MARCH 9-5, 03 Archives

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Bush unique in his defiance of so much opposition March 9, 2003 By WILLIAM E. LEUCHTENBURG If George W. Bush persists in his headlong march toward war with Iraq, he will be making history -- but not in the way he imagines. He will be breaking precedent not only by becoming the first American president to launch a pre-emptive strike, but also in two other ways. He will be the first president to go to war with most of the international community against him and the first in the modern era to send U.S. troops into combat without a solid base of popular support and with much of the nation hostile or skeptical. His unilateralism stands in sharp contrast to the behavior of previous presidents.

Bush war effort stinks March 9, 2003 By JOHN BOHN I am not a weapons expert. Nor am I a diplomat. In fact, I am just a concerned citizen. But in my line of work, one talent I have had to develop is the ability to sniff out bull, and I believe our president and his staff are serving up lots of bull, particularly as it relates to Iraq. Mr. Bush tells us that he has proof of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs and secret caches of biological and chemical weapons. He reminds me a bit of Joe McCarthy, when the latter waved his empty sheet of paper and pronounced to have a “list of Communists.” Mr. Bush’s list cannot be shared with the American public, whose sons and daughters are asked to put their lives on the line in this fiasco. Nor can the president share the list with the U.N. inspectors, who would employ the intelligence to uncover solid facts of Saddam’s programs. The intelligence is so sensitive, sources would be compromised. Thus we are to take Bush’s word for it. Taken within the context of the various lies promulgated by the Bushites, I believe the American people and the world community are being brought to war through an ongoing fog of deception. For instance, we hear Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld speak about the meeting, in Czechoslovakia, of a 9/11 hijacker and an Iraqi intelligence agent. The secretary has, on several occasions, used this as fact. Yet, it has been proven false by Czech intelligence and our own CIA.

This photo is something the government does not want you to see March 09, 2003 Jews and Arabs, standing side by side in the cause of peace. People left to themselves tend to be peaceful. It is Governments that create hate and fear and war, all for personal wealth, power, and that elevated place in history reserved for those who can shed the most blood while stealing other people's lands, under the banner of this or that god. This photo, showing all these different people united in the common cause of peace, underscores the fraud that is Sharon, Blair, and Bush, trying to kick off wars with forged documents, fake videos, lies, propaganda, staged terror attacks, and intelligence operatives pretending to be the "other guy". By way of deception, etc. Without Sharon, Bush, Blair, and those useful idiots who support them, the people of the world would be able to get along just fine. People everywhere want peace. They love freedom. It is only governments that hate freedom, that want war, that create fear, that insist we cannot get along with others, all the better to swindle us into doing what they want. Rule by deception. Government by fraud. Plagiarized dossiers. Forged nuclear documents. Fake polls. Rigged elections. The enemy who brings war on us is not the villain in the distance, it is the leader standing behind us beating us forward.

Bush uses scare tactics to back war March 09, 2003 By Mike Herman Where are we going? Well, we are getting ready to go to war again with Iraq, an oil-producing country. And the price at the gas pump goes up again. As I recall, President Bush's money was made in the oil business. When the price of oil goes up, the oil people make more money. Duh! When Bush gave us our first tax cut, he said the economy was good and we had a surplus. As it turned out, it really wasn't a tax cut. It was a tax deferment. Now we are going to get another tax cut - this time because the economy is in the pits. And 50 percent of this cut will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the taxpayers. The 80 percent of the households with an income less than $75,000 will get 10 percent of that cut, but when they make a purchase, they still have to pay the same sales tax rate as the wealthy. If they can't get as big a break as the wealthy, how is that going to stimulate the economy? Is Bush really concerned about the economy?

Jimmy Carter opposes unilateral attack on Iraq March 09, 2003 Former US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter has condemned preparations for a unilateral US attack on Iraq, saying it would be an unjust war "almost unprecedented in the history of civilised nations". In an article in The New York Times, Mr Carter said profound changes in US foreign policy have reversed "consistent bipartisan commitments that for more than two centuries have earned our nation greatness".

Who's In Charge? A Tiny, Unelected Group, Backed by Powerful Unrepresentative Interests  March 9, 2003 By EDWARD SAID The Bush administration's relentless unilateral march towards war is profoundly disturbing for many reasons, but so far as American citizens are concerned the whole grotesque show is a tremendous failure in democracy. An immensely wealthy and powerful republic has been hijacked by a small cabal of individuals, all of them unelected and therefore unresponsive to public pressure, and simply turned on its head. It is no exaggeration to say that this war is the most unpopular in modern history. Before the war has begun there have been more people protesting it in this country alone than was the case at the height of the anti- Vietnam war demonstrations during the 60s and 70s. Note also that those rallies took place after the war had been going on for several years: this one has yet to begin, even though a large number of overtly aggressive and belligerent steps have already been taken by the US and its loyal puppy, the UK government of the increasingly ridiculous Tony Blair.

Bush's tax-cutting binge slams cash-starved states March 09, 2003 By David S. Broder The cavernous hearing room of the House Ways and Means Committee was wall to wall with lobbyists the other afternoon, as it always is when a tax bill is on the agenda. Treasury Secretary John Snow was testifying on behalf of President Bush's proposal to cut taxes again — this time by an estimated $726 billion over the next 10 years. That's three-quarters of a trillion dollars, not counting the interest costs on the additional borrowing needed to finance this bonanza. While the lobbyists seated around me whispered to each other their hopes of attaching their favorite features to the administration bill, Democratic members were asking how the country could afford all this when the budget this year is at least $300 billion in the red and no one — certainly not Snow — could offer even a horseback estimate of what a war with Iraq and its aftermath might cost.

Bush administration awards Iraqi oilfields contract to Vice president Cheney’s ex-firm Halliburton Kellogg Brown & Root March 09, 2003 (KBR), a division of the Houston-based oil services company Halliburton, has won a Pentagon contract to assess and rehabilitate possible damage to Iraq’s oil infrastructure, in case Saddam Hussein sets his oilfields ablaze following a US military strike. The company was also contracted to oversee firefighting operations in Iraq’s oilfields. The KBR contract adds force to the arguments of those who believe oil is Washington’s primary motive for war, considering George W. Bush's Vice President Dick Cheney served as Halliburton’s chief executive officer (CEO) from 1995 until the 2000 Presidential election.

Pyongyang: We'll put a torch to New York March 8 2003 By Shane Green, Herald Correspondent in Tokyo North Korea would launch a ballistic missile attack on the United States if Washington made a pre-emptive strike against the communist state's nuclear facility, the man described as Pyongyang's "unofficial spokesman" claimed yesterday. Kim Myong-chol, who has links to the Stalinist regime, told reporters in Tokyo that a US strike on the nuclear facility at Yongbyon "means nuclear war". "If American forces carry out a pre-emptive strike on the Yongbyon facility, North Korea will immediately target, carry the war to the US mainland," he said, adding that New York, Washington and Chicago would be "aflame". A pre-emptive strike on Yongbyon is one of the strategic options in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear arms program. The US has deployed 24 long-range bombers to the Pacific base of Guam capable of launching such a strike.

Jobs Plunge 308,000 Amid War Worries March 8, 2003 By Caren Bohan The U.S. economy last month suffered its worst jobs drop since the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, as worries over an Iraq war led companies to put the brakes on hiring. Payrolls plunged 308,000 in February, the Labor Department said on Friday. It was the biggest slide since a 327,000 drop in November 2001, just after the deadly hijack attacks on the World Trade Center. The jobless rate rose to 5.8 percent in February from 5.7 percent in January.

Unemployment Watch: Women's Unemployment Increases Across the Board in February 2003 March 8, 2003 by Vicky Lovell and Meghan Salas: Every group of women for which seasonally adjusted unemployment data are available experienced greater unemployment in February 2003 than in the previous month. The unemployment rate for adult women rose to 5.0, from 4.7 in January (see Table 1, below). Women heads of household experienced a dramatic rise in unemployment, from 8.0 in January to 9.0 in February. Communities of color were hit especially hard by rising unemployment: 9.0 percent of Black women workers are jobless (up from 8.4 in January), and Hispanic women's unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) stands at 8.2. A substantial number of women workers -- 3.8 million -- are now jobless. Of these, nearly 840,000 are heads of families.

Euro hits four-year high against dollar March 8, 2003 Bad news about unemployment in the United States today sent the euro to its highest point against the dollar in nearly four years, with the currency hitting 1.164 dollars in European trading. The US unemployment rate increased a tenth of a percentage point to 5.8% in February, as companies slashed 308,000 jobs – the steepest one month slide since a slump in November 2001 in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. breakingnews.iol

Analysts: Bush budget will produce $1.82 trillion in deficits over 10 years March 8, 2003 President Bush's budget would produce unyielding deficits through the next decade totaling $1.82 trillion, Congress' top budget analyst said Friday in a report that could help lawmakers trying to shrink Bush's plan for fresh tax cuts. The analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office accentuated how abruptly the government's fiscal fortunes are declining. Just two years ago, forecasters envisioned an unprecedented $5.6 trillion in surpluses for the next decade. Just since January, the budget office's cumulative projections for the next 10 years have worsened by nearly $450 billion. That mostly reflects higher governmentwide spending that lawmakers approved last month and a continued drop in revenue caused by the weak economy.

Impeaching Bush March 8, 2003 By David Enrich Congressional Dems ready to avenge. Ever since President Bush's controversial victory in the 2000 election, die-hard Democrats have dreamed of revenge for the Clinton impeachment. Now, as the country braces for war, some liberal Democrats in Congress are preparing to introduce articles of impeachment against Bush and perhaps members of his Cabinet, according to lawmakers and congressional aides. Over the past few weeks, some of the most liberal members of the House have discussed the possibility of impeaching Bush. Talks have intensified this week, lawmakers say, largely because war with Iraq appears imminent. At least one senior House Democrat has produced a draft impeachment resolution. It accuses Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General John Ashcroft of more than a dozen "high crimes and misdemeanors," including bombing civilians in Afghanistan and constitutional violations in the domestic war on terrorism.

"Lies with a purpose" March 8, 2003 By Firas Al-Atraqchi A campaign of deceit, lies, demagoguery, arm-twisting, and bribery is currently being committed by so-called political leaders who are responsible to their people to provide truthful information, but in recent months have refrained from doing so. There have been thousands upon thousands of lies about Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Islam and the Middle East, lies about the intentions of France, Germany, Russia and anyone who dares raise a voice in protest. Lies about 9-11, about Osama bin Laden, about Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia. Lies in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Lies to justify a war, false hope for peace to justify a war, crocodile tears for Iraqi civilians. All to justify war.In his prime time news conference, U.S. President George Bush lied to the American people, and no one questioned him. He systematically, strategically, and surreptitiously conjured up the painful emotions associated with 9-11 to justify a war on Iraq.

UK troops tell of low morale, lack of food March 8, 2003 FAMILIES of British troops in the Gulf today claimed their sons were underfed and not fully equipped.
Dozens of relatives said they had received letters and e-mails from soldiers complaining of "absolutely appalling" conditions, with only one meal a day. One parent, Derek, whose son is in Kuwait, said: "He's telling us morale is so low because of this lack of food." Derek, who didn't want to reveal his full name to protect his son's identity, said the troops were also short of equipment. Wife Denise said her son was being given one bucket of water a day to wash with and to drink. "He's telling us conditions are absolutely appalling," she added. Another parent, Sue, whose son is a commando in the Royal Marines in the Gulf, said she was suffering from nightmares after being told of food shortages. In an e-mail six days ago, her son said: "Food situation still bad. One small ration pack for lunch now but meals still small and inadequate. "Kit requested still not received - everything from desert boots and camouflage to vehicles and weapons. "Scrounging everything off the Americans. As it stands, people here will die." Sue said: "They haven't got the right kit, they haven't got boots. "The troops are sitting ducks and they reckon they haven't got a cat in hell's chance of surviving."

Bush's Press Conference, More Fearmongering and Warmongering March 8, 2003 "When the leaders speak of peace the common folk know that war is coming. When the leaders curse war the mobilization order is already written out." - Bertolt Brecht  In his March 6 press conference, President Bush made no new arguments for war against Iraq. He presented no evidence that Iraq is a "gathering threat." He provided no new evidence attempting to link Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden. Instead, he simply used a drumbeat to scare the American people. At least 16 times, he referred to Iraq as a "threat." And at least nine times he mentioned September 11 or the loss of 3,000 Americans on that date, even though there is no credible evidence that Iraq had anything to do with those attacks. Bush said flat out that "Saddam Hussein is not disarming. This is a fact. It cannot be denied." But Hans Blix himself denies it. The leading U.N. weapons inspector, a mere 13 hours after Bush spoke, said Saddam's destruction of 34 Al Samoud 2 missiles constitutes "a substantial measure of disarmament. . . . We're not watching the breaking of toothpicks here." Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Commission, added that the inspections have "made important progress" and that there is "no evidence of the revival of a nuclear weapons program." Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein is a "gathering threat" is increasingly implausible, given this testimony, and given the access the inspectors have, and given the spy plane surveillance that Iraq is now subject to.

Afghan prisoners beaten to death at US military interrogation base March 7, 2003 By Duncan Campbell Investigation 'Blunt force injuries' cited in murder ruling.  Two prisoners who died while being held for interrogation at the US military base in Afghanistan had apparently been beaten, according to a military pathologist's report. A criminal investigation is now under way into the deaths which have both been classified as homicides. The deaths have led to calls for an inquiry into what interrogation techniques are being used at the base where it is believed the al-Qaida leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is now also being held. Former prisoners at the base claim that detainees are chained to the ceiling, shackled so tightly that the blood flow stops, kept naked and hooded and kicked to keep them awake for days on end. The two men, both Afghans, died last December at the US forces base in Bagram, north of Kabul, where prisoners have been held for questioning. The autopsies found they had suffered "blunt force injuries" and classified both deaths as homicides.

Bush frightens me March 7, 2003 Kate Moss British supermodel Kate Moss is the latest celebrity to speak out about US President George W. Bush. Speaking in a live webcast on the fashion, photography and art website, Moss said: “He's frightening. I can't even look at him,” reported.

Senator Wants 'Human Shields' Punished March 7, 2003 WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Attorney General John Ashcroft Monday to provide him with a legal assessment of those Americans headed to or already in Iraq to offer themselves as "human shields."Graham, who has been vehement in his opposition to Americans who go to Iraq and calls them "treasonous," said he believes the "full force of the law should be applied to those American citizens who give aid or comfort to our enemies."

Pentagon wants mini-nuke ban ended March 7, 2003 Julian Borger Congress asked to permit US to develop 'more usable' bombs. The Pentagon has asked the US Congress to lift a 10-year ban on the development of small nuclear warheads, or "mini-nukes", in one of the most overt steps President George Bush's administration has taken towards building a new atomic arsenal. Buried in the defence department's 2004 budget proposals, sent to congressional committees this week, was a single-line statement that marks a sharp change in US nuclear policy. It calls on the legislature to "rescind the prohibition on research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons". If passed by Congress, the measure would represent an important victory for radicals in the administration.

IRAQ BLOWS UP ABOUT 2,500 OIL FIELDS TEHRAN, March 7, 2003. By Nikolai Terekhov Iraq has dropped bombs hitting 2,500 oil fields that cover a vast area. According to the IRNA agency, the bombing near Sharjeh resulted in the explosion of an oil refinery near Kirkuk. Some oil-bearing wells were mined with antitank mines. The Iraqi Army units are ditching around near Baghdad and Kirkuk round the clock to resist the US Army.

Gasoline Pump Price to Set Record High March 7, 2003 By Tom Doggett American motorists should prepare to pay an average $1.76 per gallon for gasoline in April -- a record high -- before possibly seeing some relief at the pump, the government warned on Thursday. Gasoline prices are up because of high crude oil costs -- the result of the oil market's fears of a possible war with Iraq, a disruption in Venezuelan oil exports from a workers strike, colder weather on the U.S. East Coast and strong petroleum demand.

Oops journalism Or how they learned to take the handouts and never apologize for the lies March 7, 2003 By Bev Conover Online Journal Editor & Publisher The corporate-controlled media's employees—who falsely call themselves journalists breathlessly feed the American people a daily diet of lies, distortions and disinformation packaged as news. The weekend fare was the alleged capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, billed by White House Press Propagandist Ari Fleischer as "one of Osama bin Laden's most senior and significant lieutenants, a key al Qaeda planner and the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks." Asia Times reported last Oct. 30 that Mohammed was shot and killed in a police raid on his Karachi apartment last Sept. 11. So that leads to two possibilities: Asia Times is wrong or the Bushies are telling another whopper. And they have been telling a pile of whoppers—an elephant dung heap of them as high as the World Trade Center. Since the dung heap has grown quite ripe, we'll spare you the litany of lies that run from George W dodging whether he used drugs, the stolen elections of 2000 and 2002, the official lines (lies) about 9/11 and the "evil" Saddam Hussein, to Colin Powell's "Miss Cleo" performance before the UN Security Council—when he told the members Al-Jazeera would soon play an alleged Osama audio tape which it hadn't yet received. Day after day, night after night, the "newsies" ran with this crap without raising an eyebrow, much less a question. The slobbering pack runs with every PR handout or pronouncement from the White House and no questions asked, with the exception of Helen Thomas, who now is a bad girl for asking hard questions and calling George W. "the worst president in all of American history," and a few others who muster up enough courage now and then to get under Ari Fleischer's skin.

Voice of the dark corners March 6, 2003 Fidel Castro These are hard times we are living in. In recent months, we have more than once heard chilling words and statements. In his speech to West Point graduating cadets on June 1, 2002, the United States president declared: "Our security will require transforming the military you will lead, a military that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world." That same day, he proclaimed the doctrine of the pre-emptive strike, something no one had ever done in the political history of the world. A few months later, referring to the unnecessary and almost certain military action against Iraq, he said: "And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States army." That statement was not made by the government of a small and weak nation, but by the leader of the richest and mightiest military power that has ever existed, which possesses thousands of nuclear weapons, enough to obliterate the world's population several times over - and other terrifying conventional military systems and weapons of mass destruction.

Advisors warn Bush he faces "humiliating" defeat on UN resolution March 6, 2003 "You will lose, Mr. President," Powell told Bush. "You will lose badly and the United States will be humiliated on the world stage." Powell told Bush he has only four of the nine votes needed for approval of a second resolution. As a result, some White House advisors are now urging the President to back off his tough stance on war with Iraq and give UN weapons inspectors more time. "We have no other choice," admits one Bush advisor. "We don't have the votes. We don't have the support."

It's time for Powell to resign March 6, 2003 By William O. Beeman Forced to do the bidding of Caligula-quoting hawks, Secretary of State Colin Powell should salvage his honor and like his predecessor Cyrus Vance make a principled exit. Ever the good soldier, Colin Powell was compelled to squander his reputation for honesty and forthright dealing in a presentation before the United Nations fraught with questionable information and half-formulated conclusions. His credibility was used to serve Bush administration hawks with whom he has a basic disagreement. The joy with which his speech was greeted by militants in the White House and right-wing Republicans had as much to do with his perceived "conversion" to their side as it did with the content of the speech.

Pentagon, media agree on Iraq war censorship Reporters to be “embedded” in military March 6, 2003 By Henry Michaels During the 1991 Gulf War, the White House and the Pentagon imposed unprecedented censorship on media coverage. With the willing agreement of the corporate-owned media, American military activities in the region were mostly off-limits to journalists. Defense Department censors cleared photos, video footage and battlefield dispatches. Reporters were allowed to travel only in “pools,” accompanied by US military escorts. With the help of this cozy relationship, the war crimes committed by the United States and allied forces were systematically covered up, while the Iraqi forces were demonized. Every mainstream media outlet reported ad nauseam that US “smart bombs” had inflicted devastating damage on Iraqi military targets, yet spared civilian lives. Only later was it revealed that the vast majority of the bombs were unguided missiles and that thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children were killed.

Vatican to Bush: Iraq war would be 'disaster' March 6, 2003 A Vatican envoy who met with President Bush Wednesday said he "clearly and forcefully" conveyed a message from Pope John Paul II that a war against Iraq would be a "disaster." "You might start, and you don't know how to end it," said Cardinal Pio Laghi said after his half-hour meeting at the White House. "It will be a war that will destroy human life. Those people that are suffering already in Iraq, they will be in a really bad situation." Laghi, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States and a friend of the Bush family, said the president -- "a man of great belief" -- expressed his own views on the Iraq crisis during the meeting. But the Vatican envoy said Bush, a Methodist, did not try to present a religious case in support of military action. "He did not try to be a pastor or shepherd or preach the Gospel. I tried to preach the Gospel," Laghi said. Laghi also said he gave Bush the Vatican's view that the United States should not act against Iraq without the sanction of the United Nations.

Congressional Leaders, Veterans to Bush: Troops 'Not Prepared' for Bio-Chem Attacks March 6, 2003 U.S. Newswire Former military leaders, Members of Congress, Gulf War Veterans, military families and others will demand that President Bush guarantees the safety and protection of U.S. troops in the event of biological or chemical attacks in Iraq. In his February 8, 2003 radio address, the President stated the administration has intelligence "that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons." Army investigations show between 60 and 90 percent of its chemical-biological warfare protective gear malfunctions and as many as 250,000 defective protective suits are missing. Isratex, the company that manufactured the gear, was prosecuted by the Federal Government for selling defective merchandise to the Pentagon and is now out of business.

Mall Wants to Drop Peace T - Shirt Charges March 6, 2003 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (AP) They told a mall manager they would stop only when charges against the shopper were dropped and when the mall outlined its policy. ``We just want to know what the policy is and why it's being randomly enforced,'' said Erin O'Brien, organizer of the 100 anti-war demonstrators who marched through the mall to protest the arrest. ``It's only the people in the recent months who have anti-war or peace T-shirts that are being asked to leave the mall.'' Stephen Downs, 61, and his son were stopped Monday by mall security guards and asked to remove their shirts that read ``Peace on Earth'' and ``Give Peace a Chance,'' or leave. Roger Downs, 31, took off his shirt. But his father, a lawyer with the state Commission on Judicial Conduct and a former Peace Corps volunteer, refused. The guards called police, and he was charged with trespassing and pleaded innocent. Tim Kelley, director of Operations for Pyramid Mall management, the mall's owner, said in a statement that Downs' behavior and clothing was disruptive to other shoppers. The men had had the T-shirts made at a mall store and wore them while they shopped.

The Noriega Gambit March 6, 2003 By RB Ham Former CIA supported Mujahadeen money man gets "Noriega-ed" just as EVERYTHING is going wrong for Der Fuhrer George W Bush. His plans for his Slaughter in Iraq is on ice, domestically the economy is tanking and his poll numbers are plummeting. Voila! HEY! We bagged ourselves the #3 man in Al Qaeda! Or did they?

50 years' jail for video thefts upheld March 6, 2003 Duncan Campbell The United States supreme court has ruled that a 50-year sentence being served by a man who shoplifted videos as gifts for his children is not a "cruel and unusual" punishment. The ruling was described as "barbarous" by campaigners against California's "three strikes law", which imposes mandatory penalties for third-time offenders. By a majority of five to four, the supreme court decided that Leandro Andrade should continue to serve the 50 years imposed in 1995 for shoplifting videos worth £95 on two separate occasions. Andrade, who had a drug habit, had no record of violence and had stolen videos including Cinderella and Free Willy for his children. "This is simply barbarous," said Geri Silva, executive director of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes (Facts), an LA-based organisation campaigning to exclude non-violent offenders from the effects of the law. "It shows the absolute inhumanity of the highest court of the land. If that is not a cruel and unusual punishment, I don't know what is."

Superbug's new strain thrives outside hospitals March 6, 2003 A NEW strain of the drug- resistant superbug MRSA has escaped from hospitals to infect thousands of healthy adults across the United States. The bacterium is striking fit Americans with no links to the hospitals in which it thrives, raising fears of an epidemic that could spread to Britain. The germs, which can withstand many common antibiotics, are transmitted by skin contact, with no need for an open wound. Outbreaks have been reported in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston and Miami. Athletes and schoolchildren involved in contact sports have fallen ill. Precise figures for the number of infections are not available, because MRSA is not a notifiable disease in the United States, but public health officials believe cases already run into the thousands, with several deaths. The disease normally manifests itself as a skin condition, beginning with sores that resemble insect bites, and progressing to cause painful abscesses and boils. In rarer cases, when it reaches the lungs or the bloodstream, it can cause life-threatening pneumonia or septicaemia.

Bush Pushes the Big Lie Toward the Brink Even some in government can no longer be silent in the face of falsehood. March 5, 2003 Robert Scheer So the truth is out: George W. Bush lied when he claimed to be worried about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Otherwise, Iraq's stepped-up cooperation with the U.N. on disarmament would be stunningly good news, obviating the need to rush to war. Instead, the U.N. weapons inspectors' verification of Iraq's destruction of missiles, private meetings with Iraqi weapons scientists, visits to locations where biological and chemical weapons were destroyed in 1991 and a series of unfettered flights by U2 spy plans have been met with a shrug and sneer in Washington. The White House line is that even if the Iraqis destroy all their slingshots, Goliath is still bringing his tanks and instituting "regime change." The arrogance is breathtaking. We have demanded that a country disarm -- and even as it is doing so, we say it doesn't matter: it's too late; we're coming in. Put down your guns and await the slaughter.

ACLU Opposes Ashcroft Government Surveillance Bill; Says Proposal Threatens Freedom Without Ensuring Safety March 5, 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WASHINGTON - Responding to Attorney General John Ashcroft’s appearance at a Senate hearing this morning, the American Civil Liberties Union today reiterated its call on Congress to resist passage of the proposed government surveillance bill known as PATRIOT II. "Our nation is poised on the brink of a dangerous new anti-civil liberties era, and these escalating bids for expanded government power demand close scrutiny," said Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, who traveled from the group’s headquarters in New York to sit in on today’s hearing. "As the people’s representative, Congress must ask Mr. Ashcroft the tough questions about his actions and policies that undermine the fundamental values of our democracy."

Pope Sends Peace Appeal to Bush March 5, 2003 NewsMax Wires A senior Vatican cardinal was scheduled to meet President George W. Bush Wednesday to deliver a message on the Iraq crisis from Pope John Paul II. Vatican sources have not revealed details of the pope's message brought by Cardinal Pio Laghi. But they point out that John Paul has been an outspoken opponent of military action against Saddam Hussein. He has made repeated public statements calling for a peaceful resolution to disarming Baghdad. Vatican sources have told United Press International that the pope has been even more emphatic in private meetings with visiting world leaders. When British Prime Minister Tony Blair tried to defend Bush's hard line on Iraq to the pope during his recent audience, one authoritative British Catholic publication reported that he got a papal dressing down. John Paul told Blair the Iraq crisis should be resolved in concert with the international community, and having recourse to international law. Later, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said the Vatican regarded a preventive war as "aggression" and unjust.

Bush Plan a Boon to Drug Companies Medicare Prescription Proposal Would Also Benefit Insurers, Analysts Say March 5, 2003 By Mike Allen Health care economists said the drug benefit President Bush proposed for Medicare yesterday would be a bonanza for the pharmaceutical and managed-care industries, both of which are huge donors to Republicans. Bush went before the friendly audience of the American Medical Association at the Washington Hilton to ask Congress to pass incentives for millions of senior citizens to switch from Medicare, the federally funded health insurance program for the elderly, to private health insurance in return for drug coverage. Those who stayed in Medicare would receive more modest benefits, including a discount of 10 percent to 25 percent at the drugstore checkout. Marilyn Moon, a health economist at the Urban Institute, said Bush's plan would hand tremendous negotiating power to health insurance companies. "By making the private plans such a central part of the future of Medicare, the government is going to have to meet their demands for greater contributions to the cost of care, over and above the subsidy for prescription drugs," Moon said. Bush's proposal is vague on many points, including the terms for insurers. But Tricia Neuman, a vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the plan would have to provide a windfall for the companies, "or too few would participate for the plan to work."

Europeans think America does more harm than good March 5, 2003 Andrew Osborn in Brussels Anxiety about America and the way it projects its global power was exposed yesterday when an European commission opinion poll showed that half the union's citizens see Washington as a danger to world peace rather than a force for good. Citizens in all 15 member states believe it does more harm than good when it comes to promoting world peace, fighting poverty in the developing world and protecting the environment. The responses in all other key areas were decidedly critical of US foreign policy, and will give President Bush's policy advisers pause for thought. On the crucial question of whether America is a force for good when it comes to promoting world peace just 32% concurred; 46% disagreed.

March 5, 2003 BAGHDAD President Saddam Hussein yesterday branded US President George W Bush "the despot of the century" and said Iraq would defeat the US if it invaded. "You, the Iraqi people, will be victorious, armed with faith, and the despots will be defeated and arrogance will not benefit them," Saddam said in a message to mark the Islamic New Year, read on Iraqi television. His statement was laced with Quranic verses and religious sayings, referring to conflict with the US as righteousness versus evil."What does the despot of this century want? What is the right path to defeat him?" Saddam asked, in an apparent reference to Bush.

'Serves rude America right' March 5, 2003 NESRIN ALOGLU, a bank clerk, is delighted that Turkey’s parliament has thrown Washington’s plans for an attack on Iraq into disarray by blocking the deployment of US troops. “Serves them right. Now they can apologise.” Apologise, she said, for the way in which the United States so rudely took Turkey for granted and issued threats, insults and ultimatums when it did not get what it wanted. In rejecting Washington’s demands, the recession-hit country is turning its back on US aid worth more than $20 billion (£13 billion). But Turks still support the parliament’s decision. “At least it’s cleared Turkey’s name and dispelled the image abroad that Turkey can be bought,” Zafer Dorttas, a 27-year-old customs official, said.

The American 'dream palace' March 5, 2003 By JEFFREY SIMPSON The Bush administration has wanted to get Saddam Hussein from day one. Until Sept. 11, however, no even remotely plausible pretext could be found. The attacks on New York and Washington changed all that. Ever since, "regime change" in Iraq has been the administration's abiding objective. Alliances were sundered in its pursuit. Countries such as Turkey were bribed -- thus far, unsuccessfully. Publics around the world seethe with anti-war and anti-American sentiment. Sympathy for the U.S. plunges everywhere. Even supportive governments such as Tony Blair's endure internal splits. It doesn't matter. Washington's "war party" wants Saddam Hussein, and nothing will stop them.

Peaceful Moabites want big bomb's name changed March 5, 2003 Oliver Burkeman The authorities in the small town of Moab, in southern Utah, have spent a huge amount of money in recent years on a simple tourism strategy: when you think Moab they want you to think of mountain-biking, horse-riding, rafting, and energetic outdoor pursuits. They do not want you to think about awesomely destructive bombs, each the size of a car and weighing 21,000lb, almost 10 tonnes. But that is what they fear will happen if they cannot dissuade the army from naming its powerful new creation the massive ordnance air burst: Moab for short. "We realise that it is an acronym, but we are still concerned about the effects it may have on our community," the county council wrote, begging President George Bush to order a rethink.

US hits roadblock in push to war March 5, 2003 By Rupert Cornwell America admitted yesterday that the war due to begin as early as next week might have to be put back by at least a month because of Turkey's refusal to allow US ground troops to deploy there. The surprise rejection by the parliament in Ankara made the planning "more complicated", Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said. Some military analysts predicted that an attack of the speed and decisiveness President George Bush wants might have to be delayed until late March or even early April.

The 2003 Spending Orgy March 5, 2003 Congressman Ron Paul Federal tax revenues have dropped dramatically since the stock market peaks of 2000.  Rising unemployment continues to reduce the number of taxpayers, while plummeting investor portfolios no longer produce the huge capital gains and dividend revenues that flooded federal coffers in the 1990s.  This drop in revenues was of course predictable, given the faltering economy and enormous market losses of the past two years. Yet has Congress responded to this new reality with spending freezes or other austerity measures?  Hardly.  Its response has been exactly opposite, passing a 2003 budget that is a whopping 22% higher than just two years ago!  Not only is spending way up in terms of total dollars, but the rate at which spending grows each year is accelerating rapidly.  In fact, a federal budget that once took a century to double in size will now do so in only about five years.

Apocalypse is nigh, Buffett tells Berkshire faithful March 5, 2003 By Simon English Warren Buffett is poised to issue his most doom-laden forecast for the state of the world economy yet, including a damning verdict on the derivatives industry he fears could cause a global financial crisis. In the upcoming annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Mr Buffett drops his usual folksy style to warn that banks do not understand the hidden risks lurking on their balance sheets. He labels derivatives "time bombs, both for the parties that deal in them and the economic system" and "financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal".

Pricetag for Bush dream: $100b and still counting March 5, 2003 Frankfurt Reuters Wars cost money as well as lives and estimates for an attack on Iraq are high and rising.  Conservative calculations, which assume a swift campaign that emulates the speed of the 1991 Gulf War, pitch in at around $100 billion, equivalent to one per cent of U.S. gross domestic product. If the war gets bogged down, however, in street-to-street fighting to take Baghdad, costs would rise. Throw in the nightmare of chemical or biological warfare, rebuilding the country and sticking around for the next ten years to encourage Middle East stability, and some see an astronomical bill of $1.6 trillion for U.S. taxpayers.

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