budget he sends Congress on Monday, followed by another huge shortfall of $304 billion in 2004, congressional and administration officials said Friday. The magnitude of the red ink was not a surprise because White House officials have said for weeks that it would be in that neighborhood. Nonetheless, the revelation provided detail to what has already become a driving dynamic of this year's budget fight between Bush and congressional Democrats: The return of massive deficits and the diminishing likelihood that they will fade away any time soon. The figures, disclosed by officials speaking on condition of anonymity, include the costs of Bush initiatives like tax cuts for stimulating the economy and extra spending for the military and domestic security. They exclude the price tag of a possible war with Iraq, estimated to be at least tens of billions of dollars. The biggest shortfall ever was $290 billion in 1992, when Bush's father was president. nj.com

Bush trowels on more lies, empty promises and threats February 1, 2003 By Bev Conover Only the wink-wink and nudge-nudge were missing from George W. Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night, and the Democrats' reaction to his lies was abhorrent. Especially abhorrent was Senator Hillary Clinton who kept springing to her feet to applaud the sickening drivel spewing from Bush's mouth, oftentimes triggering the herd instinct in Senator Joseph Lieberman to rise with her. And to think some Democrats believe this woman who has bought into the phony war on terrorism, and who wants even tighter "security" measures to relieve us of what few freedoms we have left, should be president. onlinejournal.com

Confidence in Bush policies drops among Americans: poll February 1, 2003 WASHINGTON - Domestic confidence in the United States' policies took a "dramatic plunge" in January, according to a national survey released Friday. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 34 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with the current state of affairs in the country. Meanwhile 58 percent reported that they were unhappy with the way things are going. The survey showed the lowest confidence in US policies since President George W. Bush took office in January 2001. inq7.net/brk

Bush's church vs. Bush February 1, 2003 By Uwe Siemon-Netto WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Bishops and other leaders of the United Methodist Church -- which counts President George W. Bush among its adherents -- dominate the religious opposition against his preparations for a war on Iraq. One of the bishops, Melvin G. Talbert, the UMC's chief ecumenical officer, stars in a 30-second commercial claiming that the war would "violate God's law and the teachings of Jesus Christ." The ad is scheduled to appear next week on the CNN and Fox cable networks but can already be seen Friday on the Web site of the National Council of Churches of Christ. upi.com

IF DISSENT IS TREASONOUS THEN WE'RE ALL TRAITORS February 1, 2003 By: Jim Moore Nobody, not even the President of the United States. is always right. So there will always be people, at some time, who will disagree with his decisions, or voice their opposition to his policy. Does that make them traitors, as some contend? Not if this is still the America that our forefathers fought to give us.. Theirs, above all, was a resounding "yes" to liberty, which includes the freedom to differ in viewpoints, even with a president, without fear of being labeled a radical; a troublemaker, or a traitor. If differences of opinion about war with Iraq, or any other country, makes one a traitor, then a lot of people better get ready to be blindfolded and shot. That's a traitor's payback, you know. So who do we blindfold first? Let's start with the Left. etherzone.com

Bush Administration Backslides on Final Regulation for Sea-Going Vessel Air Pollution Says Bluewater Network February 1, 2003 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Late Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency issued final air emissions standards for large sea-going vessels such as oil tankers, cruise ships, and cargo vessels that will do virtually nothing to clean the air. Near some port areas such as Santa Barbara, Calif., these ships are generating equivalent air pollution to all on-road vehicles combined. As a result of this rule, large vessels will continue to represent the fastest growing, least-regulated sources of pollution in the United States. usnewswire.com / earthjustice.org

Naked Protesters Against Police BrutalityWSF Ends With Brutal Police Repression February 1, 2003 Police did what police do best when they violently attacked protesters and bystanders on the last day of the World Social Forum. It started when a Mapuche woman who was attending the WSF and staying at the international youth camp was arrested with charges of "obscene acts" for bathing nude in a river. Activists saw this and organized over 400 people to protest by nonviolently taking their clothes off in solidarity. When the nude protest left the youth camp to march downtown the police attacked. After injuring and arresting some of the the nude protesters the police lashed out at journalists and bystanders. An unknown number of people were hospitalized or arrested as a result of the police assault. http://indymedia.org One must admire the courage of the beautiful Brazilian people. If an American had been arrested for bathing in the nude, we would probably stand giggling like immature children. I doubt that even two Americans in a crowd of 400 would have the awareness, the presence of mind and spirit to disrobe and walk naked in defiance of our own repressive society. We need to learn from this incident. If you believe in the ideals of freedom you must do whatever it takes to hold on to that freedom. Editor



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